With fresh lemon, a little seasoning, and some Mediterranean favorites like feta and roasted red peppers, this Sautéed Asparagus is an easy, delicious side dish that complements almost any dinner. Serve it with your favorite fish, chicken, or toss it in a grain bowl for a tasty vegetarian meal.

lemon garlic asparagus topped with feta and roasted red peppers

An easy and healthy side dish

Sometimes the most simple recipes are the best! This 10-minute asparagus side dish is a great example of turning a handful of ingredients and an easy cooking method into a mouth-watering dish.

Asparagus is one of my favorite spring vegetables, and I typically look for green asparagus with thinner spears which are easy to roast or quickly sauté to serve as a side dish or toss with your favorite pasta.

The flavor profile of this easy sautéed asparagus is my own Mediterranean twist with a trio from my favorite spices, fresh lemon juice, garlic, roasted red peppers (the jarred kind is fine) and a sprinkle of feta cheese!

Trust me, with such a variety of flavors, this sautéed asparagus recipe will steal the show. If you want to add a pop of color or enhance a main dish that needs more flavor, serve this quick asparagus recipe next to it!

Is asparagus healthy?

One of the reasons I love asparagus, besides the fact it's easy to cook, is that it's low in calories but packed with nutrients. Asparagus is high in fiber, folates, vitamins A, C, E and K and even protein. It's also loaded with antioxidants and low in carbs.

And quickly cooking asparagus in good olive oil - like we do in this recipe - is a great way to take full advantage and add a little healthy fat to the meal.

How to trim asparagus?

The bottom of asparagus stalks are not the best for eating. They tend to be "woody" and tough when cooked. So before you cook your asparagus you should trim it.

The easiest way to trim asparagus is just to bend it at the bottom. It will naturally snap off at the tough part, leaving you with a healthy, perfectly tender asparagus stalk. From there, you can line the stalks up and cut the bottoms evenly for equal, uniform pieces. If you prefer, you can also chop off the woody bottoms with a sharp knife.

the ingredients for Mediterranean sauteed asparagus - a lemon, garlic cloves, spices, asparagus, roasted red peppers and feta.

What you'll need

This asparagus side dish is a great example of needing just a few ingredients when working with fresh, high quality food. Asparagus, a few seasonings, lemon, peppers and feta are all you need for this easy dish.

  • Extra virgin olive oil - A quality EVOO will make all the difference in flavor. See my favorite olive oils.
  • Asparagus - Trim and cut your asparagus into equal size pieces before beginning.
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Garlic - Fresh minced garlic gets perfectly sautéed with the asparagus.
  • Shallot - You can use red onions instead, if you don't have shallots.
  • Lemon - We use both the zest and juice of the lemon to add brightness.
  • Seasonings. What spices go with asparagus? Any number of spices or dried herbs will work here, and you can change them up to your liking! This time, I used Aleppo-style pepper and za'atar.
  • Roasted red peppers - You can use roasted red peppers from a jar, just make sure they are well-drained and then chop them up into small bits.
  • Feta cheese - You can start with ¼ to ⅓ cup of feta and add more to your liking.

Can I use white asparagus?

Yes, you can also sauté white asparagus. White and green asparagus are actually the same plant, the white asparagus is just harvested before the plant breaks through the ground and changes color due to the sunlight. The flavors are similar but since it's harder to harvest white asparagus, it's often more expensive and harder to find. If you do get your hands on some, you can absolutely use it in this recipe.

Asparagus pieces in a glass bowl

How to make asparagus on the stove?

This sautéed asparagus recipe is easy and quick; it will be ready in 10 minutes. The most important part of this recipe is sautéing just right, for the perfect texture, color and flavor. Here is how

  • Cut the asparagus. Once you trim the tough ends, cut the asparagus spears into 3-inch pieces.
  • Sauté the asparagus in extra virgin olive oil. In a large pan or cast iron skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering (it is important to use a large pan so that the asparagus pieces are not crowded so that they cook evenly and gain good color). Add the asparagus to the heated oil and season with a good pinch of kosher salt and black pepper. Cook, tossing regularly, for a couple of minutes, then add the shallots and garlic, cooking until asparagus is tender and lightly browned (3 to 4 more minutes).
Fresh asparagus cut into 3 inch pieces in a black skillet
  • Remove from heat and add spices and remaining ingredients. Top the asparagus with lemon juice, zest, spices, roasted peppers and feta cheese.
Mediterranean sautéed asparagus with feta lemon and garlic in a skillet
  • Serve. Serve sautéed asparagus immediately.

How long to sauté asparagus

The key to sautéing asparagus is to cook it until it's just tender, before it turns too soft. The color will give you a hint when it's ready, look for a deep green color. If the asparagus is deep green, just slightly wilted and tender, it is ready. Remove from the heat immediately.

The amount of time it takes to sauté asparagus depends on how thick the asparagus is. However, it cooks quickly and should be done in about 5 minutes.

Tips for success

When making this easy side dish, there are a few things to keep in mind. Follow these tips and the end result will be perfectly cooked asparagus that you'll want to make over and over:

  • Select the best asparagus you can find. While you can purchase asparagus year-round, the best time to do so is February to June. When you're choosing your asparagus, look for long stems that are bright green in color and firm to touch, with smooth skin. The flower-like tips should be closed and if you get a squeaky or rubbery sound when you squeeze the bunch, you've found the perfect asparagus!
  • Trim the tough ends and cut the asparagus in equal size pieces for even cooking.
  • Use a large pan or cast iron skillet that will fit the asparagus in one single layer. You'll get the best results if you do not crowd the pan.
  • Do not overcook it. As soon as the asparagus is just tender and cooked, remove it from the heat.
  • Spices for asparagus. Asparagus will take well to many flavors and flavor combinations, you do not have to season it the same exact way every time! To change things up, you can try seasonings like dried oregano, cumin, paprika, or even smoked paprika, and a dash of red pepper flakes if you like some heat.
Sauteed asparagus topped with feta and roasted red peppers in a cast iron skillet

Serve it with

This quick asparagus recipe makes a great side dish for almost any meal. Here are a few ideas: grilled lamb kabobs or lamb rack chops, baked chicken drumsticks, or baked grouper. You can also use it as part of vegetarian grain bowls or try it in something like this herbed couscous bowl!

