Sides, Veggies

Purple Asparagus with Herbed Ailoi


Did you know that purple asparagus doesn’t stay purple for long? It turns green while being cooked! I wish someone would have let me on this secret. This little bit of news completely busted my bubble the other night because I was so excited to present to you all ( as if I am on an awards show or something) a beautiful plate of bright purple asparagus perfectly steamed with a nice herbed ailoi on top. This did not happen. Well at least not the color part- I do however, still have a beautiful plate to show you and a side dish that is sure to please both the eye and stomach but purple it is not! Bummer…. (Note: at least the water they were cooked in turned purple- that is a plus right?)

Some may say steam, others say broil and some prefer grilled but I think steamed asparagus brings out the best flavor of the vegetable especially when accompanied by flavors of lemon and herbs. The herbed aioli would also bring a nice freshness to fish (like my Potato Crusted Salmon) and will aid in keeping the fish moist after cooking- a trick a lot- but not all restaurants use in order to please the customers or rather fake the customers into thinking the fish is perfectly cooked when its actually too dry! Shhh! Don’t tell anyone I said that!

Oh and note on the Ailoi- I used pre-made Mayo. Yes you can make your own homemade mayo and be a superstar and all but I didn’t have time for that. I chose to be Robin that night and not Batman! LOL!


Purple Asparagus with Herbed Ailoi
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 bunch of purple asparagus, cleaned with ends cut
  • 1 cup mayo
  • ¼ tsp prepared horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic, pressed and minced until almost paste like
  • ½ tsp salt and pepper each
  • ¼ cup fresh chives, chopped
  • ¼ cup Italian Parsley, chopped
  • 2 TBSP of fresh chopped basil
  1. To make the Ailoi:
  2. Mix the mayo with the remaining ingredients- that easy- yes there is a harder way (which involves making your own mayo) but seriously- who has that kind of time!
  3. For the Asparagus:
  4. Place water in the bottom half of a steamer pan set. Add dash of salt and about 1 TBSP of butter, and bring to a boil. Trim the dry ends off of the asparagus. If the spears are thick, peel them lightly with a vegetable peeler. Place them in the top half of the steamer pan set. Steam for 5 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the asparagus, or until asparagus is tender.


  1. Joanne

    I bet you could boil pasta or rice or a grain in that water and turn it purple!

    This dish sounds delicious even if it’s not as vibrantly colored as you thought it would be. Love that aioli!

    09 . Nov . 2011
  2. lena

    we dont have purple varieties here, only the green ones..oh, so that’s the trick that some restaurants keep…ok..sssh..and i just love the sauce here..i really got to learn more western cooking ideas from you!

    09 . Nov . 2011
  3. Shawn

    Purple or not, it looks delicious!

    P.S. I’m loving your all new “bells & whistles”

    09 . Nov . 2011
  4. Linda

    Now where did you ever find purple asparagus!! I agree it would have been neat to present it purple! I like to steam mine as well or any other method than boiling which just turns to mush! Great recipe!!

    09 . Nov . 2011
  5. Biren @ Roti n Rice

    A lot of purple vegetables do turn green when cooked. I was very excited as well last year when I found purple peppers but they turned green on me too. That herb aioli sounds delicious!

    09 . Nov . 2011
  6. kitchen flavours

    I love asparagus! Have not seen the purple ones before! We usually have the green ones, in a quick stir-fry with shrimps and lots of garlic, and we love it steamed too! One of my favourite veggies! Thanks for sharing, would love to try with Ailoi! Have a lovely day!

    09 . Nov . 2011
  7. Three-Cookies

    Sorry to hear about the purple. I didn’t know purple asparagus existed. I wonder if boiling with beetroot will preserve some of the color. BTW, very small technical detail, I am a Mr, I plan to stay this way:) I laugh when I see comments from you:)

    09 . Nov . 2011
    • kbelleicious

      Wait! I knew that! I swear I did! I must get carried away with my comments when i post. I am so used to saying girl! LOL!

      09 . Nov . 2011
  8. Collette Osuna

    Aww man, I wasn’t aware of this fact either…..I still thinkthe recipe rocks…and becuase of your blog with all of these new yummy recipes, Im going to have a cook off this weekend and hopefully amaze myself by actually NOT ruining any of your delicious dishes, lol……fashion, I AM…a cook? Im NOT, hahahaha…have a great day!
    Enter My Icelandic Design Knit Hat Giveaway!!

    09 . Nov . 2011
  9. Greg

    Well my wife calls me color blind, so these look purple to me, or green, or just really good. Love the sauce.

    09 . Nov . 2011
  10. Rachel @ The Avid Appetite

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen purple asparagus! Looks gorg 🙂 I also am loving your new site look!!!

    09 . Nov . 2011
  11. Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray

    Yum! This sounds great–that ailoi looks awesome!

    09 . Nov . 2011
  12. Kelli

    Wow I didnt know that they even had purple asparagus. How pretty I love how they still have a little bit of purple color. Cant wait to give this wonderful dish a try.

    09 . Nov . 2011
  13. lindsay

    lady, this looks awesome! we are BIG time asparagus lovers and i must try this asap. i normally just roast mine with olive oil, salt and pepper….and it can get kind of boring sometimes. so this new recipe will be perfect! 🙂

    09 . Nov . 2011
  14. Sandie

    lucky for you to still be able to get your hands on nice asparagus at this time of year! I bet the idea of cooking rice in the purple water would be great (risotto anyone?)
    Best, Sandie

    09 . Nov . 2011
  15. Erica

    Purple?? I’ve never seen purple. How fun! That sauce sounds just delicious

    09 . Nov . 2011
  16. foodfashionandflow

    I love asparagus! This looks really tasty!

