15 Delicious Ways to Prepare Frozen Broccoli
I love fresh broccoli, but occasionally it's a little more expensive than I think it ought to be. Also, sometimes I'll pick up a bunch of it, and it's just sort of tired-looking. That's not very inspirational for cooking. Frozen broccoli to the rescue! The following are 15 ideas for using inexpensive, frozen broccoli. (See also: The Produce Worker's Guide to Choosing Fruits and Veggies)
1. Cheesy Quinoa Broccoli Patties
Confession time: I have never been able to get excited about quinoa. That all just changed with the discovery of these Cheesy Quinoa and Broccoli Patties. I simply substituted 10 ounces of frozen broccoli for the fresh (just cook and drain it before adding to the patty mixture). These are a super "Meatless Monday" dish, but they also work well with chicken drumsticks and a salad for an economical meal. These re-heat well too, although they do not stay as crispy on the outside.
2. Quinoa Fried Rice
Speaking of quinoa — I am a huge fan of fried rice, and eat it frequently for breakfast to use up leftovers. Here is a twist: Use quinoa. Check out this delicious-looking Quinoa Fried Rice. Just add the broccoli to the colander along with the peas. I didn't have any gomasio, but furikake seasoning works just fine.
3. Broccoli Dip
I am so crazy about greek yogurt — I just love the texture. This broccoli dip is yummy and works just fine with steamed frozen broccoli (just drain it well). The dip is also low-sodium, if you are being watchful about your intake.
4. Veggie Pho
I have been trying to keep key ingredients for Vietnamese pho around the house because I am firmly convinced that it has healing properties. When my husband or I feel a cold coming on, we eat/drink pho, and having frozen broccoli in the freezer is handy for this. Here is a very healthy version of Veggie Pho. I like to spoon on some hoisin sauce, as well as a few sprinkles of Sriracha sauce. You might want to give this a try the next time you feel like you are coming down with a cold. (See also: 20+ Ways to Use Sriracha)
5. Broccoli, Cheese. and Ham Muffins
My work shift starts at 6:30 a.m., so I love things that are "grab and go," these Easy Broccoli, Cheese and Ham Muffins. I can heat them in the microwave at the office for about 15 seconds, and they are almost as good as fresh-out-of-oven. My adaptations were to simply use 12 ounces of frozen broccoli (without the cheese sauce), since you are already adding cheddar cheese. Grab an orange or an apple, too, and breakfast is done! (See also: 4 Cheap and Quick Breakfasts)
More broccoli for breakfast? Why not! I had some left over from dinner, so I heated it up and added it, along with some mozzarella cheese, to this omelette.
7. Ginger-Coconut Milk Soup
I could almost make this this Ginger-Coconut Milk Soup entirely out of pantry and garden items. I love being able to do that! I substituted canned mushrooms for the fresh, doubled up on the broccoli, and omitted the asparagus spears. I also added chopped peanuts on top, along with the cilantro.
8. Broccoli Pilaf
Looking for a side dish? I made this up one night when I couldn't decide between pasta or rice.
- ½ cup rice
- ½ cup of vermicelli, broken into small pieces
- 1 can mushrooms, undrained
- 3 cups chicken broth, heated
- 1 ½ cups frozen broccoli
- ¼ cup butter
- 2 T. olive oil
- ¼ cup parmesan
Melt butter and add olive oil in large skillet. When melted, add the rice and broken vermicelli. Stir until brown (watch carefully so it does not burn). Add chicken broth slowly, stirring, as you would for a risotto. When rice mixture is tender (about 35 minutes on medium heat) add in mushrooms and broccoli. Cover; heat an additional 10 minutes, checking at 5-minute intervals. When tender, let steam for 10 minutes. Top with parmesan.
9. Broccoli, Bleu Cheese, Ricotta, and Chicken Turnover
I do not "do" piecrust. I am just terrible at it, despite years of trying. However, after Bon Appetit magazine wrote this,
"Nothing beats homemade pie crust. But if you must use a ready-made, purchased crust, the Bon Appetit test kitchen has had the best luck with Pillsbury brand refrigerated pie crust."
I decided to stop getting frustrated, and I began using Pillsbury crusts. Said crust worked beautifully for this recipe.
Broccoli, Bleu Cheese, Ricotta, and Chicken Turnover
- 10 ounces frozen broccoli, steamed and drained
- 1 Pillsbury pie crust
- 1 cup ricotta (drain if necessary)
- ¼ jarred red peppers, drained
- ½ cup bleu cheese
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup green onions, sliced
- 1 ½ cups cooked chicken, chopped
- 1 egg, beaten
Bring pie crust to room temperature, as directed on box.
Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray.
Combine broccoli, ricotta, peppers, bleu cheese, salt, onions and chicken. Stir gently to combine well.
Unroll pie crust onto cookie sheet. Spoon topping onto half of the crust. Bring other half of pie crust over the top of filling and crimp edges. Brush top with beaten egg.
Bake at 400 for 30 minutes, and slice to serve.
10. Pasta Primavera
We have Pasta Primavera at our house about every two weeks. It's not because we're cool. It's because it's a great way to clean out the refrigerator and freezer. Leftover broccoli? Throw it in.. Half a zucchini? Into the pot. Strip of bacon? Outstanding, add that in. I really like it with a poached egg on top.
I think quiche is great for dinner, but I really love the leftovers for breakfast, either cold or gently heated. I added a cup of chopped ham to this recipe for Easy Broccoli Quiche. Here is how mine turned out:
12. Peanut Butter Vegetable Chicken Soup
The addition of peanut butter sounded strange, but it's fantastic, so don't skip it! It gives this Peanut Butter Vegetable Chicken Soup a mild peanutty flavor, body, and extra protein. I added half a cup of garbanzo beans, too. This really sticks to your ribs and the leftovers reheat well. Frozen broccoli works as a fresh substitute. (See also: Delicious Soup From Leftovers)
13. Broccoli Gratin
This recipe features fresh broccoli, but frozen spears also work well in this Light Broccoli Gratin. I cooked the spears until barely tender in the microwave, then drained them really well, and substituted for fresh.
14. Broccoli and Cheese Smashed Potatoes
Frozen broccoli (cooked and drained) is a perfect substitution for fresh in these Broccoli and Cheese Smashed Potatoes. I used 1 ½ cups of frozen. These will be fun for St. Patrick's Day, too.
15. Broccoli, Cheese, and Potato Soup
Did somebody mention comfort food? Check out this easy Broccoli, Cheese and Potato soup. It's perfect for a chilly evening with some carrot sticks. I pureed my broccoli, but you don't need to.
And finally, you don't have to always make frozen broccoli "into something." Simply cooking it and adding a little butter, or a squeeze of lemon, parmesan, or garlic (or all of those) is easy, economical, and nutritious.
What's your favorite way to prepare frozen broccoli?