A couple of weeks ago, I shared about my favorite vegan pantry staples. These are the items that are shelf stable and readily available to serve as vital components for a quick vegan meal.
The other place in the kitchen capable of storing food for longer periods of time is, of course, the freezer! As a companion to my post about pantry staples, let’s talk about great things to have in your freezer.
- Vegetables. I normally keep a bag of mixed vegetables for soup and a stir-fry mix on hand. I also keep tater tots and/or fries on hand. There’s also a great brand I’ve found at Walmart called Strong Roots that makes really great cauliflower hash browns and root veggie fries.
- Veggie scraps. As I’ve mentioned before, you can freeze fresh vegetable scraps in a gallon size freezer Ziploc bag; once the bag is full, boil with salt and 8 cups of water for at least an hour, strain out the veggies, and then you have a delicious, almost free vegetable broth.
- Fruit. Frozen fruit makes great smoothies. You can also add frozen fruit to overnight oats, take a bag of berries and make a compote for pancakes or waffles as a sub for syrup, or use it to flavor home brewed kombucha. I also will peel and freeze ripe bananas to use in smoothies.
- Dorot herb cubes. These are a lifesaver for adding great flavor to meals without adding time or effort. I always have garlic and ginger on hand. These are readily available at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, but I’ve also seen them at Wegman’s.
- Meat substitutes. My favorites are Gardein meatballs and fried fish, Aldi chick’n patties, Bubba veggie burgers, and newly discovered Beyond breakfast sausages. These all make great, quick meals.
- Frozen dinners. I look at these as a backup for an emergency meal. Two I usually keep on hand are the vegan tikka masala from Trader Joe’s and Amy’s tofu scramble breakfast.
- Trader Joe’s side dishes. Three I typically keep on hand are their tater tots, cauliflower gnocchi, and vegetable fried rice. The rice makes a great addition to any Asian inspired meals.
- Vegan ice cream. I really enjoy most of the national brands of non-dairy ice creams and sorbets on the market, and I usually have one pint on hand. Some of my favorites? So Delicious salted caramel, Talenti raspberry sorbet, and Ben and Jerry’s Netflix and chill.
- Yeast. I store it in the freezer for a longer life!
- Nuts. For the types I use less frequently, like pine nuts, I store them in the freezer to keep the oils from oxidizing.
My favorite meal that starts with the freezer is vegetable soup. I’ll make the broth from vegetable scraps, sauté onions and a Dorot garlic cube, add that homemade broth, a can of beans, a can of tomatoes, a favorite grain, and frozen mixed vegetables, and I’ve got comfort in a bowl.
Obviously, our freezers provide us with an excellent way to store food longer and a multitude of convenience foods that help us prepare meals in a hurry. Especially for those of us vegans who live with omnivores!
What are some of your favorites from the freezer? I’d love to hear about it! As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.