Eat your vegetables: who didn’t get that one blasted on repeat as a child? I for one heard it many, many times, and can recall sitting alone in time-out at the dining room table, staring down at a mound of green, hanging onto every last bit of resistance within me. Even as a child, the problem was easily identifiable — those vegetables had lived in a can for quite some time, and simply put, they were gross.

Growing up, we ate a lot of canned veggies, and it’s no wonder they didn’t excite me. The colors were hum-drum and the texture was mushy. Now, I’m not completely against canned items, but I try to avoid them, especially when it comes to side dishes. The fact is that preparing fresh vegetables doesn’t really take all that much more time, and the flavor and nutrients preserved within them is significant.

My asparagus and mushroom bake is a healthy mix, perfect for busy folks, or anyone looking to up their side dish game. The asparagus stays vibrantly green and is cooked just to al dente. The mushrooms add a beautiful, earthy element, and burst with flavor as they absorb the butter and cook down to perfection. Use this dish as side or even as a topper for baked fish. It is versatile in application, and I can guarantee, with flavors like this, vegetables will no longer seem like a punishment. Enjoy.

For fresh takes on vegetables, go to and find the “On the Side” page.

Mushroom & Asparagus Bake


8 ounces white button mushrooms

2 bunches asparagus, cut at a 1 1/2″ bias

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Generous pinch black pepper

4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into tiny cubes


Preheat oven to 425°.

Brush the mushrooms clean with a damp paper towels and cut into quarters. Set aside until ready to use.

Lay a large sheet of aluminum foil across a rimmed baking sheet. Add another sheet of aluminum foil to the baking sheet, laying it in the opposite direction. Add the mushrooms, asparagus, olive oil, salt and pepper to the middle of the top foil sheet and toss to combine. Dot the top with butter cubes and enclose in foil, creating a little package and wrapping tightly.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or just until the mushrooms are cooked through. Toss vegetables in the juices accumulated at the bottom of the packet, serve and enjoy.