Frozen Vegetables, Beyond the Boring Side Dish

Frozen vegetables are affordable and nutritious, but they can be boring. Use these tips for dressing up freezer staples and elevate them beyond the boring side dish.
frozen beans

153641950

frozen french beans isolated

Photo by: Anastasiya Piatrova

Anastasiya Piatrova

The ever-expanding frozen-foods section of the grocery store has no shortage of affordable vegetables and vegetable combinations. Sliced green beans, peppers, onions, carrots, broccoli, spinach, peas, corn, soybeans/edamame, and vegetable medleys abound. Since most frozen vegetables are harvested at their nutritional peak, don't relegate them to boring, steamed, side dishes. Some ideas to inspire you:

• Nestle into potato and cheese casseroles (like scalloped potatoes) before baking; add ham, chicken, turkey, or cooked shrimp to make a complete meal

• Add to egg and cheese frittatas, quiches and omelets

• Puree into hot and cold dips and serve with whole grain crackers and pita triangles

• Combine with red kidney beans and homemade vinaigrette for a refreshing bean salad

• Stretch meals by adding to soups, stews, chilies and bisques

• Fold into the cheese layers of baked ziti, lasagna and stuffed manicotti

• Add to fillings for stuffed peppers and stuffed pasta shells
• Fold into pasta and tortellini sauces to make pasta primavera

• Sauté with tomato sauce to make a hearty pasta or pizza sauce; add ground beef or ground turkey to make sloppy Joes

• Use as a topping for baked potatoes with cheddar or light sour cream

Soybeans/edamame:
• Add to cheesy pasta dishes

• Use instead of canned beans in soups, stews, chilies, and rice and bean dishes

• Toss into salads for added protein
• Spruce up burrito, taco and enchilada fillings

Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.

Next Up

Beat the Boring Lunchbox

The first day of school has come and gone, and now it's time to go grocery shopping with school lunches in mind.

50 Vegetable Side Dish Recipes

You won't run short on side dishes this year...or next.

6 Ways to One-Up Side Dish Favorites with Cheese — Sensational Sides

Cheesy does it, cheese lovers. Instead of taking your favorite food by the block, use cheese to improve your favorite go-to side dishes.

50 Root Vegetable Sides

Get dozens of easy sides to go with your big feast.

Say Goodbye to Boring Breaded Cutlets

Rachael Ray’s class on the Food Network Kitchen app has the best trick for adding tons of flavor.

Are Frozen Vegetables Healthy?

Here's the truth about buying veggies from the freezer aisle.

Frozen Veggie Burritos — Meatless Monday

Prep a batch of these cheesy beauties and keep them in the freezer for at-the-ready meals.

Colorful Thanksgiving Vegetable Sides — Fall Fest

Balance out the beige bread and potatoes on your Thanksgiving plate with vibrant, seasonal vegetable recipes like glazed carrots and creamed kale.

The Veggie Table: Beyond the Portobello Burger

There are many plant-based foods that mimic the satisfying texture of meat, and we're not just talking portobellos.