Asparagus may be one of those veggies that was maligned by children and secretly fed to the dog under the table. While canned asparagus tends to be mushy and stringy, fresh asparagus lends itself to several distinct cooking methods, such as roasting, steaming and grilling. With a slight nutty flavor, asparagus perfectly complements many main dishes.

In the constant battle to eat well, arm yourself with asparagus spears. This member of the lily family is a nutritional powerhouse.

Besides being a good source of vitamins A, C and E, asparagus contains a detoxifying compound that may break down carcinogens.

Asparagus also contains a particular amino acid that acts as a diuretic. This may benefit people who have high blood pressure or heart conditions.

When prepping asparagus, bend one stalk to see where it breaks naturally, then simply cut the rest of the bundle at the same point.

Roasted Asparagus

Makes 4-6 servings
1 lb. asparagus
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Trim asparagus and then wash; pat dry with paper towels. Toss asparagus with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Arrange asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast in oven for 5-15 minutes, depending on thickness of stalks. Asparagus should be bright green and tender-crisp.

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