The Purple Asparagus Thief

The Purple Asparagus Thief

So I was on my usual Whole Foods shopping trip, minding my own business, and getting all my goodies in the produce section when my eyes popped open and saw these fabulous purple (my favorite color) big stalks sticking out of the ice. I could not believe my eyes! Surrounded by bunches of green asparagus, this purple asparagus seemed to glow with intrigue. I LOVE ASPARAGUS. It’s one of my favorite foods of spring. But, I’m used to my old faithful green and occasionally I’ve seen the white variety. So my heart literally skipped a beat as I stashed the last bunch of purple stalks into my cart. Although I didn’t know what I was going to do with this delectable treat, I had to have it. As I headed over to the onion section I heard a lady behind me exclaim, “Someone took the last purple bunch! I should have grabbed it when I had the chance because I have never seen purple asparagus before!” My first thought was “Snooze, you lose!” (terrible, I know) and then I heard the produce guy say they might have some more in the back. Still, I smoothly adjusted the other items in my cart to cover up my prize possession before I got jacked!

Does color really matter?

All asparagus is high in potassium, calcium, Vitamin C, folic acid, and beta carotene. It contains no fat or cholesterol and is very low in sodium. Asparagus has been touted to reduce swelling associated with water retention, as well as a great probiotic for the intestine due to its high inulin content.

Green – considered the most nutritious and most commonly available.
White – contains no chlorophyll because it is covered with soil when growing. No sunlight = no green.
Purple – Usually thicker and less stringy. More tender, sweeter, and nuttier when cooked (due to its 20% higher sugar content). Best if eaten raw.

Other top nine health benefits of purple asparagus:

  1. Laxative properties help flush out toxins.
  2. Diuretic effects may help relieve menstrual cramps.
  3. Contains phytoestrogens that may help normalize estrogen levels.
  4. Rich in antioxidants, especially anthocyanin (where its color originates).
  5. Rich in B vitamins (good for energy, methylation, skin/hair/nails).
  6. Boosts your immune system.
  7. Highly alkaline pushing your detox curve in the right direction.
  8. Strong anti-inflammatory effects for all your aches and pains.
  9. Rich in glutathione and Vitamin A (great for eye health).

I felt like I needed a super special recipe for this purple asparagus,
and couldn’t just do my usual seasoning and grill throw down
deliciousness. Plus, I have been wanting to try a shaved asparagus salad
for a while so I came up with this quick delectable concoction!

Shaved Asparagus Salad

1 bunch of purple asparagus (the bigger the better)
1/4 cup slivered almonds

1 small shallot, finely minced
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2-3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
Sea salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Nut Parmesan
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/2 tsp. sea salt, or to taste
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

If you are a vegetarian or vegan and have not heard of the wonders of nutritional yeast AND/OR have trouble giving up cheese, we need to talk – ASAP. If you are not avoiding dairy in your diet, congratulations. Feel free to use the real thing. Equivalent would be about 1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


  1. In a small bowl, make marinade first to give the shallots time to chill out. Set aside.
  2. Put all ingredients for nut Parmesan in a mini food processor and pulse for about 30 seconds until uniformly crumbled. Store leftovers in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
  3. Cut off the woody ends of the asparagus. Thoroughly wash them. Using a sharp Julienne peeler, start at the tip and peel the asparagus into thin strips and place in separate bowl. (I sliced off the tender tips and added them in, too. Waste not, want not!)
  4. Pour marinade over the asparagus. Add in almonds. Add in about 1/4 cup of nut Parmesan. Gently mix until evenly coated.
  5. Let it sit for about 10 minutes (have a mini dance party, practice some sun salutations, or clean up the kitchen). Then, enjoy!

I devoured this by itself…in one sitting (don’t judge me). It would probably be even better the second day but I will never know that joy. Feel free to experiment and let me know how it turns out!

By Dr. Tiffany Lester.

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