Frazzled weeknight dinner? No worries – this shrimp and asparagus stir fry is on the table in under 30 minutes!
SHRIMP WITH ASPARAGUS
Not only does shrimp with asparagus come together in a flash, but the stunning contrasting colors are truly eye candy on your plate.
Despite my best efforts, pretty much every night is some sort of a panic to get dinner on the table before the family starts eating the ends of each other’s arms off. Enter, beautiful large shrimp, a bundle of fresh spring asparagus and some pantry cooking magic. Dinner problems solved.
EASY STIR FRY
At the end of the week, or the end of a long day of cooking for work, I often find myself coming back to different kinds of stir fry for dinner.
Stir fry is perfect when you have a random jumble of veggies in the crisper drawer that you need to eat up, or when you’re introducing new ingredients to the kids. Mixing the familiar with the unfamiliar with a light and flavorful sauce can usually entice even the pickiest of the family to try something new.
Not only that, but stir fry is so quick and easy! Really, you just toss everything into the pan and heat it through with the seasonings you have on hand or love the most.
HOW TO MAKE SHRIMP AND ASPARAGUS STIR FRY
- Start with a pound of peeled deveined raw shrimp. If you are using frozen shrimp, put them in a sealed baggie and run them under water until thawed.
- In a large bowl, add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Mix to combine thoroughly. Set the shrimp mixture aside.
- In a smaller bowl, mix the water and oyster sauce with the sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch until dissolved. Set aside.
- Heat a large wok or skillet with oil over medium high heat (you can use high heat if you’re confident in your stir fry skills!). Add the garlic, onion, and shrimp. Toss frequently.
- When shrimp are pink and opaque, add the asparagus.
- Once asparagus has softened slightly, add the cornstarch mixture. Stir until the sauce thickens slightly and coats the shrimp and asparagus completely. Remove the pan from the heat and add the green onions.
- Now you can serve it as is, or over rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, whatever you’d like!
Don’t forget to save your asparagus ends for making Asparagus soup!
SHRIMP AND ASPARAGUS STIR FRY TIPS AND TRICKS
While this recipe is so straightforward and tasty it needs little adjustment, a couple of items can really change things up – no one will ask, “We’re having this again??”
First, while I love the flavor of the oyster sauce with the shrimp and asparagus, you can also easily sub out hoisin sauce for an incredible burst of flavor. The hoisin changes the way the other flavors in the dish meld together, and while it’s mostly the same ingredients, it feels like a unique dish.
Another change I sometimes make (depending on what’s in my fridge or freezer) is to use thawed cooked shrimp instead of raw. This simplifies the cooking process even more, but you have to be careful not to overcook the shrimp. Cooked shrimp literally just need to heat through in the pan so add them at the same time as the asparagus.
HOW TO DEVEIN SHRIMP
- If you have raw shrimp that isn’t deveined or peeled, don’t be afraid of this task!
- To peel, simply remove the legs, then take your kitchen shears or thumbs, and crack the shell from the underside.
- As it cracks, work your way down the shrimp removing the shell as you go.
- To devein shrimp, run a paring knife along the back of the shrimp, making a shallow cut. This will open up the shrimp and make the vein easier to see.
- Use the tip of your knife to pull out the vein and discard. Done!
BEST COOKING OIL FOR STIR FRY
The final thing to think about in this recipe is the cooking oil you choose. As you’re sautéing on high heat, you want an oil with a high smoke point – the temperature at which the oil will start to smoke. While vegetable oil is a great option, there are others that can add something even more special to your stir fry.
Light olive oil, canola oil, and grapeseed oil all have neutral flavors and high smoke points, but they also offer other health benefits that vegetable oil lacks. Olive oil and canola oil are high in monounsaturated fats which help to both lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.
Grapeseed oil contains polyunsaturated fats which raise good cholesterol, but it also offers linoleic acid which is an essential fatty acid our bodies can’t make. Even a small amount of grapeseed oil can give your body what it needs for the day.
My current favorite oil is avocado oil. It doesn’t add any flavor to the dish, and is known to have many healthy benefits including high levels of omega-9 fatty acids and positive effects on cholesterol levels.
WHAT CAN I SUBSTITUTE FOR OYSTER SAUCE
Oyster sauce is made from cooking down oysters. Most versions have salt, sugar, msg, and other flavors added. We like the all natural oyster sauce from Honest Foods.
If you don’t have oyster sauce (or hoisin sauce which is also delicious), skip the sugar and use a mix of soy sauce (about 3 tablespoons) and honey (about 1 tablespoon). Then add in the cornstarch, water, and lemon juice. You can also add some lemon zest for a brighter flavor, or some red pepper flakes for heat.
MORE SHRIMP AND ASPARAGUS RECIPES
Here are even more shrimp and asparagus recipes to keep your weekly menu fresh, easy, and healthful. Because I know after you make this shrimp and asparagus stir fry, you’ll be hooked. Enjoy!
- Shrimp Asparagus Risotto
- Shrimp Asparagus Curry
- Poached Shrimp Salad with Avocado
- Shrimp in Green Sauce
- Shrimp Asaparagus and Tortellini
- Skinny Cajun Shrimp and Grits
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- 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon sugar, or sugar substitute
- 1 tablespoon all natural oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 green onion, chopped
- In a large bowl, season shrimp with salt and pepper then set aside.
- In a smaller bowl, mix the water, sugar, oyster sauce, corn starch, and lemon juice, then set aside.
- Heat your wok, or large skillet, over medium high heat; and oil and look for it to shimmer when it's hot.
- Add the garlic, onion, and seasoned shrimp, stirring constantly.
- Once shrimps become opaque and a pink color, add asparagus.
- Stir in cornstarch mixture and stir until sauce thickens; remove from heat and stir in green onion.
- Serve with hot white rice, cauliflower rice, or quinoa if desired.
Serving Size:4 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 234Cholesterol: 285mgSodium: 1299mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 26g