Hello Fresh Classic Box Review: Fresh Food to Your Door
What’s your least-favorite weekly chore? Mine is grocery shopping, hands down, which is why I signed up for Hello Fresh. Hello Fresh is one of the several available options for food delivery subscription boxes. If you sign up for the cheapest plan, you get three recipes for two people for $69 per week. Because $69 buys a fair amount of groceries for two people, I’m with you when you wonder if it’s worth it. But, like I said, I hate going to the grocery store, so I gave the Hello Fresh “Classic Box” a shot.
What’s on the Menu?
When I purchased the box, I wasn’t allowed to substitute recipes, so the three I received were:
- Maple-Balsamic Glazed Cod: Cod with butternut squash mash and roasted Brussels sprouts.
- Teriyaki-Glazed Meatballs: Beef meatballs with crunch cabbage slaw and basmati rice.
- Chicken Schnitzel Sandwiches: Chicken breast schnitzel with Gruyere and tangy red cabbage slaw.
Cabbage, Cabbage, Cabbage
I’ve noticed a pattern with Hello Fresh boxes. Since Hello Fresh orders from local farmers, you’re occasionally stuck with some ingredients that show up several times in one box. As you can see, my first box managed to give me cabbage slaw for two of the three recipes. I hate cabbage slaw. The option to switch out the recipes wasn’t available at that time, so I was stuck with a whole lot of slaw. Thankfully, Hello Fresh now allows you to switch out recipes.
Delivered Straight to Your Door
With Hello Fresh, you get to choose the exact day of the food delivery — which is perfect for someone who’s insanely busy. I love having that option.
Unfortunately, I’m not at home much throughout the week, so when the food was delivered it was placed outside my door. If you have a kind neighbor, it’s important to have them pick up the box from sitting outside in the sun. Mine snatched my box up when it arrived and put inside my home, thankfully.
According to Hello Fresh, their insulated (but still recyclable!) boxes keep your food cool for 24 hours, but for the amount of time it was sitting outside, my food had already begun to sweat. Granted, I live in a hot, humid state, so it’d be impossible for my box not to sweat. All of my items survived shipping and sitting in my apartment for a few hours.
Knife Skills on Point
First, I should tell you that I’m not what you’d call a novice chef, but even a beginner should be able to whip up these recipes. Each meal has a level that informs you how difficult the chefs anticipate preparation of the meal to be, but don’t panic if you get a level two or three meal. The recipe walks you through every step of the process, even using actual cooking lingo and pictures so you can quickly grasp each step.
Before you start cooking, make sure you’ve written down, printed off, or pulled the recipe up on an iPad because the instructions don’t ship with the box. The recipes also list nutritional information, allergens, ingredients, and other relevant information for each recipe.
I found that some of the recipes took longer to cook than Hello Fresh predicted. For example, I hadn’t had much experience with butternut squash, so mashing up and cooking them correctly took a little extra time than anticipated. Slicing up the Brussels sprouts also required a bit of extra time since my knife skills aren’t on point. After getting my first box, I also figured out that Hello Fresh doesn’t ship ingredients pre-measured. For example, while the recipe calls for a tablespoon or teaspoon of an ingredient, you would have gotten easily double in your box, which means you’ll have to measure. I had an extra bottle of balsamic vinegar in my fridge forever. On the plus side, extra food!
Nothing can be perfect, and subscription boxes sometimes forget to add items into their box. Since this is a cooking box, forgetting something can be a huge problem, like the time Hello Fresh forgot the hoisin sauce for the teriyaki meatballs. They handled it well, though. I received an email a few days before my delivery saying that the item would be missing from the box and letting me know that I could use Teriyaki sauce or sesame oil if I had it on hand in place of the hoisin sauce.
Additionally, I received a $5 credit to cover the cost of purchasing the sauce. Unfortunately, I did have to make a trip to the store, but even with the dreaded grocery trip, I was happy to receive my box. Shoutout to the incredible customer service.
via Hello Fresh
Insta or Nah?
Even a beginning chef can create beautiful dishes with Hello Fresh. With the pictures on the recipe cards to use as a reference, I was able to plate up dishes that I was proud to serve. Everything looked great, and (more importantly) the recipes tasted superb. Some of the ingredients I didn’t like too much (like butternut squash), while others I tried and fell in love with. I’m now a huge fan of Brussels sprouts and basmati rice.
Because the directions are so detailed, you really learn how to make the recipes yourself, and you can easily do so again at a later date. The recipes are archived on the site so you can find them later without trouble, which is handy when you make a knock-out dish! Cutting up two pounds of Brussels sprouts for Thanksgiving was a chore, but I was delighted that I’d learned to make something so good.
Bang for Your Buck
The ingredients were high quality because they come from farms and bakeries near the Hello Fresh home-base. You’re definitely getting quality ingredients for the price, but I do have to say I was a little upset with amount of food for the money. Considering my box had a massive amount of cabbage, which is about a dollar a head here, I didn’t feel like I got $69 worth of items. In the end, I suppose I got $69 worth of value out of the week because the portions were generous and it isn’t like you can just purchase four slices of Pumpernickel anywhere. If you bought everything separately, you’d spend a lot more and have to deal with food waste.
What I do consider an incredible value is the convenience of this box. I loved not having to go to the store that week. Furthermore, I enjoyed the chance to cook something new, especially because one of my recipes was a play on a recipe from Vienna that I wouldn’t have tried otherwise. The experience blew the value out of the water and made this a great box.
If you hate going to the grocery store, aren’t used to cooking, or are looking for something new to cook, I would highly recommend Hello Fresh. The experience is enjoyable and throwing everything together to create such a beautiful meal was an unforgettable experience. Plus, if you love a recipe, you can go back at a later date and view the recipe to make on your own. I would definitely use Hello Fresh again.
Last modified on June 1st, 2017