Green Chef Meal Service Review
If you didn’t get a chance to read my other meal service reviews, you can find them at these links: Blue Apron, Plated, Hello Fresh and Home Chef. Now for Green Chef! Ordering: This was the first meal delivery service that had a distinctly different ordering process. Instead of being able to choose from 6-12 menu options, it selected 3 for you based on your preferences. This is also the first one I've tried that accommodates for multiple special diets. The options they have are omnivore (standard plan), carnivore, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian and paleo. Each of these selections has slightly different prices ($10.49-$15.99 per meal) but I found that when I made certain adjustments to the plan it sometimes gave the exact same meals but one option was cheaper than the other. I ended up going with the omnivore option which had a chicken, pork and veggie meal versus the chicken, pork and fish in the carnivore plan that was $1.50 more per meal. Website: The website is very straight forward and user friendly. Compared to some websites (particularly Home Chef), this one was much easier to see a summary of all of your preferences and move between different sections seamlessly. App: No app :( Packaging: These meals came packaged all together (not sorted by meal). After doing several meal services, sorting by meal has become more and more a stand out perk and simplifies making the meals quite a bit. The packaging was all recyclable and compostable. We don't have a compost bin so I'm not sure what to do with the compost part but maybe that is a sign that we should start composting. Meals:
Thyme-Roasted Pork Chops with sautéed snap peas, sweet potato salad and bacon: This was a very good meal overall. The sweet potato salad had a great sauerkraut sauce with a unique pop of flavor that really made the meal come together. It was also nice that they included diced sweet potatoes as a time saver. The bacon that came with the sweet potatoes was extremely high in fat to the point where much of it was inedible (100% in about 2/3 of the bacon with the other part being mostly very lean so we were still able to get enough out of it to put in the sweet potatoes). The recipe had you add an additional 2.5 tablespoons of olive oil which is a lot for only 2 servings when you could replace some with cooking spray. The pork chops didn't have a very interesting flavor but did taste naturally good from searing and finishing off in the oven. The onions and celery didn't have instructions on how to prepare them (dice, slice etc.). The snap peas had a great texture and the parsley made them significantly more tasty than any snap peas I've had before. This might have been where the other half of the thyme should have gone but the recipe said reserve half of thyme and never said what to reserve it for so I ended up with half left and didn't know what to put it on.
Lemon Gremolata Chicken with orecchiette pasta, arugula, peas, radishes and parmesan: This was a good meal but nothing special that I would be dying to make again (see Sunchoke and Egg Noodle Casserole with Kale and Mornay Sauce on Blue Apron review-mmmm!) . My favorite about it was the baby arugula because it didn't have to be chopped up before adding it to the sauté pan. Some of the other meal services have had similar meals (gremolata sauce is apparently popular) so I would probably make some combination of those flavors and add more spices if I made it again- I already added some and it still didn't pack a big punch.
Thai Veggie Pitas with bok choy and mandarin salad, broccoli and avocado: Individually the wrap and salad were great but I didn't think they went well together. The salad was simple yet delicious with just bok choy, mandarin oranges (only about 3 tiny oranges per serving) and dressing. The ginger-lime vinaigrette with sesame seed dressing was what really made this delicious but they don't include the recipe for it. The pitas included avocado, broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, onions, pickled peppers, and mixed greens which was a little too much going on. I especially didn't think they needed mixed greens shoved inside and served with a green salad. If I made them again, I would serve it with a different side or vice versa. Variations of this recipe could be made with whatever veggies you have leftover in the fridge.
Nutrition: As I mentioned with the pork chop meal, there was a significant amount of fat added which brought the fat up to 41% for the meal when it could have easily been reduced to 35% of the meal with slight variations. It has surprised me that this is a consistent finding with most of these meal services when they're designing what are supposed to be well balanced healthy meals for the average consumer who wouldn't think to make any adjustments based on nutritional value. That's part of what your're paying the service to do for you! There were lots of healthy fresh veggies which added a ton of micronutrients and fiber which was fantastic. There was also emphasis on a lot of different types of veggies which would give you a lot of good vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals and more nutrient power. *Also note this is one of the biggest advantages of getting only 2 portion sizes because it would be very difficult to go through 20 different veggies in one week at normal packaging sizes without them spoiling.* Overall: The recipe card errors combined with the increased price, lack of an app and disorganized packaging made this not my first choice out of the meal services I tried so I likely wouldn't get it again. Also, while all of the meals were good to great, none of them stood out as a complete meal I would definitely make again (I would make the snap peas and sweet potatoes in the same meal with a different meat and would make the salad or wraps again but not together). That being said, it's one of few that provide special diet options including gluten free, vegan and paleo so for people who have more specific needs, this would still be a great option. These meals were also faster to prep and had more short cuts like already sliced onions and diced sweet potatoes which was a time saver. It was the only meal service that I could actually come in under the 30-35 minutes prep and cook time listed on some of the meals. Also note there is a difficult cancellation process but it's still easy to skip deliveries (the others are very easy to cancel or skip) This is their cancel info "Please email email@example.com before your weekly cutoff time to begin the subscription cancellation process. A follow-up email will be sent shortly with detailed instructions on how to cancel.The weekly cutoff time is 12pm ET, 7 days before the scheduled delivery date. If you do not complete cancellation of your subscription before the cutoff time, you may get another delivery."