The Youth Connection’s 12D2 Fruit/Vegetable of The Month: Asparagus

March: Asparagus

According to The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, Michigan ranks third in the nation for asparagus production, producing up to 23 million pounds annually. In fact, in 2013 the Michigan asparagus production was valued at more than $18.6 million. Michigan harvest approximately 9,000 acres annually.

 

Produce Tip: Look for firm, bright green spears with tightly closed tips. Avoid limp asparagus spears. Purchase asparagus in the spring to save money.

Recipes

Roasted Vegetable Medley

Roasted Vegetable Medley
  • Yield: 1 cup per serving
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes
  • Serving: 4

Ingredients

  • baby carrots - 1 cup, chopped
  • eggplant - 1 cup, chopped
  • asparagus - 1 cup, chopped
  • vegetable oil - 1 teaspoon
  • garlic - 2 cloves, chopped
  • basil - 4 teaspoons dried, optional
  • mushrooms - 1 cup chopped, optional
  • zucchini - 1 small zucchini, chopped

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.

2. Spray a roasting pan with cooking spray.

3. Add carrots, eggplant, and asparagus to pan. Drizzle with oil and toss until lightly coated. Bake for 20 minutes.

4. While baking, spray a large pan with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium heat.

5. Sauté garlic and basil for about 2 minutes. Add zucchini and mushrooms; sauté until tender (about 5 minutes).

6. Add roasted vegetables to the pan and sauté 5 minutes more.

Asparagus & Rice Casserole

Asparagus & Rice Casserole
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Serving: 4

Prep Tip: Instead of boiling, cook asparagus in the microwave. Put asparagus in a microwave safe dish with about an inch of water. Cook on high until tender (about 4 minutes). Drain.

 

Nutrition Tip: Brown rice is higher in fiber and nutrients. You can use either in this recipe.

Ingredients

  • asparagus - 2 bunches, fresh, washed & chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • rice - 2 cups, cooked
  • low-fat sour cream - 1/3 cup
  • fat-free milk - 2/3 cup
  • salt - to taste
  • garlic powder - 1/2 teaspoon
  • onion - 1 tablespoon, minced or chopped (optional)
  • shredded cheese - 8 ounces
  • pepper - to taste

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat a 9-inch-square baking pan with cooking spray.

 

2. In a large pot of boiling water, cook asparagus until tender-crisp, about 10 minutes.

 

3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine cooked rice, salt, garlic powder, sour cream, milk, onion, and half of the cheese.

 

4. Spoon half of rice mixture into prepared baking pan. Arrange asparagus on top, and then spread remaining rice mixture over asparagus.

 

5. Bake 20 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top and bake 5 minutes more.

Asparagus & Turkey Roll Ups

Asparagus & Turkey Roll Ups
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Serving: 4

Prep Tip: No tortillas? Spread cream cheese directly on the turkey and roll it up.

 

Change it Up: Asparagus not in season? Use fresh spinach instead.

Ingredients

  • whole-wheat tortilla - 4
  • low-sodium deli turkey - 1/2 pound, sliced
  • cream cheese - 4 tablespoons, low-fat or fat-free, plain or Garden Vegetable flavor
  • asparagus - 1 bunch, washed and trimmed fresh asparagus

Instructions

1. Put asparagus in a microwave safe dish with about an inch of water. Cook on high until asparagus is tender (about 4 minutes). Drain.
 

2. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese onto each tortilla.
 

3. Place a slice of turkey and asparagus spears on top of the cream cheese.
 

4. Roll and eat.

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