When you are running short on time, prepping fruits and veggies for a meal is the last thing you want to do.
I've recently discovered that buying ingredients frozen instead of fresh saves me a ton of time when it comes to washing and chopping. It also saves me money as they won't spoil before they can be used, and are cheaper than fresh ingredients that aren't in-season. Buying pre-sliced frozen ingredients also saves me from cleaning up cutting boards, knives and all those annoying bits that end up on the floor.
Frozen vegetables retain their nutrients almost as well as their fresh counterparts. In fact, freezing fruits and vegetables can actually preserve the greatest quantity of nutrients.
Don't get me wrong, fresh fruits and vegetables are king, but for those times when they aren't an option - here are my favorite ingredients to buy frozen instead of fresh:
Cutting a full crown of broccoli can be super messy, and you usually end up with green bits everywhere. Frozen broccoli will save you the mess.
How to Use It: Frozen broccoli can be easily defrosted with a 5 to 10 minute steam or boil, and goes great in omelettes, stir frys and casseroles.
Let's be real. The smell of cauliflower is straight up gross and just like broccoli, the little white bits that get everywhere can be a pain to clean up. So buying it pre-chopped and frozen is pretty awesome.
How to Use It: Frozen cauliflower is great in smoothies and steamed as a side dish!
3. Cauliflower Rice
Speaking of cauliflower, if you've ever made cauliflower rice you know that A.) it smells kinda funky and B.) it makes such a mess. We are so thankful for the genius who made frozen cauliflower rice a thing.
How to Use It: Cauliflower rice is a great low-carb alternative to rice. It goes beautifully with soups, stews, curries and pesto.
4. Mashed Cauliflower
If you've ever made our Cauliflower Shepherd's Pie, you know that the most time-consuming step is making the mashed cauliflower for the top. Save yourself some time by buying frozen mashed cauliflower instead.
How to Use It: Mashed cauliflower is a great low-carb alternative for mashed potatoes, and works beautifully on it's own or on top of Shepherd's Pie.
I don't know about you, but after I am done preparing a bunch of kale, there is water, grit and little leafy pieces everywhere. It's also one of those ingredients that often wilts and yellows in the fridge before I can use it all up. Buying frozen kale saves you from washing, de-stemming and chopping.
How to Use It: Frozen kale is great to use in smoothies and stir frys. Disclaimer: Frozen kale is not so great in salads. Use the fresh stuff for that!
Spinach has a mild taste, making it a great way to get your fill of leafy greens.
How to Use It: Frozen spinach works well in soups, stews, stir-frys, omelets and smoothies. (Warning! Again, not great in salads.)
7. Sweet Potato
Buying sweet potato pre-sliced and frozen is a great way to save yourself time in the kitchen.
How to Use It: Frozen sweet potato can be roasted, steamed or mashed and used as a delicious side dish. It also blends well into baked oats and smoothies.
8. Butternut Squash
Slicing a butternut squash is no easy feat. Save yourself the energy by buying it pre-sliced and frozen instead.
How to Use It: Frozen butternut squash is great for making butternut squash soup, roasting and sautéing into skillet dishes.
Berries aren't cheap in the off-season. There's nothing worse than spending your hard earned cash on berries, and then they go moldy in the fridge two days later. That's why I usually buy them frozen in the off-season.
How to Use Them: Frozen berries go great with yogurt, parfaits, smoothies, and baked desserts. They also work great for our chia seed jam.
Avocados tend to be hit or miss. Either they aren't ripe or they are overripe. That's why when I found out you can buy frozen avocado chunks, I was so excited!
How to Use Them: Frozen avocado is great blended into smoothies and soups. It gives them the most delicious, creamy texture!
11. Black Beans
Cooking your own black beans is a process. They need to be soaked overnight, then boiled, rinsed and divided. Buying frozen black beans is a great time-saving alternative to cooking your own or buying them canned.
How to Use Them: Frozen black beans can be easily thawed in some hot water and used as a vegan-friendly protein. Great for omelets, stir-frys, soups, stews, and dips!
12. Pomegranate Seeds
I still haven't mastered the art of getting the seeds out of the pomegranate, and now I don't have to since you can buy them frozen!
How to Use Them: Pomegranate seeds can be thawed in the fridge and used on top of salads, parfaits, yogurt and blended into smoothies.
13. Green Beans
Green beans are so delicious, but buying them fresh means you need to wash and trim them - a time-consuming step that can easily be avoided.
How to Use Them: Frozen green beans can be boiled or roasted, and are also great to use in slow cooker dishes.
What are your favorite ingredients to buy frozen? Let us know in the comments below!