What to CookAsparagus

A Few Bunches of Asparagus, 5 New Dinners

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Put time into dinner now, and you can make it last forever -- or at least the whole week. Welcome to Halfway to Dinner, where we show you how to stretch your staples every which way.

Today: It's spring -- we know you have asparagus. Here's how to turn it into dinner all week long.

Asparagus was our first love. Sure, we’ve had other, trendier vegetables in our crisper drawer -- arugula and pea shoots, ramps with their silky leaves -- but asparagus never fails to call us back, to send our hearts racing all over again. Because even after we’ve grilled and steamed and shaved it, we find new ways to love asparagus every time we bring it home. 

And since it's in season, we need to eat it with abandon: We’ll start off with simple, roasted stalks, to remind us of that spring when we first fell for asparagus. Our dinner will be hearty, with a bite that stands up to eggs and crusty bread -- but then, we’ll weave those legs into our pasta, purée them into soup, and find their sweeter side. Here are 5 dinners to get you started -- so you can savor asparagus like it’s the very first time. 

Radicchio and shrimp salad from Food52

Roasted Asparagus with Chopped Egg and Torn Bread
This is the dinner you make when you want your asparagus now. You’ve just come home from the farmers market, bunches in hand, and there will be no braising, no elaborate sauces to stand in your way. All asparagus asks of you here is to roast your stalks, toss them in a vinaigrette, and crown them with torn bread and a chopped egg.  

Bacon & Egg Ramen from Food52

Creamy Asparagus, Lemon, and Walnut Pasta
Chances are you already have everything you need for this weeknight pasta. It’s an economical, clean-out-your-fridge kind of dinner, with asparagus serving as both the star and the sauce. Reserve a third of your vegetables for puréeing, and thread the remaining through your pasta for a welcome, earthy crunch.

Thai-Scented Asparagus Soup
This is everything you love about Thai coconut soup and asparagus in one bowl. Trade your mirepoix for the onion-ginger-lemongrass trinity of Asian soups, toss in the asparagus, and let it all simmer in a coconut milk broth. Then throw it in the blender, and you’ll have a bright, anytime cure for whatever ails you. 

Vegan Lemon Asparagus Risotto

Vegan Lemon Asparagus Risotto
Yes, vegan risotto is a thing -- and it’s every bit as comforting and good for the soul as its traditional counterpart. First, you’ll give your asparagus a quick blanch and then get to work on the risotto, slowly adding vegetable broth and wine. Stir your pot dutifully, and it will reward you with a summery, soulful dinner. 

Roasted Asparagus with Poached Egg

Roasted Asparagus with Poached Egg and Lemon-Mustard Sauce
We couldn’t, in good conscience, leave you without a classic asparagus and poached egg. While your vegetables are roasting, you’ll poach a few eggs and whip up a lazy, weeknight hollandaise with lemon and mustard for drizzling. On the longest days, when all you want is asparagus by the forkful, this is the dish that will never fail you. 

What are your favorite ways to eat asparagus? Let us know in the comments!

Second photo by Eric Moran, all others by James Ransom

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Vegetable, Summer, Weeknight Cooking, Vegetarian, Ingredients