I am sure that if you have spent any time on social media in the past couple years, then you have seen the ever-so-popular food trend of meal kit delivery services: Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Plated, Sun Basket, Green Chef, Martha Stewart, the list goes on. A whole slew of these companies sprung up in what seems like a pointed attempt to appeal to the Millennial market, a generation that detests going to stores. As a Millennial, I can attest this is a rather accurate assessment.
Plated or Blue Apron seem to be the services that I have seen most highly rated online due to the high use of organic ingredients and intricate recipes. I am sure you’ve heard ads for Blue Apron if you have EVER listened to a podcast in the past couple years. They have been incredibly successful at marketing themselves.
However, the company I am reviewing today is Hello Fresh. I read some negative things about this service: that they don’t use many organic ingredients, the recipes are too simple, and that the ingredients are not as high quality as other services. I decided to try this subscription because of the simplicity. Given my hectic work schedule, I knew that I didn’t have much time or energy to spend cooking. Hello Fresh claims their meals take 30 minutes to make, and that was mostly my experience with this service.
What I liked about Hello Fresh was that I got to try recipes, ingredients, and techniques that were unfamiliar to me. Even though the recipes are fairly simple, I was learning a lot about cooking and my own tastes. I discovered that I enjoy pork tenderloin and also how easy it is to make a pan sauce to keep those juices in your pork. I had never previously had pork tenderloin before using this service. I had also never cooked with shallots, couscous, grits, and some other fairly typical ingredients in these boxes.
Before Hello Fresh, I mostly just cooked different variations of chicken breast (which I still eat of a lot of) but my cooking knowledge and ability has expanded far beyond that. I tried Hello Fresh for a few months, receiving one box a week. After a while though, I decided I didn’t want to spend the $60 a week on just Hello Fresh, and I suspended my account. I was also getting better about cooking for myself, so I felt ready to let go of the service.
The last time I had a Hello Fresh box was in October 2017, but I still been seeing their posts on social media, including some new recipes that have intrigued me and made me miss getting my boxes. Conveniently, I received an email a week or so ago offering me a free box if I resume my subscription. Not wanting to turn down a week of free meals, I re-activated my account and chose Lemon Rosemary Chicken Cutlets, Pineapple Poblano Beef Tacos, and Veggie-Loaded Orzo and Sausage.
There are a total of nine options each week, at least for the classic plan. When I ordered my last box, you either could be in the vegetarian plan or you got all carnivorous recipes. All the recipes in the classic plan had meat in them. What I noticed had changed was that there were a couple vegetarian options in the classic plan. As a non-vegetarian, I appreciate being able to choose a combination of meat and and veggie dishes.
Lemon Rosemary Chicken Cutlets
The first meal I made from this box was the lemon rosemary chicken cutlets with Parmesan couscous and heirloom grape tomatoes. They were not kidding when they said this was a 20 minute meal. Cooking this meal was quick and easy with very little prep. Chicken cutlets are a great cut of meat in a time crunch, as the thinness lends to quick cooking time. I very much enjoyed this meal. It was light but satisfying, and the second serving was easy to pack away for lunch the next day.
Pineapple Poblano Beef Tacos
The second meal I chose to cook was the tacos. Hello Fresh just loves their tacos. You can get some type of tacos in your box pretty much every week. I actually had made this exact recipe when I was previously using the service and loved it, so I chose to have this one again.
The taco recipes tend to require very little cooking but more prep work, because you get to make your own salsas. For this recipe, you make this refreshing pineapple salsa that finishes off this meal nicely. I am a huge fan of poblano peppers and pineapple, so this is a winner for me. For this recipe, I actually split it into three meals with two tacos for each meal. I added a side of broccoli and a fresh peach to finish off the meal.
Veggie-Loaded Orzo and Sausage
For my final meal, I made the veggie orzo with sausage. This recipe probably had the most prep work due to the amount of vegetables in this dish. There was parsley to chop, red onion to dice, tomatoes to cut in half, and zucchini and red bell peppers to slice. I loved how many vegetables were in this meal; it felt so fresh and summery.
My final thoughts on these meals were that they were all delicious and easy to make. I plan on continuing to use the service, but only getting a box every month or so. I like the ease of having the ingredients mailed straight to you with clear instructions. It takes the stress away of having to figure out what to cook and then going grocery shopping.
All in all, I do recommend trying Hello Fresh, especially if you are looking for meals that are quick and easy to make and taste good. They are good for people who are just learning how to cook and people with much more cooking experience. Hello Fresh is a convenient and relatively affordable meal kit delivery service that is worth trying. First time customers can almost always get discounts on their first few boxes.
*This post reflects my honest views. I did not receive any compensation or other incentives to post this review.