The Most Important Things to Know About Turning Frozen Vegetables into Mind-Blowing Meals

updated Apr 9, 2020
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Frozen vegetables are the ultimate convenience food, now more than ever. They help keep your weekly food budget in check, eliminate prep time, and since they’re flash frozen at peak ripeness, they’re packing just as much wholesome goodness as their fresh counterparts.

Our best advice: Grab whatever frozen veggies you can get your hands on. Just remember these important tips.

1. Choose bags over boxes.

When faced with a choice of a bag (bonus points for the resealable ones) or a box of frozen vegetables, opt for the bag for maximum flexibility. You can just pour what you need from the bag instead of thawing the whole block.

2. Use them straight from the freezer.

Any time you’re making a dish that can handle a little extra moisture (think: pasta, risotto, soups, sauces, and curries), you can add those veggies straight from the freezer to the pot. The same goes for when you’re adding veggies to the blender for smoothies.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

3. Thaw first when your dish can’t handle the excess moisture.

There are certain recipes where frozen vegetables should be thawed first: Egg dishes (think: frittatas and quiche), pizza, and savory pies and tarts can easily turn soggy and loose when frozen vegetables are added before thawing.

4. Use a potato ricer to squeeze water from thawed spinach.

Frozen spinach is one vegetable that has a tendency to retain a ton of excess water. Before adding thawed spinach to a recipe, it’s a good idea to press out as much liquid as possible. One of our favorite tricks for this task is a potato ricer. It keeps things mess-free.

Read more:

Helpful Hint: A New Use for Your Potato Ricer!

5. Roast vegetables straight from the freezer.

Microwaving and steaming are not the only ways to get those frozen veggies on the dinner table. You can also roast them and still get those irresistibly crispy, charred edges you get with fresh veggies. The secret is an easy, three-step method that guarantees roasted perfection every time: Use plenty of fat, preheat the baking sheet, and turn the oven temp up extra high.

Some Inspiration to Get You Started

Your turn! What’s your favorite way to make a meal out of frozen vegetables?