What is the difference between white and green asparagus?

In this brief article, we are going to answer the question, “What is the difference between white and green asparagus?”, and discuss how white and green asparagus are cooked, along with health benefits and nutritional profile of white and green asparagus. 

What is the difference between white and green asparagus?

The difference between white and green asparagus is that white asparagus has a more delicate flavour than green asparagus.White asparagus is grown underground while green asparagus needs sunlight to grow. 

White asparagus is white in colour, because as the spears of the asparagus grow, they are completely covered with thick dirt or black plastic preventing them from exposure to sunlight, as a result no chlorophyll is produced to give them a green colour. 

Whereas the spears of the green asparagus are allowed to poke free from dirt, giving them a chance to get exposed to sunlight, make chlorophyll and give them a green colour. 

White asparagus is grassier and sweeter with a hint of bitterness and is thicker and more fibrous than green asparagus.

How to cook white asparagus?

White asparagus is cooked by simmering it in salted water and drizzling with melted butter or they can be dipped in hollandaise (A type of sauce similar to mayonnaise). They can also be roasted or grilled.

How to cook green asparagus?

Green asparagus can be cooked by roasting, baking, sauteing, shaving and adding to salads. 

Overcooking or cooking for longer periods of time, washes away or destroys the water soluble nutrients and may also destroy other beneficial components which are sensitive to heat, lowering the nutritional profile of asparagus, be it green or white.

What is the nutrient profile of asparagus?

1 cup of asparagus contains 26.8 calories, 5 grams of sugars, 2.8 g of fats, 3.0 grams of proteins, 32.2 mg of calcium, 2.9 mg of iron, 18.8 mg of magnesium, 69.7 mg of phosphorus, 271 mg of potassium, 0.7 mg of zinc, 0.2 mg of magnesium and 21.4 mg of choline

Furthermore, 1 cup of asparagus also contains, 3 micrograms of selenium, 7.5 mg of Vitamin C, 69.7 micrograms of folate, 0.8 mg of betaine, 951 micrograms of lutein and zeaxanthin, 1.5mg of vitamin E, 55.7 microgram of vitamin K and 50.9 micrograms vitamin A.

What are the health benefits of white and green asparagus?

Growth and development

Asparagus plays an essential role in foetal growth and development, during gestation, infancy and childhood. because it is rich in folate, otherwise known as vitamin B9.

Reduces the risk of depression

It also reduces the risk of depression by preventing the production of high amounts of homocysteine (an amino acid that can cause blockage and prevent blood and nutrients to go to the brain) in the body and therefore reduce the risk of stroke. 

Helps to regulate blood glucose levels

White and green asparagus have a low glycemic index (rate at which the food consumed increases the amount of glucose in blood), and is an excellent food choice for patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, and even for type I diabetes, those who are on insulin. 

Reduces blood pressure

The high amounts of potassium and fibre makes it a good source to lower blood pressure and also reduce the levels of LDL (blood cholesterol). Amount of fibre present in asparagus also lowers the incidence and complexities during constipation, and gives a feeling of fullness which can lead to reduced appetite and therefore decrease the risk of weight gain. 

The levels of potassium in asparagus reduces the incidence of heart diseases, as the American Heart association recommends people to reduce the consumption of sodium and increase the amount of potassium consumption from food.

Promotes bone health

Asparagus also helps to prevent osteoporosis, as it provides half the amount of the daily requirement of vitamin K, which is an important vitamin that has a role in the maintenance of healthy bones. 

Vitamin K also works with potassium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus all of which have their own significant and very important role in bone health, and in increasing bone mineral density.


In this brief article, we answered  the question, “What is the difference between white and green asparagus?”, and discussed how white and green asparagus are cooked, along with health benefits and nutritional profile of white and green asparagus. 



Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.