Asparagus Stir-Fry Recipe

A favorite stir-fry recipe. Asparagus and tofu form the base, but it has quite a lot going on beyond that. You get a bite of tang from the lime, heat from the red chiles and fresh ginger, mint and basil cool things down, and a touch hoisin sauce gives you just enough sweetness to balance it all out.

Asparagus Stir-Fry

Someone crashed into my car the other night. Not just once, multiple times. I tell you this not because I'm upset about my car - quite frankly, I hardly ever drive it. I'm more annoyed that I have to take it for a quote, and then get it repaired. My first car appointment is scheduled at the same time I typically visit the farmers' market. Which doesn't seem like a crisis, I know, but I depleted our asparagus stash making this stir-fry and was counting on a fresh fix. Like many stir-fries it requires a bit of commitment on the front-end - slicing, dicing, and chopping. All completely worth it. Each time an ingredient hits the hot pan, the scent unfurls toward you in an intense bouquet. You just know it's going to be good. Asparagus and tofu form the base of this ensemble, but it has quite a lot going on beyond that. You get a bite of tang from the lime, heat from the red chiles and fresh ginger, mint and basil cool things down, and a touch hoisin sauce gives you just enough sweetness to balance it all out.

Asparagus Stir-Fry Recipe

I should note a few things here. Prep all of your ingredients ahead of time and have them close at hand. You'll spend 95% of your time prepping this recipe, and it'll come together in no time beyond that. Also, you will want to make it to order. You can certainly prep many of the ingredients ahead of time (even a day ahead of time), but don't cook it until just before you are ready to eat. This way the asparagus and greens won't overcook as they are sitting around.

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Asparagus Stir-Fry Recipe

I mention this up above in the main post, but be sure you have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start actually stir-frying.

toasted sesame oil
8 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into slices thick as a pencil
4 green onions, thinly sliced
scant 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (peeled)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 a bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
a couple big pinches of fine-grain sea salt
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 big handful of toasted cashews, chopped up a bit
a few handfuls of spinach, or chopped kale, or chopped chard
zest and juice of one lime
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 small handful fresh mint, slivered
1 small handful fresh basil, slivered

Have all your ingredients prepped and within arms reach of the stove. Heat a splash of sesame oil in a large pan, or well-seasoned wok over medium high heat. Alternately, you can do this in a dry non-stick pan - one of the few occasions I still use non-stick. When it is hot, add the tofu, and cook until golden - a few minutes. Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside.

Add another (generous) splash of oil to the pan and, as soon as it is hot, add the onions, ginger, red pepper flakes, asparagus, and salt. Stir fry for about a minute, then add the garlic, cashews, and spinach and stir-fry for another minute, or until the spinach wilts. Return the tofu to the pan. Stir in the lime zest and juice and the hoisin sauce. Cook for another 10-20 seconds, stirring all the while.

Remove from heat and stir in the mint and basil. Taste and add a bit more salt if needed.

Serves 2-4 (main/side)

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Aww I'm sorry about your car! That must be really annoying to deal with :( This stir fry looks incredible though :) Asparagus is one of my favorites and this dish looks so yummy -- will keep it in mind and try and make it soon for sure.


YUM! Love the mint in there.


Sorry to hear about your car - what a hassle to deal with! Love the asparagus stir fry, though - that's probably my favorite veggie! Looks delicious!

Jen Schall @ My Kitchen Addiction

So sorry about your car! And what a drag that we even NEED cars in our society! This stir fry, on the other hand, is a must-have. Can't wait to try it out after my visit to the grocer's today.


OH I thought of a question... would this recipe double well? Thanks, Heidi!

Trish in MO

I adore asparagus! I believe they are my favorite green veggie, with brussel sprouts and artichokes tied for second! I have such bad luck with gardens, I'm afraid to try them! I really love the mix you've created and can't wait to try it!

Trish in MO

Just out of curiosity, Heidi, when you've chopped your ingredients, what do you put them in/on until they're ready to go into the pan? Bowls? Paper plates? Wax paper? Multiple cutting boards? Towels? Hope your car appt is quick!


I used to make stir fry all the time with my old boyfriend- it kept him busy and away from bad junk food while dinner was getting ready. He would chop- I did the rest. This recipe is re-inspiring my love of the mix of veggies and spice. The mint and lime is so unique to have in there. And everything tastes beter with some crumbled cashews on top.

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen

Looks really good and healthy. well done a winner for sure. :) xx


How awful about your car! That sounds truly bizarre--it was hit multiple times?! Thank goodness for the cheering and healing powers of asparagus et al. This looks delicious, and is so perfectly seasonal.


I'm in the process of getting my asparagus crowns into raised beds this spring. Can't wait for my own supply of asparagus! This looks super yummy. I guess I'll have to buy my stalks this year. I bet this would be good with green garlic or ramps too, both seasonal treats this time of year.


This sounds really tasty, Heidi. I've never used asparagus in a stir-fy, but it is one of my favorite veggies so I'll have to give this recipe a try! Such a bummer about your car - I hope it isn't too much of a hassle to get fixed.


sorry to hear about your car. i think yesterday was a weird day all around. i hate the stress that comes with accidents and insurance. hope it goes smoothly and quickly for you at least. i don't think i've posted here before but i visit you every day--thanks for your careful recipes. your photos are ALWAYS beautiful which i think is unique to your blog.


We're just about two weeks away from asparagus season here in Rhode Island. I can't wait -- there's an asparagus farm half an hour west of here, in a beautiful part of Connecticut, where you can go into the sorting room and buy asparagus cut that morning, sorted into five different sizes from pencil-thin to super-fat. It's great fun to buy that way, and I've never had better asparagus.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

I adore asparagus (have you read Kingsolver's chapter about it in Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?). We have a large patch of it, but because it's still early it's coming up slow, though soon enough we'll be inundated. Then I'll be experimenting with all sorts of asparagus recipes and we'll be eating it every meal. Asparagus is what spring is all about, no?

Mama JJ

Nice combination of flavors. I love asparagus and I by some each week! I need new reciepes, thank you for yours...

Dominique (De vous à moi...)

oh no! what a terrible reason to have miss the farmer's market! The dish looks great though -- simple, flavorful, healthy -- where I am living now is basically the asparagus (spargel) capital of Germany, so I am always looking for different preparations.

Jen (Modern Beet)

shame on the person(s) who hit your car multiple times! how does that even happen? hope it's all resolve for you soon. well, i just wanted to say how much i love your site, although you must hear that a lot. the quality is just oustanding. feel free to visit my food site- i'm still kind of new at it, but working on it- and I've listed your blog as one of my very favorites: My Halal Kitchen at all the best.


Sorry to hear about your car! It sort of reminds me of a scene in "Fried Green Tomatoes" ( I know, I know) where teenagers steal a woman's parking space - "We're younger and faster and we do what we want!"--and she smashes their car multiple times with hers--"I'm older and I have better insurance!" Point being, how does one hit the same car multiple times? Hope it all works out...




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