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Green Chef Review 2023: Is Organic Worth the Price? (Tested)

Written by: Kenaz Filan on Jan 21st, 2023

Overview

Green Chef was one of the original meal kits to focus on healthy eating, and the first meal delivery service to be USDA-certified organic. Acquired by HelloFresh a few years ago, Green Chef now serves as the premium wing of this huge meal delivery brand.

If you’re wondering what exactly makes it premium, that would be the company’s eco-credentials, its sustainably sourced and organic ingredients, and the range of healthy diets it caters to, including vegetarian, vegan, keto, paleo, and more.

I’ve been reviewing delivery services for years, and I wanted to see if Green Chef’s high-quality ingredients and healthy recipes are worth the premium price. And now, after trying Green Chef at home, I can give you my honest take.

Green Chef’s meal kits produced the best meals I’ve ever had from a meal delivery service. And while Green Chef is one of the pricier meal delivery services, new customer discounts (like Get $250 Off + Free Shipping) can make your order much cheaper.

Green Chef isn’t perfect. You can now mix-and-match meals across plans, which you couldn’t do previously. But Green Chef’s kits use an awful lot of plastic, and its adventurous cuisine might not work for families with picky eaters.

Still, eating healthy is hard enough and sourcing high-quality ingredients or following a niche diet is even harder. Overall, Green Chef is one of the best options out there for eating well, without the hassle.

Pros

Cons

  • $9.99 weekly shipping fee

  • No extras available

  • Can’t customize individual meals

What’s on the Green Chef Menu

Screenshot of Green Chef's main menu page

Screenshot of Green Chef's main menu page

Green Chef’s plans cover six categories each catering to different dietary needs.

  • Keto + Paleo: carb-conscious, high-protein recipes free of gluten, grains, soy, and legumes.

  • Vegetarian: meatless recipes with a focus on plant-based ingredients.

  • Mediterranean: inspired by Mediterranean flavors with lots of veggies and good-for-you fats.

  • Fast & Fit: calorie-conscious recipes with keto and veggie options, ready in 25 minutes or less.

  • Vegan: recipes with a variety of veggies, plant-based proteins, and grains.

  • Gluten-Free: free from gluten and soy.

The recipes cover a lot of culinary ground with dishes inspired by global cuisines – from Asian noodle dishes and stir-fries to Middle-Eastern rice bowls, and even classic American meatloaves. Currently there’s no way to customize the meals, so if you have an allergy outside of those catered to in the plans, you might have to leave out extra ingredients while cooking. 

Unlike some other services that have a marketplace for pantry staples, bulk proteins, or breakfast, Green Chef doesn’t offer any extras.

If you’re interested in Green Chef because of its organic status, you should know that its organic ingredients are limited to eggs and fresh produce. Its proteins are raised using only “high animal welfare standards” and sourced from local farms, however Green Chef doesn’t offer organic meats.

Green Chef’s minimum order is three meals for two people, but you can order up to four six-serving meals per week. While this is great for large families, Green Chef meals may be a tough sell for picky eaters. For example, my 11-year-old daughter who only eats chicken in nugget form showed no interest in Green Chef’s excellent chicken entrees.

While you get to choose from all 30 of the recipes on the menu, the selection available will be narrower if you need to stick rigidly to a specific plan. There are usually eight or nine Keto recipes available per week, but only around four Fast & Fit or Vegan meals. (Though you could make many Vegetarian entrees vegan by leaving out the cheese or the sauces).

A plate of rice, beans, and carrots on a bed of greens

Jerk-Spiced Fried Rice with collards, kidney beans, rainbow carrots, pineapple & mint by Green Chef

Most Green Chef meals are certified gluten-free by the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG), including every recipe on the Keto+Paleo menu. While Green Chef offers a few meals containing gluten, they’re prepared and packed separately to avoid cross-contamination.

Tags on each recipe let you see which plans they work with. The “Gluten Free” tag appears on most entrees. If you don’t see this tag, the meal includes pasta, bread, or another ingredient that contains gluten. 

Unfortunately, Green Chef doesn’t offer filters to easily avoid meals containing other allergens. Each recipe includes a complete ingredient list, but there’s no simple way to avoid problem ingredients like tree nuts or guaranteeing against trace contamination, so this service might not be suitable for people with other allergies. 

