How Do You Parboil Mixed Vegetables?

Amber Bracegirdle | Bluebonnet Baker

Parboiled mixed vegetables are great in a variety of dishes. They make dinner prep and cook time much quicker, and for that, they're a total win!

Parboiling mixed vegetables is a super easy way to make sure you’re getting those five servings a day. They can be used in everything from soups and stews to stir fry and curries.

We’ve all seen the package at the store – mixed vegetables that include cauliflower, broccoli and carrots. They’re a great way to add texture and flavor to just about any meal.

But what do you do with them? You can steam them in the bag, but what if that’s not the right preparation for what you’re trying to make?

Soba Noodle Stir Fry Photo

Stir fry, for example, would end up with mushy veg if they were to get steamed in the bag. That’s not what anyone wants in a meal.

Mushy might not be quite so offending in a soup or stew, but in a sheet pan dinner? No way.

The answer to all of this is parboiling.

What is parboiling?

Are you asking yourself, "what is parboiling, anyway?" It’s quite simple, really. Parboiling is the act of partially boiling, or precooking, some type of food.

You can parboil most any vegetable or grain, be it rice, sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrotsbroccoliBrussels sproutsgreen beans or even peppers.

It's also pretty common to parboil meat before frying, roasting or grilling. Chickenchicken wingsribsbrats or sausage are all delicious when first parboiled before finishing to taste.
Parboiled Mixed Vegetables Photo

Why do I need to parboil my mixed vegetables?

We parboil for a few simple reasons:

  • We want to freeze a large portion of produce, but make it easy to cook from frozen.
  • We’re planning ahead, for meal prep purposes.
  • Some starches may take too long to cook if only cooked using another method, such as roasting.
Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad Photo

How is parboiling different from blanching?

When you parboil, you boil the mixed vegetables in salted water for a few minutes. Blanching is different in that you’d then submerge the mixed vegetables in ice water to immediately stop the cooking process.

How to Parboil Mixed Vegetables:

  1. Wash the carrots, broccoli florets and cauliflower florets (or purchase pre-cut).
  2. Bring a saucepan 3/4 of the way full of clean, cold water to a boil.
  3. Add a pinch of salt to the water.
  4. Add mixed vegetables to the water and boil for 1 minute.
  5. Drain and cool.

How do I use my parboiled mixed vegetables?

You can do lots of things with parboiled mixed vegetables, which makes this fantastic for meal planning. Days, weeks, or even months ahead of time you can plan out a week’s worth of meals involving these healthy vegetables, and it takes only a few minutes to prep.

Chicken Cauliflower Rice Soup Pic

How to Freeze Parboiled Mixed Vegetables:

  1. Pat drained mixed vegetables dry.
  2. Line a jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper or a Silpat liner.
  3. Spread the florets of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots out on the pan, making sure they are evenly spread and not touching.
  4. Freeze for 2-4 hours.
  5. Remove from the freezer and place in ziptop bags. Make sure to label and use within 2-3 months.
Parboiled Mixed Vegetables Picture

How to Cook with Parboiled Mixed Vegetables:

  • Enjoy in a chicken stew with lots of other vegetables.
  • Sauté with chunks of chicken and sweet potatoes for an easy one-pan supper.
  • Season, then roast with other vegetables or meats at 400°F for 10 minutes.
  • Stir-fry with soy sauce, oyster sauce, or white wine sauce and other vegetables and meats.

Parboil Recipes

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Amber Bracegirdle

About Amber

Amber is a native Texan, born to a family of fabulous cooks. She shares her love of all things Tex-Mex and Southern both on her blog, Bluebonnet Baker, and here on Food Fanatic. She heavily endorses the use of the contraction "y'all".