With almost five months into the pandemic and half the summer gone, many people have been forced to explore their inner chef.
For those who were already seasoned at-home cooks (pun intended,) planning every single meal on the daily has become a source of exhaustion and frustration. While getting takeout keeps our local businesses afloat, it can eventually cause our wallets to feel like a sinkhole. As a happy medium between getting frequent takeout and cooking at home, many are treating themselves to home delivery meal kit services. There are at least twenty different, popular meal kit services available and it can be hard to choose the right one to fit your needs.
While I’d love to compile a list of all the best ones for your convenience, I have not had the pleasure of trying them all. Instead, I will give you an in depth breakdown of my experience with Green Chef, who currently markets themselves as the only meal kit service with keto options (if you’re into that).
Certified Organic and Fit for Every Diet
Green Chef is a certified organic company and is convenient for people following specific diets such as keto, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or an option they call “balanced living.” For this review I’ll tell you about the Korean Ground Beef Bowl, a keto based meal.
Pricing and Delivery
Prices range from $9.99 to $12.99 per meal not including tax and shipping costs, but Green Chef is currently offering discounts for first time buyers. Delivery is available almost everywhere in the U.S. except Alaska, Hawaii, and parts of Louisiana. You can schedule meals to be delivered Monday through Saturday.
Green Chef provides eco-friendly packaging from the cardboard box it arrives in to the recyclable plastic ingredient bags. Keep in mind that not all of the ingredient packaging is labeled recyclable, and you still need to remove all stickers from the plastic as well as wash and dry them. This can prove tedious. The plastic from the ice packs is recyclable, but the freezable gel is not drain safe and must be disposed of in the trash.
Something I recently learned is that the packaged ingredients are color-coded per recipe, so you can organize them in your fridge however you want. When you’re ready to prepare the meal, all you have to do is match the color of the recipe card with the colored stickers on the packages. Since I’m buying less groceries in lieu of getting Green Chef, I’m left with extra storage room. So, I just take the paper bags each meal is separated into and shove it into the fridge. Work smarter, not harder I always say. It’s important to note that one ingredient bag feeds two people, so if you are feeding four you will get two ingredient bags per meal, and if you’re feeding more than four then… that’s a lot of paper bags. Meat is packaged separately and can easily be frozen and defrosted on the day you make the meal. I’ve made several meals from Green Chef and have found that the produce is always in good condition, but I recommend making the meals within three to four days of ordering them or the vegetable may start to brown.
Ready to Eat in 30-ish Minutes
Meals come with a detailed recipe card which is useful for a lot of people, but I found that stopping every few minutes to review instructions slows me down. Especially because most of the recipes require using more than one pan which I found annoying. I’m not sure about other meal kits, but the Green Chef recipe card gives instructions on how to plate the meal, which can make the entire experience feel extra fancy. For someone who doesn’t cook often or wants to make something quick, you really can make a beautiful, tasty meal in 30 minutes (it takes me closer to 45).
The Korean Beef Bowl felt like one of the simpler meals to make, even though I had to use three skillets and juggle the timing of cooking the vegetables with frying the egg at the end so that nothing would get cold. With only a packet of Gochujang sauce, (a traditional Korean fermented hot sauce) for seasoning, this meal was delicious! The veggie rice was so well thought out, I didn’t even miss the regular rice. Also, it wasn’t super spicy, just a mild tingle. Meal instructions say to add salt and pepper in addition to the condiments that are provided, but everyone has different tastes. I would suggest making your first meal without adding anything extra to get an idea of how much you should add during cooking.
Here’s what my plated meal looked like:
For the price and preparation time I think Green Chef is a good meal kit to try, but if you want to see a quick overview of some of the best to try in 2020 I’ve vetted this article just for you. Bon appétit!
If you do try Green Chef or any meal kit for the first time we’d love to hear about it! Show us pics of your prepared meals and tag us @usedmedia / #usedmedia on Instagram and Facebook or @USEDmediatweets on Twitter.