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Sauteed asparagus is the fastest way to turn this veggie into a healthy side dish! Cook it simply with lemon, or customize with herbs or garlic.

Sauteed asparagus
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Here’s a simple way to get a side dish on the table…fast: sauteed asparagus! When you’re trying to get dinner on the table, you don’t want to get stuck on a side dish. Trust us, Alex and I been there! We’ve held up dinnertime just to try to finish that pesky side dish that seemed simple when we read the recipe. So here’s an easy side dish that requires little prep and almost no thought. This healthy veggie perfect for adding bright green to the plate — and vitamins and fiber, too! Use the basic method, then pick from any of our flavor adders below.

A few other great ways to cook it? Try Baked Asparagus, Roasted Asparagus or Broiled Asparagus!

Sauteed asparagus

How to make sauteed asparagus (the basic steps)

Here’s a recipe for when you don’t have time to preheat your oven for roasted or baked asparagus! It’s so quick and you only need 5 minutes for prep and 5 to 8 minutes for cooking. Here are the basic steps for how to make this bright green veggie taste incredible (or go right to the recipe):

  • Prep: Start with 1 pound of asparagus (1 large bunch). Chop off the end parts that are very thick. That part is tough and woody, and is hard to chew. Then chop the stalks into bite-sized pieces.
  • Saute: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet. Add the asparagus with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Saute 5 to 8 minutes, until tender! The exact timing will depend on the size of the stalks and the maturity (fresher asparagus cooks faster).
  • Add lemon juice & zest: Stir in lemon juice and zest until the flavor pops!

Another quick way to cook asparagus? Try Easy Steamed Asparagus.

Sauteed asparagus

7 ways to add flavor to sauteed asparagus!

There are lots of ways to turn this basic recipe into something people will be talking about for years! Now, it’s delicious as is. But here are our favorite ways to amp the flavor in this sauteed asparagus so that it really shines:

  1. Shredded Parmesan cheese: Add at the end as as garnish!
  2. Feta crumbles: Another garnish to add a salty pop!
  3. Garlic: Add 1 clove minced garlic to the pan after 3 minutes
  4. Shallot: Add 1 small minced shallot with the asparagus
  5. Butter: Use 2 tablespoons butter instead of 1 tablespoon olive oil
  6. Herbs: Add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs at the end: chives, dill, parsley, etc
  7. Italian seasoning: Add 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning with the asparagus
Sauteed asparagus

Ideas for using sauteed asparagus

You’re probably thinking about getting your meal on the table, and sauteed asparagus is here to help! But once you have a little breathing room to ponder, there are some other creative ways to serve this asparagus. Here are a few ways you could use this recipe as a component of another:

  • Asparagus Salad Our favorite way to serve this sauteed asparagus is part of a salad! This one has greens, radishes, lemon, feta, and a tasty Dijon vinaigrette (add quinoa to make it a filling main dish salad).
  • Lemon Asparagus Pasta Throw it into pasta! Here it’s paired with Parmesan and lemon, made into a main dish. Combine this sauteed asparagus recipe with 1 pound pasta.
Asparagus in pan

When is asparagus in season?

Asparagus is a fresh and delicious spring vegetable! Here in the US, asparagus is available year round in most grocery stores. But it’s tastiest in the spring. April is prime asparagus month. Depending on where you’re located, it can be available February through June. Try to find it at a local farmers market if you can!

This recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, gluten-free.

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Sauteed asparagus

Sauteed Asparagus

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


Sauteed asparagus is the fastest way to turn this veggie into a healthy side dish! Cook it simply with lemon, or customize with herbs or garlic.


  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice plus zest of ½ lemon
  • Optional: Feta cheese crumbles or shredded Parmesan cheese, for serving
  • *Other adders: add 1 clove minced garlic after 3 minutes, use 2 tablespoons butter in place of the olive oil, add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs at the end (chives, dill or parsley are nice)


  1. Wash the asparagus and trim off the ends. Cut the stalks into bite-sized pieces.
  2. In large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the asparagus, kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the largest pieces are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. This depends on the thickness and maturity of the asparagus, so it’s different every time! Taste and remove when it’s just tender and still bright green, but not crunchy (cook a minute longer if you need to).
  3. Meanwhile, zest the lemon and juice it. When the asparagus is done, remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and lemon zest. (Optional: top with feta cheese crumbles or shredded Parmesan.)
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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