Blue plate with asparagus spears, chicken and bucatini pastaLooking for a flavorful, easy, and quick-to-make spring meal?

This asparagus, chicken, and pasta dish fits the bill!

Did An Acupuncturist Seriously Just Tell Me to Eat Pasta?

Yep. Seasonal eating in Chinese medicine includes not just the fruits and vegetables currently being harvested, but also specific types of grains and meats. It’s recommended to eat wheat and chicken in the springtime.


If you’re reading this and you live in the U.S., you likely have access to asparagus, carrots, wheat, and chicken year-round.  Historically, though, these have been available only in the spring in the Northern hemisphere.

In addition, different flavors have different effects on the body in Chinese dietary therapy. Chicken, asparagus, carrots, and wheat are considered sweet.

Sweetness helps relax the organ systems associated with the springtime, the Liver and Gall Bladder. These meridians are connected to new growth, ideas, and the frustration and irritation that can result from bringing them into being. A Chinese medicine classic, the Nei Jing Su Wen, states “to swiftly assuage the liver, eat sweet.” Gives you another perspective on why you might crave sugar when stressed out!

Eating too much sweet-flavored food (meat, beans, tofu, wheat, rice, dairy, and especially refined sugar) can throw you out of balance. From a Chinese medical perspective, overeating sweet flavors can cause you to feel bloated, tired, lethargic, lacking motivation and energy to exercise, have brain fog, and can lead to increased adipose tissue (fat). If that sounds familiar, consider moderating your consumption of these foods.

You don’t need to skip them altogether, but pay attention to how often and how much you eat and make an effort to reduce them. (If you’re Celiac or diabetic, consider switching to chickpea pasta or skipping the pasta, as appropriate.)

Spring Asparagus, Chicken & Pasta

Chicken rolls

18 oz. chicken or veggie broth (if using bone broth, you may want to cut it with water)

Herbes de Provence

Chicken breasts (modify depending on how many people you are cooking for)

1 bunch of asparagus

  • Wash asparagus and snap off the bases. Separate shorter pieces from longer pieces.
  • Heat chicken or veggie broth in a deep skillet and sprinkle in about 1 teaspoon of herbes de Provence over medium-high heat.
  • If you have a meat tenderizer, use it to flatten the chicken breast.
  • Lay chicken breasts flat, and lightly dust with herbes de Provence.
  • Place several short asparagus spears at the widest edge of the chicken breast.
  • Roll chicken breast so that asparagus spears are wrapped inside.
  • Wrap each individually rolled chicken breast in tin foil, the shiny side facing in.
  • Place the foiled chicken rolls into simmering broth and cook for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, place longer asparagus spears into broth and simmer for up to 5 minutes.
  • Remove asparagus spears and chicken from broth.
  • Unwrap chicken and check that it is cooked all the way through using a meat thermometer or by cutting into the thickest section to confirm there are no pink areas.
  • If chicken is not fully cooked, return to broth and heat until it is.


1-2 carrots

Grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese if desired

Wheat, gluten-free* or chickpea pasta

*Mill Valley Pasta Company makes an amazing gluten-free pasta, available dried their website or fresh at their store front and AIM Marin County Farmers Markets. Please note that it does contain egg.

  • Heat salted water.
  • Once water is boiling, add pasta and cook according to directions.
  • While water is heating and/or pasta cooks, grate 1-2 carrots (depending on how much pasta you are serving).
  • When pasta is done cooking strain and put in a serving bowl.
  • Add shredded carrot and grated cheese if desired and toss.

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