So, for our second meal delivery kit, we received another free box through a friend to try Green Chef. Once again, I’ll review them on a scale of 1 (ugh) to 10 (hooray!) in the categories of price, packaging, a rating for each meal, and an overall score.
Green Chef distinguishes themselves in this increasingly crowded market by being the only provider to offer all certified organic “responsibly sourced” ingredients. They also offer a wider variety of meal plans than my first kit did – you can order Green Chef in omnivore, carnivore, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and paleo varieties.
With GreenChef, there’s a lot less choice than with some of the other services; once you’ve selected your plan, you’ll receive the three meals for that plan that week — and that’s final. You can set preferences for any proteins you don’t eat, but otherwise there’s no option to add additional meals for an upcharge, or to choose your preferred options from a variety of featured recipes. So you better hope you like what’s on the menu!
The prices for Green Chef vary based on which plan you order; vegetarian is the cheapest at $71.94 per box, while Paleo is most expensive at $98.94 per box. I went with the “carnivore” box (because I liked the meals it came with better that week), which would have run me $89.94.
This is the most expensive box on my list to try, and being that everything they provide is organic, I can kind of give them a pass for that. Still, we can usually buy groceries for an entire week — 7 meals AND lunches — for about $100 a week, so in that sense I can’t really see doing this sort of plan long term.
I actually really liked the Green Chef packaging. They had a recycled insulating packing material that I totally kept – it would be great for cushioning wine bottles on a trip, for example. And it worked well too. All our food arrived properly chilled and very fresh.
Initially, upon opening this box, I thought it was going to be confusing. Whereas Hello Fresh had separated each meal’s components into a sub-box, Green Chef had everything mixed up together. However, I quickly caught on to the color-coded labeling system; each meal’s ingredients corresponded to a specific color that corresponded with the recipe card.
My only other thought here is that for the supposed mission of the company and the pricetag associated, there was a lot of superfluous packaging. Things like raw carrots didn’t really need to come in a plastic bag. The meats, similarly were double-bagged. And all the bags were thin plastic, instead of something recyclable.
Meal 1: Tuna Poke Bowl: 9/10
This was my absolute favorite meal I’ve had from any meal kit so far! Though, of course, when you give me sushi-grade tuna, sushi rice, and some fresh vegetables…there’s really not a lot to complain about! Still, some cooking experience helps: I opted to barely cook my tuna at all; had you gone with their written instructions you would have ended up with a very grey piece of fish. And while I enjoyed the quantity of toppings that were provided for this dish, it seemed a lot like gilding the lily. We ended up with quite a bit of left over vinaigrette, mayo, sesame seeds, etc. Still, this dish was a winner in my book, and now that I know how easy poke bowls can be at home, I’ll think I’ll definitely make my own version in the future.
Meal 2: Tumeric Tahini Chicken: 6/10
Unfortunately, that great first meal had set my expectations really high! And the other meals just couldn’t keep up. This chicken dish was simple, and would have been fairly tasty…if it wasn’t for the addition of that horrible bright yellow tumeric tahini sauce that clashed with many of the other flavors, including the sweetness of the carrots and maple syrup that was served with it. Again, I think Green Chef’s inclination to overdo it in the sauce department pretty much ruined this meal…neither the hubby or I finished ours.
Meal 3: Paprika-Roasted Pork: 5/10
This meal was a mixed bag; the pork itself was fairly tasty, though the instructions for preparing it were overly complicated. But the sides were both a miss. The “pasta salad” was just weird…comprised of bowtie pasta, raw spinach, orange supremes, and olive tapenade, the flavors just didn’t blend particularly well. And seriously: who has time/energy to supreme an orange for a weeknight meal?? The cauliflower actually paired well with the manchego cheese, but came out undercooked…it needed another 10-15 minutes of roasting that were not accounted for in the instructions.
Much like all the other meal delivery services, Green Chef provides convenience and variety, and the recipes were simple enough for even beginners to make; in fact, I felt these recipes were all easier than the Hello Fresh recipes. In the end, having just the two meal boxes to compare so far…I’d say we liked Hello Fresh a little better.
I could see going with Green Chef if you are looking for a specific diet plan like vegan or paleo. But for people who have no real food restrictions, the meals for Hello Fresh were just tastier overall, and the price difference is of course a factor as well. We also felt that, despite their organic mindset, Green Chef tended to overdo it with sauces and toppings — to the detriment of their recipes. Other than the poke dish, we probably wouldn’t make either of the other recipes again.