Microwaving asparagus is the fastest and easiest way to cook this delectable vegetable. It's ready in just a few minutes, and it comes out perfectly cooked!
You simply microwave it on high until it's tender-crisp. Depending on how thick the spears are, this should take around 3 minutes.
Asparagus is probably one of those vegetables that one either really likes or really doesn't. I happen to love it! I even like it in its canned form. But when fresh and in season, it's a true delicacy.
Cooking asparagus in the microwave is so easy, that I often default to this cooking method. Roasted asparagus is wonderful, but it requires heating up the oven. Microwave cooking is perfect for summer - quick, easy, and doesn't heat up your kitchen.
The very basic recipe has just one ingredient - asparagus. Once the asparagus is cooked, you can dress it however you like.
So depending on what you'll do with it, other ingredients might include melted butter, olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar, salt and pepper, garlic powder, and perhaps onion powder.
Cooking asparagus in the microwave truly couldn't be easier! The detailed steps are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview:
Your first step is to wash and trim the asparagus. Depending on how big your microwave-safe bowl is, you might need to trim quite a lot of the ends, or you could also chop each spear in half to avoid waste.
The next step is to place the spears in a large microwave-safe bowl, add a tablespoon of water, and cover the bowl with a microwave-safe plate.
Now let's get cooking! Microwave on high until the vegetable is tender-crisp. Depending on how thick the spears are, this should take around 3 minutes.
Now carefully remove the bowl from the microwave using oven mitts. And be even more careful when removing the lid - hot steam will escape.
That's it! Now dress the asparagus. The section "serving suggestions" below contains a few ideas.
Frequently asked questions
Hands down, the fastest way is the microwave. Roasting takes a total of 25 minutes (including prepping the vegetable). Steaming takes about 15 minutes. Microwaving takes less than 10 minutes, including prep time.
Generally speaking, there's no need to peel asparagus. You should, however, trim the ends, which are very fibrous, and perhaps also peel the very bottom of the spears after you've trimmed them.
No. It should be tender-crisp, meaning it shouldn't be limp and mushy. But you want it tender and creamy, not crunchy. It's definitely a balancing act, but the more you do it, the better you'll be at it (like everything in life).
If you've used young, fresh, in-season asparagus, all it needs is a light sprinkle of kosher salt to be delicious. But if you want to be a bit more elaborate, here are a few more ideas:
1. Drizzle it with melted butter and sprinkle it with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
2. Make a quick dressing of olive oil (1 tablespoon), white wine vinegar (1 tablespoon), a pinch of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a teaspoon of Dijon mustard (to help emulsify the dressing). Whisk the dressing and then drizzle it over the asparagus.
3. Chop the asparagus and use it in this tasty asparagus salad.
4. Serve it with Hollandaise sauce.
Recommended main dishes
Microwave asparagus is such a versatile side dish, it goes with anything. I do like to serve it with rich meat-based dishes since I feel it nicely balances them out. So I often serve it with one of the following:
Leftovers keep reasonably well in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. I like to chop them and add them cold to salads - they make a very nice addition to this arugula salad and also to this avocado chicken salad.
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Quick and Easy Microwave Asparagus
- 1 bunch fresh asparagus
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Wash the asparagus spears. Trim the ends. You can either trim enough of the ends so that the spears fit into your microwave-safe bowl, or, after trimming just the ends, cut them in half (or even chop them).
- Place the trimmed spears in a microwave-safe bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of water.
- Cover with a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes.
- Use oven mitts to remove the bowl from the microwave, and be careful when removing the lid - hot steam will escape.
- Transfer the asparagus to a serving plate. Sprinkle with kosher salt and serve. Or season with melted butter, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Serve immediately.