I’ve been eating asparagus every week for the past 6 weeks and I am still loving it! With minimal prep and cook time, whether sauteed or steamed, these slightly sweet and astringent tasting spears are topping my spring list for the easiest green veggies. They’re so tasty too!
Rich in the earth and air elements, foods with an astringent taste, like, asparagus, can bind and draw out excess from the body. Whether it is ama (toxins derived from undigested food), fat or water, the astringent taste supports detoxification. Have you experienced urinating a bit more or longer after eating asparagus? In helping the body release excess water, combined with asparagus’ cooling energy, these delicious spears support reducing inflammation and puffiness, while helping to purify the blood. For individuals who tend to retain water or have accumulated excessive heat from the winter season, asparagus is spring’s natural detoxifier. It’s light and dry qualities harmonize with spring and prep the body for the summer. Mother Nature’s—she’s on it and one step ahead.
Whether steamed or sautéed, the simpler the better when it comes to my favorite way of cooking asparagus. Too much of any spice, I find takes away from it’s natural flavors and can be to over powering.
For those who tend to have more of a kapha constitution or imbalance, steaming asparagus is a great option—no fat needed. For those who tend to have a vata constitution or imbalance, sautéing or steaming works just add a good fat to help balance the astringency and dryness. For pitta constitutions or imbalances fat or no fat—either method works.
Here are two versions of the same recipe…steamed or sautéed, you choice.
Happy eating, happy digesting.
Thyme for Coriander & Asparagus
servings: 4 | time: 15-20 mins
Tastes: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent, Astringent, Bitter
Qualities: light, dry, cooling, oily**
What you need: a 10-12 inch saute or frying pan with a lid
- 1 bunch asparagus (medium width)
- a few sprigs of thyme
- lemon zest of half a lemon
- juice of half of a large lemon
- 2 tsp roasted coriander powder*
- rock or sea salt to taste
- 1 T (heaping) ghee, olive oil or garlic infused oil* (optional)
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1. Rinse asparagus and cut-off or snap off the hard, dried and tough ends of each spear. Set aside.
2. steamed version: in a small bowl muddle thyme (remove stems), lemon zest, salt and roasted coriander power to release the essential oils. Then whisk in the olive oil (optional) and the lemon juice. If using a jar give it a good shake. Set aside (if using ghee it will need to be melted)
3. steamed version: fill the pan with about 2 inches of water and place on medium-high heat. When the water begins to simmer, add in the prepped asparagus and cover for about minute or 2, until the lid is nice and steamy. I like to have the spears laying flat for even cooking. If the pan is not big enough, you can do this in batches or rotate the spears, if one ends up on top of another.
In about 2 minutes, check to see if the asparagus is pliable. Once it is slightly pliable, turn-off the stove and continue to cook covered—for another minute or so. After 3-4 minutes of total cook time, the spears will bend with more ease, but still have a crunch. The color will be a bright green. Drain the excess water. Then toss the asparagus with the dressing directly in the pan, sprinkle the sesame seeds on top and serve immediately. The asparagus pictured here, took a little less than 5 minutes— from the time it went into the pan until the water was drained.
Note: while the asparagus is hot or in a hot pan it will continue to cook. I like to slightly under cook them. I timed this recipe several times and found 4 1/2 to 5 minutes to be perfect for the spears pictured here. Transfer the asparagus to a serving plate, if you are not eating them immediately—to slow down the cooking process. If you feel the asparagus steamed for too long, rinse them under cold water to stop the cooking process. Then toss them with the dressing and sesame seeds.
2. sauteed version: in a warm pan add the ghee or olive oil. When the fat is warm, add in the thyme sprigs. Saute for 20 seconds or so on medium heat to infuse the oil with thyme. Then, add the prepped asparagus——it is okay if they are a little wet, it will create some steam and aide the cooking process.
Cook the asparagus about 3 minutes—shaking the pan to rotate the spears, you can also use tongs. Add in the roasted coriander powder, lemon zest and salt. Toss for about a minute. Turn off the stove and finish with a big squeeze of lemon juice, this will also de-glaze the pan. Serve in the pan if eating immediately or transfer to a serving dish to slow down cooking process and prevent overcooking. Total time is a little less than 5 minutes, for the asparagus pictured here, from the time the asparagus hit the pan.
Notes: I made about 5 lbs of steamed asparagus for a large party. To ensure the asparagus did not over cook or become soggy, I steamed them in batches for 4 minutes. Then placed the spears in an cold water (not iced). Prior to serving at room temperature, I tossed them in the dressing. Every spear has a crunch—phew!
*if you cannot find roasted coriander powder, warm up a small pan, add in the coriander powder and stir for about 20 seconds until the aroma is released. Toasted coriander powder has a rich flavor and the essentials oils and medicinal properties have been activated. For the sautéed version, you can use non-toasted coriander powder, just add it in about a minute earlier than mentioned and toast while the asparagus continues to cook. If using coriander seeds, toast them and then crush, its easier when they are warm.
*garlic, if you do not have garlic oil and want a touch of garlic flavor, I recommend sauteing the garlic, prior to adding it to the dressing, if using the steamed method. If sauteing, add sliced or minced garlic about a minute after the asparagus to prevent burning. Medium heat is a good temp. Cooking garlic helps balance the acidity and makes it a little less rajasic. For 1lb of asparagus I recommend 1 small clove to not over power the natural flavor of the asparagus.
**oily quality is present if using the saute method or adding oil to the dressing.