Green Chef Review: A Blessing for Those With Dietary Restrictions
For about two years, my family struggled to find new, fresh recipes that fit my extremely limited diet (no gluten, dairy, soy, or eggs). We found ourselves eating the same old things each week because it’s so hard to come up with tasty dinners with so many restrictions — or so we thought.
My mom started researching meal subscriptions boxes, and soon the gates of heaven opened and down came Green Chef; well, not really — but it was a pretty amazing find. Green Chef had options that fit all my needs and they provided substitution suggestions as well.
What You’ll Get With Green Chef
With Green Chef, like most meal subscription boxes, you’ll get ingredients and instructions for a set number of meals each week. When you sign up, you’ll pick which day you want your package delivered — that day isn’t set in stone, it’s extremely easy to change weekly. Your box will arrive (usually late in the day) chock-full of fresh — yes, I mean actually fresh — veggies, meats, spices, and anything else you’ll need to cook. Green Chef prides themselves on being certified organic, and they work with the USDA to make sure that they keep that title.
Image via GreenChefPage
Each week’s meals are different, and if you want to make sure they’re something you’ll enjoy, you can go to their website and check out the weekly meal plan before you order. With many of the packages you also have the option to choose between six meals, so you can be sure you’ll like the three meals you’re getting. Unfortunately, paleo is excluded from this feature.
The food comes in perfectly portioned bags that are labeled and color-coded. The color-coding system is probably the most important thing about Green Chef because without it you’d be mixing Thursday’s ingredients in Monday’s dinner (yikes!). Every individual package has a color at the top that matches with a specific recipe sheet. This system makes it easy to lay out all your meals.
What I Liked About Green Chef
The most amazing thing (to me) about Green Chef is how they’re able to make such delicious foods even with so many limitations. For someone with significant food restrictions, being able to sit down and eat Penne All’arrabbiata or Tapenade-stuffed Chicken is truly a miracle. The ingredients are always fresh (even in the summer heat), and if for some reason they aren’t or you have a shipping problem, you can send them back and get a full refund on your box.
I’m also not the best in the kitchen, probably because I’ve never tried all that hard. But with Green Chef, their recipes are so easy to follow it’s practically impossible to mess it up. With pre-portioned packages and step-by-step instructions (with pictures to follow along with as well) you’ll be cooking like a pro in no time.
Image via GreenChefPage
Speaking of no time, Green Chef’s meals are almost always quick and easy—most take around half an hour to whip up. The color-coded bags make it even easier to organize your meals and execute them perfectly.
Green Chef offers six packages: gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, omnivore, carnivore, and paleo. Each varies in price and meal choices, but not in freshness and flavor. Paleo, $14.99 per meal, is the most expensive — but only by a miniscule amount, because vegetarian is the cheapest at $10.49 per meal. By “per meal,” I mean that you’ll pay $14.99 for a whole meal, which they say feeds two people, but the portions are so large that my family of three can all eat — and we usually have leftovers afterward.
If you break that down per person (going by the paleo package), that’s $5 each for a family of three and $7.50 each for a family of two. Now do you think you’d be able to go to a restaurant and get a Moroccan-spiced steak for $5? I don’t think so. Plus, if you add up the store price of all the ingredients you need to make your Moroccan-spiced steak, it would be far more per person than Green Chef — mostly because they give you the perfect proportions so you’re not having to pay for a whole stalk of lettuce or package of basil; you’re just paying for a small quantity of it.
Image via GreenChefPage
What I Didn’t Like About Green Chef
There aren’t many things that I dislike about Green Chef, but nothing’s flawless — so I do have one or two complaints. With the paleo box specifically, there isn’t any room for substitution week by week. So if you don’t like a meal that’s on the menu, you might as well not sign up for that week because that’s all you’ll be getting. For the vegetarian and other packages, you do, however, have the option to switch and customize; so this problem doesn’t apply to everyone.
The only other thing I don’t like about Green Chef versus other meal subscription boxes is that their color-coding system can be confusing at times. All the ingredients are thrown into one big box and the only way you know which baggie goes with which recipe is by the color. If you pay close attention you’re likely to never run into this problem, but mistakes do happen and a vital ingredient for one recipe may end up being dumped into another — and oftentimes you don’t realize until it’s too late.
My mom accidentally added the curry from the curry tuna recipe into the zesty taco mix and simultaneously ruined both meals. Not to say they didn’t both turn out fantastic with a little improvisation, but it could’ve been avoided with a simpler packaging system.
Personally, I think Green Chef is a total winner. It has the variety and freshness that I need in my diet and also gives me the flexibility to eat out or cook some comfort food on the nights that I don’t have a Green Chef meal. For those of us with food allergies, this box is by far the best option because they cater to so many different needs.
The price is unmatched (if you’re talking about eating at a restaurant or buying the ingredients yourself) and has saved my family a significant amount of money over the past few months. Without this box, I would’ve never realized that I hate curry and really love zucchini—it’s a great way to open up your palate and step out of your comfort zone.
So, if you’re looking for a tasty adventure that can be delivered right to your door, I recommend signing up for Green Chef today.
Follow Anna on Instagram: @annamariedepoyster
Featured image via GreenChefPage
Last modified on January 5th, 2017