Interested in a meal subscription plan and want to try Green Chef? Looking for a Green Chef Review? I tried it for a week, and here’s what I thought. Please note: This post is NOT sponsored by Green Chef– I used a promotional email offer for a free week of meals to try it out (but I still had to pay for shipping).
Do you want someone to plan your dinners for you, deliver the food straight to your front door, and keep doing it week after week? Have you begged your neighbor to be your personal chef, but they refused? Is your ‘better half’ still laughing? Did your mom tell you it’s time to learn how to cook, and your cat refuses to grow opposable thumbs and cater to your every whim? Well, dear reader, I totally understand! Never fear– you aren’t out of options yet! There are plenty of meal subscription companies ready to be your personal meal-planning assistant– for a price. Which is right for you? Here at Champagne Tastes– I’m here to help! During my ‘Blue Apron Project,’ I’ve been experimenting, taste-testing, and eating everything in sight. I’m trying out several meal subscription plans, so you can figure out which is best for you. Today I’m looking at Green Chef— one of the few meal delivery services out there that offers a vegan menu.
What they promise:
Green Chef promises to deliver organic, sustainably farmed produce, seafood, and meat. Nothing is genetically modified, and they promise smaller, more eco-friendly packaging when compared to other meal services. They also promise that each meal will fall between 450 -750 calories per serving.
Meal Selection / Current Pricing*:
Green Chef’s meals come with three meals a week, and can be ordered for two, four, or six people. Once you factor in shipping price, they’re pricier than all the other plans I looked at, even on their cheapest vegetarian plan. The meal plans are different prices depending on which you choose, and range from $10.49 per meal per person for vegetarian selections, to $14.99 per meal per person for paleo selections. They also offer omnivore ($11.99), vegan ($11.99), carnivore ($13.49), and gluten-free ($13.49). Green Chef also charges a $9 shipping fee for each box, so don’t forget to factor that into your budget.
I was a little confused by their meal preference options, and wasn’t sure if I’d be able to switch an omnivore box to just seafood. After completing the sign-up / payment process, I was able to switch to a seafood and shellfish-only box. The omnivore box gave me one seafood meal and two vegetarian meals. I wasn’t able to choose from different meal choices, because the meals were ‘curated.’ (Either you like the options that week, or you skip the week.) That said– the food all sounded amazing, and skipping was easy.
Note: My ‘Week with Green Chef’ turned into two weeks, because the produce in week one’s box wasn’t in great shape. While I was able to prepare all the meals for Green Chef during week one, and most of the produce was usable, sadly I did have to throw away a handful of over-ripe grape tomatoes, a chunk of the fennel, and pick through the spinach to pull out bad pieces. Since anyone can have a bad week, I reached out to Green Chef, and they responded a few days later and offered to send me a second box. The second week’s food box looked much better, and I was happy with all the produce inside.
My Green Chef box arrived while I was home, so it didn’t wait outside at all. However, the cooling packs and insulation setup were similar to other companies I’ve used, and I’m fairly confident it would have been fine outside for a few hours. As for their promise to use less packaging than other companies– they did, sort of. The box was the same size, and the cold packs were the same size, but the insulation was jute (as opposed to the other companies which used various types of recyclable packaging). The cool packs could be cut open and drained, and the wrapping recycled (the other companies I ordered from used reusable, but not recyclable, cool packs). The only downside to their packaging is that everything, and I mean everything, inside the box was packaged in individual plastic bags (this including whole produce like lemons). The only items not bagged were in reusable plastic jars.
Green Chef sends exactly the amount of produce needed, and some is pre-prepped– I received half of a bell pepper, and half of an onion. The sweet potato was pre-chopped, and the single clove of garlic was pre-peeled and separated from the head. Personally, I don’t care for this– I’ve always found that produce doesn’t last as long after it’s been peeled and chopped. Plus, produce is easier to clean when it’s whole. That said, I’ve read a lot of complaints about wasted produce with other companies, so if you despise chopping veggies and have a very limited time to cook, maybe this works for you.
