Asparagus with Pecans

Asparagus with toasted pecans

There are many ways to cook asparagus, but as with most fresh vegetables, simple is best.  In this recipe I combine one of my favorite vegetables – the asparagus – with my favorite nut – the pecan – and add just a touch of seasoning.  Simple and oh so tasty.

Growing up, the asparagus that was served at our table came from a can.  It was one of the few vegetables we didn’t grow or get from granddaddy’s farm.  When the parents wanted asparagus (us kids certainly did ask for it) they served canned asparagus and topped it with a dollop of mayonnaise.  I know to some of you the addition of mayo might sound pretty gross, but believe me – it’s the only way to make canned asparagus palatable.  It doesn’t do anything for the texture (it’s just soft on soft), but it does help to mute the flavor of mushy, canned asparagus – if you like mayo of course.

Soon after we moved to New Mexico our neighbors across the street had us over for supper.  I don’t remember everything we were served, but I do remember the asparagus.  It was like eating something for the very first time.  In fact, it was eating something for the very first time – fresh asparagus.  What a difference!  The difference between canned and fresh asparagus goes way beyond texture.  The appearance, the smell and the taste are all different.  Today, canned asparagus is just a bad memory and fresh asparagus is a staple in this kitchen.  You’ll see plenty more recipes with fresh asparagus in future posts.  I hope you enjoy this one.


Asparagus with Pecans Recipe

Recipe Author:  MJ of MJ’s Kitchen

Serves:  2
Prep and Cook time:  20 minutes


½ pound asparagus, tough ends removed
½ cup water (or apple juice or apple cider for a sweeter bite)
½ Tbsp. butter
½ cup pecans, cut in half vertically
¼ tsp. dried thyme or 1 tsp. fresh thyme
Sea salt and cracked pepper


  1. Lightly toast the pecans in a skillet over medium-low heat. Remove to a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Bring the water to a boil in the skillet. Add the asparagus, cover, cook 2 minutes or until crisp tender. When done, drain.
  3. In the same skillet melt the butter over medium-low heat. (Be sure to dry out the skillet before adding the butter).
  4. When the foam subsides, add the pecans, thyme, salt and pepper.  Cook 1 minutes.  Add the asparagus. Toss all ingredients together and heat through just before serving.


Kitchen Notes

Cooking the asparagus is the hardest part of this recipe and that’s actually pretty easy.  We like our asparagus crisp tender so for young asparagus stalks it takes “at most” 2 minutes.  For thicker stalks it might take a minute longer.  Just stick a fork in a stalk to test to see if it’s done to your likeness. You could also steam the asparagus, but once again, be careful not to overcook it.  If you don’t plan to serve the asparagus right away, run the cooked asparagus under cold water to stop the cooking process.  Do steps 3 and 4 above just before serving.

If you like this asparagus recipe you should enjoy these other asparagus recipes.

Salad of asparagus, soft-boiled egg and chorizo sausage


Asparagus with Chorizo and a Soft-Boiled Egg




Asparagus Salad with a Preserved lemon Garlic Salad dressing @MJsKitchen


Asparagus with dressing of garlic and preserved lemons




A simple asparagus with an orange and olive relish |


Asparagus with Orange and Kalamata Olives




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8 Responses to “Asparagus with Pecans”

  1. Javelin Warrior February 26, 2013 at 8:33 am #

    Mayo on asparagus?! Oh my… I’ve never head of this, but considering how dreadful canned asparagus is, I can hardly blame you for trying to make it edible 😉 Love this recipe, MJ, and it’s funny you’re sharing this now as I’m in the middle of updating an old sauteed asparagus recipe on my blog which also uses nuts 🙂 I need to try this version because I love pecans and never considered pairing them with asparagus…

    • mj February 27, 2013 at 9:02 am #

      Thanks Mark! Yes, mayo on asparagus. I had to drown the canned asparagus with it to make it edible! 🙂 I hope you get to try this easy dish. It’s SO good.

  2. beti April 8, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

    this is a perfect and easy side dish

  3. Nads April 20, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    Some time ago I had to throw together something to take to a friends last minute cookout. There was “nothing in the kitchen” so I started looking for stragglers in the back of the pantry and fridge. Along with stuffing the few remaining eggs and celery stalks, low and behold there was a can of asparagus in the pantry. What the heck. I ashamedly added the soggy stalks to my “relish” tray. No sooner than the tray hit the table the hostess’ mother and father devoured the asparagus. The oh so proper organic only hostess was mortified. With greasy green lips they explained, as you did, that all the asparagus they ate growing up was from a can and this was a fond reminder of the old days.

    Jim just asked me what I was writing. He remembers that instance well, and how amazed everyone was that I had brought a canned anything. On the other hand, us old folks enjoy a bite of the past now and then.

    • mj April 20, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

      That’s too much! Thanks for the story! -:)

  4. Nads April 20, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    Not mayo, Mama always used Miracle Whip. It was cheaper, served the same purpose, and didn’t have as strong a flavor. To this day I don’t like mayo.


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