Home Chef Subscription Box Vegetarian Review + Coupon – January 2018
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.
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My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
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.
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
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!)
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.
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
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.
How good do those veggies look already?!
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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!
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!
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).
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?