Sauce for Asparagus: The Many Ways Sauces Compliment the Most Elegant Vegetable
Lithe and elegant with shockingly beautiful green stalks, asparagus makes its own party scene wherever it goes.
Whether it’s roasted, steamed, served on pasta, grilled, or pan seared, the flavors and textures of asparagus shine brightly as a canvas and vehicle for sauces.
A sauce for asparagus can be the perfect finishing touch to bring this amazing vegetable to life.
Asparagus can be as wide as a cigar or as thin as a pencil, so those shapes – along with the means of preparation – can help guide a cook and point them to a path for a sauce.
When working with thicker asparagus, a hearty cream or cheese sauce pairs perfectly. Think of a decadent gruyere or sharp cheddar cream sauce maybe with a titch of wine or a soupçon of spice to round out the dish.
Thinner stalks adore a lighter touch like a delicate butter shallot sauce or a lemony vinaigrette. A little touch of garlic is also a fantastic addition to baby asparagus.
And asparagus isn’t just amazing as the focal point of the plate. It’s perfect on your pasta, and it works well in a salad. Asparagus also has a whimsical side, which makes it perfect as a “fry” with a dipping sauce.
But don’t forget the classics! A hollandaise lovingly drizzled over asparagus is the epitome of divine delight. Also, a fresh garlic aioli is an amazing accompaniment to asparagus.
And now with more and more new upscale items in the grocery store, asparagus can be combined with tahini and lemon for an earthy and bright combination that everyone will love, or with a balsamic soy sauce for a tangy and sweet glaze.
Sauce for Asparagus: Our List of Inspirational Ideas
With all those options for finishing sauces and ideas for quick preparation on a weeknight, let’s jump into the world of asparagus. Grilled, steamed, or sautéed – asparagus with a good sauce really is the perfect vegetable to elevate a meal to an entirely new level.
1. Asparagus with Cream Sauce on Pasta
Pasta with asparagus in a parmesan cream sauce is pretty much everything good in the world.
And oh, so, satisfying.
We love it when just a few scant ingredients can come together to create a meal that works as well for a date night as it does for family-style dining.
And this recipe from Leah over at Truffles and Trends completely fits the bill.
2. White Cheddar Sauce
We’re big fans of hearty and bold, sharp cheddar cheese.
It has so much body and tang that it’s irresistible. And when it’s combined in a silky and decadent cream sauce, that makes it all the better.
So, when it’s drizzled over roasted asparagus, the dish turns into savory delight. If you’re looking for a cheese sauce for asparagus, cheddar is an amazing place to start.
We found the perfect recipe from Teri over at Buy This, Cook That makes a weeknight side dish a positively insanely and delectable magnet for flavor.
3. Tahini Lemon Sauce
Now that you can find tahini in every grocery store and health food store, (could corner bodegas be far behind?), we’re using it as a shortcut for amazing and deceptively complex flavors.
Yes, we admit it. We’re huge, huge, huge fans of nutty tahini.
It marries perfectly with lemon and has an effortless creamy texture that makes it a versatile building block for a silken sauce.
Grab Liz’s recipe over at The Lemon Bowl for this scrumptious sauce that makes roasted asparagus live up to its full potential.
4. Creamy Dijon Sauce
When just a few ingredients and a small whisk can turn vibrantly-hued asparagus into the background player on the plate – well – you know you’re doing something right.
Creamy mayo, tart and tangy dijon, and lemon all play their part in our ease of prep and finger-licking imaginary sauce. A creamy dijon sauce really brings the asparagus flavor alive.
So we were happy to stumble upon the realization of our dream from Lisa over at Garlic and Zest.
5. Garlic Butter Roasted Asparagus
Sometimes a sauce isn’t something that comes in a gravy boat. Some of the best sauces involve just whisking together a few ingredients and letting them envelop the perfect vegetable.
In this case, we think that some melted butter would marry perfectly with fragrant garlic to make roasted asparagus a thing of beauty. (Even more than it already is!)
We found a recipe from Robyn at Add a Pinch that makes the simplest and best butter sauce for asparagus that you can imagine.
6. Asparagus with Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette
One of the great things about asparagus is that it wears many hats very well. It’s a side dish. It can be a main dish. You can use asparagus as an appetizer. And, it can be served piping hot or lovingly chilled.
We’re running with the latter for this.
Why should hot liquids have all the fun, when a tangy vinaigrette can step up to the plate and nail a home run of flavor?
We love a bright dressing with a kiss of sweetness that coats asparagus with layers of palate-pleasing tastes.
There are many different approaches to pulling together a lemon sauce for asparagus, but this is one of our favorites.
Check out the recipe from Kimberly at Daring Gourmet and get ready to take your asparagus game to a whole new level.
7. Asparagus with Browned Butter Hollandaise
Quickly steamed asparagus is one of the easiest vegetables to cook on a weeknight for a fast side dish. But don’t let its simplicity fool you into thinking that it can’t take a creamy sauce that’s nuanced and full of layers of flavor.
Because it can.
And one of the most classic presentations is asparagus with hollandaise. The buttery, eggy, rich sauce has a bright lemon acidity and a touch of heat that makes asparagus all the better for being drizzled with it.
But we were wondering, “What would happen if we used brown butter as a base for the hollandaise?”
Well, well, well.
That’s a “thing.”
Check out the recipe from Kim over at Low Carb Maven and dive into the browned butter goodness.
