Have you heard of Mindful Chef?
The company, based in Devon, supplies recipe boxes incorporating fresh, organic ingredients. Where possible, they don’t include refined carbs or sugars, are low in gluten, and sourced from organic, sustainable suppliers.
Now delivering nationwide, Mindful Chef looks like a very attractive option if, like me, you’re short on time and talent, but like to eat tasty food each evening.
I was recently invited to try some dishes from their menu. We were sent a recipe box with two dinners for two people – a jerk chicken dish, and a spicy pork chilli with avocado and sweet potato.
Like other recipe boxes I’ve tried, Mindful Chef uses paper packaging where possible, along with sheeps-wool bags which keep meat cool and fresh for up to 36 hours.
Our delivery arrived on time, and was neatly packaged.
Unfortunately, a couple of vegetables in our box were slightly past their best. In fact, one pepper had turned to liquid, soaking through the paper bag. This meant when I unpacked the box, everything fell out, leading to a fun game of Who can pick up the ingredients first: Sally or the dog? (spoiler alert: I won)
Luckily, I had spare veggies in the fridge, so we were still able to complete both recipes.
First up, we made jerk chicken with a sweetcorn and buckwheat side dish.
The chicken breasts were lovely quality. We butterflied them, coated them with jerk seasoning, then griddled for 5 minutes each side. To accompany the chicken, we boiled buckwheat for 15-minutes. While that happened, I roughly chopped red onion, pepper, chopped tomatoes, chilli and coriander. Mix the buckwheat and vegetables, and you’re done!
The result was a light and tasty meal. For our tastes, the jerk seasoning was very mild. I’d also skip adding the coriander to the salad next time, but it was a quick and easy recipe. We liked that everything bar the oil to cook the chicken was supplied. Each ingredient was pre-measured meaning no waste, no fuss.
It was a couple of days before we cooked our second dish. It was a spicy pork chilli with paprika sweet potato wedges and avocado.
We’d had a large lunch so I opted not to cook sweet potato, serving the chilli with lettuce wraps instead.
The chilli was simplicity itself to make. Just fry off the pork with garlic, red onion, passata, smoked paprika and chilli flakes. Cook for 20 minutes, and you’re good to go.
There’s a lot to love about Mindful Chef. I like the ethos of the recipes; it feels like an easy way to ensure you’re eating good quality, healthy food.
I also really liked that virtually everything we needed is included and the recipes are fairly simple (we reviewed a Marley Spoon box last year and found you needed to have quite a few things in your cupboard, and the recipes we were sent were fairly involved).
Mindful Chef says its recipes should take no more than 30 minutes to prepare, and they are simple. I can imagine using the service a couple of nights a week, and picking up recipes you can recreate independently. Mindful Chef is a great way to introduce yourself to new dinner ideas if you tend to fall into a routine (which we definitely do).
Cost wise, two meals for two people costs around £25. To me, this is where you’re either a person who ‘gets’ recipe boxes or you aren’t.
If you can cook, and have a full store cupboard, then you can probably replicate these dishes yourself at a fraction of the cost. But if you’re like me, with almost no time or talent for cookery, then having someone send you JUST the right ingredients with some idiot-proof instructions – well, it feels like a fair price to pay. And I like that there’s no waste or leftover jar of this or that seasoning that you’ll throw away in six years when you realise it’s massively out of date.
I wasn’t impressed with the quality of the vegetables we were sent. Finding them rotten made me think twice about using Mindful Chef in future. It was really just luck that I had tomatoes and peppers to hand, but if I hadn’t, then we’d have been scrounging around the cupboards for dinner ideas that evening.
Portion sizes were definitely adult-sized, so I’d factor that in if you’re cooking with kids. Both of our Mindful Chef meals also provided me with lunch the next day. That’s not a bad thing, but if I was ordering for a family of four, I might be inclined to order for three.
You’re also slightly at the mercy of someone else’s taste-buds. We found the jerk seasoning very mild, but the chilli in the pork was very hot (and I say this as someone who LOVES hot food). But that’s really a very minor quibble, as everything was tasty.
We were provided with a free trial for the purposes of this review. Mindful Chef is currently offering a 25% discount on your first order with the website. For more info, head over to mindfulchef.com.