This microwave-steamed asparagus comes alive with a little butter, parmesan, red pepper flakes and lemon juice. Every time we make this dish, we have no problem finishing it. It's so delicious!
This 5-minute parmesan asparagus recipe uses the microwave for steaming, which makes it deliciously tender-crisp, while the toppings take it to the next level. Steaming asparagus in the microwave is one of the quickest and healthiest ways to prepare asparagus. And, it's just as delicious as other methods of cooking — if done right. Another benefit: you simply use a few paper towels and water to steam it, which means easy clean-up.
This low-carb and keto side dish is ideal when you don't have time to prepare a side, but still want something nutritious and tasty. It's a versatile side dish too — you can serve it as a side at a casual family meal or a more formal gathering. It is only 1.9 net carbs per serving.
Just a few notes on key ingredients.
Asparagus: We recommending using thinner asparagus stalks (as opposed to larger, thicker stalks) in this recipe. Be sure to purchase firm, straight stalks (not limp!) with just a small amount of whitish color at the base. Although asparagus is one of the "clean 15" crops with the lowest pesticide load, we still prefer to buy organic asparagus.
Parmesan: We love using shaved parmesan in this recipe, but you can also use grated. Freshly grated parmesan is even better.
Lemon juice: We strongly recommend a squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice (about a teaspoon) to brighten the whole dish.
Red pepper flakes: Just a pinch or two of red pepper flakes (depends how spicy you like it), gives this dish a little, tasty kick!
How to Trim Asparagus
Since the base of asparagus can be tough and woody, it's best to trim off the ends before using. The easiest way to trim asparagus is by snapping the spears at their natural breaking point. To do so, simply bend the asparagus near the base until it snaps. Or, you may slice off the bottom two inches with a knife. Oh, and don't forget to rinse the spears!
How to Steam Asparagus in the Microwave
To properly steam the asparagus in the microwave, we follow the tips from Alton Brown, one of our favorite Food Network television chefs. You can watch his short video here if you like. Simply follow these steps.
STEP 1: Wet 3 or 4 paper towels with an ⅛ cup water.
STEP 2: Spread the paper towels on the counter and lay the asparagus on top. Lightly season with salt.
STEP 3: Roll up the towels with the asparagus inside, similar to a burrito.
STEP 4: Heat in the microwave on high until asparagus becomes tender-crisp, about 2 ½ to 3 ½ minutes (our microwave took 3 minutes).
Adding The Asparagus Toppings
After removing the asparagus from the microwave with tongs (be careful because it's hot!), you'll plate it and spread ½ tablespoon of unsalted butter across the top. After that, you'll top the asparagus with grated or shaved parmesan and a pinch or two of red pepper flakes (depends how spicy you like it). Then, do a squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice (about a teaspoon), and you're done! It's best to serve immediately while still warm.
Other Low-Carb and Keto Asparagus Recipes
If you try this recipe, we would love to hear your feedback! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag @lowcarbsimplified on your photo of this recipe on Instagram or Facebook. We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!
5-Minute, Microwave Parmesan Asparagus
- 5 ounces organic asparagus rinsed and trimmed
- ⅛ cup water
- ½ tablespoon butter
- ¼ cup parmesan grated or shaved
- 1 Teaspoon lemon juice
- Pinch red pepper flakes or more depending on preferred spice level
- Salt to season
- Prepare the asparagus: Rinse asparagus and trim bottoms. Wet 3 or 4 paper towels with an ⅛ cup water. Flatten paper towels on counter and spread asparagus on top. Lightly season with salt. Roll up towels with asparagus inside, similar to a burrito. Heat in microwave on high until asparagus becomes tender-crisp, about 2 ½ to 3 ½ minutes (our microwave took 3 minutes).
- Finish and serve: Remove asparagus wrap from microwave with tongs. Plate asparagus and top with butter, parmesan, red pepper flakes, and lemon juice.