Most of the recipes boxes I try fall into one of two categories. The first provides convenient, easy meals that you can usually make in under 30 minutes and are broadly healthy, like Gousto or Hello Fresh. The second aims to expand your menu with exotic flavours and recipes that you probably haven’t tried before, like The Cookaway or Feast Box.
Mindful Chef’s recipe box service sits somewhere between those two categories, offering meals that are quick and convenient enough to make on busy midweek evenings, while also managing to introduce new ideas and flavours.
On the website you can currently select meals like tempeh and kimchi fried rice, chilli and cacao venison stew, and sirloin, truffled mushrooms and celeriac mash. Unless you are a lot more adventurous in the kitchen than I am, these would all be novel options for a weekday dinner, and they take between 15 and 40 minutes to make.
The three recipes I tested were actually all pretty typical fare – a tempeh bolognese, a Thai fish curry (pictured below) and burgers – but each recipe included a twist: adding chipotle sauce to the burger patties and pairing them with beetroot fries, for example. This, combined with the use of fresh herbs, made each meal feel more exciting – just what you want on a dark January evening.
The recipes I made were slightly trickier than those from Gousto or Hello Fresh, and you’ll often be juggling a few different elements of the meal at once, but I was usually able to get the meals completed in the expected time and when I went over it was by no more than five minutes.
The recipes are cleverly designed so that when there’s a break while the main part of the dish cooks, you get the chance to prepare a simple but tasty side. The carrot slaw with mustard and lime dressing with the burger dish (pictured below) was the best example of this, and even if I don’t return to the full recipe I’ll be making that slaw again regularly.
It’s easy to return to them though, because you get a booklet with all 20 of Mindful Chef’s current recipes with your delivery, and all the company’s past recipes are on its website as well. While some will be tricky to reproduce unless you stock up your kitchen with all the spices Mindful Chef favours, there are plenty of great ideas available.
Mindful Chef does a good job of ensuring each meal includes decent portions of vegetables, and if this is a focus for you there are several options where the main carb has been replaced by veg, like the courgetti instead of pasta (pictured below) with my tempeh bolognese, or the beetroot fries.
I like a generous portion of carbs myself (I’m a runner) and thankfully it’s straightforward to find meals to fit your preferences on the Mindful Chef website. You can filter the meals to show only vegan options, and order them by price, carb content, calories or cooking time.
What you won’t find in Mindful Chef meals is any typical carbs like white rice or pasta – the company has taken a firm anti “stodgy carb” position. Instead you get things like black rice, buckwheat and sweet potatoes. I don’t mind so-called “stodgy” carbs, but it’s not exactly hard to find and eat them in every other meal, so trying some different options is fine by me.
You can order between two and five meals at a time on the website, and the price depends a little on the meals you choose. Vegan recipes tend to be cheaper, while you pay a premium for beef and salmon. At the time of writing, selecting the five most expensive meals for two people comes to a total of £77.50, while selecting the five cheapest comes to £50. There are also healthy frozen meals available, which are always a useful option to have.
The meals are more expensive than those from Gousto or Hello Fresh, especially if you’re opting for steak and salmon, but the quality of Mindful Chef’s service makes the outlay worthwhile if you are looking for a convenient way to add some healthy variety to your weekday menu.
Buy from Mindful Chef | From £5pp per meal