For a long time I never really liked asparagus. I usually only ate it as an ingredient in other meals and although I didn’t exactly hate it, I didn’t enjoy it. Over the last year or so I’ve been trying some of these foods I don’t really like, to see if there are ways to cook them that make them delicious. My first asparagus attempts did not go so well. I love roasted vegetables and thought that may be the answer, but I did not enjoy the floppy, overcooked asparagus that resulted from the ‘roasted asparagus’ recipes I tried. I realized that 20 minutes is far too long to roast asparagus, unless it’s absurdly thick. I did finally figure out the correct way to roast asparagus, but that’s not my favorite way to prepare it. I got into cooking it quickly on the stove which gives fast results and great flavor and texture. It’s also much harder to overcook since you can just poke it with a fork or the tip of a knife to see how it’s going, as opposed to having to pull it out of the oven first. Garlic miso asparagus is probably going to just be the first of many delicious asparagus recipes I’ll share.
This recipe comes together really fast, so it makes a great side dish, especially if the main meal is more complex and you’re looking for something easy to accompany it. I included 10 minutes prep time in case you’re slow at mincing garlic or snapping the ends off asparagus, but for most people it will be more like 5. Another 5 for the actual cooking part, and you’re done!
How to Serve Garlic Miso Asparagus
I really like to serve this with rice. And okay, that doesn’t make a full meal, but I like having something to soak up the extra sauce, which, although great with the asparagus, is quite salty on its own. For a complete meal, add a simple protein such as salmon or chicken breast.
The recipe states that this serves four people as a side dish, but I consider it a generous serving and you could stretch it to three or four depending on how much other food you are serving it with.
Additions and Substitutions
You can use regular soy sauce if you want, which will result in the dish being a little more salty (obviously). Whether that is a good thing or not is really up to you. I just prefer to use low sodium the majority of the time since it’s easy to add more salt to a dish if it’s needed.
You could also use more asparagus, though keep in mind you have to fit it in your skillet. I used a 12-inch stainless steel skillet. 2 pounds of asparagus would probably have fit, but it would have been harder to toss. A large wok may be better in that case.
How to Make Garlic Miso Asparagus
This dish cooks quickly, so make the sauce first. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, miso, sesame oil, and rice vinegar. Since the miso is a paste, you’ll have to smoosh it with your spoon to get it incorporated with the other ingredients. You should end up with a thick sauce.
Start Cooking Asparagus
In a large skillet (I use stainless steel here), add 1 tablespoon of peanut oil over medium high heat. Add the asparagus and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until bright green and just beginning to soften (you can stab it with a fork and there should be some resistance, but it shouldn’t feel hard). This will take about 2 minutes, maybe 3, depending on the thickness of your asparagus. Be careful to not overcook your asparagus, as then it gets sad and floppy and gross.
If the skillet seems dry, add the other tablespoon of peanut oil. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic. Stir often to distribute evenly and avoid burning. You should only need to cook for a minute at this step, until the asparagus is just about done to your liking. It will cook a little more in the residual heat of the pan in the next step.
Remove the pan from the heat and pour over the miso sauce. Stir for another minute or so, just until the sauce is warmed through and coats the asparagus. Serve immediately, garnished with sesame seeds if you like.
Garlic Miso Asparagus
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon white miso
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1-2 tablespoons peanut oil or other neutral oil
- 1 bunch asparagus about 1 pound, tough stalks trimmed
- 1 pinch salt
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, miso, sesame oil and rice vinegar to make a thick sauce.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoons of peanut oil over medium high heat. Add the asparagus and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until bright green and just beginning to soften. This will take about 2-3 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus.
- If the skillet seems dry, add the other tablespoon of peanut oil. Reduce heat to medium and add the garlic. Cook for about a minute, stirring often so garlic is well distributed and doesn't burn.
- Remove skillet from heat and pour over miso sauce mixture. Stir for another minute or so, just until the sauce is warmed through and coats the asparagus.
- Serve immediately, garnished with sesame seeds if desired.
Did you make this recipe? If so, follow @theflavorvortex on Instagram and post a picture using #theflavorvortex as I would love to see it!