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HelloFresh Recipes Review - Easy To Make?

HelloFresh Review

Scrumptious and Fun to Make

4/5 stars

Pros: 

  • Large variety of meal options
  • Add-ons available
  • Vegetarian options

Cons: 

  • No options for specific allergies

My Verdict: 

HelloFresh is one of the few meal kit boxes I had never tried before, so I was eager to check it out since I’ve been seeing those gift cards in so many other subscriptions. I think this one makes a solid contender among other kits but uniquely offers quite an impressive array of meal options every week. The ingredients are fresh, the meals taste fantastic, and I’ve even gone a little out of my normal taste profile with positive results.

COUPON: Save $30 Off Your First Two Boxes! ($20 off your first and $10 off your second box) + free shipping on your first box! No coupon needed - just use this link.

by Marne Orenich, MSA Reviewer, Meal Kit Pro
February 11, 2020| 7 comments

This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out our review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

About HelloFresh

Plans & Pricing

  • 2 person plan: 2-6 meals per week (each serves 2) for $8.99 per serving + $6.99 shipping
  • 4 person plan: 2-6 meals per week (each serves 2) for $7.49 per serving + $6.99 shipping

*The number of meal options available may change based on the specialized type of meal plan you choose.

They also offer add-ons such as Quick Lunches ($6.99/serving), Sides & Complements ($3.99-$4.99/serving), and Desserts & Treats ($4.99-$5.49/serving) for an extra cost.

HelloFresh delivers to all states across the continental US except Hawaii and Alaska.

UPS handles the delivery in my area but your carrier may differ (they also use FedEx and regional companies). Good to know:

  • Deliveries typically arrive between 8 am and 8 pm.
  • Delivery days vary from area to area but I am able to choose between Mon-Sat and can change my day at any time.
  • You don’t have to be home to accept the box.
  • Food stays cold with insulating liners, gel packs, and cooling material.

HelloFresh has a whole page dedicated to how to recycle their packaging, but here’s a quick run-down:

  • Insulating liners:
    • The honeycomb paperboard is 100% curbside-friendly.
    • Take summer liners to a nearby recycling center.
    • Trash winter liners.
  • Gel packs: Use scissors to cut a small corner and empty water soluble contents into the trash before recycling this plastic pack.
  • HelloFresh box: Fold and discard with other household recyclables.
  • Separator and meal kits: 100% curbside-friendly

All of the ingredients come in a recyclable paper bag except for the meat and fish which is packed at the bottom of the box, against ice packs to keep them chilly.

The produce is usually unpackaged (unless it’s something like the green beans above), but sauces, herbs, and various other ingredients come in baggies.

HelloFresh Recipes

HelloFresh offers a ton of options when it comes to choosing meals. Since I have an unrestricted diet (meat & veggies), I am lucky to all menu choices offered to me from vegetarian, fish, pork, chicken, beef, and more. My first week I had 19 options, and several I am looking at now have 20. In addition, they offer some quick lunches (like a Veggie Caprese Sandwich with Arugula Almond Salad or Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli Pasta pillows stuffed with creamy ricotta and hearty spinach), plus sides and complements (like garlic bread or extra meat), and even desserts (like Annie’s chocolate chip cookies, crescent rolls, or Pilsbury Brownies) that you can make yourself. They also have upgrade meals called “Gourmet” or “Gourmet Plus” for an extra cost that feature premium ingredients (like duck).

Here are some examples of upcoming meals from HelloFresh:

  • Hot Honey Chicken with BBQ-Roasted Potatoes and Buttery Broccoli (Calorie Smart option)
  • Korean Beef Bibimbap with Zucchini, Mushrooms, and Carrots (Hall of Fame meal)
  • Steelhead Trout over Basil Parm Risotto with Burst Tomatoes (Gourmet option: extra $5.99/serving)
  • Cheese Tortelloni with Mushroom Sauce, Parmesan, and Chili Flakes (Vegetarian)
  • Lemon-Thyme Pork with Roasted Zucchini and Garlic Herb Rice (Calorie Smart option)

You can always drop in on their website and click the “Our Menus” link at the top to check out recipes before signing up.

HelloFresh sends you all of the ingredients you’ll need like grains, bread, meat, and produce. They do expect you to have a few basics on hand though.

