Mindful Chef recipe box review
Ever thought about signing up to a healthy recipe subscription box? We put Mindful Chef to the test to see whether a delivery of ready-prepped, nutritionally balanced food is worth the investment.
Mindful Chef recipe box: pros & cons
Pros: Lots of choice in the weekly menus; delicious recipes; interesting dishes to choose from; good-quality ingredients; no refined carbs or sugars; easy instructions to follow; well-insulated packaging; a range of serving sizes available (one-, two- or four-person boxes); recipes have fewer than eight steps; and generous portions of ethically sourced protein (I had salmon fillet and chickpeas). The partnership with charity One Feeds Two is also a bonus.
Cons: Some plastic use (the spices come in a small plastic container) and inaccurate cooking times.
Overall score: 4.5/5
Read about how to sign up for the Mindful Chef recipe box.
Mindful Chef at a glance
Mindful Chef is a health-focused food box delivery service launched in 2015. Each of the recipes are designed to be nutritious, using no refined carbohydrates or refined sugars and only ethically sourced proteins from UK farms. All fish is sustainably sourced and fruit and veg are from award-winning producers. They put a huge emphasis on reducing food waste.
Mindful Chef also partners with the charity One Feeds Two so for every Mindful meal sold, a school meal is donated to a child living in poverty.
What is the Mindful Chef recipe selection like?
Each week, there’s a rotating menu of 20 recipes to choose from, with lots of vegan and vegetarian options, too. I found there was plenty of variety to cater to a range of tastes, and I would have happily eaten most of the options. My box arrived with ingredients for edamame and chickpea coconut curry with brown rice and salmon with potato, olive, tomato and caper sauce.
Are there special diet options?
All the healthy Mindful Chef boxes are gluten- and dairy-free. There are also seven vegan options on the menu each week. They don’t encourage calorie counting, instead believing that high nutritional value is key, but they still make it clear how many calories are in each recipe if that is important to you.
Mindful Chef flags allergens on recipe cards and on their website. However, if you have food allergies, it’s worth bearing in mind that the warehouse which packs their boxes also handles gluten-containing products and other food groups, so they can’t guarantee there won’t be cross contamination.
Can you customise recipes?
You can choose which recipes you want to order, but you can’t change the recipe itself.
How many recipes do you get in one delivery?
I tried a box with two recipes in it, which is the minimum number of recipes you can order per delivery – the maximum is five.
Our first impressions of the box...
Simple but smart packaging in a sturdy cardboard box. Inside, all the ingredients are neatly separated into bags. There’s one with insulation and a gel ice pack, containing the salmon fillets, which you can pop straight in the fridge. The other paper bags contain the remaining ingredients, such as vegetables, herbs and coconut milk. There is also a recipe booklet with corresponding numbers to the recipe bags, so you couldn’t be confused, and beautiful photos of the finished dishes so you know what you’re aiming for!
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What's the quality of the ingredients like?
The ingredients all feel high quality – all the fruit, veg and herbs are fresh. The fish is exceptionally tasty. Even the basics such as the pouch of wholegrain rice and canned chickpeas are good.
Are refrigerated ingredients kept sufficiently chilled in the packaging?
Yes – the chilled ingredients were cool to the touch when I opened the packaging. As I was busy when the box arrived, I left it in the kitchen for an hour or so and the fish stayed chilled.
Is Mindful Chef good value for money?
The cost of the meal depends on which recipes you choose. Pricing starts at:
Four-person box – £6 per meal
Two-person box – £7 per meal
One-person box – £9 per meal
While this does mean that it’s a little more expensive than buying ingredients for a meal at one of the cheaper supermarkets, you do get what you pay for with the quality of the ingredients, the nutritional benefit of the recipes and the convenience of delivery. They do offer some deals for people interested in trying Mindful Chef for the first time, which make it more affordable.
How easy are the recipes to make, assemble and serve?
Very easy. No special equipment is required – I used a baking tray, frying pan, saucepan and chopping board for both recipes. Nothing unusual. From my kitchen, I only needed olive oil, salt and pepper – everything else was provided.
Are the recipe instructions clear?
The instructions are clear and easy to follow, with fewer than eight steps per recipe. However, I did find they took slightly longer than planned: both the recipes I tried claimed they had 30-minute cooking times. Unless you were going at lightening speed, this wouldn’t be possible, especially when cooking salmon. Each one took me around 40 minutes.
Is there any food waste?
You'll be left with no leftover ingredients as everything is individually portioned out, right down to the teaspoon of capers that’s required. The only issue is that this generates some excess packaging.
How were the finished recipes?
Both recipes were delicious, and the portions were sizeable for two people. The chickpea curry was rich and hearty. It came with wholegrain rice to serve, which left my husband and I satisfyingly full. My favourite was the salmon with potato, olive, tomato and caper sauce. It’s not something I would usually choose for myself, but the Mediterranean-style sauce was bursting with salty flavour and the fish was just-cooked to flaky perfection.
What are the delivery options?
You can choose to have a delivery once a week, every other week or every three or four weeks, and you can order up to eight weeks ahead. They deliver nationwide seven days a week, or Wednesday or Friday for those living in the Channel Islands. Mindful Chef doesn't deliver to certain parts of the Scottish Highlands, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Wight. Although next day delivery isn’t available for fresh recipe boxes, they do offer a Ready to Go range which can be with you in 24 hours if ordered by 7pm.
Can you customise delivery options?
You can customise your delivery day preferences and you can schedule multiple deliveries in one week. The easiest way to do this is with the Mindful Chef app.
How much packaging is there?
As with all recipe boxes, there is a fair bit of packaging but it’s not excessive. If you’re not used to having individually portioned ingredients, it seems strange to have such tiny quantities in their own packets (e.g. a small portion of potatoes).
Is the packaging recyclable?
Part of Mindful Chef’s ethos is to be as eco-friendly as possible. Recently, they replaced the cool bags with 100% recyclable cool boxes which are insulated with off-cuts from the denim industry.
The ice packs are reusable – some are water-based and can be recycled at local supermarkets; others are made from a non-toxic polymer gel and should be disposed of safely at home. Impressively, Mindful Chef offsets any carbon emissions made by your delivery.
What are the subscription terms?
There’s no ‘subscription’ as such. They offer a no-commitment guarantee, which is fully flexible – you can try one box and, if you change your mind, you can close the account completely. If you don’t cancel, they’ll continue to send a box each week but will send regular reminders about the upcoming delivery so you can choose to skip or opt to change the recipes. You can also skip or pause deliveries up to eight weeks in advance.
Who would Mindful Chef be most useful for?
Mindful Chef would appeal most to busy people who want to eat healthy, wholesome meals while saving time on planning and shopping. As the recipes are quite innovative, it would also be good for anyone who enjoys cooking and wants to be inspired to try new healthy dishes. For some, this can be the hardest part of eating well.
What’s your favourite thing about Mindful Chef?
The recipes were delicious, and the quality of the ingredients was outstanding. I was excited to try them, and they didn’t disappoint.
Mindful Chef recipe box review – scores
- Ease of cooking 4.5/5
- Quality of the finished recipes 5/5
- Delivery options 5/5
- Packaging 4/5
- Quality of ingredients 5/5
- Value for money 4.5/5
Discover how to sign up for the Mindful Chef recipe box.
This review was last updated in March 2022. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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