Lime-Shallot Purple Asparagus Recipe

A 15-minute beautiful and delicious, spring and summer vegetarian side dish.

Lime-Shallot Purple AsparagusPurple asparagus.  Did you expect it to be a vibrant green beneath it’s purple-reddish exterior?  It’s beautiful inside and out.

One of my favorite things to do on Cooking On The Weekends is simply to celebrate the beauty of food.  I often look at raw ingredients as paint. When I look at this photograph below I see purple textured brushstrokes.  Delicious brushstrokes.

Lime-Shallot Purple AsparagusPurple asparagus is only slightly different in flavor and texture from green asparagus.  It’s sweeter with a sugar content that’s about 20% higher, and it’s typically less fibrous and is therefor often more tender.

Lime-Shallot Purple AsparagusAsparagus doesn’t necessarily have to be peeled, but unless it’s very thin, I prefer it.  It removes the more tough and fibrous portions — and it makes it even prettier.  Especially with purple asparagus — when you peel it, it’s suddenly becomes two stunning colors.  The contrast is lovely.

Lime-Shallot Purple AsparagusAs pretty as a bouquet of freshly cut flowers.

Lime-Shallot Purple AsparagusEven the scraps are a bundle of beauty.

Lime-Shallot Purple AsparagusPurple asparagus is rich in anthocyanins (don’t even try to pronounce it!), which is what makes it purple.  Anthocyanins are antioxidant compounds — those that are also found in blueberries and blackberries among a handful of other purple, red, and blue-like foods.

This recipe below is super simple and it’s delicious with any asparagus variety — purple or not.

Lime-Shallot Purple AsparagusYou should be seeing purple asparagus in the specialty section of some grocery stores and at your local Farmer’s Market.


Lime-Shallot Purple Asparagus Recipe
Prep time
Total time
Serves: Serves 4
  • 1 pound purple asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1½ tablespoons super finely diced shallots
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (Here's How to Season to Taste)
  1. Place a medium-sized bowl of ice water on your work space.
  2. Cut the bottom few inches (the tough portion), off of the asparagus and discard. You can actually "snap" the ends off with your hands -- it almost always breaks right where it should.
  3. Rinse the asparagus and then peel from just below the floret to the bottom, using a vegetable peeler.
  4. Place a steamer in a pot with the water level just below it.  Over high heat, bring the water to a boil, add the asparagus to the rack, sprinkle it with salt and cover.  Reduce the heat to low and steam until tender, 5 minutes. (The cooking time will vary, depending on the thickness of the asparagus.)
  5. Immediately add the steamed asparagus to the bowl of ice water and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Then remove, pat dry with paper towels, and add them to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Set aside.
  6. In a very small saucepan, melt the butter with the lime juice and shallots. Then season to taste with salt and pepper. (Here's how.)
  7. Drizzle the butter sauce over the asparagus and carefully toss to be sure it's well coated.
  8. Serve! (I like cutting the asparagus spears in half horizontally because I love how it looks.)

Here are a couple of other gorgeous purple asparagus recipes from two of my favorite food blogs:
Asparagus Mimosa from David at Cocoa and Lavender
Shaved Asparagus Salad With Walnuts from Greg at Sippity Sup

I received the purple asparagus from Melissa’s Produce — as always all opinions are my own.

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  1. says

    The first time I ever saw purple asparagus my jaw dropped (so I could take a bite). Great recipe and beautiful pics that do look like paintings. GREG

  2. says

    Seems like you, Greg, and I have been enjoying our love affair with purple asparagus this summer. Love your simple and fresh vinaigrette! xo

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