Sous vide asparagus is crisp, tender and perfectly cooked to bring out the natural sweetness of asparagus. Use sous vide cooking to enjoy delicious fresh vegetables!
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When most people get a sous vide cooker they start by cooking meat like sous vide steak or sous vide chicken breast. But sous vide is also excellent for vegetables – like this tasty sous vide asparagus.
Asparagus is delicious when it is cooked well, but it is easy to overcook. Using a sous vide means you can cook asparagus perfectly, with precision control so that it is crisp and tender, not soggy and overcooked.
What is Sous Vide
Sous vide cooking works by heating a water bath to a precise temperature and holding the water at that temperature. The food is then submerged in the water, so it cooks to exactly the specified temperature – no more and no less.
The precise temperature control of a sous vide allows you to get consistent cooking every time. For delicate vegetables like asparagus this is very helpful.
The key ingredient in this recipe is clearly the asparagus. The fresher the asparagus the better, because asparagus loses flavor after harvest.
Look for asparagus stalks that are deep green color and stand up straight. If the stalks look dull and wilted that is a bad sign.
Also the tips of the stalks should not have started to sprout or flower. The tips should be tightly closed and not soft.
The width of the asparagus stalks doesn’t really matter, but the recipe will work best if all the stalks are of a uniform width. Thicker stalks need longer cooking time, so a mix of thick and thin stalks will be more difficult to cook evenly.
The whole point of cooking asparagus using sous vide is to let the natural sweet flavor of the asparagus shine through. So it doesn’t make sense to add a bunch of other flavorings.
Before sous vide cooking I like to add:
- olive oil – You can make this without the oil if you prefer, but I like to add a little oil.
- garlic powder – a clove of minced garlic would also work.
After cooking I season the asparagus with:
- salt and pepper – Adding the salt before cooking can cause the asparagus to lose its bright green color
- lemon – A little bit of lemon juice drizzled on the asparagus enhances the flavor.
Plastic Bag or Vacuum Seal?
You can put the asparagus in either a zippered plastic bag or vacuum seal. The advantage of using a plastic bag is it is quick and easy.
The disadvantage of a plastic bag is the higher temperature of the water makes it almost inevitable that air bubbles will form and the bag will float, so you will need to weigh it down as it cooks.
How to Make Sous Vide Asparagus
1. Set up the Water Bath
Asparagus cooks at a higher sous vide temperature than most meats. This means it takes a while to heat up the water bath if you start with cold water.
Set the sous vide for 180 F and let the water heat up to temperature. While it heats, prepare the asparagus.
2. Bag the Asparagus
Rinse and dry the asparagus and trim off the bottom, woody portion of the stem. You can cut the spears where the green color starts to fade.
Alternatively you can bend the spears until the stalk snaps. The stalk will break off where the woody part ends.
Put the asparagus in the plastic bag or vacuum sealed bag and add the olive oil and garlic powder. If using a vacuum sealer seal the bag and skip step #3.
3. Water Displacement Method
If using a plastic bag you will need use the water displacement method to remove the rest of the air. But do not do this over a large pot of 180 F water, because it is too easy to get burned.
So either do this when you first start the sous vide, while the water is much cooler, or use a bowl of tap water or a sink full of water.
For the water displacement method squish out as much of the air as you can. Seal the bag, keeping it open in one corner, and gently lower the bag into the water.
As the bag lowers the water pressure will push out most of the remaining air. Once the air has been pushed out of the bag seal it completely.
4. Cook the Asparagus
Once the water has reached 180 F it is time to cook the asparagus. Place the bag in the water, making sure the stalks of asparagus are submerged completely.
If it starts to float wedge a spoon in to hold it down or use mason jar full of water to weigh it down and keep it submerged. Cook the asparagus in the water bath for 10 minutes.
If your asparagus is very thin, about the diameter of a pencil, reduce the cooking time to 7 minutes. If it is very thick, thicker than a finger, increase the cooking time to 12 minutes.
How to Serve Asparagus
Once the asparagus is cooked open the bag and arrange the asparagus on a serving platter. Sprinkle it with salt if desired and serve it with lemon wedges.
This is a simple yet elegant side dish. The asparagus is still crisp and tender, and the natural sweetness of the vegetables shine through!
Find More Sous Vide Recipes
- 1 bunch of asparagus (about 1 pound)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt to taste
- lemon slices for serving
- Set up the sous vide water bath and set the immersion cooker to 180 F.
- Wash and dry the asparagus. Trim the woody portion off the bottom ends of the stalk.
- Put the asparagus in a plastic bag or vacuum seal bag and add the oil and garlic powder. Do not add salt until after cooking.
- If using a plastic bag use the water displacement method to remove most of the air. Don't try to do this in the water bath after it has come to temperature, 180 F is too hot and you could easily get burned. If using a vacuum sealer seal the bag.
- For the water displacement method squeeze most of the air out of the plastic bag and seal, leaving one corner open. Then carefully lower the bag into a bowl or sink full of cool water. The water pressure will push most remaining air out of the bag. Once the air has left the bag completely seal it.
- When the water bath reaches 180 F place the bag of asparagus in it. Make sure the asparagus is fully submerged in the water. You will probably need to weigh the bag down with a spoon or other item, even if is vacuum sealed. Vegetables tend to float in sous vide because of the high water temperature.
- Cook for 10 minutes. If your asparagus is very thin, like the diameter of a pencil, reduce the cooking time to 7 minutes. If your asparagus is very thick, like larger than a finger, increase the cooking time to 12 minutes.
- Serve garnished with salt to taste and lemon slices.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 23Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 146mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
Nutrition facts are estimates.