Stock Up on These Frozen Vegetables for Easy Weeknight Dinners This Winter
Though we're staunch proponents of enjoying fresh, seasonal produce, we're also big fans of frozen vegetables. Whether it's mid-winter and you're craving something green or just want the simplicity of preparing a dinner without hitting up the produce aisle, frozen vegetables are always there, waiting in the freezer, ready to be used. Plus, they are so easy to work into meals: Simply heat and toss into pastas, stir into soups, sauces, dips, and so much more. Here, we're sharing which frozen vegetables we always have on hand and creative and delicious ways to use them.
Frozen Spinach and Kale
When you have frozen spinach and kale, there's little reason not to eat your greens. They're ready to go without having to wash or pick through leaves. Plus, these frozen greens easily stand in for each other in recipes and can even replace fresh greens. It's typically best to thaw each before using them (check out package instructions for quick thaw instructions), then drain out excess liquid in a strainer or by squeezing them in a clean kitchen towel. Once you've done that, add them to skillet meals or try them stuffed into a Skillet Spinach Pie or Spinach Manicotti in a Creamy Tomato Sauce.
Unless you are getting in season fresh corn, frozen corn is a better choice than fresh during the year. Why? Because freezing locks in the fresh corn flavor. Corn is one of those vegetables that just enhances every dish with a pop of sweetness and it goes from frozen to cooked in minutes. Stir frozen corn into fried rice, stir fry, soups, or make it into a tasty vegetable-forward side like this Sautéed Corn, Bacon, and Scallions.
Frozen peas are just about as close as you'll get to fresh peas without shucking or waiting for the spring. Every cook should always have a bag on hand, and, much like corn, frozen peas can be added to a hot dish or pan without defrosting first. Blend them into hummus, turn them into a pea purée like we do in this Chicken with Herbed Pea Purée and Spinach recipe, add them as a fresh accent to this Quick Chicken Curry with Spinach and Peas, or pair with rice in dishes like our Arroz Con Pollo 101.
Frozen Butternut Squash
Stock frozen butternut squash in chunks or purée form and you can skip the peeling and dicing needed with fresh winter squash. Use your frozen squash to whip up soups, like this rich, creamy Butternut Squash Soup, or create vegetable-forward sauces, like this Baked Shells with Winter Squash recipe.
In spring, fresh artichokes are unbeatable (despite taking quite a bit of work to enjoy them). Out of season, forget about buying fresh and stick to the frozen hearts. Stir them into a Creamy Lemon Chicken with Spinach and Artichoke Hearts or bake them into a side like in Rose's Baked Artichoke Hearts.