8. Lemon Garlic Aioli
If you love lemon, eggs, and good oil, aioli is the sauce you’re craving. It’s rich and sumptuous and makes asparagus sit up off the plate and take notice.
This sauce can be customized with different citrus flavors, or you can stick with the tried and true, bright lemon.
Either way, this is going to be your “go-to” when you’re in a hurry and looking for the best sauce around.
Bonus: We didn’t know “half eggshell full of water” was a measurement – but now we do!
Check out the video from Cooking with Sonny and indulge in all the goodness.
9. Asparagus Fries with Creamy Parmesan Dip
Whimsicality, the name is “asparagus fries.” Crispy and cheesy with just a kick of spice these are something that we love, love, love to make for a quick appetizer.
And of course, the perfect asparagus fry requires the perfect dipping sauce. A parmesan dip is bright and creamy which marries perfectly with our favorite asparagus fries.
So, when we went looking for a recipe for the perfect dip, we were happy to find it from Susan over at Simple Healthy Kitchen.
10. Roasted Asparagus with Paleo Mustard Shallot Sauce
When we think of an asparagus cream sauce, we tend to think of sauces made with heavy cream. We mean, it’s kind of in the name already.
However, we realized we were keeping our eyes a little close on the horizon and missing the big picture.
What about a cream sauce with a kiss of sweet coconut flavor? That just makes good sense. Sweet, savory, a little spicy from big and bold mustard. What’s not to love about that?
We found a recipe from Natasha over at The Artisan Life that brings all good things asparagus and sauce into our kitchen.
11. Asparagus with Balsamic Sauce
Asparagus loves the sticky sweet and tart flavors of a good balsamic reduction. The two are just meant to be together.
They’re like the couple in the restaurant that everyone knows has been happily married forever.
They finish each other’s sentences, they laugh easily, they share food off each other’s plate and take sips of wine from the other’s glass to agree that, yes, it does seem to be a wonderfully full-bodied merlot.
Whether you make your own balsamic sauce like Alice over at Savory Sweet Life, or let your fingers do the shopping over at Amazon for the sticky glaze. Either way, your asparagus will love you for it.
12. Asparagus with Gruyere Parmesan Sauce
We adore nutty gruyere. It’s so sumptuous, elegant, creamy, and loaded with flavor that it’s a ringer in every recipe. It just elevates everything around it.
And that – of course – included asparagus.
Just to raise the flavor profile to an even higher level is parmesan. Gruyere and parmesan together just make the world an entirely better place.
A. Better. Place.
So, we were psyched when we ran across Georgia’s recipe at The Comfort of Cooking for our favorite cheese combo loaded in a creamy sauce.
Have at it, folks. You know you want this.
13. Grilled Asparagus with Balsamic Soy Butter Sauce
Lightly grilled asparagus alone is a beauty to behold.
But, when asparagus is grilled and then tossed with a buttery combination of sweet balsamic and savory soy sauce, it becomes a bright and shining star on the plate.
We’re big fans of a well-rounded sauce, so when we discovered this one we gave it a hearty head nod.
Why, yes. You’ll be just perfect for lightly charred asparagus.
Grab the recipe from Jeanette over at Jeanette’s Healthy Living.
Sauce for Asparagus Options: Is a Bottled Sauce Good Enough?
So, these are some of our favorite go-to sauces to pair with asparagus, but let’s look at some other strategies for getting the right sauce on your plate.
Let’s face it, some nights we just want to get in the kitchen, and then get right out of it again.
Maybe you have plans to meet up with friends after dinner or maybe you just need to get to the batting cages to enjoy some alone time working on your swing.
Not every night’s dinner is created equally.
So, it’s not a bad idea to keep a few purchased sauces around to help you pitch hit in the kitchen on a night when you want to eat well – but cook quickly.
Above, we linked to a bottle of balsamic reduction which is helpful to keep on hand.
And there are some other new kids on the block in terms of prepared sauces that are amazing with asparagus like grape glazes which would be perfect for thick asparagus that’s been steamed.
Asian sesame dressing and raspberry vinaigrettes would be amazing on thinly grilled asparagus.
But don’t forget to keep some of the classics like hollandaise around too, for a quick weeknight side dish!
Wine with Asparagus: Drink Up! Drink Well!
While asparagus might be a little bit of a “sommelier’s puzzle” – because of its “green” notes and slight earthiness – fear not!
We’ve got you covered.
Reds can be a little challenging because they can bring out some of the natural bitterness in asparagus.
So, if your preference is for a ruby red glass of wine, tread a little lightly and uncork one of the new kids on the block – by which we mean, don’t look for aged wines. Think of a Beaujolais nouveau or an Alsatian pinot noir.
The rule of thumb for pairing a platter of asparagus with sauce alongside a glass of wine is: “Asparagus pairs well with bright, light sauces or heavy and hearty sauces, but for wine you want the least amount of tannins possible.”
Sure, it’s a long rule of thumb for asparagus wine pairing, but it serves us well!
For whites, a good and fruity Riesling will take you where you want to go – especially with a cold asparagus dish and a citrusy vinaigrette.
Light flavors love bright flavors!
For an asparagus dish that’s a little heartier (and especially a dish that combines asparagus and bacon with a cream sauce), look to a bottle of Côtes-du-Rhône or a sauvignon blanc. Both of those play well with big, bold, salty and savory flavors.
Now all you need is a good bundle of asparagus, your chosen sauce for asparagus, and you’re ready to rock your next dinner!