Make ahead mirepoix

22 May 2018
Do you start off countless dishes with a mirepoix, a soffrito or the 'holy trinity'? Not sure what I'm talking about? Read on....

In many cuisines there is a common thread of starting a dish by sauteing particularly aromatic vegetables in oil or butter. This step begins the flavour foundation of a meal. The French use a Mirepoix: onion, carrot and celery. The Italians use the same and call it Soffrito (although technically this refers to the combination after it's been sauteed). In Cajun and Creole cooking they sub out the carrot for capsicum. What they all have in common is a mix of highly aromatic vegetables that lift the background flavours of seemingly simple dishes.

Many years ago I came across a blog post (long since forgotten unfortunately so I can't credit here) about time saving kitchen hacks. One suggestion was to pre-cut your mirepoix vegies and keep them in the freezer for starting out a meal. I must confess that I was not initially won-over but when I had a surplus of celery that threatened to go limp before I could use it I decided to give it a go (this was obviously pre-celery storage revelation).

It didn't take long for me to see the simple beauty in having these ingredients ready to go. From soups to stews to pasta sauces, I'm effortlessly tossing handfuls of pre-chopped vegies in a pan and dinner is started before I've even thought about it. It really has been a time saver.

The other great benefit is that I can purchase the ingredients in season when they are at their peak of flavour quality and also at a good price. And of course, following on from our conversation last week, it's a good way to reduce any inadvertent food waste. If you grow your own veg it can be a great way to use up excess produce too.

At this time of year I like to make sure my supply is ready to go in the freezer as many autumn and winter dishes call for the soffrito treatment. No need to feel like you need to put aside specific prep time either - simply chop a few extra the next time you are getting them ready for a dish.

 I like to store each vegie separately but you could go for a mixed bag if you like. The beauty of the separate storage is if I need to start a dish just with onion or bulk out a soup with some extra veg I can grab the individual option rather than being locked into the mirepoix mix.

Of course don't feel that you have to stick with tradition. Here are a few vegie substitutes that I use depending on what's growing or in season (and a good price) at the markets:

  • Onion: Leek, spring onion, shallots
  • Celery: fennel, parsley stems, celeriac, parsnip
  • Carrot: capsicum, tomato (Spanish dishes), pumpkin

It's definitely worth making a little extra freezer space for if you can find it.

Do you find yourself starting countless meals with the mirepoix mix?
Any other game changing kitchen time hacks to share?


  1. yes it's a great idea to chop up and freeze veg for future meals. i have been doing it for ages with onion and ginger and garlic etc...cheers sherry

    1. Yes, ginger and garlic are so handy to have at the ready Sherry, I completely agree.

  2. Laura I have never heard of a mirepoix mix to be honest. Such a good idea though. The only problem with putting veggies in the freezer is that my hubby gets in there and moves everything around so I can't find what I want in a hurry.

    1. I feel you on the freezer disorganisation efforts of family members! When I'm organised I keep things compartmentalised in the freezer in plastic containers....but i'm not that organised at the moment.


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