Quick Fix: Balsamic Asparagus and Carrots

by | Apr 25, 2012
Balsamic Asparagus and Carrots

Balsamic Asparagus and Carrots

Nothing represents springtime quite like fresh asparagus. This easy recipe highlights its unique flavor by pairing it with sweet carrots and reduced balsamic vinegar. It is simple, delicious and can be prepared in under 10 minutes.

Start with the freshest, greenest asparagus you can get your hands on. These should be easy to find in California throughout the springtime.

The trick to keeping asparagus tender and not fibrous is to snap off the bottom of the spears with your hands. The asparagus will naturally break where the fibers are thinnest and most tender, leaving all the thick and chewy fibers on the end you throw out. After washing, grip each asparagus spear near the middle with one hand and use the other hand to snap off the bottom.

To make it more substantial add an egg, lentils, beans or just use it as a side dish. Here it was served on a bed of brown rice that I pulled from the freezer.

Balsamic Asparagus and Carrots


  • Asparagus (1/4 – 1/2 bunch for single serving)
  • Carrots, 3-5 medium-small carrots
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2-4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt

Crush and mince your garlic clove and set aside. Prepare your asparagus spears as described above and cut them into 1-2 inch bite-sized pieces. Peel your carrots with a vegetable peeler (my peeler recommendation can be found in the Shop under Kitchen Gear > Accessories) and slice at an angle into half inch pieces. Angled cuts increase the surface area of the carrot and are better for cooking.

Heat 1-2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Add carrots to the pan and stir to coat with oil. Add asparagus to the pan and stir again. Sprinkle sea salt onto the vegetables and allow them to cook until asparagus is bright green and starting to sweat, about 2-3 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Clear a space in the center of the pan and add garlic in a single layer. Allow to cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir to mix garlic with the vegetables. Drizzle on balsamic vinegar and stir. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the carrots are tender and a thin balsamic glaze begins to form on the vegetables. Remove from the pan and served immediately.

What is your favorite Quick Fix for asparagus?

Originally published April 6, 2009.

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22 Responses to “Quick Fix: Balsamic Asparagus and Carrots”

  1. Matt Shook says:

    “I cuss, you cuss, we all cuss for asparagus!”

    Looks delicious…I need to remind myself never visit this blog when hungry! I usually just pan-fry it, although I once had BBQed asparagus and it was surprisingly good.

  2. Healthyliving says:

    Mmmmmm very yummy looking- very fresh, and crunchy- nothing like that soggy stuff that comes out of freezer bags. Sometimes I wonder why we invented frozen vegetables.

    • summertomato fanboy says:

      Believe me, frozen veggies can make all the difference to someone who doesn’t have access to the fresh stuff- one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

  3. summertomato fanboy says:

    That kind of seems like a small amount of food; you are zoomed in pretty close, so it looks big, but did that really fill you up? And where’s the meat?!!!!

  4. Hi Darya,

    I love simple recipes! Thanks for the idea. I switched it up a bit with sliced sweet potato instead of the carrot – worked very well. Served with some rice, salad, and salmon fillet – great meal:)

    Keep the simple recipes coming!

  5. Karin says:

    Looks great!

  6. Looks great! Simple and healthy

  7. Anuan says:

    that looks soooo good. I have never ever cooked asparagas. never knew how, but i am going to buy some asparagas next time i go to the supermarket.

  8. Sonya says:

    Delish! I made it with quinoa and it was filling and tasty. Thanks for the recipe!

    My fave asparagus recipe uses raw asparagus and is super quick to make:
    Hold asparagus on the fibrous side and shave towards the tip with a vegetable peeler. You can leave the asparagus long like pasta or cut it in smaller pieces. Mix with lemon juice, olive oil, and a little salt. Top with parmesan.

  9. NB says:

    +1 for asparagus finally back in season!!!!!!!

  10. AJ says:

    I just now tried this recipe because I bought some asparagus from the farmer’s market on Sunday and didn’t know what to do with it. This dish is so easy and delicious!

  11. This looks delicious…adding asparagus and carrots to my shopping list for the farmer’s market this weekend!

  12. Patricia says:

    We love asparagus in our home Here is my recipe that is a big hit at my house.
    2 teaspoons butter, melted
    1 teaspoon curry powder, (see Tip)
    1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
    1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
    2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1 shallot, finely diced
    1 bunch asparagus, (about 1 pound), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
    1.Combine butter, curry powder, lemon juice and salt in a small bowl.
    2.Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add asparagus and cook, stirring, until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir the curry butter into the asparagus; toss to coat.
    Tips & Notes
    Tip: Check the ingredient label on your brand of curry powder: if it has added salt (as some do), you may omit the salt in the recipe or salt to taste.
    (Adapted from: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/asparagus_with_curry_butter.html)
    It only has 67 calories!! And it has such awesome flavor!!

    thank you for this recipe as I will be making part of our dinner!!

  13. AJ says:

    This is so funny. The last time I made this recipe was a year ago (see my comment above), when I was able to buy asparagus at my farmer’s market. And then I dug up the recipe yesterday and made this dish. =] Glad you’re sharing it again!

  14. Michael Ireland says:

    Hey Darya,

    I originally posted this on G+, but I wanted your other readers to see my suggestions too. I love playing around with cooking and this is the perfect recipe to start from! So, here is my post from G+ …

    I’ve been following you and your recipes for a little while now, and I thought you might appreciate my thoughts on this one. First, the discussion about snapping them is great; second, instead of peeling the carrots (and removing much of the nutritional value), scrub them lightly with an abrasive pad wich will remove any callouses and softens the remaining skin – they turn out nice and tender with a good flavour; third, use Quinoa for the bed, it’s an extremely excellent source of balanced proteins, amazing fibre, and tastes wonderful (especially if prepared with a seasoning like roasted garlic & red pepper); finally, a light sprinkling of finely grated asiago cheese on top would make this recipe quite gourmet.

    Thank you for this recipe! I will be playing around with it this summer for sure!

  15. Jason says:

    Grilled asparagus is the best!

    Marinate whole spears in olive oil, lemon juice, and sea salt and grill on highest setting for 2-3 minutes on each side. This makes a great side dish with any seafood. I always make a bunch at a time for left overs. They are great right out of the fridge as a snack or wrapped in thin slices of dry cured Parma for a light meat-lovers lunch.

    I also make nori hand rolls. See http://www.sushiencyclopedia.com for the hand roll basics. Then put one slice of lox on top of the rice. I split one spear diagonally and place the pointed end a little higher than the asparagus head for presentation and roll balance. The Kirkland Norwegian Salmon from Costco makes about 20 servings and makes a relatively inexpensive but elegant appetizer.

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