Last updated on November 8th, 2018.
15 minute, 4 ingredient side dish – Lemony Asparagus with Bacon. Crispy, fresh, flavorful and super easy to make. Serve this as a side for pasta, seafood, or pork.
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I like asparagus. And you know what else I like? BACON.
Food wrapped in bacon is always delicious. I wanted to make something similar to the popular bacon-wrapped asparagus recipe, but I wanted something a little more healthy. I also wanted to add a few more flavors to this side dish to make it even more delicious – that’s how the lemon and garlic snuck in here.
So that’s how this Lemony Asparagus with Bacon Side Dish came about.
This lemony asparagus recipe is super quick to make – 15 minutes, tops. The quick cooking time is essential for an ingredient like asparagus, which tastes and looks the best if it is not overcooked. The quick stir fry enhances its bright, vibrant color and retains its crunch and most of its nutrients.
What you’ll need to make this Lemony Asparagus with Bacon Side Dish:
1. Bacon. I would go ahead and fry a few extra pieces of bacon, since you’re already making a greasy bacon-y mess. You can store the extra bit in a closed container in the fridge and use it to top a salad or add to another recipe the next day.
If you are trying to eat healthier and usually buy uncured, nitrite-free bacon, may I recommend Butcher Box to you?? They currently have a deal where you get free bacon with any butcher box purchase/subscription, and that offer will continue as long as you want! So you could theoretically be eating free bacon for the rest of your life.
2. Fresh lemon. I really recommend using a fresh lemon for this recipe instead of bottled lemon juice. This is for two reasons: 1) Fresh squeezed lemon juices tastes so much fresher. I mean, that’s kind of obvious, but there it is. And 2) A bit of lemon zest adds even more fresh, vibrant flavor to this recipe.
Just make sure you zest your lemon before you squeeze it for juice. Zesting a slippery, squishy, juiced lemon half is a special kind of hell. A good sharp zester such as this one and a lemon juicer will come in handy here.
3. A large skillet with a lid. The lid really helps the asparagus cook faster, since it traps all the heat. The faster a vegetable cooks, the more nutrients it retains and the more vibrant and fresh it looks and tastes. The larger the skillet, the more asparagus will get a nice sear in Step #4 of the recipe. This 5-quart saute pan is great for so many recipes so you can cook lots of stuff at once without crowding the pan.
Before you continue on to the recipe, can we talk for a minute about the elephant in the room? Asparagus pee?? Yea, sorry, I had to go there. I hope this doesn’t ruin this recipe for you. But you know that smell you get when you pee after eating asparagus?? Turns out that your ability to smell that is genetic. So basically, everyone’s pee gets that funky smell after eating asparagus, but some people are not able to smell it! So now you know. And there’s a whole loooong article about this on NPR if you want to read about it in more detail. Warning: science ahead. We Unravel the Science Mysteries of Asparagus Pee.
Luckily asparagus tastes good enough that most people just eat it and deal with the consequences.
Lemony Asparagus with Bacon Side Dish
- 1 bunch asparagus (about 1 lb)
- 4 slices bacon
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of 1/2 lemon (1 tablespoon)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Wash the asparagus and trim off the ends. (You can save the ends to put into homemade veggie stock!). Chop the asparagus into ~2 inch pieces.
- Chop the bacon into 1/2 inch slices.
- Cook the chopped bacon over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy. Drain the bacon fat into a small heat-proof bowl (i.e. not plastic) and place the cooked bacon on a plate lined with a paper towel so the extra fat can be absorbed.
- Add 2 tablespoons of bacon grease back to the skillet and add the minced garlic. Saute for 1 minute over medium heat. Add the asparagus, salt and pepper to taste, turn up the heat to medium-high and stir fry for about 3 minutes. Turn the heat to medium-low and cover the skillet with a lid for 3 minutes.
- Add the lemon juice, give everything a good stir, and then cover with a lid again and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until the asparagus is cooked to your liking.Add the bacon back in and sprinkle with lemon zest. Stir well and serve warm.