The weekly shop is dead. Well, for some of us anyway: the wise few who have discovered the simple, streamlined joys of recipe box services.
You know the sort: big boxes delivered right to your doorstep with easy-to-follow instruction cards and precisely the right ingredients to make a satisfying supper, down to the last spinach leaf. All packaging is recyclable, ingredients are fresh and seasonal where possible, and waste is a dirty word. Better for your wallet as well as your waistline; everyone’s a winner with a recipe box dinner.
Chances are that if you’re on this page, you’re already well versed in the delights and convenience of meal kit services. Or, if you have yet to try a recipe box, your appetite is certainly whetted.
The great thing is that well-known brands such as Gousto, Hello Fresh, Mindful Chef and more are constantly offering new customer deals and fresh menu options to keep hungry diners coming back for more.
From money off your first order (or orders), dramatically bringing down the cost-per-plate, to themed menus that make a tricky-seeming cuisine beautifully easy, there’s plenty of reason to jump aboard the recipe box bandwagon.
In this monthly series, we’ll scope out the best deals, perks and promotions to help you decide.
Set the table and put on the apron; you’re just a few clicks from cooking up a storm.
Prices: From £24.99 per person for two people.
Offers: New customers can claim a whopping 60 per cent off their first box, and then 30 per cent off the cost of each box ordered in the first month. There’s no discount code required, just head to the site to claim your discount.
What’s on the menu?: This August, Gousto has launched a new section called Carbon Cutting Cuisine showcasing its lowest carbon recipes each week to help diner lessen their impact on the environment. Those who pick a lower carbon option for just one serving a week for a year could save up to 74 kg CO2e - that’s the same emissions as driving 188 miles!
With still a few more weeks of summer left to enjoy, meals are on the lighter side with a strong Mediterranean influence. Think pasta made spicy with chilli and ‘Nduja, Greek-style lamb and Lebanese-style spiced rice topped with crispy Basa fish.
If you fancy something more exotic, there are choices inspired by Korean, Brazilian and Indian cooking with options that can come together faster than you can say “what’s for dinner?”. Fast food minus any of the bad stuff.
Vegans have 15 options to choose from: our money’s on the Shredded Hoisin Fable Mushroom Wraps or Butternut Squash Dal With Coconut Raita, which only takes 10 mins to make.
Buy now, Gousto
Prices: From £28.49 for two people eating three meals.
Offers: Wipe 50 per cent off the cost of your first box if you’re a new customer, and 35 per cent off the next three boxes.
What’s on the menu?: From crowd-pleasing family favourites to calorie-measured dishes and quick-fire options that will prove useful on busy weeknights, there are 37+ recipes to cook from scratch. Hello Fresh also offers sides, lunch and brunch options, so you needn’t think a box is for dinner only.
Buy now, Hello Fresh
Prices: Unlike its peers, Mindful Chef allows singles to order boxes for just one person. For five recipes a week, it’s £58 - but that’s before the new customer discount.
Offers: If you’re new to Mindful Chef, you can save 25 per cent on each of your first four boxes.
What’s on the menu?: Granted, it’s a bit more pricey if you’re ordering for a household of one, but there is a justification for this. Not only does Mindful Chef promise the best ingredients from British farmers and producers for the healthiest recipes, but it also donates a meal to a school child who needs it for every meal you buy. The company has given away 13 million meals to date, according to its website.
Our stomachs have been rumbled by the thought of Tikka-spiced Chicken with Carrot Salad which is also Diabetes-friendly, as the site points out. The Hot Smoked Salmon, Pomegranate & Harissa Salad would make an excellent summer’s day lunch, or there’s Miso Roast Chicken with Root Veg Salad for the nights you fancy a heartier supper.
Buy now, Mindful Chef