Tender asparagus is a healthy and delicious side dish. Learning how to microwave asparagus is the easiest way to take raw asparagus and cook it to perfection for a meal in a pinch. Here’s how you can use your microwave oven to get that asparagus ready for dinner tonight!
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Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Quick & Easy!: With only a few minutes to prep and a few minutes in the microwave, this has to be one of the best microwave recipes for asparagus to keep on hand for quick, delicious, and nutritious meals.
- Perfect texture!: You don’t want asparagus to be too mushy or have that raw texture. With this microwave asparagus recipe, you’ll be able to get it just right.
- Healthy and delicious!: Asparagus is a nutritious vegetable with vitamin K and loads of other good-for-you nutrients. It’s low in calories, and adding garlic makes it even better in flavor and healthfulness.
Ingredients + Notes
- Asparagus: This is the star of the recipe, of course! I think it’s important that you choose asparagus that is all about the same thickness in size. This way, the asparagus stalks will all cook evenly.
- Garlic: Whether you buy minced garlic in the jar or mince it yourself with a garlic press, this ingredient will help elevate the earthy notes of that asparagus.
- Water: The water helps give it a steamed effect right in your microwave. No hassle with pots or steamer baskets required.
- Avocado Oil: You’ll drizzle this on at the end just prior to serving. No avocado oil? You can use a little olive oil instead.
- Salt: Salt definitely brings out the flavor but don’t go overboard. Grinding sea salt on top gives it a better texture and will keep you from using too much.
- Pepper: To further brighten up those flavors, add pepper. Again, grinding it on there yourself will be even better.
Step-by-step Instructions: How To Microwave Asparagus Spears
These are detailed instructions for microwaved steamed asparagus, but the recipe is very easy and straightforward.
1. Wash the asparagus well. (No need to dry them afterward. A little water is a benefit.)
2. Cut the lemon into slices and the bottoms of the asparagus spears off. You can do this with a knife by cutting off the woody part at the end. (This usually entails cutting off about 2 inches (or 5 centimeters.))
For a different method, you can use your hands. Hold the bottom of the asparagus spear in your right hand between your thumb and index finger. Then hold the top half in your left hand. Bend the asparagus stalk until the woody ends break off. (It will naturally break the woody part off this way.) Repeat this until all the asparagus has been processed.
3. Lay the prepped asparagus out on a microwave-safe dinner plate. (A microwave-safe bowl, microwave-safe baking dish, or another microwave-safe dish will also work.)
4. Add a tablespoon of water to the plate, lemon slices, and minced garlic. Then cover it with an upside-down dinner plate.
5. Place in the microwave and cook for about 3 minutes. For very thin asparagus, cooking it for 2 minutes might be more appropriate. Whereas, for thicker asparagus, cooking it for closer to 5 minutes may be necessary.
If your desired softness isn’t reached after this allotted cooking time, continue cooking asparagus in 30-second to 1-minute increments.
6. Use oven mitts! Remove the cooked asparagus from the microwave.
7. Remove the top plate, being careful to avoid the hot steam underneath.
8. Drizzle avocado oil over the asparagus and sprinkle the salt and pepper on top.
Full Recipe Video
Want to wash fewer dishes? Try using damp paper towels. Instead of using the microwave-safe plates, you’ll wrap your trimmed asparagus in about 3 or 4 paper towels.
Then you wet the paper towels with about ¼-cup of water. Don’t bog it down too much…a spray bottle with fresh water will help you keep control rather than pouring it from a measuring cup.
On high, you’ll microwave your paper towel-wrapped asparagus for 3 to 4 minutes. It will depend on your microwave’s wattage, so start with 3 minutes and see if that works for you.
This trick works beautifully because you get that steaming action like my other method above, with fewer plates to wash. And the asparagus comes out with that gorgeous green that makes it look like you used your steamer basket.
As for flavor variations for serving your microwaved asparagus, here are some suggestions:
- Lemon: A hint of citrus always brings out the umami taste. You can add fresh lemon juice and garlic or other seasonings. I like adding lemon zest along with the juice of the lemon. It looks so elegant and really boosts the flavor.
- Vegan Parmesan: Or really any hard vegan cheese. Vegan parmesan cheese definitely gives this asparagus another layer of flavor. And besides, who can say no to cheese?
- Vegan Butter: Try vegan butter if you’re out of olive oil or avocado oil. Melted butter is a beautiful match for fresh asparagus. Adding a little fat to this low-calorie veggie provides more balance, one that your palate is going to appreciate.
- Olive Oil: Drizzles of olive oil is another great substitute for avocado oil in this microwavable dish. I say, use whichever you have on hand. If it’s olive oil you have on hand, a tablespoon of olive oil will do the trick!
- Seasonings: No fresh garlic? Use garlic powder or garlic salt! Just remember to skip adding salt if you use garlic salt, or it’s going to be far too salty for consumption.
Other spice rack items can jazz up your asparagus to pair with your meal. Smoked salt, onion powder, chipotle, cumin, rosemary, basil, oregano, ginger, basil, sage, and tarragon are just a few things you can experiment with. Don’t be shy about fresh herbs, either! They’ll add more nutrition and taste too.
If you have any of your microwave-steamed leftover asparagus, it will be wonderful for lunch or to repurpose in your cooking tomorrow night. Thankfully, asparagus keeps well when you put it in an airtight container.
Store leftover asparagus in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days.
Since asparagus has such a high water content, the texture will not be ideal if you freeze it. So, I recommend making only what you can feasibly eat in a few days’ time.
There’s no wrong way to eat asparagus. Some say cooking it reduces some nutrients yet brings out other ones. Either way, you’re adding a side to your meal that will give you the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants you need.
You can even eat it raw by shredding it on salads or pasta dishes, but one of the best ways is to steam it in your microwave gently. You spend less time cooking, have greater control of texture, and don’t use as many dishes.
Generally, it should take between 3 and 5 minutes to cook your asparagus in the microwave. If you have a bunch of thin stalks, you may even want to set the timer for 2 minutes so you don’t overcook them. Thicker stalks of asparagus may need up to 5 minutes to cook thoroughly.
Steaming your asparagus will help keep those good nutrients locked into each bite. When you boil asparagus, many of the nutrients go into the water which you wind up dumping out most of the time, right?
Steaming your asparagus is the way to go, and by doing it in the microwave, you cut down on cook time and dishwashing too!
More Vegan Side Dishes
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