    09 . Nov . 2011
  17. Nisrine

    I don’t eat asparagus too much buut this looks extremely delicious.

    09 . Nov . 2011
  18. sportsglutton

    Huge asparagus fans and love this ailoi on top of yours…though I might grill the asparagus instead of steaming, because that’s what guys do. 😉

    09 . Nov . 2011
  19. Candace

    I’ve never seen purple asparagus before! I’m so sorry that it didn’t turn out the color that you wanted it to; but, it looks fantastic to me, nonetheless. I am loving the aioli on top! Yum!

    09 . Nov . 2011
  20. Shea

    I didn’t know that about purple asparagus either. But either way, this looks delicious! I’m usually an asparagus roaster, but this steamed version with the aioli sounds amazing!

    09 . Nov . 2011
  21. vianney

    How cool are these? I have heard about purple asparagus, but have never been able to find them here in the valley. thanks for sharing!!

    09 . Nov . 2011
  22. Nami | Just One Cookbook

    Oh I’m sorry to hear the color didn’t stay… I actually have purple cauliflower in the fridge as my friend bought it from farmer’s market and gave it to me. I should assume that will also change color…lol.

    I’m sorry I’ve been MIA – meanwhile your blog look very autumn like! I love it!

    09 . Nov . 2011
  23. Annabel Manners

    Love asparagus but I bet I would love that aioli on just about anything!

    09 . Nov . 2011
  24. Foodness Gracious

    Not too worry, your dish still looks awesome! I would love to track down some purple asparagus, have you ever seen purple carrots?
    Take care..

    10 . Nov . 2011
  25. Mandy - The Complete Cook Book

    Oh, I have not had purple asparagus before. Fabulous looking dish. I usually serve my asparagus with a Hollandaise sauce but will definitely give this a try next round.
    🙂 Mandy

    10 . Nov . 2011
  26. Laural @ Being Healthier

    “fabulous dahling, fabulous”. I heart asparagus but haven’t had purple yet… looks like I’ll be making me some purple water this weekend !

    10 . Nov . 2011
  27. Velva

    I did not know that purple asparagus turned green when cooking (sigh). Still delicious, right?

    I love asparagus any way you can serve them up. I think my favorite is roasted. However, the ailoi sauce that brings asparagus to a new level.


    10 . Nov . 2011
  28. nancy at good food matters

    All of those specialty purple veggies–string beans, bell peppers, and asparagus–lose their beautiful purple color when cooked. It always makes me a little sad–but they are beautiful to grow.

    great tips on the best preparation for these yummy spears.

    10 . Nov . 2011
  29. Karen (Back Road Journal)

    The dish looks beautiful just the way it is. I like raw asparagus tips. Maybe you could serve the purple tips with some other raw vegetables and use your aioli as a dip.

    10 . Nov . 2011
  30. Phyllis

    This looks lovely – although purple would have been beautiful! But I’m sure the taste is just as good! Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

    10 . Nov . 2011
  31. yummychunklet

    Love purple asparagus! I’m just upset it doesn’t stay purple through the cooking/steaming process.

    10 . Nov . 2011
  32. Rachel

    I totally pinned this. Because I am totally trying this. OH YUM!!! 🙂

    10 . Nov . 2011
  33. Bree

    I have never tried purple asparagus–I will have to! This ailoi looks AMAZING!

    10 . Nov . 2011
  34. rosita vargas

    una receta sencilla que adoro,el alioli es estupendo,abrazos hugs,hugs.

    10 . Nov . 2011
  35. Kristy

    I’ve just started to enjoy asparagus, but I definitely need a sauce with it. This looks heavenly!!!! 🙂

    10 . Nov . 2011
  36. Malli

    Robin or Batman—you made the lovely spears of asparagus and sauce look so pleasing to the eyes:)
    The dish looks gorgeous and must be insanely tasty.Love it!!!

    10 . Nov . 2011
  37. Michele

    That looks to die for. Yum! And the pictures are gorgeous.

    11 . Nov . 2011
  38. Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking

    This looks so good. I am not a horseradish fan so I would probably leave it out but everything else looks and sounds wonderful. Here at our house we all love asparagus and I am always looking for new ways to serve it so thanks so much for this great looking recipe!!

    11 . Nov . 2011
  39. The Slow Roasted Italian

    Your funny! I bet Robin has a lot more family time. : )

    The asparagus looks lovely, even if its not purple!

    11 . Nov . 2011
  40. Reem | Simply Reem

    These look absolutely stunning…
    Purple or not, I bet they taste DELICIOUS!!!!

    11 . Nov . 2011
  41. Melynda@Moms Sunday Cafe

    Delicious! What a lovely presentation, even veggie haters would want some!

    13 . Nov . 2011
  42. Penniless Parenting

    Asparagus is a fortune here, but your food looks yummy. I think I might be trying out that sauce on other veggies though!

    15 . Nov . 2011
  43. Always Fashionable

    catching up on all your posts that I have missed. this side dish is definitely on my next dinner menu! So beautiful

    27 . Nov . 2011

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