Sautéed asparagus is a vibrant spring dish. Ours is a quick and easy recipe for asparagus on the stovetop cooked with olive oil, crushed garlic, salt, and pepper.
To make them pop, serve them with a squeeze of lemon juice, or with our quick and easy mustard vinaigrette.
Check out our Guide to Cook Asparagus
Sautéed asparagus is the tastiest and best way to cook asparagus on the stove. The asparagus turns out tender-crisp in just about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how thick they are.
You can use pan-fried asparagus for many dishes. From pasta to risotto, from quiche to frittata. Or you can just enjoy them as a side dish, drizzled with our quick and easy lemon-garlic vinaigrette.
While most recipes cook Sautéed asparagus with minced garlic, we prefer to use crushed garlic so that it won’t burn and turn bitter.
For garlic lovers, we make a mean garlic-mustard vinaigrette that you can use as a dressing. Your asparagus will taste fresh and zesty, with a hint of garlic and lemon aroma. We are sure you’ll love them cooked this way.
We also don’t use butter for this sauteed asparagus recipe and opt for heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil instead, rich in antioxidants and phenols and delicious with asparagus.
Asparagus: you can pan-fry fresh asparagus or frozen asparagus. If in season (late February to June), we recommend using fresh ones. They stay crispier than frozen. You can use both farmed and wild asparagus. Wild ones are often found in farmer’s markets, and they are often a little thinner and tastier. In this blog post, we use farmed green asparagus since they are the most common.
Olive oil: use extra virgin olive oil if you can. Its high antioxidant content makes it stable at high temperatures (it won’t burn) and suitable for sautéeing. Also, olive oil adds a nice flavor to the asparagus.
Garlic: crushed; it won’t burn this way while still infusing the asparagus with its aroma.
Salt and pepper: that’s the only seasoning we use to cook the asparagus spears.
Lemon: you can use both lemon zest and juice. Sprinkle and drizzle on top just before serving.
All you need to enjoy sautéed asparagus is a squeeze of lemon juice.
However, we are food geeks, so we want to give you options. These are some more ingredients that go well with fried asparagus. Pick your favorites:
White wine: completely optional. Use it to deglaze the pan. It adds a touch of acidity, which brings out the asparagus flavor even more.
Fresh Herbs: Flat-leaf parsley is perfect with asparagus. Finely chop and sprinkle on top. Alternatively, basil, mint, dill, and chives are great options.
Nuts: pine nuts, walnuts, and almonds complement the asparagus flavor. Lightly toast them on a pan, chop them, and sprinkle on asparagus spears.
Mustard Vinaigrette: whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, grated garlic, mustard, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. This is delicious with fried asparagus.
Rinse and trim the woody ends of the asparagus with a sharp knife.
Chop the asparagus spears into smaller chunks. If you want to saute asparagus whole, then you’ll need a large pan that can fit them.
On a large skillet, warm up a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the asparagus, crushed garlic, salt, and pepper. Sauté on medium-high heat for 2 minutes, add a splash of white wine (or water) and stir.
Let the wine evaporate, turn the heat to medium-low, cover the pan with a lid and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, depending on how thick your asparagus is.
To check for doneness, pierce the stalk with a fork. It should be tender-crisp, not mushy and overcooked.
Lemon & herbs
The simplest way to enjoy sautéed asparagus is with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a sprinkling of finely chopped parsley.
Add nuts: to make it a little fancier, you can add some nuts on top. We used lightly toasted slivered almonds, which go super well with the asparagus.
If you want something a little more special, then try our mustard vinaigrette. Make it with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, 1 teaspoon of mustard, ½ teaspoon of salt, a few twists of black pepper, and one grated clove of garlic. Whisk well and serve alongside the pan fried asparagus for people to drizzle on top.
This vinaigrette adds a lot of flavor to this simple recipe. It’s tangy, zesty, a little sweet, and sour. We think it’s delicious with fried asparagus.
Blanching: (optional) without blanching sautéed asparagus won’t be as bright-green as, for instance, steamed asparagus. They tend to have a dustier, brown hue. If you want a brighter color, you can blanch them first. To blanch asparagus, cook them in salted boiling water for about 1 minute, then drain, and rinse under cold water for 20 seconds. Pat them dry with a kitchen cloth and sauté.
White wine: deglazing the pan with white wine adds acidity to the dish, which makes the asparagus flavor pop in your mouth. Deglazing simply means adding cold liquid to a hot pan. Use a dry white wine to deglaze asparagus.
Crushed garlic: I always found minced garlic to be quite annoying with asparagus. It tends to burn, turing brown and bitter, and it covers the asparagus flavor. Try adding crushed garlic instead. You’ll get plenty of garlic aroma, but more subtle.
More asparagus recipes
If you like asparagus, check out our other recipes:
- air fryer asparagus – one of our favorite ways to eat asparagus
- tofu soup with asparagus – incredibly simple and satisfying
- steamed asparagus – healthy, tender-crisp, and incredibly juicy
- grilled asparagus – smokey, crisp, lemony, and lightly charred
- boiled asparagus – probably the easiest way to cook asparagus
What to serve with sautéed asparagus
You can serve this recipe as a side dish with pretty much anything. We love this recipe with:
- marinated tofu on rice – for a super healthy and super tasty dinner.
- as a side dish to our vegan spagehtti bolognese – easy recipe made with lentils.
- on top of our crunchy and colorful chickpea quinoa salad.
- as a side to our rich Italian tofu meatballs with marinara sauce.
- with our vegan fish – made with oven-baked tofu and a few simple ingredients.
And as a side to many more of our best vegan dinner recipes. Check them out!
It takes from 5 to 10 minutes to fry asparagus in a skillet with a tablespoon of oil. Thicker asparagus take longer, thinner asparagus can take as littl as 5 minutes to fry.
Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in microwave. We do not recommend freezing.
For many more side dish ideas, check out our sides category page.
- 16 ounces (1 lb) asparagus
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 twists black pepper
- ¼ cup white wine or water
- 4 wedges lemon to squeeze on top
- Rinse and trim asparagus ends. Try to cut off only woody part.
- Chop the asparagus spears into smaller chunks. If you want to saute asparagus whole, then you'll need a large pan that can fit them.
- On a large skillet, warm up a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the asparagus, crushed garlic, salt, and pepper. Sauté on medium-high heat for 2 minutes, add white wine (or water) and stir.Let the wine evaporate, turn the heat to medium-low, cover the pan with a lid and cook for another 3 to 7 minutes, depending on how thick your asparagus is.
- To check for doneness, pierce the stalk with a fork. It should be tender-crisp, not mushy and overcooked. Serving suggestions below.