Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Review of the Hello Fresh Vegetarian Box and GIVEAWAY!

First off, I want to make it known that I paid for this box, so this review is not biased from receiving free product.  I did find a $40 off coupon which brought my total for 3 meals for a family of 4 to $69.  Not a bad price to pay to try out the service!

These meal services seem to be all the rage and there are several companies out there besides Hello Fresh.  There is also Blue Apron, Green Chef and Home Chef...and probably several more. But the question is, are they worth it?  The meals, when broken down with shipping, cost about the same as it would to dine at a restaurant, but not as inexpensive as say Thai or Mexican takeout.  Does it save time?  Maybe. I'd have to try it out for a month to tell you that. Does it inspire creativity and the interest of trying new foods.  It depends.  It may be just as easy to surf the internet for new recipes.  Is it exciting to get a box of super fresh food with recipes at your door every week?  I think so!

I placed the order on a Monday morning and was able to receive the box by Saturday morning.  I think I ordered after the time window where you can select exactly what meals you want in the box, so we ended up with the the following meals: One Pan Ravioli Gratin, Crispy Chickpea and Roasted Cauliflower Salad, and Black Bean and Farro Salad.

While the produce was not organic, it was super fresh and free of preservatives.  The packaging we received the meals in was all recyclable except for the gel ice packs and the padding inside the box.  The gel ice packs were not even reusable because they started to leak after they sat out overnight.  But I was happy with the overall quality and the way the meals were separated out into individual boxes so that I didn't need to spend time hunting through the box to match the ingredients up with each recipe.

Just a heads up to anyone who is thinking about ordering the Vegetarian Box, with foods like Farro and Quinoa, it's definitely not the right "intro to vegetarian eating" for newcomers.  Especially kids.  So if your family is not already eating "clean" or "health nut" style, or if you normally include animal products in your diets, you might want to instead order the "Standard Plan".

The first meal we decided to cook was the Ravioli Gratin.  This meal is not one for the kids to prepare themselves.  Lots of time spent at the stove and putting the food in a hot oven.  And the final result for us was that I dropped the entire pan onto the oven door because my hand slipped and touched the pan handle as I was pulling it out from under the 450 degree broiler.  Holy ouch!  And what a freaking mess. Luckily I had recently cleaned my oven so I had no shame in scooping the food off the oven door and serving it.  I should have taken a picture of the mess but I immediately went into clean up mode.  Food was also on the floor and the cabinets...it was one of those prize messes.  Kind of like the time I turned the blender on high without the lid on.  That happened a long time ago but I still remember the mess.  Oh yeah. 

This is how the Gratin looked after I scooped it off the oven door.... it was good.  Just not very "pretty".

The second meal was the Black Bean Farro Salad.  It was not a main course sort of meal.  It was more of what I would serve at a picnic as a side salad.  Just not very filling at all.  But it was easy for the kids to prepare!

A half eaten messy looking plate of Farro...I'm such an awesome food photographer. 

The third meal was the Quinoa.  The kids and I enjoyed this dish, my husband who doesn't really like quinoa did not like it.  He ate a bowl but no seconds.  That's how I know when he doesn't like what I cook.

Also not a very appealing photo.   Sorry, I just didn't want to put in the effort to make it look good.  It did taste good though.

And that's it!  Now for the giveaway.  Who wants a FREE Box of Hello Fresh meals?!  I'm giving away two of them.  Comment under this post if you want to be entered.  Two entries given to those who also comment on the FaceBook page.  I'll do the drawing on Friday, 10/21/2016.