I was once a devotee of the cult of fresh vegetables — every week, I’d load up my cart with greens, pay the piper with a hefty credit card bill, and proceed to let those crisp greens wilt, whither, and rot away in my fridge. My vegetable drawer grew bleak as the week crawled towards Friday, by which point it inevitably was stuffed only with expired plants I could no longer consume.
I’d eat a few — don’t get me wrong. It’s not like the drawer was untouched. I eat a generally healthy diet, lush with greens and grains. Often, I found myself craving something crunchy or reaching into the fridge eagerly for spinach to add to my sandwich. I’d even cook up a vegetable-filled recipe or two.
But repeatedly, so many vegetables would go to waste.
Then I discovered frozen vegetables. I’d always been put off by the idea — I’m a bit of a produce snob. Frostbitten broccoli didn’t sound too glamorous, so I steered clear. But let’s be real — rotten broccoli is 10 times worse.
I bought a few bags — broccoli, cauliflower, peas, Brussels sprouts — and now I’m never going back.
1. I saved tons of money.
Living in New York City gets pricey — did you know an avocado here goes for $2.50?! Madness. And Brussels sprouts cost a pretty penny, too. A bag of frozen Brussels sprouts at Trader Joe’s is $0.99. Not kidding. All in all, I probably saved at least $15 a week buying frozen vegetables over fresh.
2. I ate the same healthy foods.
Frozen vegetables have all the same health benefits as fresh — studies prove it. So while the fresh variety might look prettier, there’s not a whole lot else that’s better about them. I was able to eat the same healthy foods I was used to without any pressure to cook right after my grocery trip.
3. They last way longer.
Speaking of which — I didn’t have to cook right after my grocery trip. It felt so freeing to be able to buy food on Sunday and not pay any consequences when I don’t actually cook until Wednesday.
Usually when that happens, I open the fridge Wednesday to find a gross pile of wilted cabbage and soggy greens — I either cook what’s salvageable from the sad remains or have to make yet another trip to the store. But my frozen veggies hold up just fine. I could even save them for next week, if I changed my mind about what I want to eat. It’s a newfound freedom I’m not sure I can give up.
4. They’re so easy to cook.
Seriously. I don’t even defrost mine first.
If I’m sautéing them, I just go ahead and do that. They defrost over the heat of the stove and crisp up right after. If I’m roasting them, I just grease the sheet pan, lay out the frozen vegetables, and lightly coat with avocado oil. Then, I roast them on high heat until they’re perfectly charred around the edges.
Just make sure you’re roasting on a high enough heat that any ice immediately evaporates as they defrost — otherwise your vegetables might end up soggy.
Of course, there are still a few vegetables I have to buy fresh. Onions, for instance, would be a frozen nightmare to chop. And carrots? I’d rather not wait eons for those to thaw before I dip them in hummus. But for my recipes and roasts, I’ll be sticking with frozen vegetables for now. They’re likely the healthiest thing in the whole frozen aisle.