home cooked dinners by the season

30-Minute Asparagus Chicken Skillet

30-Minute Asparagus Chicken Skillet

I’m in one of those phases where I will only consider a recipe if it takes less then 45 minutes to prepare and if it’s in one pan. I spent several weeks in April working on three different asparagus recipes with this goal in mind and this recipe was the favorite. Healthy was the other requirement. Which is why I’m an advocate of cooking with ingredients in their peak season.

Seasonal food means local. And more likely more nutritious because it has traveled a shorter distance and was picked closer to it’s best ripening time and developed it’s potential nutrients. And the flavor is always better when you are eating produce in its prime time.  It’s also cheaper because of the abundance of availability when a food is in season.

If you’ve always considered asparagus a side dish, here is your chance to try it a different way – cut into short rods and used as a main ingredient along with bite size slices of chicken breast. Ground chicken can also be used for a shortcut to get it on the table faster. Using a large skillet (or a wok if you have one) makes the cooking process faster as there is more hot surface area for the ingredients to touch and cook. The four ingredient sauce made with a base of soy sauce and hoisin sauce and brightened with the distinct flavors of orange zest and sesame oil can be made ahead to save time. And the handful of crunchy peanuts and refreshing cilantro leaves stirred in at the end will seal the deal for this one to be in your regular meal rotation.

For a more substantial meal serve it over cooked farro, rice or quinoa.

30 Minute Asparagus Chicken Skillet
Serves: 3 to 4 servings (depending on how hungry you are)
  • Sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • Skillet:
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12-16 ounces chicken breast, sliced into bite-size pieces (ground chicken breast can be substituted)
  • 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed then cut into 1-2 inch pieces (see note for trimming asparagus)
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sliced or chopped ginger
  • 1 cup sliced celery (about 3 stalks)
  • ⅓ cup unsalted or salted peanuts
  • ½ cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
  1. For the sauce, whisk together soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil and orange zest.
  2. For the skillet, heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet or wok. Add chicken spreading around in a single layer covering as much of the pan as possible. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and cook several minutes to get good browning before stirring. Add ginger and stir and cook with chicken a few minutes until chicken is cooked through. Add asparagus and cook and stir until just "crisp-tender" about 3-4 minutes. Add celery and cook and stir just to soften 1 to 2 minutes. Add sauce and stir to coat all ingredients and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add peanuts and cilantro and stir to evenly mix. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
To trim asparagus: I prefer to hold one stalk and bend it until it naturally breaks as this is the place where tough meets tender. Then line all the other stalks up and trim them to this same place with a knife.

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6 thoughts on “30-Minute Asparagus Chicken Skillet”

  • We just moved and still getting organized. By dinner time, I am tired and we’re both sick of Trader Joes and take out.
    This meal was just what we needed – easy, quick (although it took awhile to find my wok!) and delicious! Thank you!

    • Liz:

      Thank you for taking the time to comment about my most recent blog recipe using asparagus. Especially with moving! I appreciate hearing from you – feedback makes my day!


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