Roasted Frozen Broccoli
I’d love to be one of those people who finds chopping vegetables therapeutic, who derives joy from lovingly slicing broccoli into cute, evenly-sized florets. I do not, which is exactly why I am thrilled to report that you can make ROASTED FROZEN BROCCOLI.
That’s right. Without even thawing the broccoli first, you can make it crispy and caramelized. I bet if you didn’t know the broccoli was previously frozen, you’d never even suspect.
As much as I adore roasted vegetables and as ardently as I believe they are the tastiest way to add more veggies to your diet—I cook a pan almost every single night (usually this Roasted Broccoli and Carrots), and we eat the leftovers for lunches and dinners too—I certainly have my nights when it’s getting late, we’re hungry, and I simply do not feel like taking the time to chop vegetables for roasting.
Or, I’m feeling lazy and I fantasize about having someone else chop my vegetables for me.
Anyone want to be my sous chef? We’ll play peppy kitchen music, then eat oodles of Smashed Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Butternut Squash, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Zucchini, and Roasted Potatoes and Carrots. (How’s that for a sell?)
Of course you can buy pre-chopped vegetables, which I do think is a better option compared to eating no vegetables at all. They can be pricey, however, so I started to wonder if there is an affordable way to a) keep eating roasted vegetables en masse but b) avoid chopping them myself without c) having to hire a sous chef.
The answer: roasted frozen broccoli.
I am so pleased to share that YES frozen vegetables can be roasted.
After experimenting with a few different cook times, oven temperatures, and techniques, I found a method for roasting frozen broccoli that yields crispy, delicious results that taste very similar to fresh. No soggy broccoli here!
Key Tips to Making Frozen Vegetables Crispy
With a few easy tips, you can turn a bag of frozen broccoli into hot, crispy vegetables that you’ll want to polish right off of the pan.
- Roast at a high temperature. I found 450 degrees F optimal.
- Preheat the oven with the sheet pan in it. When you add the frozen vegetables to an already hot sheet pan, it helps them crisp more effectively.
- Add some acid. A squeeze of lemon juice livens up the broccoli’s flavor and makes it taste fresh, not flat.
- A pinch of sugar. Sugar helps the broccoli caramelize in the oven. You can omit it if you like, but I think it’s was worth adding a small amount.
Frozen Broccoli: As Healthy as Fresh
Thankfully, frozen broccoli is just as good for you as fresh broccoli.
- Frozen broccoli is typically picked and frozen at peak freshness, so it will maintain its nutritional value.
- Occasionally, frozen broccoli can be more nutritious than fresh broccoli because the blanching process it goes through prior to being frozen can kill bacteria, preserve nutritional value, and prevent spoiling.
- Frozen broccoli even contains the same amount of folic acid as fresh broccoli.
How to Make Roasted Frozen Broccoli
- Frozen Broccoli Florets. Purchase a bag of florets of any size or cook more than one bag at once. The broccoli cooks down quite a bit—I can almost eat an entire 10 ounce bag by myself at one meal—so if you are feeding four or more, I’d suggest doubling the recipe and roasting the broccoli on two pans at the same time.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Be generous to ensure the broccoli doesn’t burn.
- Sugar. A little is all you need.
- Salt and Pepper. Key seasonings for any roasted vegetable recipe.
- Red Pepper Flakes. Optional if you’d like a bit of heat.
- Lemon Juice. ESSENTIAL. The pop of acid really livens up the broccoli and is key to making a frozen vegetable taste fantastic.
- Parmesan. Not necessary per se, but let’s be honest: Parmesan is delicious on frozen broccoli.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F with the sheet pan in it.
- Add the broccoli to a mixing bowl and top with the oil, sugar, and seasonings. Toss to combine.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and add the broccoli in an even layer.
- Bake for 16 to 18 minutes at 450 degrees F until the broccoli is tender and slightly browned. If you’d like it even crispier, pop it under the broiler.
- Squeeze lemon juice over the top. ENJOY!
Roasted Broccoli Seasoning Ideas
- Garlic Roasted Broccoli. Add 1 teaspoon garlic powder with the other seasonings.
- Spicy Roasted Broccoli. Add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper with the other seasonings for an extra level of heat (omit the red pepper flakes unless you want it VERY SPICY).
- Everything Seasoning Broccoli. Add 1 teaspoon everything bagel seasoning with the other seasonings. (If you don’t have a premade everything bagel seasoning, you can make your own by combining 2 tablespoons poppy seeds, 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon dried minced garlic, 1 tablespoon dried minced onion, and 2 teaspoons flaked sea salt. This will make 1/2 cup everything bagel seasoning for you to use however you wish.)
- Pesto Roasted Broccoli. Toss the broccoli with a few tablespoons of your favorite store-bought pesto, and bake as directed. Add freshly grated Parmesan over the top after baking. YUM.
How to Store and Reheat Roasted Vegetables
- To Store. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Reheat in a 400 degree F oven for 4 to 6 minutes, until heated through. You can also rewarm this broccoli in the microwave until hot.
- To Freeze. You can freeze roasted vegetables for up to 2 months. Thaw them overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat in the oven.
Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe
- Baking Sheets. Ideal for roasting any and all frozen veggies and fresh veggies too.
- Mixing Bowls. These are great for tossing your broccoli with spices and oil.
- Measuring Spoons. Accurately measure all the spices for your roasted frozen broccoli.
We are loving this frozen chopped broccoli recipe so much, I’ve been roasting at least two bags per week. It’s so quick and easy, I may not go back to using fresh when all I need is a fast vegetable side dish.
I’m also feeling super jazzed and curious about other frozen vegetables that roast well. I suspect this method would work well for roasting frozen cauliflower without needing to adjust the recipe—you could make a mix of roasted frozen broccoli and cauliflower too. I’ve learned that Roasted Frozen Brussels Sprouts are equally as delicious, and if there’s a different vegetable you’d love to see me tackle, please let me know in the comments below.
If you try this recipe please leave a comment then too. I adore hearing from you!
Roasted Frozen Broccoli
- 16 ounces frozen broccoli florets - do not thaw
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sugar - optional to help the broccoli caramelize
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pinch red pepper flakes - optional
- 1 small lemon - halved
- Arrange one rack in the lower third of your oven and one in the upper third and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and place the sheet pan on the lower rack while it preheats.
- Place the broccoli in a large mixing bowl and top with the oil, sugar, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. With a big spoon or your fingers, toss to combine.
- Once the oven is preheated, carefully remove the hot baking sheet from the oven. Add the broccoli (it will sizzle as it hits the pan) and spread it into an even layer. Where possible, turn the flat sides of the broccoli florets so that they are touching the pan.
- Return the pan to the lower third rack, and bake until the broccoli is tender and beginning to brown at the tips and edges, about 16 to 18 minutes. If you'd like the broccoli even more crisp, switch the oven to broil and move the pan to the upper rack. Bake for 1 to 2 minutes, until the broccoli becomes even more caramelized.
- Remove from the oven and squeeze the lemon over the top. Serve hot.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Reheat in a 400 degree F oven for 4 to 6 minutes, until heated through. You can also rewarm this broccoli in the microwave until hot.
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