Disclaimer: I purchased this product on my own and have no affiliation with Green Chef. This review is based on my personal opinion of my recent experience with this company.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve developed a slight obsession with meal delivery services. It’s easy to get sucked in when the companies practically offer you your first box free, and then let you cancel with no hassle. So far, I tried and reviewed Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and Marley Spoon.
Green Chef is a meal delivery service. You choose from an assortment of recipes and can get three to four meals per week delivered to your door, based on a plan for a two person household. They have options for families where members can get more or less delivered each week. Subscribers receive all of the recipes and all of the ingredients for each meal. Even with having to chop the ingredients, the whole process of prepping and cooking each meal was under 30 minutes.
What sets this service apart from the others are the dietary preferences. With the other services, you can choose between regular meals and vegetarian meals at no additonal cost. With Green Chef, your dietary preferences are Vegetarian, Omnivore, Carnivore, Gluten Free and (wait for it) PALEO. So naturally, I was really into this one. Because Paleo.
With the other services, there was no extra charge for choosing a dietary preference. If you were to price it out per meal, it starts at $10.49/meal for vegetarian, $11.99/meal for omnivore, $13.49/meal for carnivore, $13.49/meal for gluten free, and $14.99/meal for paleo (why oh why do I always like the most expensive shit). Each meal feeds two people. But as you can see, the cost for this service is more than the cost of the other for the other services. Both Blue Apron and Hello Fresh come in under $10/meal when you aren’t receiving a promotion (for the two person plan, less for the family plan), and Marley Spoon comes in around $10.50/meal – but that includes meat, so the equivalent Green Chef pricing is $13.49/meal.
Since I got this on a Groupon, I could choose any of the dietary preferences at no extra cost. Between the Groupon and then finding a Groupon “coupon” (because why would you pay full price when those are so readily available!), I got a weeks worth of paleo meals for $27. $27/week for three paleo meals (each feeds two people) is a great deal, considering the types of meals I would be receiving (shrimp, chicken, pork). An added bonus to this particular service is that I only started dabbling in the paleo world over the past two years and have a lot to learn. This was a great way to learn more about paleo cooking.
My first delivery was set for Thursday, February 25th. Deliveries could be scheduled from Monday-Thursday. The food comes packed neatly in a medium sized box. Inside the box is biodegradable insulation, and it contains all of the food plus enormous ice packs. If I wasn’t home to receive this, I would feel comfortable leaving it packaged this way for a whole day and not worrying about it spoiling.
The recipes I received were:
The recipes come on separate card stock sheets with clear, concise directions. The protein comes in vacuum sealed bags, and every item is clearly labeled. Something that I didn’t like as much as the other services is that all of the ingredients for all of the meals were in little baggies and containers, but they weren’t separated into boxes or bags by recipe. Not that it’s a huge deal, but I liked how the other three services had everything organized. It also seemed like there was much more waste with this one, although I did wash and save the little plastic jars and have already reused them, so maybe it works out.Like the other three services, you do need to keep the basics at home, like olive oil, salt and pepper but they give you everything else.
The one thing I noticed was the portion size. They seemed HUGE, but this was an eye opener. These meals were paleo and they gave you the calorie breakdown, and it made me realize that I might not eat enough sometimes. I usually try to exercise portion control and while I believe I’m spot on for how much meat/protein to consume, I could be eating a larger helping of vegetables with my dinner. Something I disliked was that they sent a lot of sauces and dressings, but they were already made up for you. I’d like to know what was in those to make them myself, because they were awesome. Like the creamy horseradish dressing on the salad, or the apricot glaze on the chicken – YUM. You can actually find their recipes for those items on their site, but I would have liked to prepare them on my own as part of this service.
I can’t decide which meal I liked best! Each one was fabulous in it’s own right. I think it would be a toss up between the chicken or the shrimp salad, but the pork dish was so good too. I loved the sides with the Apricot Chicken dish. I’d eat any of these meals again, and I will certainly recreate these in the future.
The difference between Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and Marley Spoon is minimal and really comes down to what your personal preferences are. Green Chef was the most suitable for my dietary preferences, but I don’t consider it to be my favorite service. I still think the flavors and cooking style in the Blue Apron box were a bit more suited to my taste and lifestyle. What I liked about Blue Apron was the creativity behind the meals and the use of carbs. I tend to stay away from carbs, but Blue Apron used things like farro, which I plan to incorporate regularly into my diet. I feel like they used creative carbs 🙂
Hello Fresh has still proven to be the most affordable and offer lots of opportunities for discounts (check out my post on Hello Fresh for $40 off your first box!!). I’ve received three boxes from them and have not paid full price yet. I actually haven’t canceled my account with this service, just paused every future delivery so I don’t get charged because I keep getting promotions that allow me to purchase at a discounted rate. Last week, my box from Hello Fresh cost me $9! Unheard of.
The recipes from Marley Spoon were also creative and enjoyable, but used things like regular pasta and were on the heavier side. I would be least likely to choose this service again, while I would gladly order from the other three. If I could justify it, I would absolutely be a regular subscriber to one of these.
Serious foodies looking to try a meal delivery service should consider Blue Apron or Marley Spoon. Families and those who might not be as adventurous with food but would like to change up their weeknight menus would probably enjoy Hello Fresh. Those with particular dietary preferences should check out The Green Chef! As with all of the boxes so far, it was a joy to come home and know I had a brand new meal to prepare that wasn’t going to take me all night to cook. Oh yeah, and I didn’t have to meal plan or food shop for any of it – it’s all shipped right to your door! FOOD CHRISTMAS!
As for my Green Chef account, I deactivated my subscription immediately after my final delivery because they will automatically charge you and ship you more food. It was not as simple to cancel this one – you had to email them and get a link to cancel – but it wasn’t a problem.
There was no discount code given to me for this one to share, but they offer some Groupons and promotions if this has piqued your interest.
Have you ever tried a meal delivery service? What are your thoughts on this type of business? I’m obsessed!