Serious Eats: Recipes

The Crisper Whisperer: Warm Spinach and Artichoke Dip

You may know Carolyn Cope as Umami Girl. She stops by on Tuesdays with ideas on preparing fruits and vegetables. —The Mgmt.

[Photograph: Carolyn Cope]

Ever since the CSA season ended, I've been looking for an opportunity to share a few thoughts with you about frozen vegetables. Namely, that if you choose them well and use them well, frozen veggies can be a thing of beauty—and whether you freeze them yourself or buy them in the supermarket, you should never be embarrassed to sing their praises from the rooftops.

The Super Bowl seems like just the occasion to start the conversation. I mean that in the most flattering way, because veggie lady or no, man, do I love me some Super Bowl food.

Along with corn and peas, spinach and artichoke hearts are some of my favorite frozen vegetables for quality and ease of use. They all hold up well to the freezing process and have a variety of uses, albeit different ones from what you'd do with the fresh versions. A good commercial frozen vegetable will contain just one ingredient and will have been flash-frozen right after harvesting. Because they are usually picked and preserved at their peak, frozen vegetables are usually at least as nutritious as the fresh ones you'd buy in the store.

When I make spinach lasagna or this Warm Spinach and Artichoke Dip, I actually prefer frozen chopped spinach to fresh. In part it's because we often crave those foods in the winter, when fresh spinach is out of season. But it's also because the dense texture of frozen spinach works so well in these dishes.

What about you? What are your favorite frozen veggies, and how do you like to use them?

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