Other sautéed asparagus topping ideas:

I've shared with you my favorite combination of seasonings and toppings for sautéed asparagus. If you fall in love with this side dish as much as I have, feel free to switch it up with even more toppings and add-ins. Some possibilities include:

  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Pine nuts
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Mushrooms
  • Kalamata olives
  • Other dried herbs

How to store leftovers

Cooked asparagus should be eaten as soon as possible. There's nothing quite like freshly sautéed asparagus. However, leftovers can be stored for up to 3 days in the fridge. Just note that the longer cooked asparagus is refrigerated, the softer it becomes. For best results, wrap tightly in foil and don't add the peppers, spices and feta until ready to serve.

More easy asparagus recipes:

You may also like: lemon roasted broccoli, pasta primavera, Greek briam.

Browse all Mediterranean recipes. Visit Our Online Shop for quality Mediterranean ingredients.

5 from 26 votes

Easy Sautéed Asparagus

Suzy Karadsheh
Sauteed asparagus topped with feta and roasted red peppers in a cast iron skillet
With fresh lemon, garlic, and Mediterranean favorites like feta and roasted red peppers, this Sautéed Asparagus is an easy side dish that complements almost any dinner. Serve with your favorite fish, lamb or chicken for a quick and healthy meal any night.
Prep – 10 mins
Cook – 8 mins
Total – 20 mins
Cuisine:
Mediterranean
Serves – 4 servings
Course:
Side Dish

Ingredients
  

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed, and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 teaspoon chile pepper flakes, I used Aleppo pepper which is milder
  • 1 teaspoon za'atar
  • cup roasted red peppers from a jar, drained, and chopped
  • cup feta cheese, more to your liking

Instructions
 

  • Heat up ¼ cup olive oil over medium-high heat until just shimmering.
  • Add the asparagus and season with kosher salt and black pepper.
  • Cook for a couple minutes, tossing regularly, then add the shallots and garlic and cook for another 3 minutes or until the asparagus is tender and lightly browned.
  • Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice, zest, spices, roasted peppers and feta cheese. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Be sure to use a large pan or cast iron skillet that is large enough to cook the asparagus without crowding. 
  • Feel free to change the seasoning. Asparagus will take well to other spices and dried herbs like oregano, cumin, paprika, or even smoked paprika, or red pepper flakes for heat.  
  • Visit Our Shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils and spices used in this recipe. 

Nutrition

Calories: 68.7kcalCarbohydrates: 10.3gProtein: 5.9gFat: 1.9gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 6.7mgSodium: 283.5mgPotassium: 323mgFiber: 3.7gSugar: 3.8gVitamin A: 1072.6IUVitamin C: 27.3mgCalcium: 47.1mgIron: 2.9mg
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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I've been trying to new ways to introduce flavorable vegetables to my dinner repertoire for my family. This was by far the biggest hit. I didn't have the za'atar spice blend but was able to make it with the spices on hand and googling a "how to..." recipe. This is a definite keeper in my dinner menu planning.

  2. 5 stars
    This looks like such a lovely combination of flavors and I love the bright color the pepper adds too.

  3. 5 stars
    I love how quick and easily this sautéed asparagus comes together! Such beautiful vibrant colors, especially when paired with the feta and roasted peppers. Yum!

  4. 5 stars
    I love the addition of fresh lemon and zest! It brightens up the whole dish and pairs so well with the asparagus!

  5. 5 stars
    Yummy recipe. I too love asparagus and I'm always looking for new ways to cook them. Thanks for this simple and flavorful recipe. And yes, great EVOO makes a huge difference.

  6. 5 stars
    Yummm this asparagus recipe made a delicious side dish! Love all of the flavors of garlic and lemon too, thank you!

  7. 5 stars
    This asparagus was light and the lemon added a nice citrusy flavor -- it was the perfect side dish for our dinner this evening!

  8. 5 stars
    What a flavorful and perfect side dish. Really like the addition of shallots and roasted red peppers.

  9. 5 stars
    I made this last night as a side dish. It was delicious! I will be making it again. Keep the great recipes coming!

  10. Can’t get asparagus where I live, can I substitute it with another vegetable or use tinned ones? 🤗

    1. Hi, Bianca! I think other veggies would work just fine with this recipe. You'll just have to adjust the cooking time depending on what you choose, of course. Enjoy!

  11. This dish is a keeper. Loving the little bit of heat from the aleppo peppers and the tanginess from the lemons.

  12. Hey Suzy!
    Love all ur recipes ♥️ u have made me a Mediterranean craver.
    Btw.. ur skin looks amazing! Any secret u wanna share pls..

    1. You are so sweet, Vidya! Lol! No big secrets... cleanse, hydrate, sunscreen, eating healthy and just generally trying to take care of myself. Sometimes I play with other things. I'll share if I find something that totally hooks me :).

  13. 5 stars
    Another fabulous salad. Just had it with fish and everyone loved it. No leftovers for tomorrow! Looking forward to trying this with the helpful alternatives and spices mentioned. So so good. Thank you.

  14. 5 stars
    Yummy! I usually roast asparagus but gave this a try and it was fabulous!!! Can't wait to make it again!