Founded in 2015, Mindful Chef is the latest recipe box service delivering pre-measured meals to time-poor cooks. It’s already earned the title of the UK’s favourite according to TrustPilot, with further name-checks in Tatler, Vogue, Grazia, The Independent and Evening Standard – to name just a few.
The premise is simple. 100% gluten-free meals, made from fresh, organic produce with no refined sugars or carbs. It’s healthy eating made easy, replacing traditionally carb-heavy recipes with lean, vegetable-based alternatives. Customers can choose up to 5 recipes a week from an ever-changing menu, with dishes ranging from steak with sweet potato baked egg, balsamic glaze & asparagus, to roasted cauliflower and chickpea tikka masala with nutty black rice.
West country suppliers sit at the heart of the business: fish from Celtic Fish & Game in Cornwall, meat from the family-run Eversfield Farm in Devon, and organic vegetables from Langridge Farm, also in Devon. Not only does this mean the highest quality ingredients, but a plough-to-plate time that’s far shorter than the supermarket.
The recipes are also decidedly simple to make. Premeasured ingredients cut down the prep time, with each easy-to-follow recipe taking around 30 minutes to cook.
Combining tender chunks of Cornish monkfish with chickpeas, cherry tomatoes and roasted sweet potatoes, we found this light stew pleasingly fresh and clean to taste. The monkfish is the star of the show, and while a mild ras el hanout spice blend and single vegetable stock cube do little to carry the main flavour of the dish, the quality of the fresh ingredients really do speak for themselves. Initially we were skeptical about the portion sizes (one sweet potato between two?!), but the meatiness of the fish and abundance of chickpeas results in two surprisingly filling and substantial plates of food – and only 440 calories per portion.
Unfortunately the healthiest dishes aren’t always the tastiest dishes, and this stripped-back version of Beef rendang with lemongrass, mangetout and brown rice is so simple it’s really not a rendang at all.
Fresh red chilli, garlic, ginger and lemongrass combine for a promising starting point, but no curry can expect to get by with just a single spice – in this case, 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Using coconut milk over 40g of creamed coconut dissolved in boiling water would have helped, adding much-needed creaminess and body to the watery sauce. Organic mange tout and baby sweetcorn add sweetness and texture, and the quality of the organic Devon beef steak is clear for all to see:
At just 606 calories per serving, it’s also surprisingly diet-friendly. Protein makes up the bulk of the dish, and while both recipes would benefit from a pre-made sauce, stock or spice-blend for added flavour, for something so virtuous they’re unexpectedly satisfying.
Such convenience does come at a cost: each meal is priced at £6-8 per person (including delivery). For many home-cooks, this is a high price to pay for dishes which can be easily made for cheaper if bought and prepared from scratch. However, all that takes time – time which many of us simply don’t have. There’s also a lot to be said for the quality of the ingredients and range of recipes. How many of us can really say we would bother to prepare a beetroot & dill quinoa risotto with parsnip crisps on a weekday evening after work? Mindful Chef not only makes it easy, but takes away the temptation to cook yet-another carb-heavy pasta bake or stir-fry.
Would we order it again? In all honesty, probably not. But when it’s this easy to order such ridiculously healthy dinners on your doorstep, sometimes spending more really isn’t such a compromise.
Click here to sample your first recipe box from Mindful Chef. New customers can receive a 25% discount with the discount code BLOG.