Our Guide to Cooking Frozen Veg

Our Guide to Cooking Frozen Veg - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

It’s hard to ignore that the cost of groceries is on the rise, and it can be tempting to make sacrifices where leafy greens, salad ingredients and root vegetables are concerned. While fresh produce is great, it’s often more time-consuming to prepare than pre-chopped frozen versions and it can fall at the pricier end of the scale. By making the most of the space in your freezer, and paying attention to what needs eating, it’s easier than you might think to save time, money and effort with a trusty stock of essential frozen veggies.

We’ve put together some of our frozen vegetable top tips and recipes, to help you on your way to a freezer-friendly 5-a-day.

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Storing frozen vegetables

If you haven’t already, this is your cue to make some room in your freezer. Organising space for your favourites, like carrots, peas, broccoli and cauliflower florets, is always a good idea.

Not only do frozen versions of your favourite veggies usually cost less, they’re also time-saving in that they typically come pre-chopped. We’re talking less faffing beforehand, and far fewer bits of kitchen equipment to wash-up afterwards!

Vegetables in the freezer will keep for much longer than refrigerated greens. According to the NHS, as long as your vegetables are stored in airtight containers or freezer bags, they’ll keep until you’re ready to enjoy them for 3-6 months.

Just be sure to take note of the exact date they were frozen, before you store them (you’ll want some freezer labels to help you stay organised).

While some might forget to count frozen vegetables as part of their 5-a-day, they are just as effective and nutritious as cooking with fresh ingredients. Lots of the supermarket bags you’ll buy contain veggies that have been frozen right after being picked, so they’ll retain their peak natural nutrients for longer.

For more information about the nutritional value of frozen vegetables, we’d recommend reading through the NHS’ 5-a-day guidelines here.

It’s simpler than you might think to start building cost-effective weekly meal plans around the ingredients you have available in your freezer. When you’re on the lookout for a batch-cookable lunch, you can trust that our Minestrone Soup will help to clear out your drawers!

There’s no need to defrost your frozen peas or sweetcorn before adding them to the pot. Simply boil for 30 minutes with the rest of the soup ingredients until they’re piping hot throughout. 

Minestrone Soup - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

For liquid-based dishes like soups, stews or broths, defrosting your veggies isn’t normally necessary, as they’ll thaw whilst cooking. They’re a great opportunity to give leftover chopped vegetables a new lease of life at a moment’s notice.

Preparing smaller frozen veg

Frozen vegetables come in all different shapes and sizes, and how you prepare them for cooking may vary. For smaller ingredients like mushrooms, which have a high water content to begin with, thawing them first can make them turn soggy – and nobody wants that!

If you’re thinking of trying our Marmite Mushrooms on Toast on your morning menu, the mushrooms should go straight from freezer to pan without a fuss. Sauté them for 5-6 minutes or until they’re thoroughly cooked through, before adding the savoury sauce ingredients.

A dreamy way to start the day, this nutritious, low-calorie breakfast is too yummy to resist – whether you’re a Marmite lover or not. 

Marmite Mushrooms on Toast - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

It might come as no surprise that smaller or thinner-chopped vegetables tend to benefit from shorter cooking times. When you invest in a freezer bag of greens, you can easily prepare satisfying side dishes in a hurry (like our Garlic Green Beans), and the veggies you don’t use can stay frozen – that definitely beats them going to waste!

Pop the beans straight in the pan, until they’re cooked through with a moreish bite to them.

Garlic Green Beans - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

The golden rule generally is don’t boil frozen vegetables! You don’t want your veg to turn mushy or lose valuable nutrients.

Steaming smaller veg, like peas, carrots and sweetcorn, should heat them until safe to eat without losing their crunchy goodness. You can always add a sprinkling of water, if you’re concerned that your chopped greens won’t cook evenly.

If you are using frozen veg for oven bakes like frittatas or quiches, you might want to thaw and drain your ingredients first, as the added water could impact your final dish. Our Smoked Salmon and Broccoli Quiche is a tasty way to transform stray frozen florets of broccoli or sliced peppers into a family-friendly bake.

Smoked Salmon and Broccoli Quiche - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

Preparing larger frozen veg

Buying fresh vegetables every week can be pricey, and stocking up on reliable freezer favourites is a simple, convenient money-saver. Popular, tasty veggies like cauliflower, mushrooms, courgettes, spinach and butternut squash will all freeze nicely, and you can enjoy them at a lower cost than fresh versions, even if they’re out of season.

To get the most flavour from using frozen florets in our Cauliflower Madras, you’ll likely want to defrost and drain them before cooking. That way, when you simmer them in our fiery, homemade sauce, additional water won’t dilute the flavour.

Cauliflower Madras - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

Once you’ve got a taste for Butternut Squash Roasties, it’s well worth buying a freezer bag of ready-chopped chunks. Frozen versions tend to be more affordable, and you’d never taste the difference!

You’ll just need to keep an eye on them while they’re cooking in the oven, as they may cook faster than fresh (especially if they’re smaller chunks).

Butternut Squash Roasties - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

If you’re a fan of spinach, you need to add our Sausage, Spinach and Ricotta Lasagne to your midweek rotation. There’s no need to defrost your leaves before cooking, as you’ll be steaming and straining them, prior to combining with the melty ricotta.

If you’re aiming to eat less meat, you can always make it veggie-friendly by swapping in vegetarian sausages and Italian-style hard cheese.

Sausage, Spinach and Ricotta Lasagne - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

The trick with cooking any frozen veg is in paying close attention to the packet instructions. If you’re ever unsure, refer to NHS guidelines to be safe.

Are you ready to make the most of your frozen veg?

We hope this article has left you feeling inspired to make the most of frozen veg. We’d love to see what you cook next. Don’t forget to share your pictures with us over in our Facebook group – we see every single one! 

For more inspiration, take a look through the Pinch of Nom Gallery to see what everyone else has been cooking up lately. Just sign up for a free website account and upload your photos, it’s really easy.

And, if you liked this article, you’ll love exploring our blog. Browse for recipe ideas, kitchen equipment recommendations, money-saving tips and LOADS more.



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