You actually can get crispy vegetables from frozen—here’s how

Frozen vegetables
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First, the good news about frozen vegetables: Not only are they a convenient and affordable way to get something green on your plate year-round, but they also pack just as many nutrients as fresh veggies.

When vegetables are harvested at peak ripeness and then frozen, the process locks in the flavor as well as all those good-for-you vitamins and minerals. In fact, nutritionists even laud frozen vegetables for sometimes having more vitamins and minerals than their fresh counterparts, which can lose those nutrients over time as they sit on your counter or in your fridge waiting to be called in for a recipe.

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But if we had one gripe about frozen vegetables, it’s that they can sometimes end up a little soggy or mushy after cooking, which is a disappointment if you love veggies for their crisp crunch. However, dinner doesn’t have to go down that way.

Here are two methods for turning your frozen vegetables into crispy ones.

Roast Frozen Vegetables in Your Oven

This may seem counterintuitive but you don’t actually want to let your veggies thaw before tossing them on a baking sheet to roast. The key to crispy vegetables with crunchy caramelized bits is to roast them at high heat, and do so straight from the freezer, according to vegetarian recipe creator Joy Shull from Build Your Bite. To help them crisp up, toss the veggies in oil and then season them with salt, pepper, garlic powder, ginger, smoked paprika — whatever sounds good to you. Shull recommends roasting your veggies for 30 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and tossing every 10 minutes or so to help them cook evenly.

One more trick: Try roasting vegetables of a similar size and density, such as broccoli and cauliflower florets or peas and carrot kernels. This helps promote even heat distribution, which is a win for crispy, caramelized veggies.

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Air Fry Your Frozen Veggies

Another way to transform your frozen vegetables to a crispy, crunchy side dish? Employ your air fryer, which circulates hot air to crisp up ingredients.

To make things easy, online meal planning service Cook Smarts has a chart that breaks down cooking times and temperatures for different vegetables (everything from broccoli to shishito peppers) to get them beautifully crisped and browned.

The general rule, according to Cook Smarts, is that any fresh vegetable you can cook in the air fryer, you can also cook from frozen. But you need to add a few minutes to the cooking time to account for the time they’ll take to thaw. Check in on your air fryer basket frequently to make sure your veggies aren’t burning and also make sure you space them out in a single layer.

Some other hacks: Be sure to preheat your air fryer and also take out your veggies half way through to toss them with oil and seasonings before returning them to the basket.

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About the Author
Brittany Anas
Hi, I'm Brittany Anas (pronounced like the spice, anise ... see, that wasn't too embarrassing to say, now was it?) My professional writing career started when I was in elementary school and my grandma paid me $1 for each story I wrote for her. I'm a former newspaper reporter, with more than a decade of experience Hula-hooping at planning meetings and covering just about every beat from higher-education to crime to science for the Boulder Daily Camera and The Denver Post. Now, I'm a freelance writer, specializing in travel, health, food and adventure.

I've contributed to publications including Men's Journal, Forbes, Women's Health, American Way, TripSavvy, Eat This, Not That!, Apartment Therapy, Denver Life Magazine, 5280, Livability, The Denver Post, Simplemost, USA Today Travel Tips, Make it Better, AAA publications, Reader's Digest, Discover Life and more. Visit Scripps News to see more of Brittany's work.

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