The ingredients to have on hand:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Sugar
  • Oil
  • Butter

The kitchen tools to have on hand:

  • Baking Sheets
  • Small, Medium, and Large Bowls
  • Zester
  • Peeler
  • Potato Masher
  • Whisk
  • Liquid Measuring Cup
  • Large Pans
  • Small and Large Pots
  • Paper Towels
  • Aluminum Foil

Preferences & Allergens

HelloFresh does offer a few plan preferences, but nothing too focused on specific dietary needs. You can choose from Meat & Veggie (you can also omit specific meats), Veggie, Family-Friendly, or Low-Calorie. Keep in mind that depending on which you choose, there may not be as many options available every week as with the broad “Meat & Veggies” plan.

My HelloFresh Review

Why HelloFresh?

Gosh, I’ve tried a lot of meal kits in my day. But would you believe that I had never tried HelloFresh until now? This box is everywhere you look in other subscriptions, doling out gift cards, but I never tested it out until now. I tend to eat a lot of heavy foods like lasagna, pizza, hoagies, etc so the idea of eating meals that are created by a company with “fresh” in their name makes me feel healthy. Kinda like Nic Cage in Con Air:

Nic Cage Gif Con Air

Gif via Giphy

Come along on a journey with me as I walk you through the basics of signing up, navigating the recipes, and the best part… cooking and eating them.

Signing Up

HelloFresh makes signing up quite easy:

  • Go to their website.
  • Say hello to Jessica Alba and click the “View Our Plans” button.
  • Build your plan.
  • Enter your email address and create a password.
  • Add your delivery address and choose a delivery day.
  • Put in your payment info.
  • Now you get to choose meals!

My HelloFresh Menus

Once I signed up, HelloFresh auto-selected three meals for me.

TIP: It’s good to pay attention to the options like “gourmet”, “gourmet plus”, and a few others which have an additional cost if you choose them.

Directly below, there were SIXTEEN more options I could choose from. That is quite an impressive number of options!

It was easy to make the new selections by hitting the “Manage Week” button in the top right corner.

And here is where I landed for my three meals (2 servings each).

Skipping a Week

In addition to choosing your meals, HelloFresh allows you to skip a week anytime from this section of your account. This comes in handy if you know you have dinner plans (or need to review another box 😉). You’ll have to skip (or change meals) 5 days ahead, so you may want to set a reminder weekly to login and take care of that. They’ll usually email you as well as a reminder to choose or skip.

My Meals

 

When my first box arrived from HelloFresh, it also included a welcome booklet as well as some special offers.

I try to select various meats for my first HelloFresh delivery and since I have no dietary restrictions, the sky is the limit for me! I don’t normally go for pork, but I thought I’d give it a shot along with the tilapia and beef because that side salad was really calling me. I was probably most excited about the beef tostadas if I’m being honest.

(Swipe right on each picture to see photos of the cooking process!)

 

Ginger-Turmeric Tilapia with Buttery Coconut Rice and Green Beans

This was the first meal I made and seemed to take a bit longer than the recipe said it would. I was a little all over the place this day and ended up burning the beans and rice, but not so much that I couldn’t enjoy it. The tilapia fillets were much larger than I’d imagined which was a plus and this meal was quite filling! My roommate enjoyed the other portion and also gave it the big thumbs up. I think the coconut really made the rice. I also have to mention that I learned a new trick with this recipe with how to easily peel ginger. Know what it is? Use the tip of a spoon! Very cool.

 

Maple and Rosemary Pork Cutlets with Couscous and a Creamy Apple Salad

Next up, I made the pork cutlets with couscous (which I haven’t had in so long!) and the super yummy creamy apple salad. Everything here tasted super fresh and the sauce for the cutlets came out really well. I also rather liked getting two thinner cuts of pork as opposed to a single thicker one. Adding rosemary to the couscous was an awesome touch that I’ll have to remember for the future. I REALLY enjoyed the salad with this one too. I had no idea that vinegar and mayo could make such a tasty dressing.

 

Cheesy Beef Tostadas with Long Green Pepper, Tomato Salsa, and Hot Sauce Crema

Just as I thought, I really enjoyed this recipe the best! I live for Mexican food and will always choose it if it’s an option for meals. I ended up making this for lunch instead of dinner which was a great idea. I think the presentation of this one was gorgeous and it was cool to eat with my hands and get a little messy. I had never made tostadas before and it was fun to make them out of tortillas in the oven. Now I know! I omitted the onions in this recipe since I’m not a fan which is nice to know that you can always cater to your own needs as you go. These tasted FANtastic, and I found myself struggling to eat the third tostada, so I’d consider this one quite filling.

Is HelloFresh worth it?

