Frozen vegetables are a must-have. They’re convenient, affordable, help cut down on food waste, and can be even more nutritious than fresh veggies. Because of travel time, fresh produce can lose many of its nutrients before arriving at the grocery store. Freezing them, however, keeps those nutrients intact.
“We know once it’s picked a few weeks ago, it starts to decay and loses a lot of its nutrients,” cardiologist Stephen Kopecky, MD, told the Mayo Clinic. “So studies have shown if you can flash-freeze something, it will retain its nutrients better because it retains its cellular integrity so the cells don’t get deformed.”
The only problem with frozen veggies is that they don’t usually taste as good as fresh. At all. Because of how much moisture they contain, roasting them typically makes them soggy. But Liz Moody, author of the cookbook Healthier Together, has a hack that solves the problem.
“Frozen veggies are often cheaper and more nutritious than fresh. Plus, they’ll never get mushy and sad in the back of your fridge,” Moody shared in an Instagram post. “This is one of my favorite healthy cooking hacks because it lets you quickly create a delicious veggie side.”
How to Roast Frozen Veggies
Ready to learn how to roast frozen veggies? Moody’s two-roast technique works with every type of frozen veggie, from broccoli to cauliflower. “I invented this technique for my cookbook when I was trying to easily make baked chickpeas that were actually crispy,” she says. “When I tried the same method on veggies, my world was forever changed.”
Here’s how it’s done: Start by preheating the oven to 425°F. Then, for the first roast, pour your veggies onto a baking sheet lined with a reusable silicone baking mat (an eco-friendly alternative to parchment paper). “Spread them out so there’s lots of space between them. Otherwise, they’ll steam each other, creating limp results,” she says. Then, pop them in the oven with nothing on them. (Don’t worry, you won’t be eating plain veggies. The seasonings come later.)
“The first roast evaporates all the water and is really important. Bake until just brown at edges,” she says. “The time will differ based on the size and type of veggies used, but I usually start checking around 15 minutes.”
When they’re browned, it’s time to add some flavor: “You’re going to add olive oil, your salt, and your seasonings. I like onion and garlic powder,” Moody says. Then comes the second roast—the part that takes your frozen veggies from blah to amazing. “Toss them to coat, spread them out again, and pop them back in the oven for just five to 10 minutes.”
You’ll wind up with veggies so good you’ll forget they aren’t fresh. And if you’re not sure what to pair them with, check out this database of healthy meal options.