While Fast & Fit meal kits can be made in 25 minutes or less, most Green Chef meals require 30-40 minutes of cooking and preparation time. Some of the recipes sound intimidating, but in my experience below, the color-coded recipe cards keep it easy for even beginners.

Unboxing

Picture of a Green Chef box

My box arrived on time and in good shape

When my Green Chef order arrived, I received a phone notification that my box had been delivered. When I went downstairs the box was waiting by the stairs. It was in good shape, and when I opened it the inside was still cool so the chill packs did their job well.

Green Chef’s packaging was extremely well-insulated and contained ice packs to keep things fresh. I liked that the ClimaCell lining that makes this possible is plant-based and curbside recyclable, too.

Pictures of three Green Chef meal kits after opening the box

Green Chef's meal kits come in recyclable paper bags

The three meals I ordered were each in a clearly labeled paper bag. The chicken packs were beneath the bags, resting on the cold gel packs. I put the chicken in the meat drawer and the bags in the refrigerator. There were no signs of leakage with the chicken cutlets or the other ingredients.

On its website, Green Chef recommends you prepare meal kits within five days, or two to three days if your meal contains seafood. There were no storage instructions in the box, however, and it would be easy to miss the chicken cutlets if you were in a hurry. But overall I was quite impressed with Green Chef’s delivery…save for one small problem.

A picture of a Green Chef meal kit, showing many items wrapped in plastic

So... much... plastic

While I enjoyed everything else about Green Chef, I would love to see it take a more eco-friendly approach to its packaging.

I understand chicken cutlets need to be sealed in plastic when shipped and I appreciate the pre-portioned and clearly labeled ingredients. But I don’t think carrots need to be wrapped in plastic and would love to see the spice packets and vegetables arrive in recyclable paper. This is a definite growth opportunity for Green Chef and meal delivery services in general.

On the other hand, organic ingredients can be particularly tricky to transport. The lack of preservatives means they tend to have a shorter shelf-life. So while organic produce tastes fresher, it’s not so great for shipping around the country.

Plastic aside, Green Chef does a good job of being environmentally responsible. Green Chef boxes are made of corrugated cardboard containing a minimum of 40% recycled content. And Green Chef also provides recycling instructions for all its packaging material. So I would give it a solid “B” for its environmental efforts.

Cooking with Green Chef

A Green Chef recipe card

Green Chef breaks every recipe down into six simple steps

Green Chef’s recipes sound intimidating, but the foolproof instructions make it possible to cook a restaurant-quality meal at home.

While I found Green Chef’s estimated cooking times to be accurate, I spent anywhere from 15-20 extra minutes on food prep. I would recommend making similar allowances for preparation when you’re scheduling supper and I’ve added that additional prep time to my recipe reviews below.

The cards include any staples you may need to have on hand, like butter or olive oil. The list of required utensils was also thorough. I wound up having to improvise when I forgot to check the list and discovered I needed a microplane grater, but that’s due to my carelessness and doesn’t reflect on Green Chef’s instructions.

My cleanup time was around 15 minutes, which is what I spend cleaning up after most meals. The premade sauces definitely save you the trouble of cleaning another bowl or pan.

Shortlist of My Favorite Meals

When it comes to cooking, I’m at best an enthusiastic amateur. I can follow recipes and do basic cooking techniques, but nobody’s going to mistake me for Julia Child. Fortunately, Green Chef’s recipe cards helped me cook meals that would otherwise be well above my pay grade.

I found that the organic ingredients made a big difference in all the Green Chef recipes I tried. The tastes were fresher and more intense, and the texture was superior as well. The portions were good-sized and left us full, with no leftovers. A single person could easily get both a lunch and a dinner out of a 2-serving meal.

In the past, Green Chef advertised premade sauces and pre-chopped vegetables. While the sauces are still premade, I had to prep all the vegetables. This wasn’t an enormous inconvenience, and I feel pre-chopped vegetables would’ve tasted less fresh anyway. But be advised you’ll need to do your own dicing, slicing, and peeling.

