As a family that has used and loved HelloFresh, I was excited to learn about and try Green Chef and write this Green Chef meal kit review. Green Chef is basically HelloFresh’s organic sibling. HelloFresh owns Green Chef and, my guess is, it is designed to appeal to customers who use Sun Basket. You know, folks who want the convenience of the meal kit experience but with certified organic ingredients.
How meal kit Green Chef works
Like HelloFresh signing up for Green Chef is simple. Also, like HelloFresh, you can usually find a coupon promo code that can save you money on your first few orders. In fact, right now you can save $80 on your first order plus get free shipping. Here’s how that $80 savings works.
You get $40 off including free shipping applied on your first order. Then, you’ll get $20 off your second order. Finally, you’ll be able to save $10 each on your third and fourth orders.
Full disclosure: I did not have to pay for my first three meals with Green Chef. The company arranged for me to receive them in exchange for this Green Chef review.
Even so I’m writing an honest review. I have included both pros and cons of Green Chef so you can expect a balanced review.
Green Chef meal kit menu option
When signing up for Green Chef, first you need to select your menu. Then you select which meals you want.
As of this writing, you have four menu choices. They are:
- Balanced living
- Plant powered
Keto Green Chef
Here is how Green Chef describes its Keto menu options:
- Low-carb, gluten-free fuel
- Meat and seafood mains and veggie sides
Paleo Green Chef
Green Chef describes its Paleo menu options this way:
- Gluten, grain, dairy and soy free
- Organic, sustainably sourced ingredients
Balanced Living Green Chef
Green Chef describes the Balanced Living menu as:
- Diverse, customizable menus
- Meat, seafood and vegetarian recipes
Plant-powered Green Chef
Here is what Green Chef means by plant-powered:
- Plant-based main and side dishes
- Vegetarian and vegan options
My sense was that the Balanced Living menu was the most akin to the menus we’d gotten through HelloFresh. That was a time in our life when we were omnivores. However, in the past 18 months, we’ve gone vegetarian. Well, more pescatarian, in that we eat fish.
When it came time to choose the Green Chef menu, I chose the Plant Powered one. Later on I discovered that I probably could have chosen Balanced Living and just selected seafood dishes but live and learn.
Choosing your meals
So, once you choose the menu you want, then you go further into the Green Chef website to choose which meals you’ll receive. You can customize the meals to feed two or four. Also, you can get three recipes or four in a week. Since we’re empty nesters now, we got the meals that serve two, and chose the three-meal options.
For the week when we would be trying Green Chef, here are the three meals we ended up choosing and receiving:
- Mediterranean quinoa bowl
- Sweet & smoky fried cheese
- Sun-dried tomato flatbreads
Each of these three meals included cheese, so definitely wouldn’t have worked for a vegan. However, of the seven choices, three seemed to be vegan-inclusive in that they were dairy free.
The other choices that week were:
- Thai peanut noodle stir fry
- Creamy corn and potato chowder
- Orange miso tofu and black rice
- Black bean tamale casserole
Review of Green Chef Meal Kit Pros
Everything was delicious. And my picky eater husband ate vegetables I’d never seen him willingly ingest. For example, he gobbled up the broccoli, which I’d cooked with the fresh garlic that came in the meal kit. “This is really delicious,” he said, spearing another piece of the green stuff.
In another dish he also thought the cauliflower was tasty. However, I did end up with about 2/3 of what we’d made on my plate. I mean, I didn’t expect miracles overnight.
The instructions were easy to follow, with pictures to help things along. The flatbread meal was, by far, the easiest one to make. I mean, it came with already-baked flatbreads. So, all I had to do was add the ingredients and toss in the oven. The biggest challenges were cutting up and massaging the kale for the salad, and reducing the balsamic. I’d never done a balsamic reduction before. Mine ended up too watery.
I did make one mistake with the Mediterranean quinoa bowl because I didn’t read the instructions all the way through before starting. It reminded me of ninth grade math class with Mr. Flynn who would always sneak a “0” onto the end of a lengthy math problem. Because, as you know, anything multiplied by zero is zero. So, don’t go through all the calculations only to end up at zero.
For me, though, my mistake was not huge. It just meant that I’d washed out a bowl that I was supposed to keep “dirty” to reuse some of the spices. Oh, well. It was still yummy. Note to self–and my readers: Read the prep and cooking instructions from start to finish before starting.
