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Home Chef Subscription Box Vegetarian Review + Coupon – January 2018

home chef box

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 with orders over $45. Shipping is $10 for orders less than $45.

home chef vegetarian january unboxing

Check out all of our reviews of Meal Delivery Services to see every meal kit subscription box option!

My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

all items in my january home chef order

About Home Chef Vegetarian Meal Kit Subscription Box

The Subscription Box: Home Chef

The Cost: Meals start at $9.95 per serving, and delivery is free for orders over $40.

COUPON: Save $80 off your first four boxes! No coupon needed - 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.)

Home Chef Vegetarian January 2018 Review

how home chef is packaged

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. (They’ve had some really tasty-looking smoothies available lately!)

insulation inside home chef vegetarian box

home chef cardboard topper

home chef ice packs

All of the ingredients you need arrive snugly inside insulating packaging made of cotton fiber. The fiber does go in the trash, but the idea is that it, unlike other materials, will eventually decompose. The plastic covering goes into the recycling.

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. They usually have holes in them for ventilation, but I’ve still used them to collect garbage as I go through each recipe.

home chef pasta and vegetables recipe card

instructions for making home chef pasta

Basil Pecorino Campanelle

Calories per Serving: 762

Prep and Cook Time, According to Home Chef: 30-40 minutes

Actual Time to Table: About 30 minutes

Difficulty Level: Easy

ingredients bag for home chef pasta dish

label on home chef ingredients bag

ingredients for home chef pasta dish

If I could eat pasta every day of my life, I would. I usually reach for pasta with tomato-based sauces, just so I get at least a little bit of veggie goodness in my bowl. This campanelle dish features a cream sauce, but it’s also topped with a solid smattering of roasted vegetables. Sounds like a good compromise!

The process of making this dish was simple enough. First, you drop the pasta in the water, and second, you roast your veggies. The biggest time suck is prepping the vegetables, which took me a good 8-ish minutes. Once the veggies are in the oven and the pasta’s in the pot, most of the rest of the time is spent waiting.

veggies roasting in an oven

How good do those veggies look already?!

campanelle in cream sauce

When the campanelle is almost finished cooking, you strain it, start the cream sauce using a bit of reserved pasta water, then add the pasta back in. The idea is that, while the cream sauce (which is, at this point, just light cream and water) reduces and thickens, the pasta will finish cooking to a perfect al dente texture. These last few steps were just a bit tricky, just since I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for. (What does “slightly firmer than al dente” feel like? When is the cream as thick as it’s supposed to be?) Luckily, my best attempt seemed to work out just fine.

home chef pasta bowl

home chef pasta and veggies

I was happy to find that I timed the pasta out perfectly. The finished product had a nice tenderness to it and the cream sauce was reduced to a mildly gooey consistency. At the last minute, you stir butter, pesto, and pecorino cheese into the light cream, giving the sauce a lot of flavor without a lot of heft. (This isn’t a thick, alfredo kind of cream.) The combination of veggies had much more of a springy, garden flavor than I’m used to in pasta dishes—the vibe of the whole recipe is bright and refreshing, rather than super hearty. Because of that, this dish satisfied my comfort food cravings at lunch without leaving me feeling like I need a nap afterward.

home chef beet and squash bowl recipe

instructions for making home chef beet and squash bowl

Butternut and Beet Quinoa Bowl

Calories per Serving: 645

Prep and Cook Time, According to Home Chef: 35-45 minutes

Actual Time to Table: About 45 minutes

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

home chef ingredients bag for squash and beets

label on home chef ingredients bag for veggie bowl

ingredients for home chef beet and squash bowl

I eat these kinds of roasted veggie bowls all the time, but I’m buying them from grab ‘n’ go places or building them at my local hot foods bar. This was the first time I made this dish myself. Sure, it’s simple, but I appreciated the experience—there were definitely some nuances I didn’t count on, so I was glad to have Home Chef’s guidance!

hand stained by beets

As with the pasta dish, the first major step of this dish is prepping the veggies to be roasted. I’ve gotten pre-chopped beets before, but it’s been awhile since I cut one up myself. They mention in the recipe to be careful about staining, but my fingers still got a nice pink tint to them by the end of the process, hehe.

The veggies roast in two steps. The beets go first, then after 10 minutes, you add the butternut squash to the pan and let everything roast a little longer. I will say that I think I left the veggies in just a little longer than they suggested, because the beets, in particular, felt really stiff to me, even after the entire time they were in the oven. A few extra minutes seemed to do the trick, though.

quinoa on bottom of pan

The other components of the dish are quinoa and candied pecans (which you glaze yourself—a surprisingly easy process). I have the WORST luck cooking grains (especially rice, but quinoa, too), so I’m actually really proud of the slim amount of quinoa that ended up stuck to the bottom of my pot! My average is much higher, haha! These bits were certainly overdone, but the rest? Perfectly nutty, fluffy, tender, and delicious!

home chef fall vegetables bowl

home chef fall veggies and quinoa bowl

I want to share this dish with everyone! It goes down like a warm salad. There’s a simple vinaigrette that really wakes up all of the flavors, and the goat cheese makes things taste super hearty and comfort food-y. The juicy tenderness of the beets and the butternut squash, coupled with the crunch of the sweet nuts and the milky, fatty goodness of the cheese is an awesome, balanced bite. And personally, I just think the way the beets leave streaks of magenta pink in the cheese and the quinoa is so fun!

