Asparagus with Mustard Sauce (Photo: Darlene Zimmerman)

It’s a sure sign of spring when grocery stores and produce markets are loaded up with asparagus. 

According to the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board, approximately 120 Michigan farmers produce about 20 million pounds of asparagus during the state?s 6 to 7 week harvest. That makes Michigan second in the nation for asparagus production.

Aside from taste, there are nutritional advantages to enjoying asparagus. A mere five spears of asparagus provides almost half the recommended daily amount of vitamin K, which plays a crucial role in blood clotting. It is so important that newborns receive a vitamin K injection immediately after birth to prevent bleeding. People taking anticoagulants or blood thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin) must pay close attention to the amount of vitamin K they consume, as it can alter the effectiveness of the medication.

Asparagus provides a healthy dose of the B vitamin folate. Pregnant women who don?t get enough folate are at risk of having a baby with neural tube defects, including spina bifida. Folate deficiency can also increase the chances of having a premature or low-birth-weight baby.

More: Asparagus tart: 5 ingredient recipe is easy Easter side dish

According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, asparagus contains glutathione, an antioxidant and potential cancer fighter.

We dressed today’s simply steamed asparagus with a delicious mustard sauce. Combining reduced-fat sour cream and regular mayonnaise created a wonderfully creamy condiment for this seasonal vegetable. Regular, full-fat mayonnaise comes with a big calorie price tag (100 calories per tablespoon), four times that of reduced-fat sour cream. But, by combining these two ingredients we created a rich, velvety smooth sauce and kept the calories in check. That’s what you call a win, win.

When buying asparagus for today?s recipe, look for firm, bright green stalks that stand straight. The tips should be a deep green or purplish color, closed and compact. Partially open or wilted tips are signs of age. Store fresh asparagus in the refrigerator to preserve its tenderness and natural sweetness. For best quality, use within three days of purchase.

Darlene Zimmerman is a registered dietitian in Henry Ford Hospital’s Heart & Vascular 
Institute. For questions about today?s recipe, call 313-972-1920.

Steamed Asparagus with Mustard Sauce

Serves: 6 / Preparation time: 10 minutes / Total time: 10 minutes

1 ¼ pounds fresh asparagus
3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛teaspoon black pepper

Clean asparagus and remove woody bases. Leave spears whole and place in a steamer basket. Cover and steam 3 to 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Spoon mustard sauce over steamed asparagus and serve.

Created by Darlene Zimmerman, MS, RD, for Heart Smart.

65 calories (69% from fat), 5 grams fat (1 gram sat. fat, 0 grams trans fat), 4 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams protein, 91 mg sodium, 6 mg cholesterol, 35 mg calcium, 2 grams fiber. Food exchanges: 1 vegetable, 1 fat.

 

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