This is the cheapest, tastiest, easiest meal you’ll ever make.

By Stacey Ballis
May 18, 2021
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You know they are there without even opening your freezer door: half-used bags of frozen vegetables. Here's why: These budget-friendly bags of frozen peas, carrots, corn and more are not designed for a side dish for two, or recipes that only call for a half-cup or cup. Which leaves behind those bags, usually just twisted at the top and shoved back into the freezer, ready to spend eternity getting freezer burnt, or falling out unceremoniously and dumping a third of a bag of peas all over the floor.

But don't let those healthy little nuggets go to waste! Here are two easy ways to use up all those sad partial bags and reclaim some of your freezer space! And they are both soup. Because frozen vegetables are terrific for soups, and the best part is that you can use pretty much any variety in either of these recipes.

Frozen Veggies
Credit: Getty / FotografiaBasica

How to make 2 easy soups with leftover frozen vegetables

For hot days: chilled gazpacho style soup

While a traditional recipe full of fresh ingredients is wonderful, whipping up a version with your frozen leftover veggies is as delicious and much easier. Here's all you do:

1. Dump all of the frozen vegetables you have into your blender and let hang out at room temp for a half hour or so just to let them thaw.

2. Add either water or vegetable stock up to the same level as your vegetables, with some little bits still poking up out of the surface of the liquid.

3. Blend until you have the style of gazpacho you like: some prefer a slighty coarse texture, some like it super smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

That's literally it. Garnish with a twirl of good extra virgin olive oil, minced fresh herbs, toasted almonds, or buttered croutons. Serve in a bowl for a light lunch, or in a mug for a sippable starter.

If you want to get fancy, give it a tweak with a squeeze of fresh citrus juice or a grating of zest, a splash of sherry vinegar, a dash or two of hot sauce for heat. Since frozen vegetables are flash frozen at the peak of ripeness and flavor, you'll be surprised how fresh this soup tastes.

For cooler days: Classic vegetable soup

For a hot soup on cooler nights (or later this year), here's your go-to:

1. Dump all those leftover vegetables into a pot and add stock (you can pick anything you like or have in your pantry) to cover by two inches.

2. If you have any leftover fresh vegetables lying about—half an onion, a wobbly carrot, a less than crisp rib or two of celery—chop them up and dump them in as well.

3. Heat through, season to taste with salt and pepper, and again, soup's on.

If you want some protein, add a can of drained beans. Some bulk? Try a small, cooked pasta shape, rice, or other whole grain. Again, fresh herbs, citrus juice or zest, or a pinch of red pepper flakes are all great in this.

Once you have made either of these soups, you'll find that you'll never fear the half-bag of frozen vegetables again. I keep a large ziptop freezer bag that I use to dump in those partial bags as I have them, and when the bag is full, it's time for soup!