Home Chef Subscription Box Vegetarian Review + Coupon – September 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.
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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.
Each meal’s ingredients are packaged in a handy zip-shut bag. If there are bigger items, such as the corn for one of this month’s recipes, they arrive loose in the box. Inside those bags, most ingredients are individually wrapped and of course, pre-portioned to minimize waste. I love how easy these ingredient bags are to toss in the fridge when they arrive (and to bring over to the kitchen counter when I’m ready to cook)!
Crispy Mozzarella Fritters with Roasted Vegetable and Orzo Salad
Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 30-40 minutes
Actual Time to Table: About 30 minutes
This first recipe was listed as “intermediate” but was surprisingly easy to put together. I think the label was more about the number of steps. There are a few different things going on at once with this dish—cooking the orzo, roasting the veggies, and frying the mozzarella rounds overlap from time to time. But it’s all extremely manageable!
The dish is named after the panko breaded mozzarella rounds that sit on top of the greens and orzo. The process is easy—you dip the pre-cut cheese slices into an egg bath, then roll them in a plate of panko breadcrumbs. I’ve received whole eggs in boxes like this before, but this box just sent a small bottle of egg (sort of like the boxed stuff you can get at the grocery store). It’s not as “natural” as making my own egg wash, but it definitely cut down on the risk of an egg breaking in shipment.
When the dish is closer to being ready, you fry the breaded cheese in a pan of hot oil.
You also roast cucumber and onions to add a little flavor to the dish. The process was a snap, but I think I cut my veggies too small. They browned just like the recipe said they would, but they got kind of wimpy and paper thin after being in the oven.
The finished dish is super filling and refreshing, thanks to the fresh tomatoes and red wine vinaigrette. I understand the desire to add some heft to a vegetarian dish, but I feel like the fried cheese, while delicious (duh), wasn’t a little more than this otherwise rather light dish needed. The veggies-to-pasta ratio was pretty even in this recipe, which I appreciated. And while they didn’t add much in terms of volume or texture, my paper-thin roasted veggies did pack a bunch of flavor into this salad.
Tostadas Zanahorias with Slaw and Chipotle Aioli
Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 25-35 minutes
Actual Time to Table: About 40 minutes
I’d actually describe this recipe as “intermediate”, especially after seeing the first recipe. These tostadas are by no means difficult, but they do take some time. The first step alone took a solid 20 minutes for me! I’m not super experienced in the kitchen, so maybe I didn’t work as fast as I could have. But washing, peeling, quartering, then chopping six big carrots, shucking and de-kernel-ing corn, slicing shallots, and mixing up a quick slaw took longer than I expected.
(Behold, just a sampling of my prepped veggies…)
If you’re someone with kids or a partner available to help you in the kitchen, I recommend enlisting their help in the prep step. A little carrot peeling, quartering, and chopping assembly line could go a long way in getting dinner on the table ASAP!
So how does a carrot tostada work? Essentially, you cook the carrots until they’re fork tender, then mash them a bit so that they’re not just chunks. Mix that with some tasty spices and sweet corn, then top the whole thing with slaw, toasted pepitas, and a chipotle aioli. Meatless, for sure. But not at all lacking in flavor or heartiness.
This is probably the Home Chef dish I’ve been most impressed by. Most of their veggie items have a big pop of cheese or pasta or other starch. It reminds me of when I first started eating a vegetarian diet and my loved ones were like “oh no what will you eat?!”, thinking that I couldn’t possibly fill up on mostly veggies. Enter plenty of pasta, cheese, rice, and bread. This recipe was the first one that felt like Home Chef was embracing the magic of veggies rather than trying to cover for the absence of a central meat. Sure there’s a tortilla at the base of each tostada, but the stars of this show are the extremely flavorful carrot mixture, the sugar-sweet pops of corn, the vibrant, acidic shallot, and the refreshing, zesty, lime-soaked slaw. I’m drooling just thinking about it. I can’t recommend this surprising, nutritious, light, delicious recipe enough!
Verdict: I was really happy with this order from Home Chef. I want to take that tostadas recipe, frame it, and hang it in my kitchen for posterity/easy reference. Both of these recipes take a little extra time in the kitchen—they’re not quickie meals that you can get on the table in a snap—but they’re pretty darn worth it. Plus, both dishes make great leftovers (just keep the warm elements separate from the fresh veggies until you’re ready to eat to prevent wilting). Price-wise, Home Chef 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 hope Home Chef does more veggie heavy recipes like I got in this box, because these were a hit!
Would you want to try either of these Home Chef recipes? And if you have tried them, what did you think?