It’s true that fresh veggies are best, especially if you can grow them yourself or they’re organically and locally grown. But sometimes, life gets crazy and you’re scrambling to piece together a dinner at 5 p.m. Or sometimes, you have a sick child and can’t imagine leaving the house to grab fresh vegetables. And though I buy fresh produce at the grocery store each week, by the end of the week, my fresh veggie stash is running on fumes.
Enter frozen veggies, which have come a long way over the years. At one point, when I thought of frozen veggies, a medley of peas, corn and carrots popped into my mind.
I first started buying organic frozen broccoli at Costco to make life easy since it’s a vegetable that all my kids can agree on. And buying in bulk made buying organic affordable. But since then, I’ve taken a closer look at the frozen vegetable aisle and noticed there as so many options—and plenty without weird sauces or extra additives.
Stocking your freezer with veggies (and meat, too) ensures you’ll always have a last-minute dinner on hand and will help to conquer the takeout cravings or “sandwich for dinner” alternative. So I thought I’d share my favorite frozen veggies to stock in my freezer.
My Favorite Frozen Veggies
Cauliflower offers endless recipe possibilities. Think simple side dishes, a healthy fried rice alternative, mashed cauliflower or even pizza crust. Though I have riced my own cauliflower many times, it requires time and clean up, two things working against me when throwing together a quick dinner.
I have roasted frozen broccoli in the oven, steamed it and sautéed it on the stovetop. I also throw it into cauliflower fried rice and have used it in a chicken casserole, but you just have to account for the extra liquid that escapes as it cooks.
Spaghetti is such an easy last-minute meal, especially if you have frozen meat you can thaw for it. I use “zoodles” (zucchini noodles) for all varieties of Italian food, topping them with everything from beef marinara to pork meatballs to chicken parmigiana. Though I do own a spiralizer, using frozen veggie spirals makes quick dinners so easy when time is against me.
Spiralized Butternut Squash
Much like zoodles, I use butternut squash noodles for many tomato-based Italian dishes because I love the sweet butternut squash contrast with a more savory Italian flavor.
Diced Butternut Squash
Though I often buy fresh butternut squash in the fall and dice it myself, it is a process that takes time and hand strength. Diced butternut squash is great to have on hand as a last-minute side. One of my favorite side dishes includes tossing it with Brussels sprouts and bacon in a maple syrup glaze then roasting.
Halved Brussels Sprouts
Similar to butternut squash, buying a stalk of fresh Brussels sprouts is wonderful but so much work. Not only do you have to trim and peel them, but they turn out best when you blanch them before roasting. Thankfully, the frozen version eliminates all those steps. Though my favorite recipe was mentioned above, these also taste great tossed in a balsamic marinade and roasted or sautéed with sliced onions and garlic.
French Green Beans
Although we don’t eat many legumes, I do love some french green beans every once in a while. They are delicious when you throw them frozen in a heated pan with olive oil, and sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper. I like to sauté until they brown because it gives the most flavor. They are a super simple side to prep for your family or for company.
What are your favorite frozen veggies to stock in your freezer?