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Kitchen & Cooking

Green Chef is the most sustainable meal kit—here's why

Meals as eco-friendly as they are yummy.

Flatbread meal. Credit: Green Chef

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Our testers have tried a multitude of meal kit food delivery services. They can be convenient for those who work long days, those who cannot drive to the grocery store, those with children who can be difficult to corral in grocery aisles, among other reasons. Personally, I view grocery shopping as a date with myself, but since I’ve never tried a delivered meal kit I jumped at the opportunity when given the chance.

I tried out Green Chef’s Plant-Based meal plan, and while the food was incredible it’s the brand’s commitment to eco-friendly practices that impressed me. Green Chef aims “to minimize environmental impact while creating a delicious home-cooked meal.” However, that’s a modest summary once I looked into its sustainable practices in sourcing, packaging, and delivering.

What is Green Chef?

Falafel meal
Credit: Green Chef

There's a meal kit for you no matter your diet.

Green Chef claims to be the “#1 Meal Kit for Eating Well” and the “#1 Sustainable Meal Kit,” and its range of meal kit options doesn’t disappoint. There are kits that fit within a variety of diets, like Keto, Paleo, Vegan, and a “Balanced Living” kit that provides healthy options with optional seafood or meat recipes. Like many other delivery services, Green Chef operates as a subscription, but you can skip or cancel at any time without a fee.

What makes Green Chef sustainable?

Credit: Green Chef

Gren Chef has vegetarian and vegan meal options.

Green Chef is a Certified Organic company, so all ingredients are free of GMO's, pesticides and antibiotics. Green Chef is also the first meal kit service to be certified USDA Organic as well. The company claims its meals produce less waste than meals you'd typically make at home using grocery store items. Because ingredients are pre-portioned, you’ll use everything included in your kit, save for half an onion or extra sauce when cooking to taste. This which means that you won’t have to worry about rotting produce or bulk ingredients expiring before you use them.

All boxes are packaged in an eco-friendly way as well, so once you put your meals away you can recycle or compost the box and cold packs. As most know, all cardboard components can be recycled or composted. The cold packs are sealed plastic bags containing a soluble non-toxic gel that can be emptied into the trash and the plastic (#4 plastic film) can be recycled at most grocery store collection sites. Of course, some ingredients are packaged in plastic to keep it fresh—like fish, chicken, and other proteins—but Green Chef really aims to deliver as sustainably as possible.

Green Chef also offsets all of its carbon emissions from operations, including the shipment of every single box.

What can you expect in a box?

Food in packaging
Credit: Liv Birdsall

Most packaging was recyclable, but there was some plastic film.

After you select the meal kit you’d like, you’ll receive your box. Among the cold packs and cardboard will be either three or four prepackaged and pre-proportioned meals along with recipe cards that detail how to make each meal. In my experience, each meal was separated into its own paper bag with a label, so everything was together when I was ready to start cooking.

How do the meals taste?

Pasta dish.
Credit: Liv Birdsall

I loved the plant-based rigatoni bake.

I tried three Green Chef meals, and I was really satisfied with the experience. I cooked the Apricot & Caramelized Onion Flatbread first, which was detailed and involved but ended up tasting delicious. There was enough to save for lunch the next day, which is always nice. There was more cleanup after dinner was done than I'm used to, but it only took about 10 minutes so I wouldn’t count it against Green Chef.

The second meal I made was Creamy Mushroom Soup, which was very good but wasn’t exactly the meal I was looking for mid-summer. The coconut milk base was creamy and rich, and it went well with the mushrooms, carrots, onion, and croutons. The dish came with fresh thyme, parsley and cashew “parmesan” which really set it apart.

Last, and probably my favorite of the options, was a Plant-Based Rigatoni Bake. This meal kit came with a vegan beef alternative that I really liked and hadn’t seen before. As a kid I always loved baked ziti dishes, so this one was yummy and comforting. However, I did find it odd that the meal kit provided real mozzarella cheese because I'd ordered the plant-based option.

Should you order Green Chef?

Table with salad.
Credit: Green Chef

Green Chef's ingredients are fresh and pre-proportioned.

If you're looking for a convenient meal delivery with fresh produce, eco-friendly packaging, and delicious meals, then yes. I was satisfied with the prep time, final taste, and overall sustainability of Green Chef. It was nice having three dinners in the fridge that I knew I could make during a single episode of "Broad City" without having to worry about missing an ingredient in the pantry. And as someone who eats mostly plant-based meals, it was great eating different recipes than my usual stir fry and summer macaroni salads.

Try Green Chef meal kits

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