Roasted Leek and Garlic Asparagus Recipe

roasted asparagus recipe

Spring seems just around the corner, so I was inspired to experiment with some fabulous spring vegetables. Luckily, I found a beautiful bunch of asparagus in my fridge.

Asparagus lovers and haters

Asparagus are one of those vegetables that some people just love, and others just hate… Of course, nobody likes how it makes your pee smell. But who cares what your pee smells like, when something can taste so delicious and is so good for you?

Did you know…?

In the past there was some debate about whether all or just some people experience a change in urine odor after consuming asparagus. Several studies in the ’80s showed that while all people produce the smell, only about 22% of the world population can actually smell it. I hope the subjects in those studies were well compensated.

To roast or to saute?

I was not really in the mood for cleaning pans later on, so I decided to roast them. While I could have just roasted them plain with some salt and drizzled them with olive oil before serving, I was in the mood for something fancy. We do not even have to talk about Mark… I don’t think he is ever in the mood for something fancy.

Adding flavor and nutrition

I wanted to add some more vegetables to the asparagus in order to boost flavor and nutrition. I also decided to add a crunchy topping for some texture contrast and additional flavor complexity. Can you tell I really like “flavor”? Well, I am so glad I made these. The result is this amazing asparagus recipe. It is perfectly elegant, super tasty, fast to prepare and makes a minimal mess! I am so happy to share this recipe with you. Enjoy!

Roasted Asparagus with Leek, Garlic and a Crunchy Topping

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1
  • 1
  • 6
  • 1/3 cup
  • 1/6 cup
  • 1/3 cup
  • 1/8 tsp
  • Bunch of asparagus (~ 400g)
  • Medium leek (bottom part)
  • Cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • Parsley (packed)
  • Marsala wine
  • Cashews, raw
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit or 400° Fahrenheit if your oven is a non-convection oven.
  2. 2. Wash the asparagus, leek and parsley. But of the tough part of the asparagus. Make sure to make a deep cut into the leeks in order to wash out all the dirt.
  3. 3. Arrange the asparagus on a a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Place the leek and garlic slices evenly on top. Sprinkle a tiny bit of salt over everything.
  4. 4. In a small chopper, combine the parsley, Marsala wine and salt. Add cashews and pulse until cashews are small but still crunchy (not flour!). Sprinkle topping over asparagus.
  5. 5. Roast asparagus for 8-12 minutes until “al dente”. Be sure not to overcook them. They will get stringy and mushy…
  6. 6. Drizzle ½ Tbsp of olive oil over the asparagus. Serve with some lemon wedges for optional sprinkling.

Health Fact

Asparagus are high in potassium and low in sodium. This mineral composition combined with their large quantity of the amino acid asparagine makes asparagus a natural diuretic. Historically, it was used to treat illnesses that cause swelling (arthritis, rheumatism etc.) So it is the perfect food when you are retaining some unwanted water (ladies!).

The picture above shows a little bit less than two servings. Feel free to plan two servings per person. That is what Mark and I did.

– Christina

5 stars

Mark says:

This recipe was a great success. I love asparagus plain, but the extra texture and flavor were really good. I may be a food purist, but sometimes food really is better with more flavor and texture. I’ll definitely ask for this again next time I see asparagus in the fridge (and I’ll be sure to make sure it gets in the fridge when we are at the market tomorrow).

nutrition facts

per serving

Calories: 125, Fat: 7g, GL: 5, Fiber: 3g, Protein: 5g, Carbohydrates: 11g

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28 comments

  1. I am not a big fan of asparagus, but your picture makes me want to give it another shot!
    And as always, your Health fact comments are a good read :-)

    • You could try all the toppings with another vegetable that you like more. Anything that can be roasted would work. It is really all about the toppings in this recipe.

      My husband and I just looked at all your bread recipes. Now our mouths are watering and our stomachs growling. haha

  2. Jessica says:

    Asparagus in early spring is like candy to me. Steamed with a little butter it is better than any other veggie on this earth. This is a great recipe and I think I’ll be giving it a shot come June.

  3. glidingcalm says:

    Asparagus is so yummy!! I love roasting or steaming it, and then adding it cold to salads!! soo tasty!!

    beautiful recipe!

