The Meal Kit Challenge

We tried three of the most popular delivery services: Blue Apron, Hello Fresh and PeachDish. Here’s what we found…

By: MICHELLE FASIG | Photos by: KATE BLOHM

As a young professional, I often struggle with ways to eat healthily while coming up with creative meals that appeal to my inner gourmet chef. I have spent countless hours browsing cookbooks and surfing the web for time-friendly, flavorful meals that I can whip together after work. I begin my week with one big haul at the grocery store for everything I think I will need to last me through Friday. Unfortunately, living in a single-person household, I am often forced to buy a whole container of eggs when I only need one, or a half-gallon of milk when I only need a tablespoon. I have easily thrown away more money than I would comfortably admit in wasted food. More often than not, I end up spending the better half of my evening either prepping for a meal, or, sadly, if I give up, at the Zaxby’s drive-through spending too much money on wings.

Recently a friend of mine suggested that I try the Meal Delivery Kit route. Pre-packed, perfectly portioned boxes delivered straight to your doorstep promising easy, creative meals with a guarantee to de-stress your night. Sign me up! This past month I have taken on what I affectionately call the “Meal Kit Challenge,” and tried three of the most popular delivery services: Blue Apron, Hello Fresh and PeachDish

Blue Apron

blue apron

Blue Apron Meal Box

My month began with a box from Blue Apron. When the box arrived, I was excited to see a box with fresh produce, however my excitement quickly turned to confusion when I saw the only protein I had received was a small portion of smoked trout. Upon reviewing my recipe cards, I realized my dishes were largely vegetarian. While I do love vegetarian food every now and again, I am a steak-lover through and through. Nonetheless, I was excited to get started and see if Blue Apron lived up to the hype as being the most popular food delivery service.

blue apron

Smoked Trout Tartine from Blue Apron

Over the course of the week I made Smoked Trout Tartine, Spinach and Ricotta Pizza, and Thai Green Coconut Curry. What I found was it took quite a bit of prep work. Additionally, the servings were not as large as I originally anticipated. Even eating only one portion, I found that there really wasn’t enough to bring into work for lunch. While the food was flavorful and satisfying, I personally cannot justify the amount of time each dish took to prepare. For a someone looking for new recipes with an evening to devote to cooking, this box is a great choice.

 


Hello Fresh

hello fresh box

Hello Fresh Meal Box

The second service to the plate was Hello Fresh. When I received my box from Hello Fresh, I was pleased to discover that every meal was packaged inside its own small individual box, and completely pre-portioned. Unlike Blue Apron where you have to match the produce to the recipes, all of the work had been done for you. Described online as a service for “beginner chefs,” Hello Fresh does its best to eliminate any guesswork. The meals I received were Pistachio Crusted Chicken, Shepherds Pie and Citrusy Pork Tenderloin.

Shepards Pie

Shepards Pie from Hello Fresh

Hello Fresh was by far the simplest meal delivery service for me. The instructions included large pictures and simple instructions without a lot of multitasking. This made the dishes easy to execute and kept the mess in my kitchen to a minimum. I was excited by the meal combinations and am keeping the recipes for my own personal repertoire. For a busy working woman, this service seemed like a terrific solution.

 

 


PeachDish

PeachDish Meal Box

PeachDish Meal Box

The last box I received was from the local, Atlanta-based, meal-delivery service: PeachDish. This box had me the most excited- boasting Southern-infused, seasonal dishes with locally sourced ingredients. I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the PeachDish box. You can immediately see just how fresh the produce is in a PeachDish box. From oyster mushrooms to large handpicked carrots, the produce looked better than anything I would find in my local grocery store. Included is also a list of each week’s supplies so you know exactly which local farm your produce came from. My box came with the ingredients for a Beef and Mushroom “blended burger” with glazed root vegetables and Chicken with Brussel Sprouts and Bacon.

Mushroom Burger

Beef and Mushroom Burger from PeachDish

The recipes were inventive and healthy, and I really enjoyed learning just how to work all of the ingredients together. This box is definitely not for the novice chef, but for someone who has time to experiment with new recipes in the kitchen and isn’t afraid to try something new. While the meals are delicious, this box, much like Blue Apron, does take a bit of prep work. However, the end result was flavorful and worth the effort. Blending fresh mushrooms in with the ground beef for the burger to create a larger patty was a trick I have personally not tried before, and was blown away by how hearty and filling this healthy meal was. The dishes are chef inspired, health conscious and inventive. If I had time during the workweek, this is a box I would definitely be subscribing to.

*

Top <