…you know, the online service that provides everything you need for a complete meal (including the recipe), right to your door? My girl Jeanette hooked me up with a coupon code for a trial set of meal kits from Hello Fresh and since I could use a little dinner time inspiration, I pounced on the opportunity. I was excited to see how this worked.
I went online to Hello Fresh’s site, chose the “Veggie Meal Plan” for two people, entered my promo code, and waited! I didn’t look too closely at what the meal boxes might include – there were endless options and I liked the idea of being surprised.
I chose to have my box show up on a Tuesday afternoon and it arrived right on schedule, in a nicely insulated box. I don’t think it would have fared too well to sit out for any extended period of time, but that’s probably why they allow you to choose your delivery time, so you can get it into refrigeration right away.
As I was putting my boxes into the fridge, I pulled out the booklet that contained my three recipes and flipped through it. My meals included: Roasted Cauliflower, Deconstructed Ratatouille, and Cheesy Polenta Cakes. Yummy!
I chose to make the Roasted Cauliflower, first.
Hello Fresh provides you with everything you need for the recipe, except for the cookware of course, and ironically enough – the extra virgin olive oil. I say this is ironic because the front of the recipe book is dedicated to the virtues of EVOO and yet, that is the one thing you have to provide yourself. I just found that a tad funny.
I was disappointed that the first step in all the recipes was to “wash and dry all produce.” I mean, come on, I thought that was one of the points to spending extra cash on a meal box. I knew I would have to cook it myself, but I was hoping it would come all ready to go, kind of a dump, stir, and cook sort of deal. Washing and drying your produce isn’t a big deal, but I think it’s worth mentioning, especially if you were expecting otherwise, like me. It still left (pardon the pun), more work on my plate than I was anticipating from a meal kit.
The recipe for the Roasted Cauliflower came together quickly and easily, with instructions that were clear to follow. They broke everything down into an order of events that keeps you moving and helps home cooks from awkwardly waiting on that one crucial ingredient to finish cooking while the rest of the components cool on top of the stove.
The final product was, delicious. I mean, really, really delicious. The roasted Cauliflower paired nicely with the bulgur, and it was made incredibly flavorful by the homemade Tzatziki sauce and spiced oil (a technique I plan on incorporating into other recipes in the future!). So much yum. And the pumpkin seeds on top! Pure inspiration. Hats off to you, chefs of Hello Fresh.
The problem was the portion. This was supposed to be a meal for two people and honestly, I could have eaten the whole thing and still been hungry.
This is my main complaint about the boxes. I ended up using them as tasty (read: expensive) side dishes to other, more filling, main courses. The Cheesy Polenta Cakes again were delicious but left me hungry, and the Deconstructed Ratatouille was disappointing because one of the ingredients I was most looking forward to – the Ciabattas – was completely left out. It ended up basically being roasted vegetables with almost no protein which did little to satisfy my appetite.
I know it sounds like I’m painting a grim picture for you here, and I really don’t mean to be negative about these boxes. The website is super easy to use, delivery reliable, and the recipes are creative and true to their word – healthful. Prep work is minimal, as is the prep time, and I found that the estimated cook time was spot on. They just left me so HUNGRY. And I don’t do well on hungry.
I’m glad that I had the promo code to give these boxes a try. I would have been super sad if I spent $80 on what turned out to be fancy side dishes, especially since one of the boxes was missing a crucial ingredient.
For $80, I could buy the ingredients to make almost a week’s worth of healthful and delicious vegetarian meals. I was hoping that Hello Fresh would be a fun and welcome treat for those weeks where there isn’t time to menu plan or grocery shop. The problem, though, is that I would still need quite a bit of food on hand to make up for the, well, still-hungry-after-I-ate, problem.
I would be curious to hear from other meal delivery subscribers. What are your thoughts? Who has tried Hello Fresh or another service and loved it? Hated it? Is there a better service out there? I’d love to hear from you!
Happy eating, friends.