Frozen Foods Frenzy

By Chef Nancy Berkoff, EdD, RD

When we don't have time to prepare a meal from scratch, we can thank Mr. Birdseye for 'inventing' frozen food! Here are some ideas for 'eating from the freezer.'


Frozen edamame (out of the shell) make a great addition to soup. Select a can of your favorite soup or some leftover homemade soup. Add the frozen edamame to the soup before heating on the stove or microwaving, and the edamame will heat with the soup.

Mix edamame into leftover cooked rice. Then, add some soy sauce or your favorite oil-and-vinegar salad dressing; sprinkle in some nutritional yeast, chopped nuts, or sesame seeds; and heat. Voilà — a great entrée!

If you have a small amount of either leftover cooked chili or beans and rice, add in heated edamame. Use the new mixture to fill burritos, tacos, pitas, or wraps. If you'd like a cold pita or wrap, couple chilled edamame with spinach or a tossed salad to create the filling. On the other hand, if you have leftover cooked edamame, you can purée them and freeze them. Then, you can use them as an ingredient in a cold dip or a hot soup.

Frozen Spinach

Frozen spinach does take a bit of planning, but just a bit! Several hours before you will be eating, remove the spinach from the freezer, place it in a bowl, and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator. When you are ready to prepare your meal, squeeze all of the water from the spinach (a good way to get some upper body exercise in!) and reserve the water. Now, you've got some choices:

  • Toss the squeezed spinach with cooked pasta, add your choice of seasonings, microwave, and dig in!
  • Add the spinach water as part of the liquid needed to cook pasta, rice, quinoa, couscous, or other grains. While your pasta, rice, or grains are cooking, season the spinach with spices, such as white pepper, onion or garlic powder, chili powder, shredded fresh herbs, sesame seeds, or chopped nuts. Combine the pasta, rice, or cooked grains with your spinach creation for a lunch or dinner entrée.
  • Steam or microwave your spinach. Then, use it as a 'bed' for leftover salad to create a layered entrée!


When grapes are in season, purchase extra seedless ones. Separate them from their stalks, wash and dry them, and then freeze them in a container or storage bag.

Frozen grapes, taken right from the freezer, make a great snack as you are reading, working at your computer, or watching sports! Use frozen grapes to garnish cold salads and desserts or to stir into your morning soy yogurt or cold cereal on a hot day. You can also use frozen grapes to replace some of the ice when creating smoothies or in lieu of the ice in iced water, sparkling water, or iced teas.

Frozen Fruit

How about a 'frozen' fruit salad that you can serve as a breakfast or lunch entrée or as a dessert? Stock your freezer with peeled, sliced bananas (another use for bananas that are getting too ripe), frozen strawberries, and frozen berries. (You can wash, dry, and freeze berries when they are in season or purchase frozen berries.) Combine the frozen bananas, strawberries, and berries with some chopped nuts or nutritional yeast and then mix in just a splash of maple or rice syrup, orange juice, or another liquid sweetener. Add in some vegan yogurt, crumbled extra firm tofu, or crumbled cookies or cake, and you have a delicious, frozen fruit-based treat!