After my deeply disappointing trial of the Purple Carrot meal kit service (my tastebuds still shrink in horror when I think of it), I was cautiously optimistic when I signed up for a trial of Hello Fresh a few weeks ago. I’m happy to report that the two experiences could not have been more different.
For the first of my three meals, I chose Jamie’s (as in Jamie Oliver) Super Salmon Parcels with Baby Potatoes and Homemade Basil Pesto. Other than the fact that the instructions called for making the pesto by hand in a mortar and pestle, it was excellent. Tasty and flavorful and nutritious. Now back to that mortar and pestle. I have one, but do you? I admit that eons ago I used to make pesto in my mortar and pestle, but that got old (and my arm got tired) real fast. From there it was my blender, and now it is my trusty food processor (really better suited for the task than a blender). I know that not everyone has a food processor, but are they more likely to have a mortar and pestle? Really? My inquiring mind wants to know.
The Beauty of Choices
Anyway, I want to briefly mention how happy I was to have a choice of meals. There were several options, and you can set defaults about what you love or hate (for example, you could ask to never be sent meals with beef, fish or so on), or you can go in each week and swap out the meals they suggest with something different, if you want. With Purple Carrot, I had no choice, and that was no good.
Meal number two was a Chopped Chicken Salad with Charred Veggies and Avocado-Lime Dressing. This was simple and delicious, and while it’s not too far off from salads I’ve made on my own, the dressing recipe and the inclusion of the charred veggies were tasty little twists that I plan to replicate in future salad meals. I’ve even saved my detailed recipe card!
Meal three was a Tomato-Garlic Ragu with Beef, Thyme and Zucchini. Again, not too far off from what I might make independently, but the addition of soy sauce was a nice surprise. And, no, the dish did not end up tasting like some Italian-Asian hybrid. Oh, the power of umami!
About That Packaging
As with Purple Carrot (and other meal kit services, I suspect), there is an awful lot of packaging, but that’s just par for the course. They expect you to have salt, pepper and cooking oil on hand, and that’s about it. Hello Fresh provides basic nutrition information as well as whether the recipe contains any of the major food allergens.
Unlike Purple Carrot, I would order from Hello Fresh again, even though I think I am less suited to this type of service than some people, because I enjoy improvising in the kitchen. That said, I could totally see scheduling an order for weeks where I’m arriving home from vacation barely in time to turn around and go to work the next morning. If you are a by-the-rules cook who doesn’t like meal planning but wants to have some say in what you will be cooking, then Hello Fresh might be perfect for you. Double that if you struggle with being able to match your shopping to your usage, and end up with a lot of food waste.
Try it Yourself!
I paid for my trial week myself, using a good ol’ discount code. And now you can, too. Sign up using my referral code link and you’ll receive $40 off your first order (and, full disclosure, I’ll receive $20 off my next box). Three meals a week for two people is $69, four meals per week for two people is $84, five meals for 2 people is $99, and 3 meals for four people is $129.