Hello Fresh is a meal kit subscription service that sends pre-portioned ingredients and recipe cards (the cooking is up to you). There are a few of these type of subscriptions out there, but when a friend posted a $40 off code, I decided this was exactly the one I wanted to try!
The regular price for 3 meals (2 portions per meal) is $70. At over $10 a portion, there’s no way I was trying this at full price…why would you not just go out to eat? With the $40 coupon though, I was looking at $5 per plate. Still not great, but more reasonable for an experiment.
When I signed up, I was given the option to choose 3 meals from their recipe list for the following week. There are meat, fish, and vegetarian options, so I went with two meat and one vegetarian. The ingredients and recipe cards are delivered on a specific day (that you select) in an insulated box and the meat or fish is packed separately and surrounded by ice packs. We didn’t receive our delivery until 8pm, but everything was still perfectly chilled.
The first meal we tried was Chinese Chicken and Black Beans. I was looking forward to (scared of) cooking with a variety of ingredients I’ve never bought before, including ginger, water chestnuts, and scallions.
The meal was tasty, but the Chinese 5 spice absolutely overwhelmed the ingredients. I felt you could have substituted any protein and vegetables in that meal and it would have tasted exactly the same. We liked it, but the spice was a little much for one meal. The portion size was bigger than expected, though. We still have at least another full plate of leftovers chilling out in the fridge.
The second meal was Italian meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and roasted green beans. This was a safer selection, as all of the ingredients were at least familiar to me. It absolutely exceeded expectations!
I never would have thought to combine roasted red peppers and basil in a meatloaf, but it gave the meat an incredible flavor. I ended up skipping the sour cream and adding paprika to the potatoes and they were delicious as well. The only change I’d make with the green beans is adding them to the oven later. They looked a little sad and wilted after 18 minutes. I just prefer my green beans to have more snap!
I also liked the idea of creating mini meatloaves which require less cooking time and might help the meat from drying out, even when using 90% lean ground beef. With thumbs up from both of us, we’ll definitely be keeping this recipe in our collection.
The third meal is a freekah and brussel sprout salad. Don’t worry, I had no idea what in the world freekah was, either. And I’ve never touched a Brussel sprout before. So, this meal was definitely outside my comfort zone. What’s the fun of an experiment if you’re not going to try new ingredients, though?! I was also assuming Jay wouldn’t be terribly interested in this, so we had a frozen pizza on deck if needed.
The cooking process was actually pretty simple (a level 1 difficulty for good reason). Boil the freekah (a nutty flavored grain) in water, roast the brussel sprouts, and mix together the other ingredients, which included apple, parmesan cheese, and walnuts.
The end result was surprisingly delicious. The weird hodgepodge of ingredients worked well together and there were plenty of leftovers. I’ll be keeping the recipe and hope to make it again, although more likely as a side than a main dish. It was a departure from anything I normally cook and turned out to be a worthwhile gamble.
Overall I enjoyed cooking a variety of meals and trying new ingredients without having to search for them myself at the grocery store. I still won’t be purchasing this subscription at full price, though. I can’t justify paying just as much per person as you would at a restaurant while still having to cook the meals.
If you’d like to try Hello Fresh for yourself, you can get $40 off your first box with this coupon code: QE2FC6. Just go to HelloFresh.com, pick your box, and apply this promo code before you checkout!