Asparagus is one of the delicacies all over the world. It’s a seasonal green vegetable with long stems which can be steamed, grilled, sauteed, or roasted.
They taste delicious just the way they are and are often served as side dishes along with other veggies, meat, fish, and sauces.
There are not so many alternatives to this vegetable but we have found several good ideas on how to substitute asparagus when it’s not in season or you can’t find it.
The best asparagus substitutes are broccoli, leeks, green beans, green peas, spinach, zucchini, avocado, fiddlehead ferns, and canned asparagus.
Best Substitutes for Asparagus To Try
When choosing a substitute for asparagus we should consider several factors: texture, taste, and color. In this case, broccoli is the best substitute to consider.
It has almost the same firm and crunchy texture, offers a slightly sweet and bitter taste with grassy undertones like asparagus, and has the same bright green color.
They will even look alike if you chop them and mix them with other ingredients. Both asparagus and broccoli are usually prepared the same way. You can steam or saute broccoli along with other veggies and serve it with meat, fish, and pasta dishes like asparagus.
Asparagus is a member of the Lily family, so is leek. This means that they share many similarities starting from texture to taste.
Leek is firm and crunchy and it become soft when cooked. Leek has a sweet oniony taste.
It is used in soups, and sauteed dishes as well as in pizzas and pasta. You can serve it raw as well if you want to substitute it with raw asparagus as a side dish.
3. Green Beans
Although green beans have a different taste, they can provide that mild flavor to your dish instead of asparagus. They get almost the same texture as asparagus when cooked.
So, green beans are great if you prepare them properly and choose suitable recipes such as stews, and soups as well as serve them with fish.
You can even serve it on its own by sauteing it with olive oil, garlic, and other condiments and it will resemble sauteed asparagus. On the other hand, green beans are one of the most nutritious veggies.
4. Green Peas
Green peas are versatile vegetables used both in cooked dishes and salads. When cooked, they taste buttery, mild, and sweet with savory notes.
You can use them instead of asparagus in stir-fries, steamed, and other cooked dishes. Just make sure you season them wisely to get a similar taste to cooked asparagus.
Green peas perfectly complete salads, main and side dishes. You can serve them with poultry, pork, steaks, and fish.
Spinach is available all year round and you can get it from supermarkets either fresh or frozen. Spinach has a mild and slightly sweet taste. It is used both raw and cooked. You can add it to salads, baked goods, roasted dishes, and pasta.
The best recipe, however, is stir-fried spinach with eggs. It resembles stir-fried asparagus with eggs. This is a good breakfast idea and it’s quite nutritious. Use the same seasonings for the best result.
If you can’t manage to taste asparagus in early spring, then use zucchini instead. It’s a summer vegetable and offers a mild-sweet flavor. This vegetable is used in soups, salads, pasta, and in many vegan-friendly dishes. You can use it to substitute asparagus in casseroles and roast it with other vegetables.
Note that zucchini is sweeter than asparagus and you need to use a proper amount of salt to make it taste similar to asparagus. It becomes soft enough when cooked, so avoid overcooking it.
Rape avocado tastes buttery, mild, and very delicious on its own. However, it becomes even better when seasoned with proper condiments.
It comes with the same green color as asparagus but the texture is softer and creamy and the usage is somehow different.
In the case of avocado there is no need to cook it but just slice or puree it and serve it with main dishes including fish.
You can also add it to salads but again the choice of seasonings plays a great role. Add the same seasonings as you do with asparagus and the result will satisfy you.
8. Fiddlehead Ferns
If you’re not familiar with this vegetable, then it’s the best time to discover its features. Fiddlehead ferns are the curled, edible shoots of the ostrich fern.
They are another type of seasonal delicacy popular in Canada and North America.
They are harvested in early spring just like asparagus. You should note that they are poisonous if not prepared and cooked properly. So, you should be careful with them.
On the other hand, it tastes sweet like asparagus, and has a grassy touch of green beans and broccoli. It’s a good substitute for asparagus in omelets, frittatas, stir-fries, and the like. You can also season it with olive oil and garlic and serve it like asparagus.
9. Canned Asparagus
We put this at the end because canned asparagus is processed with heat and therefore it limits your preparation ideas and methods. On the other hand, it’s a ready-made product and is easier to use. It’s quick, effortless, and time-saving.
Canned asparagus is delicious if you know how to use it. It has a mild taste and texture and you can roast it, or add it to salads, casseroles, rice, and pasta dishes.
Compared to fresh asparagus, canned asparagus is slightly lower in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals but it remains a healthy alternative to fresh asparagus.
FAQs on Asparagus
Can I freeze asparagus?
You can find frozen asparagus in stores but it’s easy to freeze it at home and use it when it’s not in season. You need to boil it in water for about 2-3 minutes, drain it, put it in an airtight freezer bag, and keep it in the freezer for later use.
What are the benefits of eating asparagus?
Asparagus is low in calories. It is one of the most nutritious green vegetables. It helps to lose weight, improve digestion, and lower blood pressure. It’s also good for pregnant women.
Can I substitute brussels sprouts for asparagus?
Brussels sprouts are an easy alternative to asparagus as they are available all year round. You can roast them like asparagus and drizzle them with the same oils and seasonings. You can use it as a side dish to substitute asparagus.
It’s worth trying asparagus at least once a year but if you don’t like it or it’s not available in your region, then these asparagus substitutes will help you prepare dishes similar to it in taste and texture.
It’s considered a superfood and an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate.