The Best Low Carb Asparagus Ham Twists
These low carb Asparagus Ham Twists with a Lemon Dijon Dip are wrapped in mozzarella dough. Serve as an appetizer or side dish!
For more healthy and delicious recipe ideas, be sure to follow us on FoodTalk and visit our blog!
I don’t know about you, but asparagus just screams spring to me!
So when we started planning a spring brunch, I knew I wanted to make a recipe featuring asparagus.
My Easter menu always includes both asparagus and ham, so that seemed like the perfect combination for a brunch appetizer.
And is there anything better than wrapping an appetizer in dough?
I mean, hello, pigs in a blanket!
So why not wrap some asparagus with both ham and a tasty dough?!
It’s a delicious combination.
Especially with a nice Lemon Dijon dip.
Since starting the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle in 2016, I don’t really eat the kind of dough usually used for these types of appetizers.
Refrigerated crescent rolls?
However, I make an amazing dough from mozzarella cheese ( you’ve got to check out these little keto garlic biscuits!)
So why not try a similar kind of fat head dough for this low carb asparagus appetizer?
One twist is an appetizer serving, but you can have 2-3 bundles as a healthy, keto-friendly snack or meal!
What’s Mozzarella Dough?
In 2008, there was a documentary called Fat Head that shows how the “low fat, low cholesterol” diet actually led to the obesity epidemic in the United States.
If you’ve ever heard of keto, a low carb, high fat way of eating, its popularity grew thanks to this movie.
Someone discovered that you can create a very bread-like dough using mozzarella cheese and a blend of low carb flours!
This type of dough is often called “fat head dough” after the movie, or “magic mozzarella dough.”
Because let’s face it, making bread out of cheese?
If you don’t follow a low carb lifestyle, you can substitute refrigerator crescent dough or frozen puff pastry for the dough.
This dough tastes so much better combined with the asparagus and ham!
Can You Make This Appetizer in Advance?
I love how easy it is to make this appetizer a few days before your brunch.
You can do it a few different ways.
You can make the mozzarella dough in advance, and then assemble the Asparagus Ham Twists the day of your event.
Assemble the twists in advance, but wait to bake them until just before serving them.
Or, go ahead and bake them before the event and they’re delicious served cold!
How to Store Leftover Asparagus Ham Twists
Since this appetizer is made using ham and a dairy-based dough, you will need to store any leftovers in the refrigerator.
I’ve even stored them in the freezer and reheated them from frozen.
If you decide to freeze your leftovers, I recommend using parchment paper to separate them and prevent them from sticking together.
A zipper-style of freezer bag works great!
Tips and Tricks For Making Asparagus Ham Twists
Prepare the Asparagus
Before you prepare the dough, you need to prepare the fresh asparagus.
Have you ever noticed that asparagus comes in different sizes?
Like sometimes, each piece is really fat!
And other times?
The asparagus is really skinny.
If your asparagus is really thin, use 3-5 pieces for each bundle.
But if it’s thick? Just use 1-2 pieces for each bundle.
Wash the fresh asparagus and trim about 2 inches from the bottom of each piece.
Lay it out on paper towels to dry and sprinkle it lightly with salt.
By the time you’ve made the dough the asparagus will be ready to go!
Prepare the fat head dough
Now it’s time to make the dough!
The first time I made dough from mozzarella cheese, I followed the recipe’s instructions to first melt the mozzarella cheese, and then to mix in the dry ingredients.
It was so hard to get the dry ingredients mixed in well to the melted cheese!
So the next time I made the dough, I tried something different: I stirred together the shredded cheese and the flours before melting the cheese.
And guess what!
It was so much easier to combine the ingredients this way.
So start with combining the shredded cheese, almond flour, coconut flour, garlic powder, and glucomannan powder (or xanthan gum).
Mix it all together really well so the dry ingredients are mixed throughout the shredded cheese.
Then add the cream cheese (it doesn’t need to get mixed in yet).
Then pop the bowl in the microwave on high for one minute.
Give the dough a stir to incorporate the melted cheese with the other ingredients.
