25 Cheap and Tasty Frozen Broccoli Recipes
Let’s face it. When it comes to cheap food, frozen broccoli is tough to beat. And with a nutritional value comparable to other powerhouses such as collards, cabbage, and kale, working more of it into your weekly menus makes superior sense. If you think frozen broccoli recipes are bound to be boring, think again. Here are twenty-five cheap and tasty ways to use this thrifty frozen vegetable on the home front. (See also: 25 Ways to Use Frozen Spinach)
1. Give it some latke love.
Whether you enjoy potato pancakes during the winter holiday season only or any time throughout the year, there are plenty of ways to jazz them up, including with the addition of frozen broccoli. This recipe for broccoli-potato pancakes from the folks at Taste of Home is one classic example that successfully works in a green vegetable.
2. Green up your pizza.
Chopped frozen broccoli (with the excess moisture squeezed out) makes a great roasted topping for homemade pizza. Using your own pizza dough dry mix recipe to keep things affordable, and a roasted garlic and coconut milk pizza sauce with extra add-ons like sundried tomatoes and sliced portabella mushrooms, you can have a creative gourmet pizza that’s short on cost and tall on flavor.
3. Try an easy, low-fat dip.
I love simple recipes for party food, and this minimal-ingredient broccoli dip from Real Simple fits the bill. Using low-fat cottage cheese blended with the broccoli bits and desired seasonings, this recipe can easily be modified to suit a variety of flavor preferences.
4. Make a sexy stuffed-bread appetizer.
My mother-in-law makes this quite often, which is how I was first turned on to the concept of stuffing bread loaves for a stylish appetizer or dinner side. It’s even great on its own for lunch, or paired with a homemade tomato soup on a brisk day. Basically, you bake up a batch of frozen bread dough wrapped and sealed around a few minor ingredients that run the length of the loaf. Chopped frozen broccoli with cheese and turkey is one of my favorite ways she makes it, and a great way to stretch your meat money. This recipe for an Italian stuffed bread appetizer gives you the directions on how to pull it off. Simply swap out the stuffing ingredients to suit you.
5. Craft homemade Asian dumplings.
Whenever I do these recipe roundups for frugal foods, I always try to search out ideas that are unique and get people excited about using a typically overlooked meal ingredient, which is precisely why this recipe for broccoli-ginger dumplings caught my eye. Since they call for precooking the vegetable anyway, I don’t see any reason why frozen broccoli couldn’t be used for this recipe.
6. Add some bang to your breakfast smoothie.
With all due respect to the people that drink straight green smoothies religiously, I just can’t pull it off, at least not yet. But I can slap some dark greens into my berry-laden breakfast smoothie successfully, because the other flavors drown out the flavors of the vegetables that I just can’t seem to stomach for breakfast. (Believe me, I’ve tried.) So when I saw this recipe for a fruit-heavy green breakfast smoothie using frozen broccoli, I was stoked. This is a much more affordable way to go than fresh baby spinach, and it works with flavors I already enjoy. Score!
7. Whip up a romantic bread bowl dinner.
If you like to make your own bread mixes for the bread machine, you already know that many of the machines make round loaves. These loaves are perfect for an elegant meal featuring a bread bowl filled with a cheesy broccoli sauce and paired with a simple mixed green salad and spritzers made from white boxed wine. Use frozen broccoli in the filling to control the cost, and save the inside bits, along with the sliced-off top, to break up and toast for dunking. You can also make an extra loaf for this purpose as well.
8. Try your hand at homemade hot pockets.
There are many things you can do with puff pastry, and homemade hot pockets are at the top of the short list. Use chopped frozen broccoli with mushrooms and cheese for a meatless treat, or go nuts with chicken and pesto for something any meat lover would enjoy.
9. Make a grilled cheese on ‘roids.
If you’re trying to get more green veggies into your kids and looking for sandwich ideas that will help you pull it off, then consider using some chopped frozen broccoli in your next grilled cheese sandwich. Finding yourself on the road often with student sports activities? This is one of numerous fun sandwiches you can make with a travel press. Add in whatever seasonings work for you, and pair with a sliced apple or carrot sticks for a fun afternoon meal.
10. Take a fresh stab at lasagna.
Using alternative vegetables such as frozen broccoli in your lasagna recipe is a great way to mix things up for dinner. This recipe for broccoli lasagna does just that. Personally, I love the idea of trying a white sauce in a lasagna that uses broccoli. It seems like a great way to provide color contrast in a dish that should pair elegantly with a mescaline salad and white wine.
11. Puree it for a tasty entrée sauce.
Really, the sky’s the limit as far as your seasoning choices go, but this option from Food.com for pasta with broccoli sauce should point you towards a decent starting point. I would think this would also work as a sauce for grilled chicken breast paired with something bold-colored like sweet potatoes or roasted beets.
12. Include some frozen broccoli in your corn bread.
Corn bread and muffins provide a spectacular opportunity to go nuts with add-ins such as red pepper flakes, chopped fresh jalapenos, or canned corn. Since we’re on the subject, however, adding in some frozen broccoli is also a great way to include your green veggies when pairing corn bread with simpler soups such as split pea or pumpkin bisque. Making your own homemade corn bread mix in bulk keeps you prepared for fast dinner prep on a budget.