  4. Karin says:

    It’s a pain to wait until June for good local asparagus but I will definitely try your recipe then. They look truly scrumptious!
    I love me some asparagus, stinky pee and all. ;)

  5. I love asparagus roasted! This recipe looks great. A change from the traditional salt and pepper topping!

  6. Jenn says:

    This recipe sounds like it could make me a fan of asparagus again. (I eat a TON the week before my competitions for the diuretic effect.)

    “I hope the subjects in those studies were well compensated.” LOL!!!!

    • Oooh. Yeah, eating too much of anything can really ruin something… What a bummer. Maybe switching it up will help.

      Sometimes I worry I will get sick of all the vegetables by the time I am eighty. I think almost every time I go to the market I say to Mark: “You know I really wish there were like at least three times as many different vegetables!”

      In one study each subject had to smell the pee of about 400 other people! Oh, did I mention it was ASPARAGUS PEE!?

  7. Asparagus is my husband’s favorite…thank you!

  8. Mark H. says:

    Asparagus fresh up from the ground is yet another reason to anticipate spring. It is nice when you can step out the door and pick fresh. :) And, umm, I like it raw so I am always eating while picking, but I hope to remember this recipe. Too bad leaks and asparagus are not from the same season.

    • That sounds heavenly! I really want to try that someday. (Maybe when I have my vegetable garden… before I kill all the plants that is)

      I wish all the vegetables were in season ALL the time. But I guess we all need to be flexible. Not only would it be harder to eat healthfully, but it would also be quite boring. At least that is how I feel about it.

  9. kate says:

    ive been looking for a recipe with leeks in it – ive never cooked with them & im pretty sure ive never tasted them!

    • Oh, leeks are awesome! Especially if you like onions/scallions/garlic. Leeks and potatoes are a “holy grail” kind of combination. Add some lemon or thyme and you have a winner! I will be sure to post some more recipes with leeks in them for you! Let me know what you think when you try them!

  10. This looks so pretty on the plate and sounds DELICIOUS. I love the addition of marsala!

  11. Helena Mullett says:

    My mother always boiled/simmered asparagus so I do. I am not a fan because I find most of the stem to be stringy. Is that because they are old/picked past their prime? How do I pick a nice bunch?

    • Helena, it sounds like the asparagus you ate in the past were not cooked properly. Cooking usually affects the texture/taste much more than other factors.

      I do not recommend boiling asparagus (or most other vegetables). When you cook vegetables in water, a lot of nutrients leech out into the water, which you then throw away. Also, it is really easy to overcook things that way, which impairs flavor and nutrient content even more.

      Cooking asparagus for more than 8 minutes (roasting is an exception) is a sure way to make asparagus stringy and mushy (aka gross!).

      I always break off the very end of the asparagus. You can feel it where it gets hard. Peeling around the end is also a great way to get rid of some of the tough parts at the end.

      Maybe you could give this recipe a try. Take them out after 8 minutes and taste one. Do you like that texture? Would you prefer it softer? But them back in the oven for 2 more minutes and check again. This way you can get a feeling for how the texture/taste of the asparagus change. I guarantee that this way the asparagus will not be stringy!

      I am so glad you brought this up. I am convinced that big part of the reason why vegetables have a bad reputation is because a lot of people do not know how to cook them properly. It is really all about how you cook them!

      Let me know if you tried it! Good luck!

  12. I used to seriously dislike asparagus when I was younger. But now I can’t get enough of it. And seeing your beautiful photo makes me want to eat some right now. Love the nutrition fact! Great post!

  13. Hey!
    My grandfather grew asparagus every year when I was a kid, and my parents always made my brother and I eat it or we couldn’t have dessert. It was always boiled plain till it was greenish-brown, mushy and stringy…and to begin with, often it was not picked till it was thick and tough. Oh my goodness, we HATED it! It was our very worst food! We tried so many ways to get it down so we could have our dessert: holding our noses, drowning it in butter and salt, once we even tried honey…UGH! That had to be the worst. It wasn’t until after I turned 30 that I ever tried it in a restaurant…and loved it! It was thin, crisp, tender, and SO flavorful! Now I want to try your recipe…thanks!

    • Oh that sounds terrible! I strongly believe that if everybody knew how to cook vegetables properly, a lot more people would be eating them!

      Showing how to prepare vegetables the right way is a big part of my mission. If I can just save one spear of asparagus from being boiled to death, I can sleep soundly tonight. haha

      I hope you will enjoy this recipe! Thanks for sharing your story!

  14. Rosa says:

    That is a wonderful combination! I can’t wait to buy Swiss asparagus…

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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