Pan-Fried Asparagus With Balsamic
This delicious pan-fried asparagus recipe is made with balsamic vinegar, garlic, lemon, and parmesan. Only 20-minutes to throw together, it’s such a quick + easy way to cook asparagus on the stove!
Pan-frying (or sautéing) asparagus on the stove is such a great way to make asparagus without overcooking it. This method of cooking results in asparagus that is tender, while still maintaining its lovely crunch – no mushiness or sogginess involved!
There’s no need to boil or blanch asparagus before pan-frying it either – simply cut up the asparagus spears and add them directly to your frying pan or skillet.
This recipe is a super simple and tasty way to enjoy asparagus and reap its nutrition benefits. As a dietitian, I’m happy to share that asparagus is rich in dietary fiber and vitamins K, A, and folate.
As always, I’ve included a handful of serving ideas for you in this post as well. Enjoy, friend!
Want more delicious veggie sides? Check out my popular roundup of 30+ healthy vegetable side dish recipes!
About the ingredients
- Asparagus: You will need 1 standard bunch (or approximately 1 pound) of asparagus for this recipe. A little more or less is just fine, too! I’d aim for asparagus that is of a medium thickness – if you choose skinnier or thicker asparagus you will have to adjust the cooking time slightly.
- Garlic: I used fresh garlic cloves for this recipe as it adds a bit of texture, but you are welcome to use garlic powder if you’re in a pinch.
- Olive oil: Used for both cooking, added flavour, and healthy fats!
- Balsamic vinegar: Balsamic pairs really well with asparagus, lemon, and parmesan and provides a nice twist to a simple asparagus recipe.
- Lemon: We’ll be using both the juice and the zest! Be sure to zest the lemon before cutting it in half and juicing it – it is significantly easier to do this way 🙂
- Parmesan: I recommend using freshly shaved or grated parmigiano-reggiano if you can. It has a really delicious flavour and makes a world of difference compared to pre-packaged parmesan. You can easily shave it with a vegetable peeler or grate it with a cheese grater. If you follow a dairy-free or vegan diet, you can use a dairy-free alternative or omit the parmesan completely.
- Balsamic glaze: Balsamic glaze is used to finish this recipe, in addition to cooking with balsamic vinegar. I find the added sweetness is just what was needed to bring all the flavours together. If you don’t have any balsamic glaze, you are welcome to finish this recipe with a drizzle of honey instead.
Full ingredient measurements and detailed instructions are located in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post!
How to prep asparagus before cooking
- You’ll want to start by rinsing asparagus in a colander, scrubbing any dirty bits with your hands. Drain and pat dry with a clean dishcloth or paper towel.
- Next, you’ll want to break off any of the hard, woody stems. You can easily do this with your hands by holding the middle of one asparagus spear in one hand, and snapping off the end with your other hand. The asparagus should naturally snap where the tender part of the stem begins.
- Then, line up the asparagus spears and cut them into smaller pieces – I like to cut then into thirds. Your asparagus is then ready to cook!
Here you can see the woody ends removed from the asparagus – these parts are often really chewy and stringy (a.k.a. not that fun to eat!)
After that, you can line up the asparagus spears at the tip and cut each spear into thirds. This will result in evenly-sized pieces for cooking.
What to serve this asparagus recipe with
Asparagus is considered a non-starchy vegetable, so – as a dietitian – I recommend serving this with a starch and a protein to make a nutritionally-balanced meal.
It would go deliciously with proteins, like:
- salmon (a classic pairing!), such as this grilled salmon with yogurt sauce, this baked chili salmon, or this baked pesto salmon
- white fish, like this herb-crusted cod
- scallops or shrimp, like these smoked paprika shrimp
- scrambled or sunny side up eggs
- chicken, turkey, or other meats
- plant-based proteins, like baked tofu or tempeh
Plus starches, such as:
- potatoes – mashed or roasted (these roasted paprika potatoes are my favourite)!
- roasted sweet potatoes or Japanese sweet potatoes (feel free to skip the sauces in these recipes and simply serve on their own)
- cooked grains, like rice, quinoa, or farro
- a simple pasta with garlic, olive oil, lemon, and parmesan (similar to the flavours of the asparagus)
Asparagus nutrition benefits
A 100-gram serving of asparagus (about 5 large spears) provides 2 grams of dietary fiber (that’s about 8% of your daily fiber needs), which plays an important role in our digestive and heart health.
Asparagus is also a source of essential micronutrients, including:
- vitamin K
- vitamin A
- vitamin C
- vitamin E
- vitamin B
Like other veggies, asparagus is a good source of antioxidants which help to promote optimal health.
More delicious asparagus recipes:
- Roasted Asparagus With Pecan Parmesan
- Cold Asparagus Salad With Potatoes
- Asparagus Puff Pastry Tart (Galette)
- Parmesan Polenta With Asparagus & Eggs
- Asparagus & Eggs Breakfast Skillet
Did you give this Pan-Fried Asparagus Recipe a try? Let me know by leaving a comment and recipe rating below!
If you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram or Pinterest – seeing your creations always makes my day. You can also subscribe to my email list to never miss a new recipe or nutrition education post!
Get the Recipe: Easy Pan-Fried Asparagus (20-Minutes!)
- PREP: Snap off woody ends of asparagus, then cut spears into smaller pieces (I like to cut them into thirds). Mince garlic cloves. Zest lemon and shave parmesan.
- Heat olive oil in a large pan. When hot, add the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Then, add in asparagus, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Sauté for about 5-7 minutes, depending on thickness of asparagus. You want the asparagus to be tender, but still crunchy!
- Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.
- Transfer asparagus to a serving platter (or leave in pan) and top with parmesan, lemon zest, and more black pepper.
- Finish with a drizzle of balsamic glaze over top for a touch of sweetness – it really ties the recipe together. Serve + enjoy!
- Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days, but I’d recommend eating them within 1-3 days for optimal taste and texture.
- You can reheat them on the stovetop or in the microwave, but I actually really love these leftovers cold! They’d be perfect added to a salad or pasta salad the next day 🙂
- I used fresh garlic cloves for this recipe as it adds a bit of texture, but you are welcome to use garlic powder if you’re in a pinch. Simply add it to the asparagus at the same time as the balsamic vinegar.
- Balsamic glaze adds the perfect sweetness to finish this recipe and tie the flavours together. If you don’t have any balsamic glaze, you are welcome to finish this recipe with a drizzle of honey instead.
As a dietitian, I create recipes with whole food ingredients that provide the nutrients needed for optimal health. My nutrition philosophy does not focus on numbers; however, I understand that this information can be helpful.
Do note that the nutrition info provided is an estimate and I cannot guarantee correctness of the displayed values. These numbers will differ depending on brands used, recipe modifications, and amount eaten. If you require specific nutrition information due to medical reasons, please consult with your dietitian or physician.