Spring Asparagus with Pistachios, Lemon, and Garlic

Have you ever tried asparagus with pistachios? This combination of flavors is so good, and I’m excited to share it with you! We still have snow on the ground in Indiana, but asparagus is on sale in the stores now and will start popping up in the garden before we know it. Make good use of it with this Asparagus with Pistachios, Lemon, and Garlic side dish. I garnished mine with fresh violets since they are in-season at the same time and they grow happily in the garden (yes, they are edible). I also used purple basil because it makes a pretty photo. Green basil is more common and is just as delicious. Look at this beautiful plate of springtime goodness!

Asparagus with Pistachios and Violets

Pistachios are an important key to the texture of this dish. Toast them just to the point where they start to give off a wonderful aroma. Take them out of the oven and remove them from the hot pan right away. Just pour them quickly into a bowl or onto a plate where they can rest until it’s time to sprinkle them over the final dish. You could also toast them in a frying pan on the stovetop on low heat while the asparagus is cooking to save time. More tips below the recipe!

Spring Asparagus with Pistachios, Lemon, and Garlic

Celebrate spring by cooking this easy Asparagus with Pistachios, Lemon, and Garlic. This is a healthy side dish with plenty of flavor and extra crunch.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Spring, Vegan

Equipment

  • Baking sheet (aka cookie sheet)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Pistachios shelled
  • 1 lb Asparagus fresh
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice fresh, if available
  • 1/2 to 1 clove Garlic minced
  • 2 Tbsp Avocado or Olive Oil divided
  • 1 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1 tsp Table Salt (not Kosher Salt) divided
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Optional: For easy cleanup, cover your baking sheet with aluminum foil. This can be used for both the nuts and the asparagus.
  • Spread the pistachios on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 4-7 minutes, until toasted and fragrant. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn. Remove from the oven and immediately remove to a plate or bowl, and set aside.
  • Turn the oven up to 400 degrees F. 
  • Wash the asparagus and snap the woody ends off. Spread in a single layer over 1 large baking sheet.
  • Drizzle with 1 Tbsp oil and use your hands to make sure the spears are coated. Sprinkle with half of the salt and half of the pepper.
  • Roast in the oven for 8-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus. If they are easily speared with a fork, they are done. (9 minutes is what I used in the photo)
  • While the asparagus is cooking, in a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, basil, and the remainder of the salt and pepper. Whisking constantly, drizzle in 1 Tbsp olive oil.
  • Plate the asparagus, drizzle with the dressing, and sprinkle with the toasted pistachios. Serve immediately. 

Notes

Tarragon or oregano could be used in place of basil.

You will find bunches of asparagus starting to go on sale in the grocery stores in the spring. They are usually available most of the year, but the spring shoots will be the best-tasting. Thin young asparagus shoots are easy to work with. To prepare the asparagus, snap off the woody bit at the end with your hands, no knife needed. Give the spears a quick wash and they are ready to be roasted.

The recipe calls for a half to a whole clove of garlic. I use a full clove since I absolutely adore garlic (and all of its healthy properties). I do a tiny dice on my garlic rather than mincing it, to get more little crunchy garlic explosion bites.

This lovely recipe is inspired by The Food Charlatan’s Lemon Asparagus with Pistachios. (Check out her other recipes too, she makes great stuff!)