Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

12 Delicious Ways to Use Frozen Veggies for Meal Prep

Health + Wellness
Eddy Zecchinon / EyeEm / iStock

By Katherine Marengo, LDN, RD

Frozen vegetables are always a good idea — but they're a real lifesaver when you have a new baby.


You've got the baby's meal plan covered (not much variety there!) but what about you? Even if you used to be a meticulous meal planner and prepper, sitting down to map out a week's worth of food — and finding a few free hours to shop and cook — can be hard as a new parent. Like, surprisingly hard.

But frozen veggies can help. You can stock up on big bags and stash them away without worrying they're gonna go bad before you can use them. And since they're already fully prepped, you don't have to waste precious minutes washing, peeling, or chopping.

Then when you find yourself with a block of free time (the baby is taking an awesome nap and you've already showered and it's not a laundry day!), the veggies are waiting for you to hit the ground running.

Except, what do you make?

Turns out, frozen vegetables are good for way more than throwing into the occasional stir-fry. Here are 12 easy, delicious ways to incorporate them into make-ahead meals that'll keep you nourished for days.

Do a Roast Veggie Tray

Surprise: You can totally roast frozen veggies — and they don't even need to be thawed first.

Spread the veggies evenly on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and your favorite seasonings, and bake them in a hot oven until soft and caramelized.

"A high heat, like 425°F (220°C), will help evaporate any condensation while they cook," says Amanda Frederickson, author of Simple Beautiful Food and a mom of two.

Use the finished product in grain bowls or omelets, tossed into pasta dishes, or as a simple side for chicken or fish.

Make a Kitchen-Sink Soup

Practically any mixture of veggies and protein becomes delicious and satisfying when simmered in a flavorful broth.

Try:

  • shredded rotisserie chicken, frozen carrots and peas, and broken spaghetti in chicken broth
  • diced frozen butternut squash, chickpeas, and brown rice in veggie broth
  • premade mini meatballs and frozen spinach in beef broth

Toss Veggies Into a Quiche

Quiches are new parents' BFFs: They're easy to make (just mix, pour, and bake), packed with protein, and last for days in the fridge.

Best of all, they're delicious with just about any veggie, says Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, author of "Smoothies and Juices: Prevention Healing Kitchen" and mom of three.

Try folding in thawed frozen artichoke hearts or peas.

Try Veggie Fried Rice

That leftover white rice from the Chinese takeout you've been living off of? You can turn it into a killer main dish.

Sauté a cup of mixed frozen veggies with sesame oil and a splash of soy sauce and add a few beaten eggs, then fold in the rice. Let it cook on medium-high in a flat layer to let the bottom of the rice get a little browned, then stir and repeat a few times until the entire mixture is heated through and you've got plenty of crispy bits.

Power Up Quesadillas With Sweet Potatoes

Baking a whole sweet potato takes an hour, but you can sauté frozen, cubed sweet potatoes in a matter of minutes.

Cook up a package with Tex Mex-inspired seasonings like cumin and chili powder, then add them to quesadillas throughout the week, Largeman-Roth recommends.

Make Veggie Smoothie Packs

You probably already use frozen fruit for your smoothies, so why not toss a handful of veg in there?

"Adding frozen spinach or cauliflower is a great way to add a ton of nutrients to smoothies," says Frederickson. (And since the flavor is pretty neutral, you won't taste them.)

Make individual smoothie packs by filling plastic zip baggies each with:

  • 1 diced banana
  • 1/2 cup chopped frozen fruit (like berries or mango)
  • 1/2 cup chopped frozen veggies
  • a generous spoonful of nut butter

When you're ready to drink, just dump the ingredients into a blender with your milk of choice.

Sauté a Batch of Garlicky Greens

Spinach, kale, or collards all work here. Add a generous glug of olive oil and plenty of chopped garlic, plus a pinch of red pepper flakes if you like some heat.

Use these greens as a side dish for anything, stuff them into omelets, or pile them onto a baked potato and top with shredded cheese.

