Sautéed asparagus gets all dressed up with some golden brown, crunchy garlic breadcrumbs! A delicious and easy vegetable side dish.
Five ingredients are all you need for this sautéed asparagus recipe. That’s one of the reasons this side dish recipe appears on our table regularly during asparagus season. Well, that and the quick prep time, crunchy texture and punch of garlic.
And while the taste of this springtime vegetable is fantastic with just a little olive oil, salt and pepper, there’s just something about garlicky breadcrumbs that turns this into a veggie side dish that you won’t be able to stop eating.
While we're forever fans of grilled and roasted asparagus around here, pan cooked asparagus is a great way to change things, particularly when we eat asparagus almost every other night in the springtime!
What you need for this sautéed asparagus recipe:
These are the main components of this recipe (affiliate links included):
- ASPARAGUS: Fresh asparagus comes in a multitude of thicknesses, which can affect the cooking time.Keep this in mind when checking the asparagus for doneness.
- BREADCRUMBS: Panko breadcrumbs come in either regular (white bread) or whole wheat. The whole wheat ones are typically available just at health food stores, such as Whole Foods, or online.
- OLIVE OIL: For sautéing the garlic and breadcrumbs. Unsalted butter - or a combination of the two - could be used, if preferred.
- GARLIC: Peel and mince fresh garlic cloves.
- SEASONING: Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- OTHER FLAVORS: If you want to mix things up a bit, feel free to add some finely grated Parmesan cheese, fresh herbs, such as parsley or thyme, or lemon zest to the breadcrumbs.
See recipe card below for full ingredients list & recipe directions.
💙What's to love about easy sautéed asparagus:
▪️Quick & easy: This recipe takes no more than 15 minutes to make. Blanch the asparagus, prep the garlicky breadcrumbs and toss it all together. So simple!
▪️Taste and texture: The tender asparagus and crunchy breadcrumbs are a match made in side dish heaven! And you simply can't beat a dish that involves garlicky breadcrumbs.
▪️Healthy: Asparagus is a good source of fiber, as well as folate and Vitamins A, C and K.
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How to trim asparagus:
The blunt end of asparagus tends to be very tough and woody. Rather than guessing where the tough part of the spear starts, there's a surefire way to get this right. Hold the asparagus spear in the middle and at the blunt end. Gently bend the spear. It will snap right at the point where the stalk becomes more tender.
Either "bend and snap" (had to sneak in that reference for all of you Legally Blonde fans) each stalk or line up the tips of the "snapped" spear with the remaining spears and cut with a knife to even out the length.
How to cook asparagus in a pan:
There are three options for cooking asparagus in a skillet.
First, cook the asparagus in the skillet with some olive oil until tender. This method tends to use more oil because the asparagus takes longer to cook and more oil is required to stop the vegetable from sticking to the pan.
The second option is to sauté the asparagus for a couple of minutes, then add a simmering sauce to finish off the cooking, such as in this curried asparagus recipe.
In this recipe, the asparagus is blanched in boiling salted water, then finished off in a medium-high heat skillet with some olive oil. This method requires very little oil and is a fantastic option for low fat cooking.
Frequently Asked Questions:
The appeal of panko breadcrumbs is their texture. Firm and a little crunchy when toasted, so they are your best option.
However, you can also use homemade breadcrumbs, such as these ones. Just be sure not to process the breadcrumbs into a fine meal, which doesn't produce quite the right texture for this recipe.
I prefer to avoid regular store-bought breadcrumbs because the texture is typically very fine, making them better for breading.
The gluten culprit in this recipe is the ¼ cup of panko breadcrumbs, so swapping those out with a gluten free alternative is the solution.
Many grocery stores now carry gluten free breadcrumbs or you can order them online (affiliate link). Alternatively, you could make your own breadcrumbs by starting with your favorite gluten free bread and following the directions in How to Make Breadcrumbs.
Other easy asparagus recipes:
Sauteed Asparagus with Garlic Breadcrumbs
- Prepare a large bowl with ice water.
- Bring a large saucepan of well-salted water to a boil over medium heat. Add the asparagus stalk pieces and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tips and cook for an additional minute (see Note below). Drain and immediately plunge the asparagus into the ice water to stop it from cooking further. Let the asparagus rest in the ice water while the breadcrumbs are prepared, then drain.
- Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the breadcrumbs, half of the garlic and the salt. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and crunchy, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate or bowl.
- Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in the skillet, then add the remaining garlic and asparagus. Cook just to warm the asparagus, about 1 minute.
- Remove from the heat and return the breadcrumbs to the pan. Toss to combine, taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve.
This post was first published on May 1, 2019 and updated on March 15, 2022.
Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.