I feel like I can’t go on Instagram of Facebook without the attempted seduction of a food delivery service. It seems that everyone I used to watch on The Bachelor is a Hello Fresh or Blue Apron ambassador. I am constantly shown photos of delicious meals that are “so easy” and “so delicious” and that it will “finally be simple for me to eat healthy all the time!” Because I do love to cook, and the grocery shopping is one of my favorite parts, I had never considered any of these a real option for me. Recently, however, a few family members have transitioned to a plant-based diet for health reasons. Since we know Instagram has the microphone on on our phones all the time, I was not surprised when a vegan-friendly food service popped up on my feed: Hungry Root.
This was one I had never heard of before. I loved the bright colors of the website (is that embarrassing to admit?) and since the majority of the meals had my favorite food, sweet potatoes, as the base, I thought it might be worth at try. What was really enticing was that you get to totally choose what you want in your shipment, and they have not only meals, but also snacks and desserts. Wanting to learn to expand my vegan-friendly repertoire, I gave it a go.
The food arrived on the date I had requested, and was packaged so cleanly. The little recipe cards came in a sweet hot pink folder, so I was instantly hooked. This was going to be my new favorite thing, I could tell! My mom was visiting, and she and I examined all the food that had arrived, impressed with both the freshness as well as the sheer amount of food provided for only $59. We decided which one we would cook that night, and got to work.
Here’s where it got interesting. The first recipe we tried, the Sweet Potato Alfredo was so easy. It literally took 10 minutes. It took longer to prepare the salad that we made to go with it than it did to actually cook the dish. I’m embarrassed it took us so long to figure out why: everything is already prepared for you. The sweet potato ribbons were precut, and the sauce was already made. This was so simple. When we got to actually eating it, there were highs and lows. The good news was that it was incredibly filling. The whole meal was only 190 calories but I was stuffed. The sauce was very, very bland, though, and needed salt and pepper. Fine, but not my favorite.
The next day we tried the cheesy butternut squash fries and the black bean brownies. The squash fries were delicious, but only because I seasoned them myself. If you can appreciate the cashew cheese for what it is, it is fine. If you are like me, though, and are thinking the whole time “this is not real cheese, you liar” you are going to be disappointed.
The black bean brownies were delicious though. Truly, these tasted just like brownies. If you have gone egg-less and still need brownies in your life, these are the way to go. The only downside? They do not hold together. I even put them in the fridge to see if that would help before attempting to get them out of the muffin tin, but they still fell apart. Not a food to serve, but definitely one to eat!
The Overall Run Down:
The meals cook super fast.
If you get home from work late, these are ideal.
All of the prep is done for you.
If you aren’t a super confident cook, or you don’t want to do a lot of work, this is definitely for you.
The service is affordable.
This is shockingly cheap compared to other food delivery services.
You can customize your box.
I loved that I could choose exactly what I wanted in my box. This made me look forward to it more, and I didn’t waste anything.
You can’t recreate the recipes.
With a lot of other food delivery services, you have to create the whole thing from start to finish. This takes more time, but it also gives you recipes to recreate dishes you like. Since everything with this is pre-made, I can’t ever make it by myself.
The recipes need you to add to them.
A lot of the sauces were kind of flavorless or a little twangy. Once I added salt, pepper, chili powder, or my handy dandy Trader Joe’s seasoning salt, they were great! If I’m having meals delivered to me, though, I prefer that work to be done for me.
There isn’t a lot of variety.
Looking ahead at the other weeks, there aren’t a lot of different options. Almost every recipe has either sweet potato or squash in it. Now, with a vegan service you are limited, so this isn’t surprising. Since I am still a carnivore, this was a downside for me.
The moral of the story: If you are trying to be more plant based, it is definitely worth a try, but it may not be a permanent love affair.