My first HelloFresh delivery cost $60.93 which made each meal $10.16/serving. That’s probably a little cheaper than eating out for me, and it’s certainly cheaper than having food that isn’t very good for me delivered when I haven’t had time to go grocery shopping. I also like that they send the exact amount I need so I don’t waste anything (something I am often guilty of).

Did it taste good?

I have to say, I really enjoyed all three of my inaugural HelloFresh meals! I was impressed with the quality of the meats and all of the produce arrived unscathed and tasting fresh. Their recipe variety is pretty amazing so this review has me wanting to try more and I think my roommate would agree!

How hard were the recipes?

The HelloFresh recipes weren’t as easy as EveryPlate (which I recently reviewed) but you definitely don’t need to be a seasoned cook to make them. I like that I stay busy throughout the process and they’ve timed everything out perfectly. The instructions are easy to follow and everything you need to know is clearly listed out.

Was it convenient?

Meal kits like HelloFresh are kind of my saving grace, to be honest. I waste a lot of food (mainly produce or fish) when I grocery shop then can’t always finish it in time, and I tend to throw money away on eating out a lot or even worse, paying to have a burrito delivered which ends up being $25 somehow. For me, HelloFresh offers a great solution to both of these where I’m using everything in the ingredient bag, knowing exactly what meal I need to make, and don’t overspend. Their ingredients are also indeed fresh just like their name implies.

Should YOU try HelloFresh?

I’d recommend HelloFresh to anyone who:

  • Wants a lot of variety in their meal kit
  • Is vegetarian
  • Likes to try new flavor combinations

You can try HelloFresh for yourself here:

COUPON: Save $30 Off Your First Two Boxes! ($20 off your first and $10 off your second box) + free shipping on your first box! No coupon needed - just use this link.


New to meal kits? Start here.

We’ve reviewed all of the major meal kits, plus some programs you may not have heard of! Learn more about our favorite plans and some reader favorites in these helpful articles:

Can you believe I just now tried HelloFresh? How about you; have you tried it?


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Written by Marne Orenich

Marne Orenich

Marne is a lipstick connoisseur, record collector, and twice over cat mom. She loves discovering new clean beauty brands and has quite the collection of beautifully packaged serums and moisturizers.

Comments (7)

  1. I’ve subscribed to Hello Fresh for the last 4 years and have had some not so stellar boxes from time to time but overall they help me enjoy a stress free dinner that meets my lower calorie and low sodium requirements. I have tried ALL the others and Hello Fresh is still my number 2. Plated was number 1 but sadly they no longer offer meal in my zip code.

    • RIP Plated. 🙁

  2. I recently signed up for this and luckily didn’t receive unsealed poultry but I did get an old bell pepper. I didn’t bother to contact them since I planed on canceling anyways. Hello Fresh had larger portions and better tasting options compared to another box I tried. I wish there was an option to either change out your sides or omit them.

  3. I wish I could say I had a positive experience with Hello Fresh, but I can’t. I actually lost money on the subscription. I got a pretty good deal for my first boxes. However, in 3 out of the 4 boxes I received before I quit, the protein/meat packets were in no way sealed properly and they leaked…gunk…all over the box. First time, I reported it and they gave me a credit to use when my promotional rate ended and assured “the kitchen” would be told about it and that it was rare and would never happen again. Second time it happened, I admit I was too busy to e-mail them, so that was on me. Third and final time was when I’ll say I got seriously peeved at them and started an online chat for my frustration. They credited my final box back to my actual payment card and I quit the subscription then and there, without using the credit I still had outstanding. I had to wash/sanitize my counter with each of those boxes since when I put them there to unbox, the goo had leaked through the bottom of the box and soiled the countertop. There is only a thin piece of cardboard between the meat and the bags of produce/seasonings/pantry items so there was no way those were protected from contamination. Meat you probably cook to a high enough temperature to kill the bacteria, but the other bags there is no real way to “clean” them unless you maybe use a really weak bleach solution, and even then…no thanks.

    I have people who can have compromised immune systems in my home so there is no way I would ever use this sub again unless they could ensure food safety. Plus it’s just gross. And to have it happen 75% of the time, especially when you are trying to impress new customers? It was ridiculous.

    • UGH! Sorry to hear about such a crummy experience! Thanks for weighing in- it’s always good to hear about other customer’s experiences as well.

  4. I love you solely for the Con Air reference. “Put the bunny back in the box!”

    Oh, and the food looks really good, too.

    • Gotta squeeze in a little Nic Cage whenever you can!

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