This post was in NO WAY sponsored or subsidized by Green Chef or any other meal delivery service. I absolutely freaking hate it when I read a review of these things and it literally reads like an advertisement for the service. Like “Oh my god, this has changed my life! I used to feed my kids dirt but now I make them gourmet meals, thanks Blue Apron!” This is not that. If you want that, too bad.
These days it is impossible to escape the ads for meal delivery services like Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Sun Basket, Plated, etc. They are everywhere and it seems like a new one crops up every day.
I love the idea of these services. After all, pre-portioned new recipes and menus to try delivered right to my door like the Amazon of dinner. What’s not to love? The convenience alone is amazing! I love to cook and consider myself a decent one, but I adored the idea of getting new recipes and inspiration in the kitchen and maybe working with new ingredients.
But I have been keeping low carb (sometimes regular low carb, sometimes strict keto) for about a year and a half, and none of the ads I saw ever had that option. Sure, there were a couple of Paleo or Vegan options, but neither of those fit with the foods I eat.
After seeing another endless stream of HelloBluePlatedHome in my news feed, I decided to see if any keto meal service existed. I happily stumbled upon Green Chef, a company I’d never heard of, but seemed to have great reviews and a large number of menu options — including keto! It was a new addition for them and I decided to give it a shot.
When I visited their website, they had a deal going for $40 off my first order. Which is great, because the keto version of their meals is $15 per person per meal plus shipping, for a total of $100 for three meals (for two people each). Which is a lot, and more than I was willing to pay, since groceries are less.
With the $40 off, my total came to $60, which is around what I would spend on groceries for three full from-scratch meals, including the proteins.
As a comparison, these are their other prices (+ shipping):
- Omnivore meal plan: $12 per person per meal (PPPM)
- Paleo: $15 PPPM (same as Keto, tied for most expensive)
- Vegan: $12 PPPM
- Gluten-Free: $13.50 PPPM
- Vegetarian: $10.50 PPPM
- Carnivore: $13.50 PPPM
So the variety they offer is fantastic, though the price was questionable for me and probably would have been a ‘no’ without the discount. Either way, I signed up and ordered!
Being a writer, I was even more excited about blogging about my experience. I didn’t want to do it meal by meal, instead I decided to wait until I had all three to really give a full opinion and see how the entire experience went.
Unfortunately, while you can choose specific meal types, you cannot choose your menu. I have not tried any other meal services, so I do not know if that is standard (let me know if you’ve tried others and how they differ!).
After paying for my box, I then was told that I actually had signed up for a subscription plan. I am not a fan of unknowingly signing up for subscriptions, or really any service where it is going to auto-ship and auto-charge me for anything. However, Green Chef makes it extremely easy to schedule to “skip” any planned deliveries, make changes (up to a week in advance), and “pause” or cancel your subscription — which you can restart at any time in the future super easily.
So far, it may seem like I’m pointing out negatives, but I’m just trying to give you a clear picture of my thoughts throughout the process.
Then the box came! It was great and the food was packaged in recycled material in the cooler part and then recyclable plastic for the foodstuff. Everything was clearly labeled and coordinated with the recipe cards. It was VERY easy to sort through and make sure I had everything and know what went with which meal. All of the foods and ingredients were organic, too, which I assume contributes to the cost.
I made the first meal that same night. The first one was lemon-dill tuna with beets and capers and an endive and fennel slaw.
This was by far my favorite meal of the three and I loved every part of it! It was easy to make, the recipe and directions were easy to follow, and it was really cool to cook with ingredients I either normally don’t or never have without having to buy a whole bunch of something I might only use once — like capers, endive, and certain spices. The tuna steak was juicy and delicious, the endive, fennel, cabbage and radish slaw — a combination I have never worked with like that — was crisp and tangy and great, the beets were good with capers. I loved marinating the tuna with the lemon and dill and will definitely use that technique again. The whole thing was awesome and I will definitely try to recreate all and parts of that again on my own.
The second meal was an Indian-inspired curry-spiced chicken with roasted cauliflower and spiced almonds and coconut saag (rainbow chard, mustard greens, red onions, bell pepper). This was also extremely good! I had never had coconut saag, nor ever cooked with rainbow chard, so this was a neat experience both while cooking and eating it. The curry was a bit overwhelming on the cauliflower, I thought they had me add a lot and I actually did a bit less than they said, and the spiced nuts did not seem to work the way they wanted it to. They came out clumpy and weird, despite following directions. Luckily those were more of a garnish. But the coconut saag and the chicken were really delicious and I love that now I can make saag.
The third and final meal was a red curry pork burger and roasted bell pepper with sauteed mushrooms and a creamy slaw (red and green cabbage, red onions, scallions, ginger aioli). The burger was delicious and simple, the slaw was okay, and I hate mushrooms. So I gave my husband all the mushrooms and baked some sweet potato fries for myself with salt, pepper, garlic, and paprika (400 degrees in the oven for about 25 minutes, flip over halfway). This was our least favorite overall. It wasn’t bad at all, it just wasn’t as good as the other two and also were my least favorite in terms of ingredients.
And when I originally saw the menu, I attempted to see if we could change out meals, but they do not allow substitutions.
In the end, this was a fun experiment, and I overall am really glad we tried Green Chef!
I have some specific positives and negatives which I will list out specifically, but overall Green Chef was a positive experience with great food and fun meals and what seems like a wide variety of options if you have any dietary restrictions or preferences. At the regular price of $100 per box, I am not likely to order from them again right away. But I could definitely see doing it a couple times per year as a treat to get new meal ideas and inspiration and try different recipes.
One thing to note is that throughout the cooking process, you really did not make any sauces, they were packaged and included. Meal 1 didn’t have a sauce, meal 2 simply had me add water to the garam masala coconut cream sauce they included, and meal 3 included the ginger aioli and red curry paste with lime in it.
The Positives: It came with very fresh pre-portioned foods — and the portions were hearty and perfect, I didn’t feel deprived or still hungry after; all three meals were both healthy and delicious; it gave me a chance to try some new-to-me ingredients; I didn’t have to buy a whole new spice or bulk food item I might only use a little bit of; the service has a lot of variety they offer in meal plans/diets; I got three very different and diverse recipes to make with three different proteins; I loved getting new recipes to try, since I usually cook the same general types of foods all the time; the instructions were easy to follow; I like that I now have these recipe cards and instructions to keep for recreating parts or all of the meals in the future. *Also, their customer service is awesome and easy to get a hold of, helpful, and friendly. Very easy to pause/cancel subscription.
The Negatives: I personally don’t care about eating all organic, so that is probably more of a neutral, but I feel it likely contributes to the higher price; it is definitely more expensive than shopping for groceries and cooking without the significant discount I found on the site; you can’t choose specific meals, you just get what is in that week’s menu; I do not like that it didn’t seem to have a “just once” purchasing option and automatically makes it a subscription and will auto-charge my credit card; it honestly doesn’t feel like “creating” a recipe or very creative in general, since you’re really just following very specific step-by-step instructions on a recipe card (but this one is definitely just nit-picking, since that is exactly what I signed up for).
Note: I took a bunch of pictures of the recipe cards and most of the actual cooking process, so if you’d like to see those, here is an imgur album of that.
Have you ever tried a meal delivery service? What were your thoughts and experience? Did I get this one right or am I way off base? Let me know in the comments!