Home Chef Subscription Box Review + Coupon – May 2017
Home Chef is a subscription meal delivery service that delivers you a weekly box of the pre-portioned ingredients you need to make two to six meals that feed two, four, or six people. Home Chef advertises easy recipes that can be made in about 30 minutes. They say their ingredients are fresh (though they don’t provide a lot of information about their sourcing practices), and they offer vegetarian, gluten-free, and calorie/carb-conscious recipes.
This is a review of the vegetarian plan (starting at $9.95 per serving) for two people, twice a week ($39.80 per week + shipping). Delivery is free for orders over $45. Shipping is $10 for orders less than $45.
Check out all of our reviews of Meal Delivery Services to see every meal kit subscription box option!
My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Subscription Box: Home Chef
The Cost: Meals start at $9.95 per serving, and delivery is free for orders over $40.
COUPON: Get $30 off your first box from Home Chef. No coupon required, just use this link.
The Products: Fresh ingredients and chef-designed recipes— everything you need to make restaurant-quality meals at home.
Ships to: 90% of the U.S. (You can check to see if Home Chef delivers to your zip code here.)
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
When you first sign up for Home Chef, you take a short quiz about your meal preferences and dietary restrictions. I like that they ask what you like to eat, as well a what you like to avoid. Based on your answers, Home Chef will choose recipes for you to get each week. As is the case with most meal kit services, you can log in and hand-select the recipes you’d like to receive. Note though, that the more particular you are with your diet, the fewer options you’ll have. For instance, it looks like there are only around 3 veggie meals each week. So the ability to customize things kind of disappears.
That said, there are usually about 10 items on the menu, total, and some “Add On” items like fruit or breakfast picks that you can choose to include in your box.
This is my first Home Chef experience, and as a new member, I received a welcome booklet as well as a flexible plastic three-ring binder to store my recipe cards!
Most meal kits I’ve tried will send you really nice recipe cards to keep for future reference, but this is the first box that also sent a place to store them! The cards themselves come pre-hole-punched, so you can easily pop them in the folder after you’re done cooking!
The welcome booklet is nice, too! It gives you a visual rundown of the supplies you’ll need on hand to make the meals, what different chopping terms mean, and how best to store your items. As a new cook, this information is a huge help!
They also offer insight into the packing materials they’re working with and how to recycle them after everything’s unloaded.
They also threw in a coupon for Wine Insiders, in case I want to pair my dishes with a nice bottle of wine!
Neapolitan Pizza Margherita with Fresh Mozzarella, Basil, and Balsamic Dressed Arugula
Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 25-35 minutes
Actual Time to Table: About 35 minutes
Flatbread pizzas like this one seem to be a popular item in meal kit menus. I love pizza and fresh Italian flavors, so I’m eager to give it a try!
The larger items ingredients in both recipes are packaged on their own inside the box, but I was happy that most of the smaller ingredients are bundled together and labeled with the recipe they’re a part of. That makes it so much easier to nab what I need out of the fridge and get rolling with my recipe.
The components of the recipe were very close to ready to go out of the box. The main portion of the prep was slicing tomatoes and cutting up the shallot and herbs. The shallot is cooked in a pan for a few moments to help them caramelize and let those flavors sink in. At first, it seemed like an extraneous step, but the sweetness of the cooked onions brings such a nice depth to the dish! It was such a pinch to assemble, too. There was less sauce than I thought there’d be, but because of the moisture provided by the tomatoes and (deliciously melty) cheese, it wasn’t missed.
It was such a pinch to assemble, too. There was less sauce than I thought there’d be, but because of the moisture provided by the tomatoes and (deliciously melty) cheese, it wasn’t missed.
The arugula salad can be served separately or with the pizza as an additional topping. I liked the idea of eliminating the extra bowl I’d have to wash, so I took the lazy route and tossed it on top of my pizza. I loved the result! The arugula adds a freshness and pepperiness to the dish that gives the whole thing a bright, summery taste. The acidity of the balsamic also complements the milkiness of the cheese and the softness of the (really delicious, soft) crust, adding a bit of dimension to the taste. I wrapped my spare pizza loosely in foil and kept the arugula salad separate to make sure it stayed crisp. The next day, this cold pizza made for the perfect lunch leftovers!
One-Skillet Lemon Orzo Risotto with Asparagus, Spinach, and Sweety Drop Peppers
Time to Table According to Home Chef: 25-35 minutes
Actual Time to Table: About 35 minutes
This week is all about Mediterranean flavors! If there’s anything I like more than pizza, it’s pasta, so this orzo dish sounded fab. I wasn’t sure how orzo pasta could be transformed into a risotto-like dish, but I was definitely willing to give it a shot!
It’s always important to read through the entire recipe before you begin, though my saying that makes me feel like an annoying third-grade teacher. But it’s true! Had I just guessed at what was to come, I might have started cooking the asparagus while the orzo boiled. But the recipe calls for cooking the asparagus in a bit of reserved pasta water, which adds a hint of starch and flavor to the veggies that otherwise wouldn’t be there. So yes, always read ahead!
The one-pan nature of this dish is accurate… if you don’t count the pot used to cook the orzo. After the pasta is all set to go, however, the process is essentially stirring all of the remaining components together into one giant pan. Eventually, much like risotto, the consistency of the dish gets a little thicker and stickier.
The resulting dish had a higher orzo-to-veggies ratio than I expected. It made it heavier than I expected and also dissipated some of the rich flavors I was looking forward to. I had to hit this with a little extra salt and pepper. The veggies tasted deliciously fresh thanks to the pop of lemon in the recipe. Sweety drop peppers are little red balls bout the size of a blueberry that has a sweetness that reminded me of a carrot. They still have that succulent red pepper flavor to them, too, which made them a welcome addition to this dish. I liked this a bunch, and it, too, made a great leftover. But it didn’t wow me—I didn’t look forward to eating it the next day in the same way as I did the pizza.
Verdict: I was happy with my first experience with Home Chef. They really started my membership off on the right foot with their welcome materials and the recipe binder! The cost of the meals is fair compared to other services—meals start at $9.95 per serving, which is cheaper than Plated ($12 per serving) and on par with Blue Apron ($9.99 per serving) and Hello Fresh ($9.99 per serving). I wasn’t bowled over by either recipe, but I did really enjoy the fresh, decadent flavors of the pizza! I’m excited to see what recipes they come up with in the coming weeks. Their menu seems a little more conservative in comparison to the “gourmet” style other programs flaunt. But I tend to like that—I’m less interested in foodie-friendly cuisine and more interested in making something wholesome, healthy, and tasty!
Do either of these Home Chef recipes have your mouth watering?