Last week’s HelloFresh experience was a frustrating one for me, starting with the delivery. To be fair, I’d never had an issue with HelloFresh’s delivery in the past. I had scheduled my box to deliver on February 1st but it arrived on February 2nd. I don’t know if they recently switched carriers, but this box came via UPS and required my signature, whereas whichever service delivered the previous boxes left them on my porch (which I was fine with). Anyway, the late delivery sort of mucked with my cooking plans for the week, but it ended up working out alright—and HelloFresh did give me a $10 credit when I contacted them about my box arriving a day late.
So, what were last week’s vegetarian dishes? Read on to find out…
Swiss Chard & Wild Mushroom Penne with Chili and Parmesan.
Jamie’s Incredible Sicilian Eggplant Stew with Couscous, Baby Capers, Olives, & Tomatoes
Creamy Barley & Sweet Potato Risotto with Lemony Broccolini and Parmesan
The first dish I cooked was the penne. The ingredient list was pretty small, which I always appreciate:
It’s hard to go wrong with a winter-y pasta dish, and this one totally hit the spot. It was very easy to make, and HelloFresh even cut down some of the prep time by sending pre-sliced wild mushrooms (much appreciated!). As you can see above, the recipe included a fair amount of sour cream, so it wasn’t exactly the healthiest pasta dish ever, but it was delicious and worth it! The inclusion of swiss chard helped to offset some of the guilt over eating pasta with a sour cream-based sauce. I especially liked the paprika and chili flakes, which gave the meal a kick that you don’t often find in pasta. Oh, and the finished dish looked pretty, too:
I’d definitely make this pasta again, though maybe with half the sour cream to make it a touch healthier.
The next recipe I tackled was the Jamie Oliver eggplant extravaganza. When I opened up the box containing this dish’s ingredients, I was dismayed to discover that the small jar of capers had opened up and spilled its contents all over the other ingredients:
The jar must have come undone in transit, because the caper juice had completely dried by the time I cooked this meal two days after the box arrived.
While it sucks to throw out food, I didn’t know if it was safe to cook with the couscous or oregano because the packets had clearly been soaked with caper juice. Fortunately I had some quinoa on hand so I made that in place of the couscous. Oddly we don’t have any oregano in the house, so I used Sarah’s Mediterranean Sea Salt instead.
While I was cooking the eggplant, I could not for the life of me get the tiny bottle of red wine vinegar open to add to the pan. I was already frustrated about the late delivery and the caper issue, and I just had no patience left for opening that teeny tiny bottle. So I threw it away and used white wine vinegar from our pantry instead (we didn’t have red wine vinegar on hand, either). I also put a dash of balsamic vinegar in the pan, just because. I’ll also say that the tomatoes we got were not great quality—they were a little pale and grainy. It’s not tomato season so that’s understandable, but I feel like this recipe could easily have used a can of diced or stewed tomatoes rather than not-so-great fresh tomatoes.
Frustrations aside, this Jamie Oliver recipe turned out pretty well. It obviously not as the chef intended because I had to improvise some substitutions, but the finished product still tasted good. Oh—and I had some feta in the fridge, so I threw that on top because CHEESE!
I’m not a huge caper fan so it wasn’t a big deal that I couldn’t use them in this dish. However, due to the spill I ended up not using three of the included ingredients so I emailed HelloFresh customer service and they gave me an additional $23 of credit on my account, so I actually got a total of $33 in credit due to the issues with this box. Solid customer service is a big plus in my book!
The final dish I cooked last week was the risotto-style barley with sweet potato. As with the other recipes, the ingredient list was fairly simple and didn’t involve much prep:
This was the second HelloFresh risotto that I’ve made, and I have to say that both took longer than estimated on the recipe card. Neither the barley nor the sweet potato were cooked enough in the time the recipe stated (25 to 30 minutes). I also used up all three cups of water mixed with veggie stock before the ingredients were cooked so I was just adding water to the pan by the end. In all fairness, I may not have cut the sweet potato into small enough cubes for it to cook fully in the amount of time stated. After about 40 minutes of adding liquid and stirring, I decided to cover the pan and let the ingredients cook for another eight minutes. The barley and sweet potato still weren’t cooked quite enough for my taste but by that point I was really tired of stirring (I know…boohoo) and really annoyed at the recipe so I gave up and finished the rest of the steps.
I was so over the risotto recipe by the time I finished cooking it that I didn’t even bother to eat it…I did taste it while I was cooking, and it was pretty good. My husband enjoyed it, so I guess it wasn’t a failure. 🙂
I’ve learned that I should just steer clear of ordering HelloFresh veggie boxes when the week’s recipes include a risotto.
I don’t want my experience last week to deter you from giving HelloFresh a try for yourself. I know I’ve complained about this box a lot, but on the flip side, HelloFresh’s customer service has been really great every time I’ve contacted them about issues—which have been few and far between. I still like HelloFresh more than other similar services I’ve tried (ahem, Blue Apron and Plated) and will continue to order from HelloFresh!
Read My Previous HelloFresh Reviews
How does HelloFresh work? You sign up for a subscription and select the Classic Box, Veggie Box, or Family Box. The Classic and Veggie boxes contain ingredients and recipe cards for three meals that serve either two or four people apiece, while the Family box feeds four people three meals. The price for each box varies based on the meals—which change from week to week—and the number of people you need to serve. The Veggie box starts at $9.08 per person/meal, the Classic box starts at $9.90 per person/meal, and the Family box starts at $8.75 per person/meal. You pick a delivery date, and voilà—a box appears on your doorstep between 8am and 8pm that day! The subscription is flexible, so you can turn off your delivery for a week (or several) if needed. HelloFresh is currently running a February special: get $45 off your first three boxes (Classic or Veggie)! Use promo code HF15FEB when you order your first box; offer ends 2/29/16.