The price per serving of the meals we received was about $5. So, for two people at $10 meal. At a place like Panera, we would have paid the meal price for a single serving. I mean, I’ve had the quinoa bowls at Panera. They’re delicious, to be sure. But they are also pricey–at $9.59 each.
Also, like I said earlier, right now you can use this link to save $80 on your first order, plus free shipping. Who doesn’t love a coupon promo code that can save them money?
I’ve read reviews of other meal kit companies like Green Chef, where people worry about all of the packaging. But Green Chef has done a really good job of using packaging that is mostly recyclable. I say mostly because the only thing I couldn’t put in the recycling bin was the freezer packs that came in the box to keep the ingredients cold and some of the plastic bags that ingredients came in.
But what was, in fact, recyclable? Plastic clamshell package with Roma tomatoes? Check, recyclable. The cardboard box the entire kit came in? Check, recyclable. The paper-based padding inside? Check, recyclable.
Change up your meal plans
I discovered that the two of the meals we ended up choosing under the Plant Powered heading were also offered in Balanced Living. Turns out you are allowed to switch from one meal plan to another, from week to week, if you see something you like more.
Two caveats: you have to make the selection at least seven days before that week’s meal kit is supposed to ship, and your price may change.
For example, the Plant-Powered and Balanced Living weekly per meal prices are $1 cheaper than Paleo and Keto. So if you were looking to switch things up, your could go up or down by $1, depending on what you choose.
Review of Green Chef Meal Kit Cons
Each of the meals we received included at least one ingredient we didn’t like or chose not to include in the finished dish. First, in two of the three, these were pistachio nuts. Second, in another meal, along with pistachio nuts there was artichoke hearts. Third, in one meal it included sunflower seeds and sun dried tomatoes.
Now, this is a personal preference not to include them and perhaps I should have read the meal offerings closer on the Green Chef website. Because when you’re selecting your meals for the week, you can click all the way through to see everything about the meal, including ingredients and nutrition.
High in fat and calories
Speaking of nutrition, this brings me to another drawback to Green Chef. But, to be fair, it’s true of every meal kit service I’ve ever tried. They are all fairly high in calories. And they use a lot of oil.
As someone who is watching what she eats and, at this point, counting macros as well, the nutrition facts for our meals gave us pause. For example, the Sweet & Smoky Fried Cheese meal included more fat grams that I try to eat in an entire day, let along a single meal. It was 64 grams.
Modified recipes to save fat
However, as someone with experience with meal kits, I knew how to modify the recipes so the fat wasn’t so high. So it was important to me that in this Green Chef review that I share tips on how to do that.
For example, with the Sweet & Smoky Fried Cheese, I was supposed to sauté the broccoli in two tablespoons of olive oil. Similarly, with the cheese, I was supposed to drizzle it with a tablespoon of olive oil and then use another tablespoon of olive oil while cooking it.
That’s four tablespoons of olive oil. Well, a tablespoon of olive oil has 14 grams of fat. If the 64 grams in the nutrition facts includes all of that olive oil, then that’s 56 grams of fat for the olive oil alone.
So, what did I do? Sautéed the broccoli in a pan that I’d coated with cooking spray and did the same when cooking the grilled cheese. I did drizzle the cheese with the one tablespoon of olive oil so that the spices would adhere better. In the process I “saved” 44 grams of fat.
FYI, when I weighed in after three days of eating Green Chef, it was all good. I didn’t gain any weight. In fact, I lost half a pound.
Overall Thoughts for this Green Chef Meal Kit Review
My husband and I haven’t been out to a restaurant for a meal since February. I think we’re like millions of Americans who are cooking at home. And I’m not sure when we will be going back out to eat. So, a meal kit service like Green Chef allows us to enjoy a restaurant-quality meal and still save money.
Sure, we’re doing all the work in cooking the meal–though Green Chef does send pre-portioned ingredients so we don’t have to do any measuring. Even so, I think now is the perfect time to treat yourself to a meal kit service.
You can enjoy delicious food that you might not otherwise have made for yourself, and you can prepare it in the safety of your own home. Like I’d mentioned, you can use this link for a coupon promo code to save $80 on your first order.
Finally, here’s one more reason we really like Green Chef. It allowed us to switch up the meals we have been making for dinner every night for months. I mean, I love my Beyond Burgers or grilled cheese with tomato from our garden. But it was a real treat having three new things to eat and why I could easily see getting Green Chef becoming a regular thing for us.