Asparagus is a star veggie of the spring season that comes in different varieties and of course, flavors. It makes every meal heavenly amazing and delicious. Because of its high nutrition value, asparagus has also become a staple ingredient of a healthy diet. However, you must know the best and closest asparagus substitute in a case when it isn’t on hand.
Green and white asparagus varieties are most common, while a purple variant also exists. This star veggie is extremely versatile and goes great in almost all food recipes. However, it is most common in salads, casseroles, stews, soups, grilled meat, and seafood. It seems that asparagus is a workhorse ingredient that makes an ordinary dish more appealing and appetizing.
All these universal and versatile properties of asparagus seem challenging to replace but you can try anyway. Here we have compiled a whole list of alternatives for both green and white asparagus. So, let’s go ahead.
A couple of facts can excite you to look around the great asparagus replacement for your next breathtaking recipe. First, you run out of this dynamic veggie and don’t have even a few spears next.
Second, asparagus is simply out of season, and you are failed to find it in the market and store aisles. This is because asparagus is available only during the spring months and charges a good price if available luckily.
At that time, something similar to asparagus, both in flavor and texture, can work great for your heartier meal. If interested, check out the following substitution list and satisfy your craving for asparagus.
Green Asparagus Substitute
Practically, frozen asparagus, asparagus beans, broccoli, celery, leeks, fiddleheads, and green beans are some worth candidates in place of green asparagus.
Well, zucchini is a distinct alternative for all those who want to experience something different from asparagus.
1. Frozen Asparagus
If you are looking for asparagus when it’s out of season or no more available as fresh, put your hands on frozen asparagus. In fact, it could be your best substitution in terms of both flavor and texture.
Such frozen asparagus spears pair great with long cooking dishes such as soups, stews, and curries. This is because spears may lose their tender texture when defrosted and become a mushy candidate to use as a side condiment.
So, using frozen spears in casseroles, sandwiches, and savory rolls is a great idea where its flavor means a lot rather than its texture.
2. Asparagus Beans
Asparagus beans are much more similar to green asparagus and are the best alternative too. They find a wide array of culinary uses because of their fresh, nutty, and bean-like flavor.
Stir-fried asparagus beans compete out green asparagus in salads, salsas, and savory condiments. In addition, their high nutrient content makes them a healthy replacement for diet-conscious people.
3. Broccoli Stems
Are you looking for something out of context but deliciously flavorful? If yes, choose broccoli as your next star veggie instead of asparagus. Even broccoli is considered a superfood as compared to asparagus and also lower in calories, thus commonly used as a low-calorie mashed potato substitute.
The similar flavor profile and cooking ways are common things of both pleasing veggies. You can prepare broccoli either by steaming, frying, roasting, or boiling and tossing it on roasted meat, salads, and pasta.
Keep in mind that the whole broccoli is not a good replacement for asparagus at all, but it’s the broccoli stem that can replace asparagus potentially.
You can count the similarities between green asparagus and celery by placing them side by side. Both are pretty similar to look at, and in fact, taste closest to each other.
Celery stem goes more appealing in long cooking recipes rather than served as a side dish. However, stir frying can also make tender celery strips soft and flavorful. So, let celery work amazing for you in place of asparagus.
Leeks are quite common and easily available when compared with asparagus. They are always popping up on the pantry. So, if you don’t find any above substitute suitable, make a usual trial with leeks. In fact, it’s not a bad idea.
Leeks have a mild onion-like flavor and soft buttery texture on frying or cooking. So, toss them on roasted meat or vegetables and even in soups. They work great as a substitute for green asparagus this way.
Fiddleheads make their position in this substitution list just because of similar flavor profile and nutrition as asparagus. They are bitter if consumed raw and become mild earthy, sweet, and grassy on cooking.
Like asparagus, fiddleheads are great for steaming, braising, roasting, and pickling. Serve them as a side dish or toss them in soups, stews, and casseroles. But finding them is a tricky task because they’re also season-specific and available for a short season.
7. Green Beans
Being easily available, affordable, and highly nutritious, green beans also contribute the same flavor and deliciousness to your recipes, like asparagus.
Green beans incredibly go great as a side dish with roasted meat and pork recipes. You can also treat them like asparagus, and they’ll never disappoint you anyway.
You may wonder how zucchini can replace asparagus as it’s quite different in both terms of flavor and ways of cooking. Well, you’re right. But zucchini may be a great replacement for guys who are always craving something different and unique.
Prepare zucchini by boiling or steaming for a side dish or fry for tossing it to sandwiches, rolls, and salads.
White Asparagus Substitute
All the top listed substitutions are great for green asparagus because of their bright green color. What about white asparagus? Although you can replace white asparagus with the above given alternatives but you must know the specific ones.
Here are some stalky veggies that’re white in color and you can use them instead of white asparagus. For instance, Fennel, cardoon, and hearts of palm are great alternatives for white asparagus.
Cooked fennel has a comparable mild, earthy flavor similar to white asparagus. Its texture isn’t similar to asparagus at all, so use it in slow-cooked dishes such as soups, stews, and curries where its flavor complements well.
If you have fennel on hand, you can even integrate it to your routine recipes as a topping, stuffing, and garnishing.
Cardoon is another versatile ingredient that resembles celery in texture, and artichoke in terms of flavor. However, you can do some creative with it and use it in place of white asparagus.
Boiling, braising, and steaming lower its bitterness and make cardoon mild and soft. Most of the time, it’s hard to get but if available, it can be a great white asparagus alternative.
3. Heart of Palm
The heart of palm is an inner flesh of palm species and finds a wide range of culinary applications. You may notice them like a white cylindrical strip in the store aisles.
Surprisingly, the heart of palm can also replace white asparagus in salads, stews, soups, and stir-fried side dishes. So, feel free to use it in dishes calling for white asparagus.
In short, there are a lot more substitutes for asparagus than one can’t even imagine. So, broaden your culinary research about ingredients and take your cooking skills to the next level.