By Beth Lipton
Frozen vegetables are always a great tool in your home-cooking toolbox, for all the reasons you probably already know: They’re just as healthy as fresh vegetables, maybe even healthier, since they’re picked at peak ripeness and flash-frozen. They’re inexpensive (a boon if you’re trying to eat more organic produce, and who isn’t). And they minimize food waste.
The only drawback is that you can’t use them in all the ways you can use fresh, since the freezing and defrosting process can leave them soft. Still, if you know how to cook them right, they can be just as good as fresh.
The Best Way to Cook Most Frozen Vegetables
If you’ve only steamed, microwaved or stir-fried frozen veggies, allow us to introduce the best way to cook most frozen vegetables: Roast them. Of course, this technique doesn’t work for all vegetables — we wouldn’t recommend roasting frozen spinach, for example — but it’s a game-changer with stir-fry mixes, peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Sturdier vegetables like broccoli and asparagus will get nicely caramelized and crispy on the edges.
Ready to try it? Here’s how.
How to Roast Frozen Vegetables
The finished veggies should be crispy-tender, caramelized in spots, and absolutely as tasty as if you’d used fresh vegetables.
Get the oven and the sheet pan hot. A very high temperature will defrost the vegetables and evaporate the moisture off quickly. Preheat the oven to 450ºF; place your sheet pan(s) in the oven as it preheats.
Add oil. Carefully pull the hot sheet pan out of the oven and drizzle with about a tablespoon of healthy oil. We like avocado oil, which has a high smoke point and a neutral flavor. Coconut oil works, too, but they’ll impart a coconut-y flavor.
Spread veggies in a single layer. Quickly empty the package of frozen vegetables on the hot sheet pan, spreading quickly into a single layer — it will make a really satisfying sizzling sound when the vegetables hit — and roast for about 10 minutes.
Add more oil and salt. Carefully remove the sheet pan from the oven, toss the vegetables with another teaspoon or two of oil, sprinkle with salt, stir, and return to the oven for another 10 to 20 minutes, depending on what vegetables you’re using.
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