Individual spices and spice blends turn bland frozen vegetables into a convenient and tasty dish. Serve the veggies on their own as a side dishes with one or more spices, or add them to any recipe calling for a mix of vegetables.
Your choices for frozen vegetable mixes are many, from asparagus or sugar snap pea stir-fry varieties, to pea and mushroom combinations to a blend of broccoli, carrots and water chestnuts. Frozen vegetables typically do not contain added salt, so add 1/4 teaspoon of salt along with any other spices you choose.
Avoid boiling frozen vegetables, which will dilute their taste and turn them mushy. Instead, steam or microwave them while they're still frozen for 1 to 3 minutes with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.
Single spices work best when you plan to serve the vegetables as a side dish for meat, poultry or fish. Use about 1/4 teaspoon of spice and 1 tablespoon of butter or olive oil for each 12-ounce package of vegetables. Try these combinations of spices and vegetables:
- Chili powder or a sprinkling of red pepper flakes for any variety of vegetable blend.
- Curry powder with a broccoli and cauliflower mix or any mix with potatoes.
- Cumin for a broccoli, corn and red pepper mix.
- Garlic or onion powder added to any vegetable combination.
- Salt and pepper with any vegetable medley.
Although the term spice refers to aromatic bark, buds, fruit, seeds and stems of trees and plants, many home cooks consider dried herbs, the leaves from plants, in the same cooking category. Use both spices and dried herbs to jazz up frozen mixed vegetables.
Add a mix of spices to the vegetables when you make recipes that serve as the main course for a meal. Combinations include:
- Dried thyme and sage for a chicken pot pie with a mix of peas, carrots and green beans or a mix with potato, broccoli and carrot.
- Garlic powder and dried herbs for pasta and vegetables, risottos or quiche with any mixed vegetable blend.
- Garlic and ginger powder for any stir-fry vegetable mix -- add diced chicken or beef for a full meal.
Packaged seasoning mixes bring dried herbs and spices together in a pre-blended mix. Try these combinations:
- Cajun seasoning, with a mix of chili, garlic and onion powder, black pepper, dried mustard and celery salt, to use in a frozen vegetable gumbo, made with a mixed vegetable bag of okra, corn and red peppers
- Italian spice mix for vegetable soup made with a mix of peas and carrots or green beans, carrots and onions
- Taco or enchilada spice mixes with burritos or enchiladas filled with a black bean and corn vegetable mix
- Chinese spice blends in any stir-fry mix or in a fried rice dish made with asparagus, corn and carrots.
Buy frozen vegetables in a loose-pack container rather than in solid-block packaging. You can use only as much as you need for any given recipe.