We were delighted to be asked to review recipe boxes from Mindful Chef. I am a big fan of the idea of recipe boxes, and they are a real boon for busy families. No spending ages in the supermarket, picking up lots of different ingredients – and no starting to cook and finding you haven’t got something essential. Mindful Chef deliver to your door, and the box will be left in your designated safe place if necessary. The packaging is designed to keep the food cool for up to 48 hours and certainly our meat and fish, carefully wrapped in wool packaging with ice packs, was cold when I opened the box. They deliver on Sunday afternoons within the M25 and Mondays nationwide – delivery is free. Mindful Chef are a health-focused food box company and since their launch in 2015, they’ve shipped over 500,000 healthy recipes from small farms in Devon. Their approach is very simple, yet incredibly effective in helping you lead a healthier life; they believe in reducing your intake of sugar and refined carbs. As a result, they never deliver pasta, bread or white rice – instead all their recipes are based on innovative uses of fresh vegetables. Each week, there are eight different recipes to choose from and four of these will be vegan. It’s a great way to kickstart healthy eating and a good way to introduce a new way of eating to the family.
The vegetables and other ingredients for each recipe come separately packed in a brown paper bag, so you have all the ingredients readily to hand. Obviously, it is best to take the vegetables out and refrigerate them until needed; most things are separately labelled but I did find the print a little small and faint on some of the packets. Once you are ready to cook, each recipe comes with an illustrated card which lists all the ingredients plus step-by-step instructions. These are clear and generally easy to follow and I like the fact you are also building up a recipe library. The only extras needed were oil and salt and pepper. I love all the little packs of ingredients and it’s so convenient. The fact there is no waste makes the meals good value for money. Mindful Chef are unusual in that they do meals for one.
Our first meal was the Aubergine, Courgette and Beef Lasagne. I am not a great fan of pasta, so I really like the idea of using sliced vegetables to layer the meat. The aubergine was roasted and the courgette was used raw – i wondered how this would work, but it gave an added crunchy texture which was really good. The portions were generously sized and would certainly satisfy anyone with a good appetite. The quality of all the food is very obvious from the excellent flavours – most produce is from British farms, which is good to know.
Second, we cooked Shanghai-style Pork with Crispy Cabbage. The portion sizes with this one were even more generous – in fact, we fed three people quite happily with a two-person meal. It came with shiitake mushrooms, rather than ordinary ones, and these gave the finished dish a real depth of flavour. Again, the instructions were clear and easy to follow and the finished dish came out just as expected.
Teriyaki Salmon, Crispy Kale and Choi Sum was another big hit. If you don’t like spicy food, it is easy to adapt the recipe so you only used the chilli for those who wanted it. There was plenty of salmon, and it came ready packed in four separate packs, so easy to use. All the ingredients were ready weighed out and neatly packaged – I love having all the little pots and packs, they really make cooking fun. I am sure that the convenience will wow most people and it’s a great alternative to ready-prepared meals; an excellent way to involve children with cooking too – and to help them learn about the provenance of their food.
We also tested Lamb Souvlaki with Greek-Style Salad and Pork and Apricot Meatballs with Spiced Quinoa. Again, the recipes were easy to follow, the ingredients were first-rate and the finished dishes really enjoyable. I have to confess that most of these dishes took me out of my comfort zone, but that can only be a good thing, and it has really encouraged me to make more of an effort to widen my repertoire – we don’t need to eat refined carbs to enjoy our food.
Want to try Mindful Chef? We have generously been offered a discount code which gives 25% off your first box (to new users only). Click here to go to our Offers page and try them for yourself.