I’m sure many of you reading are living rather busy lives either regularly, or you’re just in that season (like end of the school year). Even though grocery delivery services are pretty common these days, you may not have the time to get to a store, or even place your order online.
With that in mind, keeping frozen fruit and vegetables on hand can be an excellent move to make. It’s pretty easy to plan a meal around frozen produce.
However, when you find yourself with lots of frozen vegetables, especially if you’re not use to it, how do cook with it? Here are six of my favorite EASY meals that incorporate frozen vegetables. Also note, these meal ideas are incredibly versatile, and and use the ingredients you have on hand in your pantry.
Just about all veggies work, including frozen Brussels Sprouts. Recently on this episode of Monday Night Live, I added frozen Brussels Sprouts to a soup just for the fun of it. Everyone loved it! Even those who hate sprouts loved the soup too.
Gluten free, dairy free, and allergy friendly soup can be made on the stove top, in a slow cooker, or a pressure cooker. Some soup recipes will call for an additional tool such as a blender or immersion (stick) blender.
I love using frozen peas, carrots, and frozen mushrooms in our stews. Stew is super versatile and most frozen vegetables can work well. I’d personally avoid broccoli and cauliflower in this application as they have a tendency to fall apart with some cooking methods.
If you have frozen broccoli or cauliflower stems, those could be used in a stew. However, most commercial frozen options will be the florets only.
Frozen peas and onions are an awesome addition to any chowder. I make a dairy free chowder with frozen peas that the kids love. You can also use a frozen mirepoix as the starting base for any chowder. Honestly, this is one of my fave frozen veg products to purchase since I don’t have to dice onions.
Frozen stir fry vegetables, mushrooms, peas, onions, broccoli, and a few more veg are all excellent choices for adding to a fried rice. If you’re using frozen vegetables in your fried rice, sauté them on high heat before adding other ingredients. You want to cook off any excess liquid first.
Frozen peas, carrots, beets, onions, and mushrooms all work well in chili. You can add the frozen veg at any stage of the cooking process with chili. Chili is something you usually simmer, so even if the veg is added just before the long simmer, there’s still plenty of cook time.
If the frozen vegetables have a thick layer of ice coating them, you’ll want to cook that off before adding it to your chili.
Frozen cauliflower can be added for a nutrition boost. I also like to purchase fresh zucchini in bulk and freeze it for smoothies. When you use frozen vegetables in smoothies, it can replace the ice content. It also prevents smoothies from tasting super watery if you don’t drink them fast enough.
As a Side Dish
In addition to putting your frozen vegetables IN a recipe, you can always serve them as a side dish. The kids LOVE frozen broccoli that’s been oven roasted with a little olive oil and salt. Their other favorite: frozen green beans roasted in olive oil with salt, onion granules, and nutritional yeast.
Nutrition Concerns With Frozen Vegetables
There’s a HUGE misconception that frozen produce is inferior to its fresh counterpart. If you’re concerned about nutritional values, the good news is: fruit and vegetables are picked ripe, processed (blanched, etc), and frozen straight away. The frozen veg you purchase is full of nutritional value, and is usually a high quality.
If you’re concerned about pesticides etc., you can purchase organic frozen fruit and vegetables. If that’s cost prohibitive for you, search online for the “dirty dozen produce list”. Each year it’s updated to let you know which produce is best purchased organic due to the amounts of pesticides and other chemicals present.