If you ask me, frozen vegetables are the ultimate convenience food. Not only will they help keep your weekly food budget in check, but they also eliminate prep time. And since they're flash frozen at peak ripeness, they're packing just as much wholesome goodness as their fresh counterparts.
These days, grocery stores are stocking way more than frozen peas and carrots — and the selection keeps on growing. Whether you're making a side or turning them into dinner, frozen vegetables can often be used the same as fresh. 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, always opt for the bag. Not only does it mean your veggies won't freeze into a brick, but you can also just pour what you need from the bag instead of thawing the whole block.
2. Use them straight from the freezer.
Don't be so fast to get out your steamer basket or turn to the microwave. 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.
3. Thaw first when your dish can't handle the excess moisture.
There are certain dishes that call for frozen vegetables that should be thawed first. Items like 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 also a good idea to press out as much liquid as possible. One of our favorite tricks for this task is a potato ricer. It easier and keeps things mess-free.
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 ensures 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?