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Pan Sauteed Asparagus

Pan Sauteed Asparagus with fresh tart cranberries, toasted pine nuts, zested citrus and grated Parmesan cheese make a beautiful and scrumptious holiday side dish.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Pan Seared Asparags
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 16 minutes
Servings 5 servings
Author Ang Paris



  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  • 1 lb fresh asparagus
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 clementine, zested
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Rinse and trim the ends of the asparagus.
  • In a large skillet, heat the butter or olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the asparagus and cook for about 4 minutes, tossing frequently.
  • After that, add the cranberries, toasted pine nuts, citrus zest, and fresh Parmesan.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook for another 4-6 minutes, depending on how thick your asparagus is and how tender you like it.
  • Serve hot with additional grated Parmesan cheese.


How many stalks of asparagus is a serving?

The USDA notes the serving size for asparagus as about 6 spears, or half a cup.

How much asparagus do I need?

One pound of asparagus is approximately 30 spears and will feed about 5 people.

Do you peel asparagus?

The larger the asparagus stalk, the more tough it will be. If the stalks are 1/2-inch in diameter or larger, I would recommend peeling them.

Do you need to toast pine nuts?

I strongly recommend that you toast the pine nuts to bring out their full flavor. If you cannot find toasted pine nuts in your grocery store, you can toast them yourself.

How to Toast Pine Nuts

  1. Preheat the oven to 375-degrees F.
  2. Spread the pine nuts on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer.
  3. Bake for 5-10 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes until the pine nuts are golden brown.
  4. Transfer the toasted pine nuts to a bowl so that they do not continue to cook.

Toasted pine nuts should be stored in an airtight container or resealable bag. They will keep for 3-6 months in the freezer.

Recipe Variations

You can make this recipe without the cranberries and/or pine nuts if you're looking for a more simple side dish. Here are some other ways to make pan sauteed asparagus:
  • For an everyday side dish, use lemon zest and almonds instead of clementine and pine nuts.
  • Feta cheese on asparagus is especially yummy and can be substituted for the Parmesan cheese.
Please note: I am not a registered dietician. Any nutritional data I provide is an approximation and actual dietary information can vary based on ingredients and portion sizes.