I have such a love/hate relationship with cooking. Sometimes, I could spend all day in there making something amazing and other times I want to eat a potato waffle sandwich. I am a bit of a maverick and pretty terrible at following recipes without meddling, I chuck all sorts in thinking it will improve it or add a little something ‘extra’.
I think there is a childish part of me that thinks that I am going to create this amazing recipe one day and it will be so good that everyone will ask me for the recipe, but I will never tell them my ‘secret ingredient’ as it is likely to be something mental like chocolate chips or a spoon of jam. Then I will be renowned as some amazing chef with amazing culinary secrets.
Anyway the point of what I am saying is that in order for me to eat well and eat healthily, I need to have some kind of motivator like a recipe and all of the ingredients right in front of me, otherwise I get overly inventive and dinner gets weird. My husband still likes to remind me of the time I served him ‘damp rice and a soggy wet pepper’ for dinner.
I’ve been on the hunt for vegan recipe boxes for a little while, as before we went vegan we occasionally had Hello Fresh deliveries, however they don’t actually offer a vegan option and you can’t tailor them to suit a vegan diet either. In fact, I discovered that the only company who do offer a vegan recipe box alongside their usual meat/fish ones are Mindful Chef.
Mindful Chef are passionate about making eating healthily, easier. As a busy mum and a lazy cook, this is definitely something I need. They focus on making innovative recipes using fresh vegetables and they are certainly a company that have that ‘family feel’ to them too. It was set up in 2015 by three school friends, based in Devon. They ensure that all of their suppliers (often who are friends of theirs from farms on the West Coast of England where they all grew up) are committed to the highest ethical standards and they claim that mindful farming is something of the upmost importance to them.
Their ethos is that they don’t believe in calorie counting or diets, they just like proper whole food that nourishes the body from the inside out.
I received my box last week and they were even mindful enough to ensure that the packaging they used was vegan too, as usually they use wool to keep things cool. Everything in the box was separated into 3 brown bags, one bag for each recipe. I was provided with recipe cards and a copy of next weeks menu too.
We excitedly opened everything and decided to get started right away.
First up we cooked the chargrilled apricots with leek and red quinoa. Sounds fancy right? It took about 25 minutes in total and the recipe card was very easy to follow, even after a glass of wine. Ahem.
It’s so easy with all of the ingredients laid out for you in the exact right quantities.
The apricots in this were amazing. Truly delicious. I really liked this recipe because it is something I would never think of cooking myself. Apricots wouldn’t even occur to me to put in a dish like this but it was perfect as a light lunch for the hot weather we had last week as it was just so fresh and juicy. In fact, don’t think I have ever even eaten fresh apricots before, always dried ones.
Next we made the Mexican veggie chilli with sweet potato nachos. There was a coconut cream drizzle that went on the top of this that I think went slightly wrong. Perhaps we added too much water… it was a bit thin though. I think I would be tempted to just leave that off if I were to make it again.
Now with this one, the nachos slightly burned at the edges, but that may just be because we used the mandolin and sliced them too thin. Also, we did add normal corn nachos to this, just because I love them and really wanted some. This was absolutely chock full of veg though. It tasted so healthy and yet hearty and warming. Who doesn’t love Mexican food?!
This meal even went down really well with our three year old. She didn’t try the guacamole, because it was green and she avoids anything green, however she swapped it for hummus and loved dipping the sweet potato in it. The only change I would make in this one is to perhaps halve the quantity of kidney beans and substitute for something else, maybe lentils? It was just a few too many beans for my personal taste but different strokes for different folks and all that. I think because we had the quinoa dish the day before, that also had a lot of beans in it and we were all ‘bean-ed’ out.
Lastly was the mango and red pepper curry. I’ll be honest, I left this one till last because I wasn’t entirely sure on the idea of a fruit curry and I find cutting mango a bit intimidating… but you know what? It was delicious. I didn’t take a photo of the end result because I was left to plate this one up on my own (normally my much more conscientious husband does it) and I am really quite rubbish at making meals look pretty. My photography wouldn’t do it any justice.
I trust you can use your imagination though or just look at the picture on the recipe card and pretend that is what my version looked like.
The edits I would make to that one would be to add slightly more rice. We’re greedy on the carbs in this family and I love having a really extortionate serving of rice to mop up my curry.
The thing with these recipe boxes overall is that if you are time poor and an average cook they are an absolute godsend. My husband wasn’t as keen as me because he is a pretty wonderful cook and was constantly making suggestions about things he would add in or change on the recipe. For me however, I loved how simple it was. All the ingredients that arrived were perfectly fresh and tasty. I loved that the beans and cans were all organic and like I said earlier, I love how everything is portioned out for you.
If dinner-times are stressful in your house, you are out of recipe ideas or just want to try something new I would definitely recommend giving Mindful Chef boxes a go. If you aren’t vegan, be sure to check out their other offerings too.
In the interests of full disclosure, I was offered a Mindful Chef box in return for an honest review. All photos and opinions, as always, are my own.