Accidental Vegetarian

Accidental Vegetarian

You may have noticed that I’m a vegetarian, and that I live on a farm in rural Iowa, BUT in the past I’ve shared my favorite meat recipes. Are you confused? Well, about 7 years ago my body stopped tolerating meat. Sounds weird, right? Well, I’ll save you the nitty gritty details, but doctors are puzzled by it as well. (*Now, I realize that food allergies and intolerances are very different things, but I have used both of them at different times because doctors have different opinions of how to diagnose my situation.*)

I’ve learned how to adjust to a new lifestyle and way of eating, but it hasn’t always been easy and comes with additional challenges. The first challenge is that I live in an omnivorous household. I still cook our home-raised beef and other meat and fish dishes for my husband and son, but I have to keep our meals separate to avoid cross-contamination. With a new baby and limited time, cooking separate meals that everyone will eat has become a huge task. Plus, that means twice the dirty dishes and double the cleaning time…as other moms (especially ones with a newborn) know, it’s hard enough to clean up after cooking one meal, but two…? Who has time for that?!?

I often bounce between loving to cook and truly enjoying spending my time in the kitchen, making (and baking) fresh and elaborate meals and desserts…And avoiding the kitchen at all costs, because I’m at a loss for what to cook my family and nothing “sounds good”.

For my birthday this year, my in-laws gifted me a HelloFresh subscription. It was such a sweet and thoughtful gift! I was so excited when I started looking through their plans and found that they have a veggie plan, and the menus were full of delicious looking meals. Veggie enchiladas, veggie jumble, mushroom pasta, quesadillas, the list goes on. I know there are lots of meal delivery services out there now, so I wanted to share my full (and non endorsed) experience.

Were the recipes delicious?

Yes. HelloFresh offers only two different options for the vegetarian plan – two or three servings, three times per week. There are no menu selection options with the veggie plan…the recipes are already pre-selected. While some people might find this limiting, I have found all the meals to be delicious, so it really hasn’t been an issue.

Was it budget friendly?

Depends. The other thing I really like about the veggie plan is that its cheaper than the classic and family plans, other companies like Plated and Blue Apron don’t offer “veggie only” plans. Instead you pay full price for the standard plan, and then just select the vegetarian options for your menu, which there didn’t seem to be a ton of recipe options. With that being said, I found it to be super affordable with a coupon code offering $20 off each box for the first month, but after the coupon expired, I decided to cancel as $55 per week for 3 meals for 2 people seemed a little more than I wanted to spend.

Is it easy? Could anyone make the meals?

Yes. After signing up for my subscription, I received my first box about a week later. It came on time and in good condition. Although it was well below zero temps outside here in Iowa, the boxes come with their own refrigeration cold packs and insulated packaging (this will be great for summer!). All of the ingredients for each meal were packaged separately (no sorting required) and conveniently in their own brown paper bags.

When I was ready to prepare my first meal, I simply pulled the paper bag for that recipe out of the fridge and began washing, prepping and cooking the meal. The instructions were very clear and overall I found the recipe to be both easy to prepare and made minimal dishes dirty (one of my top priorities). I did find the prep time to be slightly longer than what was listed on the recipe card, but overall the dish was still done in the 30-35 minutes it suggested.

Another thing I really like about the meal subscription service is that all of the recipes can be recreated. If I love a dish, I can easily go to the supermarket and get the ingredients and make it again. Not only am I learning to make great tasting meals one time, but I can make them again and again. It’s a better investment in my opinion, than just a one-time meal.

Is it kid-friendly?

I ordered the veggie option and I have to say, the recipes weren’t always kid-friendly. There are a lot of onions, peppers, and spicy dishes that were too much for my 3 year old. Some of them he liked, but for the most part, I think the flavors might be a little more advanced than what a toddler will eat.

I haven’t decided how long I will continue the HelloFresh subscription service, but I am on my 3rd of 4 weeks and I am really enjoying the entire experience. It has been so nice to have variety and fresh (new) meals to try during this bitterly cold winter we are having. I also find the meals to be healthy and full of nutrients while I’m nursing baby #2, that I otherwise haven’t had time to plan out. If you are interested in trying out a meal service, I highly recommend doing it. It’s great for date night in or just staying healthy when life gets a little too busy!