Asparagus, to peel or not to peel?

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Quick Microwave Steamed Asparagus

I like to peel it, especially when making Quick Microwave Steamed Asparagus.

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Am I the only one who peels their asparagus to get every inch of asparagus goodness out of a bundle? It’s kind of a pain, but I like that I can salvage more of the veggie, especially the fat tough stalks! I like to use my microwave steamer because it cooks up asparagus perfectly every time, and I can cook it in about three and a half minutes! I dropped and cracked my old Tupperware steamer so I’m now using this one. It’s my experience that asparagus is better if you blanch it, then grill it, or sauté it, so you’ll love my “one-pot” method using the microwave steamer. 

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I use the microwave steamer to do a quick steam/blanch, then plunge it into ice cold water. Then back in the steamer it goes with a little spice and a tiny drizzle of olive oil! It only takes about thirty seconds or so to warm it through in the microwave. Too long and it could damage your steamer and the asparagus will get mushy. (I like garlic-infused olive oil!) Or, I chop it up for use in salads, or spice it up and drizzle with oil and give it a quick char on the grill.


Asparagus peelers are easy to use. I use this one. Starting near the top of the flowery stem, gently squeeze the stalk and pull/peel to the end. Adjust pressure so that you only remove the tough skin. Then continue turning the stalk and peeling it just until the woody peel is gone. It never fails that a couple will break off, just eat them raw! yum!

If you like quick dishes on a weeknight, try my quick and easy Salmon Cakes or my Lime Shrimp Skillet with Zucchini.


Quick Microwave Steamed Asparagus

This quick microwave-steamed asparagus is easy to make and a great week-night veggie!
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Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 23 kcal




  • Clean the Asparagus by filling a bowl with cold water and submerging it. Pick up the asparagus from the stem end and swish it around so that the flowery tops are pointed down in the water. This will help clean out any dirt that may be in the florets.
  • Trim about an inch off the stem ends of the asparagus. 
  • If peeling asparagus isn't your thing, just cut down the rest of the bunch to the same length or snap the ends off. 
    Asparagus Peeler
  • Fill a large bowl with cold water, and about a cup of ice cubes if you have them and set aside. You are going to use this to blanch the asparagus so that it stays green and crisp.
    Peeling Asparagus
  • Hopefully you have a microwave steamer. If not, just use a large shallow Corning Ware or microwavable dish with a lid. Put about ¼ to ½ inch of water in the bottom of the microwave steamer and place the asparagus inside the steamer basket. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the asparagus.
    (If you aren't using a microwave steamer, or a steamer basket, just put a small amount of water in the bottom of your dish. Don't submerge all the asparagus.) 
  • Cover and microwave for about two and a half minutes. Carefully test one and see if it's still done. It should be a bit crunchy but not raw. You want it mostly cooked. Don't let it get too mushy, you're going to heat it up again with a drizzle of olive oil and some granulated onion powder!
  • Once it's cooked to your liking remove it with tongs and plunge it into the bowl of ice water for about a minute. 
  • Drain the water from your microwave steamer. Return the asparagus to the bowl of the steamer, draining off any excess water, or ice. Use a paper towel or tea towel if necessary. Sprinkle with granulated onion powder, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and a small drizzle of olive oil and shake to coat evenly.
  • Microwave for only about thirty seconds, to one minute. In my microwave, it only takes about thirty seconds. If you have the grill on, instead of microwaving it, use your tongs to place it across clean grill grates just long enough to kiss it with delicious grill char marks!
  • Serve with a sprinkle of fresh lemon zest if you have it!


TIP: I always use a zester and zest all of my citruses before I use the juice. I freeze the extra zest. That way I have baggies of freezer flavor bombs ready for quick weeknight meals!
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Calories: 23kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 2gSodium: 147mgPotassium: 229mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 855IUVitamin C: 6.7mgCalcium: 27mgIron: 2.4mg
Keyword 5 ingredients or less, asparagus, five ingredients or less, microwave, microwave side dish, quick, simple asparagus, spring recipe, spring side dish, spring vegetable, steamed, week-night vegetable
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I’d love to hear from you! Please click the stars at the top of the recipe to rate it. It’s super easy to make beautiful bright green asparagus!

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I started eBookFoodie in 2018 as a hobby, to quiet a nagging voice inside my head to be creative and to be more productive. It went live in January 2019. I’ve always been hesitant to post about myself or my life, but when it comes to recipes and books, I find that I enjoy it! I especially like posting recipes inspired by books that I’ve read, and recreating family favorites!