Cooked too many roasties on the weekend? Here are our freezing tips and recipe suggestions for cooked vegetables.
Tips for Freezing Cooked Vegetables
Consider what you’re likely to use them for. If a frittata, leave them in big chunks – but if you’re more likely to turn them into a mixed vegetable curry, it’s a good idea to chop them more finely.
Courgettes don’t freeze well – because they turn mushy on thawing. Instead of freezing a courgette ragout, blend it to produce a smooth sauce, and then freeze in portions. Thaw and heat the sauce in a pan before tossing with pasta (a great way to secretly feed veg to your kids!).
Aubergines also cause problems when frozen and defrosted – so prepare them before freezing them uncooked. A simple Aubergine Parmigiano is very easy: layer uncooked aubergine slices in an ovenproof dish with good mozzarella, homemade tomato sauce and plenty of grated parmesan. This can be covered tightly and frozen for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge before baking in the oven.
Cooked Onions are a great freezer standby. Put leftover cooked onions into a pan and sauté until they are a rich, golden brown, then freeze in an ice-cube tray. Pop out the cubes and put into a bag, ready to pull out and stick straight into a pan as the basis for a stew.
Cooked Potatoes can be frozen – provided they were chipped or roasted, not boiled or mashed. Cool them thoroughly, then open-freeze on a tray covered in baking paper. Shake them into bags and cook from frozen, at a high temperature (to thaw and crisp them up).
Cooked Peas or Beans are perfect for freezing. Just cool and bag them up. The cooked, frozen green beans or peas make a nice soup – soften an onion and finely-chopped potato, add a couple of handfuls of frozen beans or peas, and cover with vegetable stock. Simmer until the vegetables are defrosted, then stir in some seasoning, chopped herbs (mint for peas, basil for broad beans) and spinach if liked. Blend and serve with a swirl of cream.
Using Leftover Boiled Vegetables
Cold, cooked vegetables are an uninviting proposition. But those leftover carrots and runner beans can be transformed into tomorrow’s dinner – so don’t throw them away just yet. Take a look at our suggestions and recipes for cooked vegetables.
Make a spicy vegetable curry for 4 using 500g of cooked vegetables. (Recipe inspired by Camellia Panjabi.) This can be frozen, too. First, in a dry frying pan, roast 2 dried chillies, 2tbsp coriander seeds, 8 peppercorns, 4 cloves, and a piece of cinnamon stick. When the spices become aromatic, put them into a blender with a tin of coconut milk, a teaspoon of sugar and two medium tomatoes – and blend to a smooth paste. Warm 1tbsp oil in the pan and add 1 onion, diced, a pinch of mustard seeds, a pinch of asafoetida, and half a teaspoon of turmeric. When the onion is soft and brown at the edges, tip in the coconut blend, and bring the pan to a simmer. Continue cooking until the sauce is reduced. Add the diced vegetables and warm them through, then serve garnished with lime wedges and lots of chopped coriander.
Cooked mash (or chopped boiled potatoes) makes stupendous hash browns for a weekend breakfast. Beat 1cup of cooked, cold mash with a tablespoon of milk and an egg yolk, then add a chopped shallot or spring onion if liked. Heat a frying pan with a tablespoon of groundnut oil, then drop in large spoonfuls of the mash mixture and fry until brown. Serve with bacon and grilled tomatoes…
Using Leftover Grilled Vegetables
Grilled vegetables – such as aubergines, courgettes, peppers, shallots, beetroot and tomatoes – are excellent leftovers. In fact it’s worth chopping extra so you can make one of these ideas the following day:
Mixed grilled vegetables make a lovely filling for sandwiches. Finely chop the cold vegetables and mix with a little cream cheese or mayonnaise, add chopped herbs if you have any, and use to fill a baguette.
Use your vegetables to top a shop-bought pizza base, sprinkle with fresh or dried basil and a splash of balsamic, then top generously with mozzarella (using enough to cover the veg completely and save it from cooking further). Bake for 20-25 minutes at 200 degrees.
Turn your grilled vegetables into ratatouille, the French peasant-style stew. Finely dice and soften an onion in olive oil, add a tin of tomatoes and reduce to a thick sauce (adding a splash of white wine, if liked). Stir in the grilled vegetables with a generous tbsp of shredded basil, warm through, and serve on jacket potatoes, or alongside cold chicken.