The Verdict: This month’s dishes both felt really well balanced. A lot of times, I find that vegetarian meal kits go a little too heavy on grains or cheese or pasta in an effort to make up for the absence of meat. But these dishes had equal parts veggies and starches so that one flavor never overpowered another. And neither dish felt too hefty, though they were both hearty—I’d constitute both dishes as comfort foods, but neither dish left me with that sleepy comfort food hangover feeling that I know all too well.

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Each week, Home Chef introduces new recipes to choose from, though there are favorite dishes that repeat now and then. You may not see these exact recipes available for the ordering, but I can say that mushrooms, cheese, and pastas/rice appear a lot in Home Chef vegetarian options—if these flavors appeal to you, then there’s a good chance you’ll come across something you like!

COUPON: Save $80 off your first four boxes! No coupon needed - just use this link.

Value Breakdown: 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).

Check out all of our Home Chef reviews and find other meal boxes in the Meal Subscription Box Directory!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!

Would you want to try either of these Home Chef recipes? And if you have tried them, what did you think?

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Written by Anna Reilly

Anna Reilly

Anna loves collecting little treasures, be they pop-culture finds, handmade mementos, or new potions to put in her makeup bag. Beauty boxes got her interested in the subscription world, but now she’s swooning for all things kawaii!

Posted in Food & Drink Subscription Boxes, Home Chef Reviews, Meal Kit Subscriptions, Subscription Box Reviews| Tags: Home Chef | 12 comments

Comments (12)

  1. We’ve been re-enjoying Home Chef again, once a month shipment for two months now, because we got an email for a buy two boxes, get one box free deal.

    Since we last stopped getting Home Chef, they have really stepped up as far as packaging, more healthful recipe choices and ingredients plus, far better recipe photos on the enclosed cards. We’re enjoying it a lot more now.

    We were getting Hello Fresh, which we really liked a lot because we found their recipes and ingredients really healthful;
    but they seem to have issues with shipping to dwellings with unit or apartment numbers in the address, unfortunately.

  2. I love Home Chef!!! So fresh and delicious. Tasty too. I do agree about the beef though. I need to cook it longer because of my daughter’s health. Great meal delivery service though. We are eating healthier for sure.

  3. Good to know I’m not the only one who has issues cooking grains! (For some reason, I can do risotto OK, but not simpler ones!)

  4. Testing this out to see if it gets posted immediately

    • Ok – so I find it interesting that it seems like every post with a different e-mail account from me has a serious delay in posting. I’m not sure what I did to get blacklisted on the site???

      • I’m with you. 1 out of every 4-5 of my posts never do. As soon as I whine to Liz {LOL} they work for a day then it starts all over.

      • Me too!! In fact this is my 2nd typing of this reply. 1 out 5 posts don’t ever go through. Very frustrating .

      • Thank you! I’m glad I’m not alone at least!

      • Ditto. I can’t imagine that I have ever been inappropriate or rude. But nevertheless, off to the dungeon I go. 😐

  5. I don’t remember seeing that first pasta dish, I’m sad I missed it – it looks delicious!

    I think HC does a really great job of listing time estimates in their instructions. In that recipe they tell you to cook the pasta for 7-9 minutes so I would personally have cooked it for 8. I set timers all over when cooking HC meals. Pasta typically takes about 12 mins to cook, so 8 definitely sounds like you’d get the “firm but not al dente”. I would suggest to anyone following a HC recipe to follow the times they provide to you as closely as you can.

    My only complaint about HC and their times is with cooking beef – they only provide the timing for a medium rare steak, but having had many of their meals I’ve been able to adapt my timing for that to my taste.

    • Super helpful, Amber! I also found their cooking times to be pretty helpful. Thank goodness for the timer on my phone, probably the most useful tool I have in the kitchen! I think where I suffer is that the stove I’m using is electric, rather than gas, and I find it to be a little less precise than I’d like it to be. So I’m forever taste testing and adjusting to make sure things are truly cooked by the time the recipe says they should be, haha.

      Thanks so much for this thoughtful comment!!!

  6. I’m just thrilled to see vegetarian dishes that don’t rely on mushrooms (which I refuse to eat under any circumstances).

    I find roasted beets odd. When I have them at a restaurant (there is a place we go for fancy work lunches that offers them sometimes), they are usually pretty good. When I make them at home, in the same manner that works for other root vegetables (turnips, parsnips, sweet potatoes, etc.), they taste like dirt to me. I am not sure what I am doing wrong.

    I used to juice beets in my juicer. Talk about a mess…

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