Lemon-Caper Basil Chicken with Roasted Cauliflower & Tomato, Kale Salad with Almonds & Raisins

A picture of the Lemon-Basil Caper Chicken with the recipe card

Green Chef's recipes are printed on light cardboard to stand up to spills and kitchen wear.

  • Prep time: 15-20 minutes

  • Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • Cutlery used: Knife, several bowls, frying pan, baking sheet

  • Washing-up time: 15 minutes

The instructions were easy to follow. I roasted the cauliflower for about 10 minutes before opening the oven and adding the Roma tomatoes but the result was a delicious vegetable side dish that blended the sweetness of roasted cauliflower with roasted tomato tartness.

Green Chef’s instructions said to cook the chicken between four and six minutes on each side. I split the difference and went with five minutes. The result was a moist and delicious cutlet. The lemon-basil caper sauce with avocado mayo added a bit of extra depth to the taste, but could easily be skipped. (My wife, who dislikes capers, loved the cutlets without the sauce).

A plate of chicken with sides of kale and roasted cauliflower and tomatoes

Lemon-Basil Caper Chicken with roasted cauliflower & tomato and kale by Green Chef

I’ve never been a kale fan, but I’ve never had it with almonds, raisins, and a red wine vinaigrette. I knew kale was a superfood with numerous health benefits, but I never knew that you could enjoy eating it. Kudos to Green Chef for broadening my culinary horizons!

Similarly, paprika and dried orange peel isn’t a spice combination I would’ve come up with on my own, but I’ll definitely consider using these flavors the next time I’m cooking chicken.

Spicy Tunisian Chicken with Pistachio Cauliflower “Rice,” Spicy Lemon Carrots, & Lemon Yogurt Sauce

A picture of Green Chef's Spicy Tunisian Chicken meal kit before cooking

They use a lot of plastic, but Green Chef's meal kits are very well organized.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes

  • Cooking time: 25 minutes

  • Cutlery used: saute pan, knife, peeler

  • Washing-up time: 15 minutes

This was our favorite of the three Green Chef meals. I held back on the red pepper flakes in deference to my heat-intolerant partner but didn’t feel cheated. There are plenty of flavors here without the red pepper, so don’t let the “spicy” scare you off!

When it came time to zest the lemon, I discovered that the recipe called for a microplane grater, which I don’t own. I used the peeler I used for the carrots, then chopped the zest with a knife. This is how I have always prepared lemon zest for recipes, so it wasn’t an issue for me. But someone who has never zested a lemon before might be confused.

Two plates of chicken with carrots and cauliflower rice

Spicy Tunisian Chicken with pistachio cauliflower “rice,” spicy lemon carrots, and yogurt by Green Chef

The smoky cumin and coriander spice mix used for the chicken blended perfectly with the lemony roasted carrots. I cooked the cauliflower rice in the same pan and oil I used for the chicken. It made for a very tasty and filling rice substitute, and the turmeric added a faint bitterness that complemented the sweet carrots and savory chicken.

The chicken and carrots were just fine without the lemon-yogurt sauce but I liked a tiny bit of it blended into the cauliflower rice. I followed the recipe and the chicken came out perfectly – moist with no hint of dryness or toughness.

Blistered Tomato & Feta Cavatappi with Sauteed Onion & Kale and Italian-Style Spices

A picture of Green Chef's Blistered Tomato and Feta Cavatappi meal kit

Green Chef sends everything you need for a delicious pasta dish

  • Prep time: 20 minutes

  • Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • Cutlery used: Pot, saute pan, strainer, measuring cup

  • Washing-up time: 15 minutes

After trying my first Green Chef meal, one of my concerns was that it might be hard to find “comfort food” on a Green Chef plan. I love new tastes and culinary adventures, but sometimes you just want to sit down to a nice, filling, unfussy meal of familiar foods.

The Blistered Tomato and Feta Cavatappi isn’t exactly unfussy, but has all the comfort of macaroni and cheese with added nutrition. (If Green Chef keeps this up, it’s going to make a kale-lover out of me!) 

The licorice dill note sets off the salty feta wonderfully, and the cream cheese blends with the reduced vegetable broth to create a delicious coating for the noodles. It’s a satisfying dish that isn’t too heavy thanks to the blistered Roma tomatoes and kale sauteed with chopped onion. 

