Whether you “sneak” it in or not, adding vegetable puree into other dishes is a great and easy way to amp up the nutrition! But roasting a squash to add nutrition while cooking noodles and tomato sauce is a lot of work all at once! A better way is to prep a bunch of puree and then freeze it for when you need it!
What else do you need to know to make your kitchen life easier? MOMables has the answers, join us here!
What Veggies Work Best?
The best veggie candidates for cooking, mashing, and freezing in advance are squash (any kind,) sweet potatoes/yams, beets, cauliflower, and carrots. But feel free to try something else!
Depending on what your plans are for each veggie, there are different serving sizes you’ll want to freeze them in. I usually do 1 to 2 cups for squash, since they’re my dairy-free macaroni and cheese base. Sometimes I just need ½ cup to sub for the oil in a recipe or to add to pancake batter.
The easiest way is to cook and puree your chosen veggie(s) or veggie blend and then scoop 1 cup into a small zip-top baggie. Suck out the excess air with a straw, mark the portion size with a permanent marker, and then place that in a larger freezer bag. Once all your puree is prepped this way, label the outer bag with the contents (e.g. “SQUASH puree”) and freeze. Boom! Done!
Another option is to freeze in ice cube trays or muffin tins.
Most ice cube slots are approximately 1 ounce, and most muffin cups are ⅓ to ½ cup. I recommend silicone for this, versus plastic or metal. It’s much easier to remove frozen cubes or pucks to place in the larger freezer bag! And keep in mind that the lower the sugar content, the more it will stick!
To freeze using this method, portion out your puree into the cube trays or muffin pans and place in the freezer for about an hour. Then pop the frozen puree out and place in a large freezer bag. Try to lay them evenly in a single layer if possible. This prevents them from slightly thawing and re-freezing together (every time you open the door, stuff starts thawing!) Plus as an added bonus, a flatter bag stores more easily!
I Have A Freezer Full of Puree. Now What?
Some uses for veggie puree include adding to tomato sauces, adding to macaroni and cheese sauce, or using as a dairy-free “cheese” base, veggie nuggets, Cauliflower Bites, or Cauliflower Pizza Crust, and substituting for oil or adding to pancake, bread, cookie, or cake batter (chocolate cake and brownies are especially good at hiding veggie flavors!
Check out these MOMables posts for more ways to prep and freeze ahead to make mealtime easier!