13. Consider using frozen broccoli spears on your next potato-topping bar.
Using your favorite cheese or white sauce with thawed frozen broccoli spears to top a giant baked russet might be old school, but it’s classic comfort food that keeps your household budget in check. On its own or paired with barbecued lentils, this is one of those down-home potato ideas you can use time and again.
14. Go for cream of broccoli soup on a cold day.
If you’re looking for cheap and tasty ways to use up some frozen broccoli, then a recipe for cream of broccoli soup is a good thing to have in your repertoire. One way to pull it off affordably on the fly is to keep a bulk batch of homemade, fat-free cream soup mix in your pantry. It mixes up easily at the last minute and is a great secret weapon for those who want to pull off once-a-month cooking without a freezer.
15. Add it to noodles.
One of my favorite ramen recipes is to add broccoli and red pepper flakes with a simple, homemade peanut sauce. It’s an inexpensive work-at-home lunch that gives me a yummy protein hit in the middle of the day when I need it most, and it's an easy option for vegan ramen when I’m trying to keep meat and dairy to a minimum, which is most of the time. If you’re looking for an affordable grown-up dinner on a dime, however, try using the frozen broccoli and peanut butter along with diagonally-sliced carrots and linguini for an impromptu vegetable lo mein.
16. Bring power to the breakfast table with broccoli-and-cheese omelets.
Hey, it’s hard to work in veggies at the breakfast table. But tossing in some frozen broccoli bits does the job nicely. If you’re already using eggs (or egg substitutes) to create more affordable fare, then this idea will work right in. Pair the omelets or veggie scramble with toast and sliced fruit for a hearty weekend breakfast.
17. Perk up your pasta salad.
Using thawed, frozen broccoli florets with rotini, Italian dressing, and other fun bargain ingredients makes for a pasta salad recipe that’s great to enjoy all year. Pack some in your brown-bag lunch, have it as a picnic side, or pair it with grilled items for a backyard barbecue. This is good, stick-to-your-ribs food that offers a great deal of menu flexibility.
18. Make a mixed-veggie side dish.
By mixing other frosty veggies like carrots and cauliflower in with some frozen broccoli and the right sauce and topping combo, you’ll have an easy vegetable casserole to use as a frugal side dish with flair. Pair it with a rotisserie chicken or pot roast and a batch of homemade biscuits.
19. Save on strata.
Strata is sort of a savory bread pudding that’s eaten at mealtime rather than for dessert. It’s a popular choice for brunches and holiday dinners as a way to use up aging bread, but I love this breakfast strata featuring mushrooms, frozen broccoli, and cheese from the Food Network.
20. Make your own baby food.
Creating your own baby food to freeze in ice cube trays for later use is a great way to save money. This recipe for baby food using broccoli is from Momtastic, and it can easily incorporate the frozen variety.
21. Bring in the style with a broccoli soufflé.
It even sounds fancy, doesn’t it? Serving a soufflé is sophisticated, stylish, and a serious money-saving move when it comes to menu planning with limited funds. This broccoli soufflé from My Recipes would pair well with baked chicken pudding, meatloaf, or leftover cooked ham on a busy day.
22. Consider a quiche.
If you love dining with French flair but have a hard time keeping it frugal, consider broccoli quiche or frittata as an affordable midday meal to serve with mixed greens and mint iced tea. Quiche is classy, is affordable, and walks that difficult line between elegant and rustic, making it perfect for those unexpected events that need to be a bit of both.
23. Make more of a statement with a broccoli ring mold.
Whether you are whipping up something formal for the holidays or simply looking for a way to add a bit more pizzazz at your next dinner party, a molded broccoli ring will make more of a statement than any traditional casserole every could. Pair this with pot roast, planked fish, or a creamy baked chicken pudding.
24. Create a casserole.
Creating your casserole of choice with frozen broccoli as the featured vegetable gives you numerous options. Include pasta and shrimp for an affordable seafood entrée, or pair it with chicken and rice for a great way to use up leftovers from that batch of baked chicken leg quarters. The point is, the use of this particular frozen vegetable allows a great deal of flexibility, and since most kids don’t mind dunking the raw stuff into their favorite dip, seeing it on the dinner plate won’t make them cry foul.
25. Steam it to keep things simple.
As much as I love to branch out with unexpected recipes, the truth is you can steam or microwave frozen broccoli florets for a dinner side, and there’s absolutely no reason to feel pressure for further flair. If it’s a busy night and you just need to get something on the table fast, there’s no shame in the thaw-and-heat plan. Sure, it isn’t quite the same as fresh, but adding a squeeze of fresh lemon or a homemade tahini sauce can add a bit of zip without undue stress.
While I already had a few of these frozen broccoli recipes up my sleeve, researching this piece has shown me there are many more options for this bargain produce item than I ever would have guessed. We’ll definitely be stocking more of it in our freezer from now on.