Last Updated on February 14, 2021
If you are looking for a simple asparagus recipe that tastes fantastic, try this one! Our Sautéed Asparagus with Lime & Soy Sauce is quick and easy but very bold in flavor. This easy vegan recipe requires only a few simple steps but it’s so tasty that we guarantee that you’ll make it over and over!
We look forward to the Spring time when green asparagus is in season. Actually, it seems that almost all veggies are available to us regardless of the seasons. Asparagus is one of them that we see at the grocery store throughout the year. Now, when it comes to organic options, it’s available only this time of the season (Spring), at least where we live.
They are fantastic when grilled but also great for sauteing and stir-frying. They are a good source of vitamin K (for bone/blood health), antioxidants, and fiber.
There are many ways to prepare the asparagus. When it’s grilling or roasting, it’s better to leave as a whole spear. But first just snap (trim) off the bottom part and shave if necessary to remove potentially tough skin.
For sauteing and stir-frying like this recipe, it’s better to cut or slice them into a bite size. To do this, you also need to snap (trim) off the bottom part but no shaving required. Instead, slice thinly and diagonal. Depending on the thickness of the spears, you can slice them really thin or a bit thicker for more texture.
When it comes to some Asian cuisine, one of the main ingredients to make it “Asian-flavor” is soy sauce. Soy sauce comes in different varieties such as regular, low-sodium, light, aged, white, smoked etc.. Our go-to soy sauce is just a regular kind but definitely an organic one! If you are wondering, Ohsawa Organic Nama Shoyu is the one we use.
Even the regular soy sauce has quite a different taste from one brand to another. If you always stick to the same bottle, we’d highly recommend trying different ones. It’s actually quite fun just like wine tasting! You’ll be surprised how they all have different characters.
So the flavor components of this dish is very simple.
- Soy Sauce
- Lime Juice
As you may know, we cook a lot of Japanese (or Asian) food so we often use soy sauce. Even using the same soy sauce, we can make a different taste by using it by itself vs mix with other ingredients, raw (uncooked) vs cooked.
In this recipe, soy sauce is mixed with lime juice to give a little tangy and refreshing taste. We use lime juice instead of lemon juice because the lime has a natural sweetness and less acidic taste than the lemon.
As mentioned above, cooked soy sauce has a different flavor than raw (uncooked) one. When soy sauce is cooked, the flavor becomes a bit more intense in such a way that the saltiness is saltier, the sweetness is sweeter, and it also adds a hint of smokiness. It’s important not cook for too long after adding soy sauce to a hot pan. It will burn really quickly and gives an unpleasant burnt, bitter soy sauce taste.
Now, don’t rely on soy sauce only for the sake of adding saltiness. Rather think of it as an agent to add a good balance of saltiness and umami flavor. Why? Because using an excessive amount of soy sauce also makes dishes super brown and not aesthetically pleasing. To avoid this, use a little amount of soy sauce, and simply balance out the missing saltiness component by adding salt!
Not to mention, the garlic makes everything better!
You may like other “soy sauce related” Japanese-inspired dishes!
Sautéed Asparagus with Lime & Soy Sauce
- 1 pound green asparagus
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (plus more for serving)
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- Snap off the bottom of asparagus at where it naturally breaks. Discard the bottom parts (or save them for making veggie stock.) Slice the remaining parts thinly and diagonal. The thinner the slices are, the quicker they cook. Set aside.
- Heat up a frying pan at medium high. Pour sunflower oil then add garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant but not burnt.
- Add asparagus. Season with salt and black pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes until tender.
- When they are tender enough to eat, add lime juice and soy sauce. Give a quick stir for 30 seconds and remove from the heat.
- Serve immediately. Squeeze more lime juice (optional.)
- It’s perfect to serve with some rice or quinoa!
- If you like firmer texture, slice the asparagus thicker and/or cook for shorter time.