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Cooking Frozen Broccoli for Ultra-Fast Nutritious Dinners

With a few bags of vegetables in the freezer, you’re already halfway to dinner. No need to wait around for thawing: Cooking broccoli from frozen is super simple.

No need to feel bad about cooking with frozen vegetables instead of fresh. Because they are usually frozen the same day they’re picked, the vegetables in your supermarket’s freezer case may well have as many or more nutrients than the ones in the produce aisle.
broccoli cheddar quiche
Photography by: Romulo Yanes

Thaw Frozen Broccoli in Hot Water

If you’re using frozen broccoli in a stir-fry, frittata, casserole, or quiche; as a filling for calzones; or a topping for pizza, it’s a good idea to bring the broccoli to the same temperature as the rest of the ingredients for even cooking. Simply dump the broccoli in a bowl, cover with hot tap water, let sit for a few minutes, then drain off the water. To speed up the process even more, change the water a few times, draining it off as soon as it gets cold, and filling the bowl back up with hot water. Since manufacturers briefly blanch broccoli before freezing it, it’s actually partially cooked already!

Use frozen broccoli brought to room temperature in these recipes:

Baked Shells and Broccoli with Ham and Cheesy-Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

Deep-Dish Broccoli and Cheddar Pizza

Broccoli-Cheddar Quiche

Blanch Frozen Broccoli in Boiling Water

Two to four minutes in salted boiling water is all frozen broccoli needs to become bright green and tender.

Blanch broccoli from frozen to make these recipes:

Broccoli and Pasta Casseroles

Whole-Wheat Orzo Salad with Broccoli-Pine Nut Pesto

Roast Frozen Broccoli

You can roast frozen broccoli exactly the same way you would fresh broccoli: Toss it with olive oil and seasonings and roast it at a high temperature until it’s browned in spots and tender all the way through.

Use Frozen Broccoli in This Roasted Broccoli Recipe

Microwave Frozen Broccoli

Pour a bag of broccoli into a microwave-safe dish with a lid and add about 1/4 cup water. Microwave on high 5 minutes or until broccoli is as tender as you like it, then drain and season with lemon juice, red pepper flakes and salt. Scatter with toasted nuts or drizzle with cheese sauce.

Microwave broccoli from frozen to make these recipes:

Steamed Broccoli with Lighter Ranch Dip

Broccoli with Almonds and Olives

Cook Frozen Broccoli with Pasta

In the mood for a quick and easy bowl of pasta with broccoli? Add the frozen broccoli directly to the pot of boiling pasta about three minutes before the end of cooking time. Drain the pasta and broccoli together in a colander then sprinkle with Parmesan and breadcrumbs. (This is also a great way to add a boost of nutrition and color to packaged mac and cheese or instant ramen.)

And Try Frozen Broccoli in This Lighter Three-Cheese Mac with Broccoli Recipe

Cook Frozen Broccoli in Soup

No need for any thawing or cooking in advance when adding frozen broccoli to a soup recipe. Just stir the broccoli into the pot and let it simmer until tender.

Try frozen broccoli in these soup recipes:

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Broccoli Chowder with Corn and Bacon