Freezing meals ahead sometimes feels like a huge project that you have to devote a whole day of the weekend to. We’re not big fans of spending our whole Sunday cooking, so we’re always looks for easier ways to make quick weeknight meals ahead of time.
Prepping extra ingredients in advance is the single simplest way we’ve found to make weeknight cooking faster, and, since vegetables are probably the most time-consuming ingredients to prepare, they’re our favorite thing to make ahead. So, whenever we’re chopping vegetables for a recipe, we just double the amount we prep, and freeze the leftovers. Then we can use them later without all the chopping.
Choosing what to freeze matters, since some veggies freeze well and others don’t. A good rule of thumb is that the higher the water content of a vegetable, the less likely it is to freeze well.
Vegetables we’ll freeze for just about anything:zucchini, corn, broccoli, peas, beans, summer and winter squash, carrots, other root vegetables, asparagus, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts
Veggies we’ll freeze just for sauces or soups:celery, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers
Veggies we won’t ever freeze: delicate greens like lettuce or sprouts, cucumbers, or anything else that has an especially high water content
Our favorite way to freeze veggies: prep them by washing, slicing and chopping them into uniform pieces. Spread them in a single layer on a large sheet pan. Let them freeze solid – several hours or overnight – and then pack them into freezer bags or containers. And when you use them later? No thawing necessary.
For us, freezing ahead is a simple way to pack weeknight meals with fresh veggies, which keeps us happier, healthier, and away from the take-out menus.