Top Tips for Cooking Frozen Vegetables
Frozen vegetables are a great tool for preventing food waste. You can keep them for much longer than fresh vegetables and you can prepare only as much as you need. As a bonus, they’re also more affordable, quicker to cook and just as nutritious as fresh produce. All good reasons to reach for frozen vegetables more often or to freeze your own vegetables.
Once you have them, don’t forget about them! For the best tasting veggies rotate through your stash regularly and follow these tips for cooking them just right.
1. Do Not Thaw
Unless otherwise stated in a recipe, do not thaw frozen vegetables before using. Just remove any ice crystals and cook.
2. Avoid Overcooking
Frozen vegetables are already partially cooked, so they need less time than fresh vegetables. For example, small vegetables like peas, corn and green beans only need 2 to 5 minutes of cooking.
3. Limit Water to Prevent Mushy Veggies
Cooking with too much water leads to mushy vegetables. That’s why we recommend sautéing, roasting, or steaming frozen vegetables instead of boiling them. Here’s how:
Sauté – Heat a wide pan over medium high heat, add frozen vegetables and a little oil or butter, stir and cook (uncovered) for five to seven minutes. Top with your favourite herbs and spices, Parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, fried breadcrumbs, or sauce.
Roast – Preheat oven and sheet pan to 205C (400°F). Coat frozen veggies with oil and favourite seasoning and roast for 15 to 25 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Steam – Place steam basket in pot with water, making sure the vegetables won’t touch the water. Bring to boil, then add veggies, cover and continue boiling as below.
- 2 to 5 minutes for peas or corn
- 5 to 7 minutes for asparagus, broccoli, green beans, cauliflower
- 8 to 12 minutes for large pieces of hard vegetables like squash, beets, sweet potatoes and carrots.
4. Add Frozen Vegetables to Various Dishes
If you need to use up excess frozen vegetables, simply add them to a variety of dishes, even if the recipe doesn’t call for them. Toss a cup of frozen vegetables in to just about any hearty salad, pot pie, soup, stew, pasta, curry or egg dish. You’ll get beautiful colour and extra nutrients without ever wasting a single pea!
Do you cook with frozen vegetables? Have a favourite recipe or technique to share with us? Add a photo to Instagram and tag @lovefoodhatewasteca so we can see it and like it!