I could wax poetic about my favorite Trader Joe's finds all day long (currently cannot get enough of the Mixed Nut Butter!), but beyond the snacks, condiments, and cheeses, the freezer section is a gold mine. Trader Joe's really gets frozen vegetables in a way that most other stores don't. Sure, you can pick up the standard bag of peas and broccoli florets, but the freezer cases are stocked with even more fun, interesting, and convenient finds you can't pick up anywhere else.
Here are five favorites I keep stashed in my freezer for quick sides, simple soups and stir-fries, and dinners when I don't feel like cooking.
- Grilled Cauliflower, $3 for 16 ounces: Buy this once and you will not go back to regular frozen cauliflower. What's hiding inside this bag of frozen vegetables is so much more than a quick side dish to go with whatever you're making for dinner (although, yes, it does pair well with anything you make). Grilling not only gives these florets a smoky char, but it also pulls out the cauliflower's natural sweetness.
- Country Potatoes with Haricots Verts and Wild Mushrooms, 16 ounces: My friend Meghan alerted me to these potatoes years ago, and I am forever indebted to her. I consider this frozen trio the MVP of frozen veggies. It's a mixture of thinly sliced potatoes partnered with slim, tender green beans and meaty mushrooms, flecked with plenty of herbs. This mix has a place on the table any time of day, from breakfast through dinner. Serve it as side, or top it with an egg or bulk it up with ground meat or sausage for dinner.
- Organic Superfood Pilaf, $4 for 16 ounces: This wholesome pilaf, mixed with quinoa, kale, sweet potatoes, and carrots, wins huge points in the convenience category. Serve this pilaf on its own, top it with an egg, mix in shredded rotisserie chicken, or stuff it in a baked potato or tortilla to turn it into dinner.
- Sliced Leeks, 16 ounces: If you're as forgetful as I am about buying fresh leeks, tucking one of two of these bags in your freezer is a must. Not only can you add them to soups and sautés at the drop of a hat, but these leeks are also already cleaned and sliced.
- Organic Kabocha Squash, $2.70 for 16 ounces: Inside this freezer-aisle find is the simplest solution to getting your fill of sweet winter squash all year round — no prep work required. Sweeter than butternut squash, with more firm flesh, frozen kabocha can be used in all the ways you'd use any type of winter winter squash.
Your turn! What are your favorite frozen veggie finds from Trader Joe's?