If you’re a Millennial, odds are you’ve probably heard of/tried/love the Meal Kit Delivery trend that’s sweeping social media platforms everywhere (Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Home Chef, Purple Carrot, etc.). If you’re not a Millennial, odds are you’ve never heard of it or don’t get why any sane person would pay for it. After all, the service involves spending almost as much money to make a meal at home as you would to eat out. Asinine, right? Maybe not.
This past week I celebrated my 26th birthday and Natalie got me, yet again, the perfect gift: a Hello Fresh box! I’d never tried any of the meal kit delivery services so I was a total unbiased newbie. So how did it go? Take a look.
The 3 recipes that were included in my box were Harissa Sweet Potato Pita Pockets, Gorgeous Greens Farro Bowl, and Sweet ‘N’ Sour Yakisoba Noodles.
Natalie ordered all of my meals off of their vegetarian menu. One of the recipes came vegan, with no animal products included. One included cheese, which I simply left off. The third came with mayonnaise needed for the sauce, which I ended up making a plant-based mayo out of raw cashews and soy milk instead. All 3 recipes called for oil for sauteing. I simply sauteed with water in my nonstick skillet and had no issues.
The box included photos of each of the 3 recipes, along with the recipe instructions and the nutrition info. The instructions were straightforward and included process pictures to clear up any possible confusion. All 3 of the recipes were fairly simple and beginner-friendly.
Per my husband’s request, we made the Sweet ‘N’ Sour Yakisoba Noodles first. The carrots, garlic, ginger, scallions and Thai chili came whole and needed diced/minced. The cabbage came already cut. The sauce ingredients came separate but just entailed combining and mixing them. The noodles simply needed boiled and then were ready to go. Overall, the prepping process was simple, straightforward and took about 15 minutes.
The cooking process was simple enough and just involved 1 pan (less dishes, whoaa!) and took about 15 minutes. It made 2 generous servings using only half of the noodles in the package. I topped the dish with the sliced scallions and candied cashews that were included.
The dish looked amazing, as you can see below, and had some serious flavor. Unfortunately, I don’t think I would go as far as saying it was better than any dish I’ve ordered at a Thai restaurant.
Nutrition-wise this recipe was nothing to brag about. One servings had a total of 710 calories with 1340mg of sodium. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2300mg of sodium per day, so this dish alone was over half of my daily rec! The Yakisoba Noodles were processed, which is not ideal. When consuming grains, we should always be shooting for whole grain (read more about that here).
Overall, I would make this dish again although next time I will use a lot less noodle (or sub brown rice) and a lot more veggies. I’ll also use a low sodium soy sauce or tamari and use plain chopped up cashews rather than the candied ones that were included.
The Vegetarian Hello Fresh plan comes out to $7-9 per person, per meal. It’s also an extra $6 for shipping. Is it worth it? In terms of what you get, an almost restaurant-quality meal that you prepare yourself, possibly not.
Although, for you novice chefs, the straightforward instructions and limited prepping/cooking involved makes it a good (and fairly fail-proof) way to learn your way around the kitchen. It allows a beginner to prepare a high-quality dish that they normally would not experiment with.
It’s also a great way to discover new recipes and ingredients that you probably wouldn’t have tried otherwise. They give you the recipe on a nice sturdy sheet, so keeping and using it in the future is a great idea. And like I mentioned above, you can always make changes and experiment with the recipe to make it match your nutrition and taste preferences.
Overall, I would recommend trying the Veggie Hello Fresh plan for a few weeks, if for nothing else than some culinary inspiration. It’s a great way to get yourself in the kitchen and get excited about trying new recipes. Although most of the recipes are not as healthy as we would prefer, a few simple tweaks fix this shortcoming.