Home Chef Subscription Box Vegetarian Review + Coupon – October 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. Bigger items that might not fit in the bag arrive loose in the box. Inside those bags, most ingredients are individually wrapped and of course, pre-portioned to minimize waste. It’s so simple to just grab these bags out of the box and toss them in the fridge until I’m ready to cook (and then grab them out of the fridge and have everything I need on the kitchen counter in one trip)!
As usual, always recycle what you can from these boxes! The ice packs can be thawed out and drained or kept in the freezer ’til you need them again. They’re great for packing coolers before parties or trips!
Avocado Detox Farro Bowl with Cucumber and Miso-Ginger Vinaigrette
Calories per Serving: 608
Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 20-30 minutes
Actual Time to Table: About 20 minutes
As a vegetarian, I often struggle to find recipes that aren’t desperately trying to fill the void left by the absence of meat. A lot of perfectly delicious recipes will add oodles of cheese or loads of rice or noodles to a dish to help “fill it out”. Sometimes that’s tasty, but more commonly, those extra starches or fats just sort of overwhelm things, or leave me feeling like I need a nap.
For a while, Home Chef was on that path, always building a meal around rice, or pasta, or potatoes. Mind you, those recipes tasted great, but the balance always felt a little off (thinking, for instance, of last month’s orzo and veggie salad topped with pan-fried rounds of mozzarella cheese…). But things seem to be shifting slowly. The second recipe last month was a taco centered around beans and mashed carrot (no rice to be found!), and this month, I noticed a few, let’s call them “lighter” options.
The first one that I gravitated to was this avocado bowl. It’s essentially a salad, and while it does center around a grain, it’s super nutrient-dense farro, rather than the usual pasta or white rice. I don’t think I was that won over by “detox” being in the name (if anything, this cynic was giving the buzzword some side-eye…), but I did love the copious amount of fresh veggies being used, which made it a vibrant alternative to the starchier items on the menu.
Honestly, the hardest part of this recipe was chopping up all of the veggies. While the farro cooks very similarly to rice, I found it to be incredibly forgiving. (Those of you who know my reviews know that I cannot cook rice for the life of me!) And the dressing, which is made of miso paste, oil, seasoned rice vinegar, and ginger, came together in a snap.
I plated the dish as the recipe card suggested, but when I went to pop the rest in the fridge, I ended up stirring the farro and the salad together. I feel like I preferred it that way, with the flavors of the dressing and the veggies soaking into the farro and an even distribution of grains and veggies in every bite. The dressing in this dish is awesome—the Asian-inspired flavors of ginger and miso were unexpected but perfectly fitting. And best of all, the proportion of farro to greens was just about even. I loved feeling like I was filling up on more than just starches. Plus, the ample greens meant there were fresh flavors and textures in every bite.
Taco-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with White Cheddar and Black Beans
Calories per Serving: 839
Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 30-40 minutes
Actual Time to Table: About 35 minutes
For being an intermediate dish, this was actually incredibly easy. I did have about three separate “components” (the potatoes, the tortilla strips, and the beans) going at once, but they were simple enough to manage. This was another dish that seemed to center more around nutritious, relatively simple veggies than rice or pasta. Sure, the taco “shells” are sweet potatoes, but these nutrient-dense tubers have way more oomph than some of their fellow starches.
As part of this recipe, I did learn a skill I never thought I’d have—making tortilla strips! It’s… um… ridiculously easy. Why buy the commercial chips when I could stop by my local Latin foods store, grab some handmade tortillas and play with my own flavor combinations?
Apart from the tortilla strips, the recipe involves cooking up some beans (super easy), chopping some veggies (easy peasy), and cooking the sweet potatoes in the microwave to soften them (soooo easy). Once the potatoes have gotten a good start in the microwave oven, you slice them, sprinkle them with the included seasoning mix, toss some cheese on there, and pop them into the actual oven for just a few minutes more. The melty cheese is great, but honestly, not essential given all of the other flavors going on in this dish. (Vegans, this recipe would be awesome with non-dairy shreds or even without cheese altogether!) I actually barely noticed the cheese once the other toppings were piled on.
Oh, I did notice that they give you a LOT of taco seasoning. If I’d used this whole bag, both of my potatoes would’ve been caked with seasoning. I ended up using about half (and being quite pleased with the results). Into the cabinet goes the rest!
Here’s just one of my overflowing potatoes. Again, the sour cream was part of the recommended plating, but some guacamole would do just fine if you’re looking to keep things plant-based and just as delicious. The creamy, salty, oniony flavor of the beans was a delicious contrast to the sweet potato, and the fresh veggies provided a nice crunch (and some heat, thanks to the jalapeno). I’m so impressed by how well sweet potatoes vibe with these Mexican-inspired flavors! I could see using this “loaded” sweet potato concept again, especially when I need a healthy meal in a pinch. Even just making a potato and filling it with fresh black bean salsa and a pinch of cheese would probably be delicious and relatively nutritious!
The Verdict: I’m so happy with both of these recipes from Home Chef! As I mentioned, I love when nutritious, fiber-rich veggies get to be the stars of the show, and I think both of these recipes really put the plants in the spotlight. I found both meals really filling, but not in an “okay, goodnight now!” kind of way. The salad kept nicely for the next day, as did the spare bean filling for the “tacos” (to go with a freshly microwaved sweet potato, of course). 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?