Meal One: Lemon Pepper Ahi Tuna with Orzo Pasta Salad. This meal was delicious and fast. The ahi steaks were huge– even the ravenous, always hungry husband was satisfied. Also, I hadn’t eaten orzo before, so I was happy to try something new! My one complaint was about the tuna– when ahi tuna is bright red, it’s been treated with carbon monoxide for coloring (otherwise it would be a pale pink). I checked the label (because my Green Chef tuna was EXTREMELY red), and carbon monoxide was indeed listed. This isn’t unusual (ahi tuna I’ve ordered in restaurants has always been bright red), and mainly bothered me because Green Chef uses organic, chemical free- produce, and I thought the seafood would be the same.
Meal Two: Vegan Black Eyed Pea Patties with Sweet Potato Hash. This meal was delicious, filling, and there was a TON of food. The husband and I both had seconds. This meal took a full hour to prepare, and used one pot, two pans with lids, one baking sheet, and a cutting board– so there was a lot of clean-up after.
Meal Three: Grilled Vegetables and Polenta with Halloumi. This meal was a little bit of a miss for both of us, but I think we just didn’t care for the chimichurri sauce. On the bright side, it was easy to prepare, and since the husband fixed most of this food on the grill outside, I didn’t have much clean-up.
Bonus Week- Meals from my Replacement Box
Meal One: Basque Style Peppers with Chive Scrambled Eggs. This meal took just over 30 minutes to prepare, and consisted of seasoned, sautéed bell peppers and onions, roasted fingerling potatoes with rosemary, eggs scrambled with herbs, and a green bean salad. There was a lot of food, and it was all delicious. I’ll probably hold onto the green bean salad recipe and make it again.
Meal Two: Moroccan Tuna Kabobs. This meal took about 30 minutes to prepare, and included a bulgar wheat salad cooked with lemon zest (delicious), roasted cauliflower, and Moroccan-spiced ahi tuna (also delicious– but with the same carbon monoxide coloring objection as before). (This is where I admit that I couldn’t bring myself to cook the tuna on kabobs for 7 minutes under a broiler until it was well done like they told me to. I just.. CAN NOT DO IT. Tuna should be rare… it just should. So I seared it for 30 seconds per side, and it was delicious. That is all.)
Meal Three: Sun-dried Tomato Flatbread. This turned out to be one of my favorite Green Chef meals! It was naan with sun-dried tomato paste, cheese, mushrooms, and fresh herbs, along with a salad. It was simple to prepare, baked quickly, and I would definitely make it again on my own.
Overall, Green Chef seems like a great option if you want organic produce and have some strict dietary needs. The food was mostly delicious, included incredibly generous portions, and I was impressed with how many different types of vegetables were included in each meal. Personally, I didn’t like that the produce was pre-cut, and that there seemed to be an excessive amount of plastic bags compared to other companies. I did enjoy the ‘cooking lesson’ aspect, and felt that the directions were easy to follow. Since the food was mostly prepared from scratch, their recipes could easily be incorporated into your normal cooking routine.
Who Might Love Green Chef
- Anyone on a gluten-free diet
- Anyone who can only eat certain types of meat (i.e.- no pork, no beef)
- Anyone without dietary restrictions
- People who eat out on a regular basis (this might actually end up saving you money!)
- Anyone looking for basic cooking lessons
Who Should Keep Looking
- Anyone who doesn’t want their produce partially prepared
- Anyone who wants more meal choice options each week
- Anyone who doesn’t have 30 minutes to an hour to invest in cooking– some of these meals were quick to prepare, but one took at least an hour
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*A Note on Cost: The cost for meal subscription companies varies quite a bit from company to company. However, with each company, expect that the food will cost more than at a grocery store. You’re paying for convenience– they’ve taken care of several meals for the week, and you don’t have to worry about what to cook on those nights. You probably will still need to go to grocery store for the rest of the week’s meals, but the Green Chef meals are taken care of. You’re also paying for produce that may be hard to find locally, as well as an introduction to new foods and cooking styles. Whether or not the cost is worth it, is of course, up to you. Additionally, the prices I’ve listed here are what each meal subscription service currently charges and that may change over time– check each company’s website for up-to-date price information.
Also Note: As the name implies, all of these companies provide meal ‘subscriptions.’ That means they keep your credit card information on file, and your food will keep coming (and you’ll keep paying for it), unless you tell them otherwise. A lot of complaints I’ve seen about meal subscription companies are about canceling the food on time– each company provides a ‘skip or cancel by date,’ usually about a week before each delivery. I didn’t find it difficult to cancel or skip weeks, but keep the ‘subscription’ part in mind when you’re ordering.