If the cheese isn’t completely melted, heat it for another 30 seconds.
Depending on your microwave, you may need to heat it for another 30 seconds after that one.
Next, add the beaten eggs to the mozzarella dough mixture.
It takes a little time to work the beaten egg completely into the dough.
I’ve found it helps to fold the dough over the eggs, and smoosh it.
Then fold it again, and smoosh it.
This method gets the eggs mixed in much more quickly than stirring.
At this point, you can refrigerate the dough until you’re ready to assemble the appetizers.
Assemble the Asparagus Ham Appetizers
First, you’ll need to cut the dough into strips to wrap around the asparagus bundles.
To get the dough into strips, turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper.
Place another piece of parchment paper on top of the dough, and roll it out to about 1/8-inch thickness.
If you don’t have a rolling pin, you can just spread it out using your hands or even substitute a glass for the rolling pin.
Try to form the dough into a rectangular shape.
Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 8 strips.
Ignore the number of strips in the photo above!
This was a double batch.
After all, I needed to test how well they froze and reheated!
Once the dough is ready, it’s time to assemble the twists.
Now, take a piece of thinly-sliced deli ham and wrap it around a bundle of asparagus.
Next, wrap each bundle with one strip of the dough.
Keep in mind, mozzarella dough is different from other kinds of doughs.
It’s not quite as flexible and can break while you wrap the strips around the bundles of asparagus.
Fortunately, the dough is so easy to smoosh back together!
So if it does come apart, just pinch the edges back together and you’ll never notice it after it’s baked.
Bake the Asparagus Ham Bundles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
After all, this dough is made out of cheese.
Which can really end up sticking to a baking sheet!
But parchment paper?
It’s like a miracle layer of protection and nothing sticks to it.
Mix up the dipping sauce
While the bundles are baking, whisk together the dipping sauce.
The Asparagus Rollups are done when the dough is lightly browned and feels dry to the touch.
Place the bundles on a plate along with the sauce and serve!
And then get ready to share this recipe with all your friends because they’re gonna love it!
The Best Low Carb Asparagus Ham Twists
- 16-40 stalks of asparagus (see notes)*
- 8 thin slices of smoked deli ham
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 2 Tbsp coconut flour
- 1 Tbsp cream cheese
- 1/2 tsp gucomannan or xanthan gum
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 1 large egg, beaten
Lemon Dijon Dipping Sauce
- 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
- 1. Wash the fresh asparagus and trim about 2 inches from the bottom of each piece. Lay it out on paper towels to dry and sprinkle it lightly with salt.
- 2. Preheat oven to 375 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- 3. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, stir together shredded mozzarella cheese, almond flour, coconut flour, garlic powder, and glucomannan powder. Bury the cream cheese in mixture.
- 4. Heat the cheese mixture in the microwave on high power for 60 seconds, and stir well. If the cheese isn't completely melted, continue to heat at 30 second increments until its completely melted.
- 5. Add the beaten egg to the dough, and fold in until fully incorporated. The dough should not be sticky. If the dough is too sticky, add additional coconut flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until the dough is smooth and able to be rolled.
- 6. Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper into a 4 x 12 rectangle. The dough will be about 1/8-inch thick.
- 7. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough lengthwise into 8 strips.
- 8. To assemble the Asparagus Ham Twists, wrap each bundle of asparagus tightly with one thin slice of deli ham. Then wrap one strip of dough around each bundle. If the dough breaks while you're wrapping it, simply pinch it back together.
- 9. Place the twists on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet, about an inch apart. Bake at 375 F for 12-15 minutes, until the dough is lightly browned and firm and dry to the touch on top.
- 10. While baking, whisk together the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and lemon pepper and place in a small ramekin.
- 11. Serve immediately, or refrigerate and serve chilled with the Lemon Dijon Dip. Refrigerate any leftovers.
- * Asparagus comes in a variety of thicknesses. If your asparagus is very thin, use 4-5 stalks for each bundle. If your asparagus is very thick, use 2 stalks for each bundle.