Mirepoix sounds fancy, but it really isn’t, and knowing how to make it can make cooking weeknight meals a lot easier.

You don’t even need to know that the name comes from Charles Pierre Gaston François, duc de Mirepoix (1699-1757), whose chef is said to have invented the diced vegetable concoction — though it might be a cool fact to drop at the right cocktail party. But knowing how to make and use mirepoix will help you slip some sneaky vegetables onto those same unsuspecting kids’ plates.

And making it ahead of time can save you some valuable hours at the end of a busy day.

How to make mirepoix

This part is easy. There are two steps:

1. Chop onions, celery, and carrots, usually two parts onion to one part each carrots and celery.

2. Sauté the mixture in oil and butter to desired tenderness.

That’s it!

In fact, you can even skip step one, because Trader Joe’s sells mirepoix pre-mixed and chopped. But if you are making homemade, mirepoix a great way to use up a stray onion and some carrots and celery.

Now you’re ready to use the vegetable blend in a dish in progress, or do what I like to do, which is freeze it in 2-3 cup portions so you can use as needed.

Feel free to freeze it raw or cooked, then just pull it out whenever you need to get cooking, fast.

Related: 7 freezer essentials you should always have to make family meals soooo much easier

How to use mirepoix: 8 ideas

Mirepoix is a shortcut to plenty of popular dishes — and it can even be its own side dish on its own. Here are a few of my own favorite ways to use it, but I bet you’ll think of plenty of your own.

How to make and use mirepoix: 8 ways this diced vegetable mixture can become your mealtime hero | coolmomeats.com

Use mirepoix in soups and stews
Mirepoix is the perfect beginning to any number of soups and stews, including Jane’s excellent homemade chicken soup, which she’s shared here.

Need more ideas? Just the other night, I made the cabbage soup shown below in about ten minutes, starting with mirepoix. I sautéed it for a couple minutes in a little butter until it was soft and aromatic, added homemade chicken stock, chopped cabbage, and a handful of chopped leftover Indian chicken kabob. I seasoned it with a favorite salt blend and pepper to taste and simmered the whole thing until the cabbage was just right. Done!

How to use mirepoix to start a meal | Anne Wolfe Postic for Cool Mom Eats

Add mirepoix to meatloaf
Mirepoix is a perfect veggie blend for making meatloaf flavorful. The Kitchn’s meatloaf formula is as easy as it gets, and it all starts with this same basic blend of carrots, celery, and onions.

Serve mirepoix over rice or mix it into risotto
I love serving it over rice as a side dish, which accompanies my wildly easy and versatile slow cooker pulled chicken just fine. The adults will probably mix it all together, but the kids can eat the rice, chicken, and vegetables separately if they’d like. Fun for everyone!

Bake up mirepoix in some pastry crust
Got phyllo pastry or pie dough in your fridge or freezer? Use the phyllo to make little triangles full of mirepoix and cheese. Or, start your chicken pot pie with mirepoix. Don’t want to make your own crust? Grab a ready made one from the store and dinner is a snap.

Make shepherd’s pie easier with mirepoix
Shepherd’s pie is another classic dish made easier when you have pre-made mirepoix on hand. I mean, it’s easy enough already, but how much quicker will it be when you’ve already done the chopping?

Use mirepoix in omelets
For an easy veggie omelet, just toss in some mirepoix, and whatever else looks good. So simple.

Add mirepoix to puréed sauce
If you want some more chunky, fresh veggie flavor, I stir mirepoix into all kinds of puréed sauces. The possibilities are endless!

Serve it all on its own
On its own, mirepoix is a perfectly acceptable side dish, especially if you toss in a little bacon to take it up a notch.

Feeling inspired yet?