Tuesday 14 April 2015

Review: Hello Fresh food box

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed a couple of rather delicious looking meals popping up over the last week or so.

A friend of mine gifted me a free Hello Fresh food box to try. I wasn't really sure that I would use a box, but I think we all know how frugal I like to be so I'm not one to turn down a free sample. Also, we were going on holidays and the delivery day for our area was scheduled for the day we'd come back and I thought, "sweet, that will save me rushing around doing grocery shopping". I was also won over when I saw there was a vegetarian box available, which is a one-up over a lot of those other food delivery box companies.

I received the Vegetarian box, which was 3 meals for 2 people and usually costs $74 delivered.

At first, I thought well that's pretty expensive, but then I got the box and saw the quality of the ingredients and the attention that goes into each recipe. Also, each meal really made about 4 servings,  so that meant that there was enough for dinner, leftovers for lunch the next day and a little bit extra as well.

The ingredients were fresh, high quality and delicious, and all the cold things were delivered in their own little insulted box with a cool pack.

If I was to cook the meals and buy the ingredients myself, it would probably cost about the same. Although, if I'm honest, it'd probably cost a bit less because this is a vegetarian box, not a vegan one, so I'd leave out the eggs and cut down on a lot of the dairy by using alternatives. However, I'm really pleased to point out that all the cheese in the box are rennet free. There is no gelatine or other nasties in the yoghurt and although I don't eat them, the eggs are from free range hens.

I used the cheeses and yoghurts in the recipes, but elected to leave out or replace the eggs as appropriate. I'll include Mr Fork's opinions in the review, but my husband is a die hard carnivore so he pretty much just sampled the bare minimum of each dish and ate a separate meaty meal.

Okay lets get into it!

Meal one - Superfood Quesadilla with Spicy Salsa
Did I follow the recipe? Pretty much yes, except I omitted the fried egg from the top
Were there any leftover ingredients? I was left with half a block of cheddar cheese and half  packet of cumin
Anything missing? No
How many servings did it make? Closer to 3 than 2
Rating out of 10? 8. Mainly because although I love chilli, for most people one large whole sliced chilli in a punnet of tomato is totally overwhelming.
Did my family eat it? I liked the whole dish. Ellie said the salsa was too spicy but asked for quesadilla seconds. Mr Fork turned up his nose at the whole thing but asked if I could use the leftover cheddar and some of the feta to make him a plain cheese quesadilla with some wraps I had in the freezer. He loved that one so I'll call it a win.
Meal two - Pumpkin and Potato Frittata with Ricotta
Did I follow the recipe? Instead of moo milk and butter, I used soy milk and nuttelex. Instead of the eggs, I used some chickpea flour. So if I'm honest... er, no I didn't follow the recipe
Were there any leftover ingredients? No
Anything missing? No
How many servings did it make? Probably closer to 3
Rating out of 10? 5. I don't think this one adapts well to being vegan
Notes? I don't really consider this a whole meal. It was more of a side dish for me, and so I served it along side a salad and some extra vegetables - corn and broccolini
Did my family eat it? I didn't really like it. Perhaps if I'd made it the way it was written it would have been more of a hit. Strangely, Mr Fork liked this one. Ellie was ambivalent even though I smothered hers with ricotta.
Meal three - Lentil and Cauliflower Dahling
Did I follow the recipe? Yes! Pleased to report, no changes at all
Were there any leftover ingredients? Yes, I had leftover curry powder and vegetable stock powder
Anything missing? No
How many servings did it make? About 2.5
Rating out of 10? 9
Notes? I love dahl so I was really looking forward to this dish. It was really tasty, but I think it could have benefitted from being served with either some rice or some naan on the side
Did my family eat it? I really liked this dish. Ellie ate some of it, but asked for something else to eat after. Mr Fork had a tiny spoonful and declared it 'ok'
  • I felt very Jamie Oliver as I was writing this review, making notes about cooking times and ingredients the like.  While I didn't use all of the ingredients sent or indeed, even cook all of the meals as they were intended, I think the box is pretty good, especially for those weeks where you are time poor (new mum present perhaps!). Meals were generally cooked in the time stated, and as I've mentioned, I got more servings than 2 from each one.
  • I am rather pleased that for a vegetarian box, some thought has gone into the 'iffy' sort of ingredients. Cheeses are rennet free. Eggs are free range. Yoghurt has no gelatine. I'm not sure if this is across the board always or just for the box I got, but I was impressed.
  • The food miles of things concerns me. Although I am in Brisbane, my punnet of cherry tomatoes was from a Victorian grower. Some of the items (cumin, curry powder, rice etc) are pre-measured out into little packets, so I have no idea where they are sourced. I'm not sure about fresh grown produce such as kale, beans or lemons either although it does say Australian produced, just not where. I understand that Hello Fresh is a national company, so it may be difficult to cater on a state by state basis.
  • After all that, I also have a random packet of arborio rice which wasn't mentioned in any of the recipes and didn't really make sense to add to any... so I'm not sure what that was for. I have small amounts of other ingredients left (stock powder, spices, garlic) but those are staples in my pantry so they'll be absorbed easily into other recipes.
  • I admire that the company is trying to be environmentally friendly and suggests leaving the styrofoam cooler box out for pick up and reuse at the next delivery, and promotes recycling/upcycling of the paper box the order comes in.
If you'd like to give Hello Fresh a go as well, I've got a Mate's Rate discount code to share. You get $35.00 discount off your first order if you use the code MPZM99

If you do give them a go, let me know what you think!

Have you ever used a food delivery box service? What were your thoughts?


  1. This sounds like a fun box to try! Great timing having on your return from being away too. I initially thought I wouldn't like being given a meal set as I'm not always great at following recipes, but actually, after getting back from a holiday or similar it could be really helpful. It would be nicer if there was a vegan one, but credit to them to catering to veggies!

    1. Thanks Kari. It definitely made life easier to have a box of meal preparations delivered and not need to rush out for shopping. I didn't actually follow all the recipes verbatim, but it was helpful under the circumstances. I'm sure there is a fabulous business idea in there - vegan food box deliveries!!



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