A few weeks ago we received 3 boxes of vegan meal kits from Hello Fresh. A friend ordered them for us to claim his referral reward. Although I'd never cooked from a meal kit before, I was quite excited to take a break, switch on the auto pilot and let the dinner cook itself!
What amazes me is that meal kits have definitely gained popularity over the last few years. The last time I looked, Blue Apron and Plated seemed to be the go to service. But now, there's Green Chef, Mark Bittman's Purple Carrot, Jamie Oliver's Hello Fresh and many more.
Here is what it looks like when I opened the box of Jamie's Aloo Gobi.
This is the Forbidden Rice salad. There is also a box of Crispy Noodle and Veggie Stir Fry.
If you're in the kitchen a lot, cooking mindlessly like that is really like taking a vacation! No meal planning, no grocery shopping, everything arrives neatly in a box, every ingredient pre-measured, simple recipes, easy-to-follow instructions, foods cooked in 30-40 minutes!
And the outcomes........
Meal 1: Forbidden rice salad
Meal 2: Aloo Gobi
Meal 3: Crispy Noodle and Veggie Stir Fry
How was the food? The ingredients were fresh (although not organic), the food was tasty, not the blow-you-away kind of good, but yeah, I can live with that!
Did I enjoy my experience? You bet! But it strangely felt more like I was cooking in a cooking show, with all the ingredients measured perfectly to the exact amount, or I was building a Lego set or a scientific experiment from Tinker Crate with my daughter.
Aside from that, those vegan meals were a little too starchy, too much rice, potatoes and noodles. I felt I had to supplement with extra protein and more variety of veggies.
What I found the hardest to justify was the amount of packaging involved - every little piece of ginger or garlic clove, every teaspoon of soy sauce or turmeric powder was individually wrapped.
But all in all, if you want a compromise between ordering takeout and cooking, it might be a good option for you, as Jamie Oliver said, "anything that helps busy people be able to cook from scratch is a good thing”!
How about you? Is this your thing?