Roasted Asparagus with Panko (Gluten Free Option)

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A few years ago, I read Barbara Kingsolver’s book, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”.  The story chronicles a real-life family that vows to buy food locally, grow it themselves, or do without for an entire year.  There was much consternation over when to start this process but, in the end, it was decided that they would begin when local asparagus was available.

As our growing season starts to sprout, I think back to this story.  In many ways, asparagus is a harbinger of spring–a delicious teaser of the many fruits and vegetables soon to bombard us.  While I’ve never taken on such a challenge, I am fortunate to live in an area where, at least during the growing months, eating locally feels more like a blessing than a burden.

Somewhat by necessity, Kingsolver’s family consumed so much asparagus that year they had no desire to buy it when it was no longer a local option.  I tend to be much the same way with this particular vegetable.  The season is short, so dig in!

For a alternate, super-simple preparation, toss asparagus with just enough olive oil to lightly coat, and then sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.  Roast in a single layer for 8-10 minutes, depending on thickness, at 400 degrees to yield perfect spears–bright green and still boasting a bit of snap.  (Test for doneness a couple minutes early by piercing the thick end of the stalk with the tip of a sharp knife.)  For a French country-inspired meal, top the roasted asparagus with an over-easy or poached egg and sprinkle with a bit of crisp prosciutto.  (Click here for that recipe.)

Roasted Asparagus with Panko (Gluten Free Option)
The following recipe is a dressed up version of my every night approach. Serve these spears as a satisfying side or a finger food hors d'oeuvre. For a delicious, gluten-free option, I substitute crushed Rice Chex for the panko. The recipe may easily be halved for one bunch of asparagus.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt (non-fat and 2% work equally well)
  2. 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  3. 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  4. 1 teaspoon lemon juice (when caught lemon-less on occasion, I have omitted or substituted ½ teaspoon vinegar)
  5. ½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  6. ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  7. 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs, sold near other dry bread crumbs; see note)
  8. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  9. 1 pound thick asparagus (about 2 bunches)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. On top of a flat dinner plate, whisk together yogurt, mayonnaise, Dijon, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Put breadcrumbs on another plate.
  2. Grease a large, rimmed baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. Roll asparagus in yogurt mixture to coat, then in breadcrumbs so spears are well breaded. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. At this point, the asparagus may be covered and refrigerated for several hours before baking.
  3. Drizzle asparagus with the olive oil or--even better--spray lightly with an olive oil mister. Then roast asparagus, turning halfway through, for 8-12 minutes, depending on thickness. The spears should be golden brown and tender but still have some bite. For the batch pictured, which were quite thick, I roasted six minutes, turned, and roasted six more minutes. Very thin spears may require 5-6 minutes total.
Notes
  1. For a gluten free option, Crushed Rice Chex was used instead of panko in this photo and no one knew the difference!
The Fountain Avenue Kitchen http://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

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Comments

  1. Dianna

    Thanks for posting this. Can’t wait to try it. BTW, Seth and I baked the banana/choc. chip cake today for the first time…….came out great!

    Reply
  2. Lindsay

    How important is it to use specifically the Greek yogurt and mayo? I’m wondering if I could get a very similar taste with 4T sour cream instead?

    Reply
    1. Ann

      You can definitely substitute, Lindsay. I use the Greek yogurt to cut the mayo without sacrificing taste. The sour cream will have the right consistency. By using all sour cream, you just might have a little more of a tangy flavor. Let me know if you try it: )

      Reply
  3. Jill

    I just love this recipe! Roasted asparagus is my go-to recipe as well, but I love the idea of these asparagus spears as a snack. Luckily, I just happen to have some in the fridge! Thanks!

    Reply
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  5. Cindy

    wow, this sounds so good. I bought Greek yogurt today while grocery shopping without having any idea what I was going to use it for. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    Reply
  6. Mary Lou Keller

    Bingo! I am making this tonight to go with the chicken tetrazzini recipe of yours I am also going to make. I have everything I need for this and I LOVE panko breadcrumbs!

    It is turning out to be a Fountain Ave Kitchen day in my house Ann!

    Reply
    1. Ann

      I am so glad, Mary Lou…thank you for the great message. I just made this asparagus recipe for my family over the weekend for the first time in a while. Good minds think alike!

      Reply
  7. Mary Lou Keller

    Have the tetrazzini in oven. Had to sub cheddar for topping, my Parmesan had molded! Going to make this to go with!

    Reply
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  9. Judy Arnold

    Hi Ann

    We love asparagus in any form. A wonderful hor d”eurves and favorite snack of my children and grandchildren is to cook the asparagus until it is firm-tender, not soggy.
    Before cooking, I remove the tough stalk part. Dip each stem in Marzetti’s cole slaw dressing that comes in a jar. It is a pretty presentation and the young ones love it.
    I continue to be a faithful subscriber to your site.

    Reply
    1. Ann

      That sounds delicious, Judy! Thank you for sharing and for the thoughtful comment. It is much appreciated!

      Reply
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