The Joy of Frozen Vegetables
Cooking with Frozen Vegetables
I depend a lot on frozen vegetables, particularly since I live in a small space. Yes, the freezer portion of my mini-fridge is a little smaller than than a standard freezer, but there is still plenty of room for packages of frozen veggies. Having several varieties on hand at all times means I can put together any of a number of recipes on short notice. The bottom line is that I sometimes eat more vegetables when I have multiple varieties of frozen ones that I can just sprinkle into soups and one pot meals. (And a lot of these dishes do involve just tossing a handful in.)
I buy my frozen vegetables from two places: Trader Joe's and the Grocery Outlet. There is a surprising amount of variety -- from mixed bell peppers to black-eyed peas. On this page, I will share some of my favorites: vegetables that are versatile and take well to freezing. I will also share some of the dishes that I make with them. I can't quite call them recipes -- I am not a fan of measuring ingredients. For folks who like recipes (and coloring between the lines), I've included some favorite resources from around the web.
I buy tri-color (red, yellow, green) Bell peppers from Trader Joe's. They are economical and taste surprisingly fresh. They go very well in pasta salad, and thus can be served cold in the summer months.
Other dishes that use frozen bell peppers are omelettes and stir-fries. I also sprinkle a few in quesadillas or burritos. They go a long way in turning instant grits into the more elegant-sounding polenta. As for the pizza, I've never actually done it -- I don't have a stove at the moment -- but it looks good, doesn't it? (Trader Joe's also sells frozen roasted peppers, which could make quite a gourmet pizza, but they're a bit more pricey.)
Some baby peas are fresh enough that you can put them in salad -- it's good to have a salad ingredient that keeps. They are also a nutritious addition to macaroni and cheese.
Authentic Indian Cooking With Frozen Peas?
This chef shows the quick way to make vegetable-based Indian dishes. This curry has got authentic spices, but those peas came out of the freezer.
Broccoli is an old standby in the frozen veggie department. I use it in stir-fries and Ramen noodles. Toss out the seasoning pack in the package of Top Ramen, add a little soy sauce, sesame oil, and seasonings -- along with the broccoli -- and you've got a much more nutritious quick meal
Frozen broccoli also goes well in cream of vegetable soup.
Frozen spinach is another staple. I use a little of it in just about everything. For instance, I'll cook up a little whole wheat bulgur with soybeans and seasonings and sprinkle a bit of spinach in. I add it to lentil soup -- either curried or plain. I also use it in Ramen noodles, creamed vegetable soup, and egg dishes. Frozen spinach doesn't mimic fresh, but you can use it in just about any cooked dish, including lasagna or spinach pie.
Cooking Frozen Vegetables with Green Giant
As you might expect from one of the biggest makers of frozen vegetables, there are some tried and true recipes on the site.
- Green Giant
Easy frozen vegetable recipes from Green Giant
Black Eyed Peas
A good find at the Grocery Outlet: a bag of frozen black eyed peas for $.99. What do I plan on making with them? A quick bean soup. I'll make some broth with Bragg's, spices, and a touch of sesame oil, and maybe add a bit of vegetarian chorizo and frozen veggies.
Bean soup is nutritious, but it takes so long it's the sort of thing that one doesn't often make when they're on their own.
More Frozen Vegetable Recipes
Here is a sampling of frozen vegetable recipes from around the web. My choices are all vegetarian. They're generally pretty healthy and not too complicated -- though there may be some exceptions.
- Stir-Fried Okra
A favorite for Southern cooking.
- Broccoli and Cauliflower Au Gratin
This recipe is a bit rich, but they douse reduced fat alternatives. I agree with the reviewers who say that they'd substitute sour cream or cream cheese for the reduced fat mayonnaise.
- Sauteed Portobellos and Spinach
This does call for fresh portobello mushrooms, though it uses frozen spinach.
- Vegetable Soup
Add even more veggies to prepared minestrone soup.
- Tofu Lo Mein
Ramen noodles can be transformed with just a bit of work.
Frozen Vegetables and Nutrition
- Health Castle
More is better. Health experts suggest tossing extra frozen veggies into sauces and casseroles.