Perk up your freezer and pantry produce with these simple solutions.
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While fresh is fantastic, don't diss canned or frozen vegetables. Since they're packed at peak freshness, research proves that their nutrition is comparable to fresh. Plus they last months longer and cost far less. Canned veggies cost about half as much as frozen and clock in at just 20 percent the price of fresh!

The main challenge for both is the texture, and certain cooking methods work better than others. That's why we've created this handy guide that includes ideas of how to use canned and frozen vegetables in ways that will make you look forward to eating your five a day.

Mix Up a Dip

Frozen spinach and canned artichokes team up with ridiculously tasty results in this Hot Artichoke and Spinach Dip. You can also easily add thawed frozen edamame, canned peas, or canned beets to your favorite hummus recipe for a color and nutrition boost. Toss in a half cup or use those soybeans as a full replacement for the chickpeas, like in this easy Edamame Hummus. Stick to fresh veggie crudités, crackers, bread, or pita wedges to dunk.

Blend Into a Smoothie

Yes, we know fruit smoothies are more common. But hear us out: If you have any family members who are picky eaters (or if that happens to be you), adding a scoop of frozen spinach, canned pumpkin, or even frozen riced cauliflower to the blender alongside your fruit and yogurt or milk is a painless way to sneak an extra serving of veggies into your diet. We bet you won't even taste them.

Wok On With a Stir-Fry or Fried Rice

Frozen peppers, corn, peas, onions — your options are nearly endless with mix-ins when you start with the blank-canvas concept of a stir-fry or fried riceFried Rice Restaurant-Style and Shrimp Stir Fry offer great templates to inspire your Asian cuisine creation.

Pan with frozen vegetable mix for frying
Credit: ArtCookStudio

Make a Sheet Pan Supper

If you're anti-doing dishes as much as you're anti-food waste, put those frozen or canned vegetables to work in a one-pan meal. Simply fill one half of the pan with protein, such as shrimp, chicken breast, or salmon filets, then load up the other half with whatever frozen or canned veggies you have handy. Season as desired and roast until the protein is cooked through and the vegetables are golden brown.

Tip: Line your sheet pan with foil or parchment to make clean-up even easier.

Assemble a Pot Pie

Casseroles of all kinds are frozen- and canned vegetable-friendly. We're particularly fond of adding either or both to pot pies, like this showy Chicken Pot Pie or this hearty Beef Pot Pie. Carrots, peas, broccoli, celery, onion, and more all work wonderfully in savory pie fillings.

Stir Into Soups, Stews, or Chilis

A classic vehicle for cans of all kinds (broths, beans, etc.), rich stews, chilis, and soups are welcome playgrounds for canned and frozen vegetables, too. Take this cheesy Broccoli Soup, for example, or this tomato-packed Boilermaker Tailgate Chili. Come warmer weather, consider this Spring Vegetable Soup.

When in Doubt, Add Bacon

If you're unsure of what meal to incorporate your frozen or canned veggies into, make a simple side: Sizzle up some diced bacon in a skillet. Once it's nearly finished cooking, remove the bacon while leaving the drippings in the pan. Add the vegetables and sauté them up until fork-tender, invite the bacon back to the party, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

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