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Green Chef review: 'It could transform culinary dunces like me into master chefs'
- Kevin Fullerton
- 5 October 2021
We sample recipe subscription box Green Chef to discover if it's delectable or reprehensible
Despite my creative use of expletives in day-to-day conversation, I'm no Gordon Ramsay. Whenever I cook a meal it ends up tasting like a cross between nail varnish and dust. I can, however, prepare three meals packed with flavour. They are as follows:
1. Spag bol
2. Undercooked spag bol, which I generously call 'al dente'
3. Undercooked spag bol with mounds of cheese on it to mask the taste of the spag bol
We all have our talents but cooking is not one of mine. Once anything more complicated than a microwave setting is introduced to my evening dinner, I power down like a robot unable to process a new command.
Yet the phenomenon of recipe subscription boxes hasn't passed me by. Booming in popularity during last year's lockdown, these are food packages delivered directly to your door, giving you a panoply of ingredients and handy recipe cards to create restaurant-quality meals at home.
The appeal here is undeniable, not least the promise of persuading nutritionally malnourished layabouts like myself to consume at least a few vegetables. To help me discover if meal subscription boxes were for me, the good folks at Green Chef sent over three days worth of ingredients. Will it cajole me into getting my five a day or will the prospect of preparing a meal leave me reaching for the Domino's menu?
Alongside Hello Fresh and Simply Cook, Green Chef has cemented itself in the public consciousness as the go-to option for recipe subscription boxes, in part because its menu is diverse, constantly changing and simple to prepare.
They offer five different dietary types – vegan, vegetarian, lower carb, balanced and keto – and exclusively use certified organic and sustainably sourced ingredients. This makes them marginally pricier than their competition at £5.59 per serving (although we run an offer giving you 30% off your first box plus 15% off three boxes thereafter), but also guarantees that you're receiving the freshest ingredients on the market.
But a dearth of organic produce has never dissuaded me from chowing down on junk. What I want is a meal that sounds appealing enough to dedicate half an hour of preparation time to, and Green Chef doesn't disappoint. Included with my ingredients were three meal cards, and each meal sounded tastier than the last: aubergine caponata stew, smoky tomato rice and beans, and ginger shiitake mushrooms and teriyaki tofu.
The instructions are clear enough to make even a culinary dunce like me feel like a master chef. laid out in a simple step-by-step guide, these handy cards feature all the nutritional information you need, including how many carbs, proteins, fats, calories and portions of veg you're receiving from each meal. If you've never been a fan of measuring ingredients, or simply don't own a set of scales, there's no need to worry – each ingredient is pre-measured, so all you need to do is tear open the packaging and stick it in whatever mixture you're concocting.
As I prepared my aubergine caponata stew, I experienced a dawning realisation – this was the first time I had enjoyed cooking in years. And once my meal was prepared, it tasted fresh, healthy and packed full of flavour. Poring over the recipe card with the exactitude of a man who rarely gets much use out of his garlic press was a delight, like freshly discovering a hobby that had long lain dormant.
That's not to say there weren't any disasters during my three-day experiment. At one point, intent on rushing through the instructions, I managed to destroy the tenderstem broccoli in my smoky tomato rice and beans by blasting it in my oven at a blistering temperature. Voila, one portion of veg burnt to a cinder. I also drowned my quinoa in a kettle's worth of hot water, despite the recipe card explicitly telling me not to, giving it the consistency of gloopy porridge. The Green Chef gang might have thought they had created an idiot-proof product, but they've clearly never met me.
Despite my mishaps, the meals provided for me were unquestionably simple to prepare, crammed with taste and incredibly convenient. If you've lost the knack for cooking, or never had it in the first place, then it comes highly recommended. Once day three of my review samples were finished, I was itching to learn how to cook more healthy options. And with its high-quality ingredients and instructions, Green Chef might just be the perfect tutor.