Sweet and Spicy Asparagus
Sweet and Spicy Asparagus

Recently it feels like every time I open a magazine there is article highlighting the latest celebrity trying out a juice cleanse.  The most recognizable still seems to be the Master Cleanse.  Everyone from Beyonce to Ashton Kutcher have tried it and shared their experiences.  I’m sure you have heard about it too- you drink a spicy concoction of lemonade and maple syrup that helps you lose weight and (supposedly) feel great.

While I am not a fan of fasting, I have tried and love the cayenne-maple-lemonade mixture.   There is something about the sweet, spicy and tart flavors mixing together that I find incredibly satisfying.  Turns out there are also many benefits to the drink.  All three ingredients have immune boosting properties.  Both cayenne pepper and lemons are anti-fungal and natural detoxing agents.  Pure maple syrup contains polyphenols, plant based enzymes that act the same way as antioxidants, which are known help to fight inflammation.  Put them all together and you have a drink that will both kick start your digestion and help to stimulate your liver.

So how did I end up pairing that with asparagus?

asaparagus ovenWell besides tasting really yummy, Asparagus is also a great vegetable to cleanse your liver. I usually drizzle my asparagus with oil then sprinkle a little bit of lemon juice when I serve. I thought adding the cayenne pepper, maple syrup to the lemon juice while cooking could turn the flavors up a notch while making a super nutritious dish. Thankfully, I was right!

A couple of things to note:

  • Be careful when adding the cayenne pepper, especially if you are serving to guests.  Your personal preference may be different from those around you and a little bit of cayenne goes a long way.
  • Do not pinch the cayenne between your fingers, it is better to use the top of your spice container to help sprinkle over the asparagus stalks.  The lemon juice will help to neutralize some of the powder’s punch, but less is always more.
  • Always use pure maple syrup when cooking.  Processed maple syrup is full of artificial ingredients and processed sugars.  The only ingredient on the bottle should read “maple syrup”.
  • There will be some juice in the pan when you are done cooking.  Make sure to drizzle it onto dish when serving.  Not only does is add a little pop of color, but the stalks can be dipped in it for extra flavor.

Sweet and Spicy Asparagus

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Sweet and Spicy Asparagus


  • 1 lb. Asparagus
  • 2 Tbsp Grapeseed Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper Powder
  • Salt
  • Juice from 1/2 Lemon


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Wash and pat dry asparagus. Trim off ends
  3. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and spread asparagus evenly throughout the pan.
  4. Drizzle with grapeseed oil and maple syrup. Using your hands, toss so that all stems are coated and moist.
  5. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper and a dash of salt to taste. Make sure that there are no pockets of cayenne. Shake pan or mix with hands to help spread out flavors (if you use your hands again to toss, make sure to wash right away. You do not want to accidentally rub the spice getting in your eyes or a cut!)
  6. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon over the all stems and put tray in oven.
  7. Cook for 30 minutes until all stems are tender.

Entertaining tip:  I like to serve on a cutting board with my Honey Roasted Carrots. The sweet and savory nature of these two dishes really compliment each other and the colors will brighten up any table.

Bon appetit!

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