Finding the best substitutes for asparagus isn’t too difficult when the grocery stores are out or when the selections are not only insanely expensive but out of season and lackluster.
Below are 8 of the best substitutes for asparagus, labeled with three categories. Each replacement will be labeled as the best choice according to flavor, texture, and color. So you’ll find a replacement listed here that will help replace the use of asparagus for any context that you need.
Did you know that asparagus comes in different colors? It’s grown in Green, White, and Purple asparagus and they all have a slightly different flavor profiles.
Green Asparagus: Fresh and slightly green grassy flavor.
White Asparagus: Less grassy than the green variety, but with a hint of bitterness. White asparagus is grown in the dark, under the soil, or under plastic so it gets no access to sunlight, thus not developing much sugar content.
Purple Asparagus: Sweetest of the three, purple asparagus is fun to eat. The purple color however is only on the outside and is green in color on the inside.
Peak Asparagus Season
When is the best time to buy asparagus? When it’s asparagus season – which is April and May. It won’t be woody or tough and it will have excellent flavor compared to when you buy it out of season, which won’t be quite as nice.
But, in the event that it’s out of season, or you don’t want to use frozen or canned asparagus, here are some great ideas for substitutes for asparagus.
The Best Substitutes for Asparagus
Broccolini – (Flavor, Color, and Texture substitute)
Broccolini would be the best substitutes for asparagus, in my opinion. For instance, in this recipe for Asparagus and Shrimp Tarts, broccolini stems are very similar to asparagus and could be substituted with no problem as they are both similar in texture and as well as flavor. You can eat broccolini raw, but if steamed or blanched it will resemble asparagus the closest out of all the alternatives.
Green Beans – (Flavor, Color, and Texture substitute)
Green beans are a really great alternative for substituting asparagus in recipes. Blanched green beans will most mimic the texture of raw asparagus and cooked beans will easily replace the texture and flavor of cooked asparagus.
Broccoli Stems – (Flavor, Color, and Texture substitute)
Broccoli stems are great substitutes for asparagus in different recipes! Similar to Broccolini, but it’s a bigger cousin, we tend to use the frilly tops or trees, but the stems are perfect to use as long as they are peeled. Eating them raw gives a similar crunchy texture to raw fresh asparagus and when cooked, they are very one of the best substitutes for asparagus. Blanched green beans will most mimic the texture of raw asparagus and cooked beans will easily replace the texture and flavor of cooked asparagus.
Peas (Snap and Snow) – (Flavor, Color, substitute)
Peas are a really good alternative for asparagus. Peas have a slightly sweeter flavor compared to asparagus but when cooked and raw, the colors are very similar to greens. The texture will be slightly different as peas have the peas inside the pod of course, whereas asparagus doesn’t have that. Also, the cooking time is shorter with peas than with asparagus.
Bok Choy – (Flavor and Texture substitute)
Bok choy can be subbed for asparagus, but only the stalks. It won’t be a great color substitute (obviously), but the texture can be similar when cooked. Raw, bok choy is crisper and juicier but when steamed, it can be a close match in taste and texture for asparagus.
Swiss Chard – (Texture substitute and maybe color depending on the variety)
You’ll want to remove the leaves and steam the ribs or stalks of the chard. The will soften similarly to cooked asparagus. Eating them raw will be too tough to compare to asparagus. The color is typically red but you can buy rainbow-colored swiss chard and the light green variety can come close to the color of asparagus, but not perfectly.
Brussels Sprouts – (Color substitute)
The flavor is stronger in brussels sprouts than in asparagus, but the green color could compare if you were making something where only the color was important and you weren’t worried about the flavors.
Artichoke Hearts – (Texture and flavor substitute)
Artichoke hearts have a similar texture to asparagus when cooked. They both have a mild flavor and can be a good substitute for asparagus. You should pick this alternative when you want a soft fibrous but delicious replacement. Artichokes need to be prepared a certain way to make the centers available to use.
Did you try any of these substitutes? Have you used a substitute for asparagus that wasn’t covered here? Please comment below and let us know! Have a fantastic day.