If cooking doesn’t come naturally to you, meal subscription boxes can make it a little easier to get into the habit of making your own meals. Green Chef is focused on healthy meals and organic ingredients. Each week, they send you ingredients and recipe cards so you can make meals dreamed up by their chefs. Green Chef is a USDA-certified organic company, so you can count on high-quality ingredients in each box.
In this week’s box, I received ingredients for four meals: Farfalle Pasta Bowls with Pesto, Tuscan White Bean & Chard Soup, Bahārāt-Spiced Couscous Salad, and Braised Chickpeas with Tomato & Kale. I chose the vegan option, hence all the bean-based dishes. The pesto farfalle was my favorite, and I really liked all the meals I made.
What’s In the Box?
Green Chef is distinct from other meal subscription boxes because of its focus on all-organic ingredients.
When you sign up, you can choose your dietary restrictions or preferences. Green Box offers plenty of meal options, including options that are vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and keto. They also let you choose the number of people you’ll be cooking for, whether it’s 2 people or 12. You’ll also choose the number of meals you want per week, anywhere from 2-4.
Each week, they offer about 30 different recipes to choose from. They are all designed to take approximately 30 minutes, but of course the cooking time varies a little from meal to meal. Out of the meals I cooked, cook time was between 25 and 40 minutes. That’s not including cleanup, though!
When your box arrives, it comes in a cardboard box with recyclable cooling packs to keep things fresh. They’ll let you know when your box is scheduled to arrive and provide detailed updates.
All you really need to make their recipes is basic cooking tools, like pots, pans, baking sheets, and utensils. You’ll also need cooking oils, salt, and pepper. This service is very beginner-friendly, so there’s nothing to worry about if you don’t usually cook at home.
Bahārāt-Spiced Couscous Salad
The ingredients for every dish came in their own recycled paper bag. They are carefully portioned and somewhat prepared, like the pre-chopped carrots. Honestly, I hate chopping produce, so that was an instant plus for me!
I had to use the oven to roast the pine nuts and then the carrots and chickpeas. I cooked the couscous, then chopped the rest of the produce and juiced the lemon. This meal was very refreshing thanks to the mint and cilantro! This one was my second favorite and I plan to recreate it in the future.
I’m no food photographer, but I think this captures the essence of the final product!
- Za’atar seasoning
- Bahārāt spice blend
- Pine nuts
Farfalle Pasta Bowls with Pesto
This turned out to be my favorite dish! I’m not a very creative cook, so I never would have thought to use coconut cream in an Italian pasta dish. It was a great way to make vegan pasta creamy, though. The basil sauce on top came pre-made, which kept the prep time short.
I’ve never cooked with fennel before, and it always felt a little too fancy for me for some reason. Now I know it’s not any scarier to use than onion or shallot. I do think caramelizing the fennel made this take the longest amount of time out of any dish– it took maybe 40 minutes total.
- Coconut cream with corn
- Dairy-free pesto
- Sun-dried tomatoes
Tuscan White Bean & Chard Soup
Yes, I did use the same type of dish for all my plating pictures! It just felt right. This bean soup has plenty of veggies and comes with a small baguette. On my own, I never would have bothered to oven-toast a baguette or coat it with spices, but that addition made the meal a little nicer. I love a good bean soup, and this one was flavorful but not too salty or overly rich. It’s more of a nice, light soup.
- Cannellini beans
- Vegetable stock
- Yellow onion
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Rosemary, basil, & sage blend
- White wine vinegar
- Demi baguette
Braised Chickpeas with Tomato & Kale
This recipe came together faster than any of the others. It’s also closest to how I usually cook, so that might be why. The kale, chickpeas, and tomatoes went together in a pan and cooked up really quickly. It smelled great as it was cooking, and I love braised greens.
I didn’t add hummus to the top of my meal, as the recipe suggested, because I’d rather have it on the side. When you’re cooking your own meals, you can make those substitutions easily!
- Jasmine rice
- Garbanzo beans
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Crushed red pepper
- Vegetable stock
- Grape tomatoes
- Green kale
- Garlic, paprika, and herb blend
What We Like About Green Chef
The groceries in each box are carefully pre-portioned in labeled paper bags. The company sends exactly as much as you need to use, so there’s no need to worry about getting stuck with a bag of leeks or box of raisins you don’t know how to use. Some of the ingredients are even pre-chopped.
You don’t need to have a lot of cooking skills to make any of their recipes. The instructions are clear and tell you exactly how to plate the food. As long as you know how to operate an oven and boil water, you’ll be fine with their recipes. They also send spice mixes and sauces, which definitely takes a lot of the stress out of cooking and ensures that the final product will taste great.
Green Chef caters to those with special diets by offering options that are vegan, vegetarian, keto, the Mediterranean diet, and gluten-free. There are several options each week instead of just one or two that you’re stuck with. Other services, like Hello Fresh, don’t have as many options for specialty diets, in my experience.
When I unpacked the meal kits, the first thing I noticed is that there’s a lot of packaging. With a service like this, it’s pretty much unavoidable. But Green Chef uses recycled cardboard and paper, and recyclable plastic. Since the company sends out so many boxes each week, minimizing waste and maximizing recycled items makes a big difference.
What We Don’t Like About Green Chef
Green Chef is a little pricey. Three or four meals’ worth of groceries will run you about $100, give or take depending on the number of people you’re cooking for and the number of meals per week you request. In a normal week, I wouldn’t spend that much on groceries, but then again, I don’t buy exclusively organic groceries, and most of my groceries aren’t as conveniently prepared as the ones I get from Green Chef.
On a similar note, I think that confident, experienced chefs can skip this service. I think most of the value comes from the ease and convenience of receiving pre-packaged ingredients that correspond to a recipe. If you’re already good at planning menus for the week and using up all your produce before it goes bad, you probably don’t need this service.
This is a minor quibble, but I think customers should set aside more than 30 minutes for each cooking session. The company advertises 30-minute meals, but that’s if you prepare all the ingredients efficiently and multi-task a bit. It took me a little longer than that, not counting cleanup and washing dishes.
Is Green Chef Worth It?
Green Chef sends you the ingredients to make organic, healthy meals. If you are looking for a way to eat out less and learn how to cook healthier meals, this is a great way to do that. With each meal you cook, you’ll learn more techniques and flavor combinations. I think over time, you can also get more confident in the kitchen.
Personally, I’ve been cooking for years, but I tend to stick to the same recipes over and over again. It’s nice to add some new ideas to my arsenal! I recommend Green Chef for anyone who wants to get more into cooking and values organic ingredients.