Make Taco Filling (That’s Good for More Than Just Tacos)

Those frozen Southwestern veggie blends with corn and bell pepper? They're awesome sautéed up with canned black beans, garlic, and some cumin or smoked paprika.

Make a big batch for stuffing into tortillas, stirring into scrambled eggs, or sprinkling on top of tortilla chips for healthy-ish nachos.

Make Broccoli Pesto for Pasta

Just because you don't have fresh basil on hand doesn't mean you can't have pesto.

Toss a cup of frozen thawed broccoli in the food processor with garlic, Parmesan, pine nuts or walnuts, and olive oil, and pulse to make a thick, pesto-like sauce that's ready for pasta whenever you are.

Add Frozen Spinach to Lasagna

Lasagna's the ultimate make-a-big-batch-and-freeze-for-later meal, and folding spinach into the cheese mixture is an easy way to get a serving of veggies.

To keep the lasagna from getting watery, sauté the spinach and squeeze out the excess liquid before adding it to the cheese, Frederickson recommends.

Do a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Veggie Curry

It's easier to make than you think — and you can adapt it to whatever you have on hand.

Sauté a package of mixed frozen vegetables until softened, then add red or green Thai curry paste (to taste) along with a can of coconut milk (add a splash of water or broth if the mixture seems thick).

Fold in any protein you'd like — cubed tofu, thawed frozen shrimp, or chicken breast cut into thin strips — and simmer until cooked.

Two Words: Grilled Cheese

Because sometimes you're not into making a big batch and just need to eat ASAP. A handful of veggies turns a buttery cheese sandwich into something sorta virtuous while only tacking a few minutes onto your total prep time.

Try diced cauliflower or broccoli florets with cheddar, spinach with mozzarella, or artichokes with goat cheese. Or if all you have on hand is green beans and plain old American cheese slices, go with that. It's all good.

Reposted with permission from Healthline. For detailed source information, please view the original article on Healthline.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

There are plenty of things you can do every day to help reduce greenhouse gases and your carbon footprint to make a less harmful impact on the environment. ipopba / Getty Images

By Katie Lambert and Sarah Gleim

The United Nations suggests that climate change is not just the defining issue of our time, but we are also at a defining moment in history. Weather patterns are changing and will threaten food production, and sea levels are rising and could cause catastrophic flooding across the globe. Countries must make drastic actions to avoid a future with irreversible damage to major ecosystems and planetary climate.

Read More Show Less
Petri Oeschger / Moment / Getty Images

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

Sleep is one of the pillars of optimal health.

Read More Show Less

Junjira Konsang / Pixabay

By Matt Casale

For many Americans across the country, staying home to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) means adapting to long-term telework for the first time. We're doing a lot more video conferencing and working out all the kinks that come along with it.

Read More Show Less
Looking south from New York City's Central Park. Ajay Suresh / Wikipedia / CC BY 4.0

By Richard leBrasseur

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered humans' relationship with natural landscapes in ways that may be long-lasting. One of its most direct effects on people's daily lives is reduced access to public parks.

Read More Show Less
PeopleImages / E+ / Getty Images

By Ryan Raman, MS, RD

Minerals are key nutrients that your body requires to function. They affect various aspects of bodily function, such as growth, bone health, muscle contractions, fluid balance, and many other processes.

Read More Show Less
A young monk seal underwater in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. NOAA / PIFSC / HMSRP

By Tara Lohan

The Sargasso Sea, an area of the Atlantic Ocean between the Caribbean and Bermuda, has bedeviled sailors for centuries. Its namesake — sargassum, a type of free-floating seaweed — and notoriously calm winds have "trapped" countless mariners, including the crew of Christopher Columbus's Santa Maria.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Charlie Rogers / Moment / Getty Images

As the COVID-19 virus was spreading around the world, deforestation in the world's rainforests rose at an alarming rate, the German arm of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said in a study published on Thursday.

Read More Show Less