Two plates of pasta with tomatoes, feta cheese and kale

Blistered Tomato & Feta Cavatappi with sauteed onion & kale and Italian-style spices by Green Chef

When I read through the recipe the first time, I thought that the sauce reduction sounded tricky, as you had to remember to save a three-quarter cup of pasta water to mix with the vegetable stock concentrate. But I followed the instructions and simmered for 2-3 minutes and it came out perfectly.

Shipping & Delivery

Your Green Chef order can arrive any day between Monday and Saturday, depending on where you live. My northern New Jersey home address was eligible for delivery six days a week, but when I tested a zip code for rural Pennsylvania, I only received a choice of four delivery days.

When you sign up, you’re automatically enrolled in a weekly delivery service, but you can choose to pause or cancel at any time should you need to skip a week. Like most meal delivery services, Green Chef also only delivers to the contiguous 48. Sorry, once again, Alaska and Hawaii!

Green Chef gives you a delivery window between 8 am and 9 pm. But the day before my package arrived, I received an email from UPS telling me my box was rescheduled and would arrive between 9 and 11 am that day! My original order was scheduled to arrive the day before Thanksgiving, so getting it earlier worked out better for me anyway.

Screenshot of UPS delivery notification

Screenshot of UPS delivery notification for my Green Chef box

As is the case for most meal delivery services, Green Chef has a useful app you can download to give you access to shipping information, as well as manage your subscription.

It’s easy to alter your order via the app or on Green Chef’s website, but mind the cutoff date! You only have until midnight (EST), seven days before your scheduled delivery to make changes.

Subscription

As you may expect from a service owned by HelloFresh, Green Chef’s signup process is quick and easy. Here’s how you can sign up for a Green Chef subscription in just a few steps:

How to Sign Up for Green Chef

  1. Visit the website and click Get Started. You can also accept prompts to Sign Up or click on Our Plans.

Screenshot of Green Chef's home page

Screenshot of Green Chef's home page

  1. Select your plan and box size. Choose from six different categories and a range of order sizes.

Screenshot of Green Chef's plan selection page

Screenshot of Green Chef's plan selection page

  1. Type in your email address. Now it’s time to start inputting your information. The first step is to add your email address. Green Chef lets you add your email manually or sign in using your Facebook, Google, or Apple ID.

Screenshot of Green Chef's email entry page

Screenshot of Green Chef's email entry page

  1. Input your address. You can also pick your shipping day, finalize your box size here, and provide delivery instructions here.

Screenshot of Green Chef's delivery day options for northern New Jersey

Screenshot of Green Chef's delivery day options for northern New Jersey

  1. Add your payment method and choose your meals. Then confirm your order and look forward to enjoying your delivery in just a few days.

Managing Your Subscription

Green Chef requires you to make any changes to your shipments at least seven days in advance, which is slightly longer than I’ve experienced from other services. Still, it’s quite reasonable. You have until midnight (EST) a week before your order is expected.

One warning from personal experience: when I made this order, I was checking Green Chef prices for another Delivery Rank article and chose a random delivery date that happened to be six days out. The next thing I knew, there was a Green Chef box headed my way. It was a fortunate accident in my case as this review was already scheduled, but if you’re unsure about ordering, be sure to choose a delivery date more than seven days in the future.

Like most services, you can easily skip weeks without having to cancel your account. Green Chef lets you skip up to four weeks at a time, and you can do this online, as well as via the app.

If you want to cancel your subscription, you can do so easily via the Green Chef website. Simply log in, go to your account settings, and scroll down to Deactivate Your Plan. For a more thorough walkthrough, be sure to check out our expert blog post that walks you through it in just three steps.

Customer Service

Green Chef’s customer service avenues are pretty standard: there’s a robust FAQ section, a phone line available seven days a week, and a live chat option.

Green Chef’s Live Chat is available Monday to Sunday from 9 am to 7 pm Eastern time. You can also reach customer support by phone at +1 (888) 236-7295 from Monday to Friday 6 am to 11 pm ET and Saturday to Sunday 7 am to 7 pm ET.

A screenshot of a conversation with Green Chef's text bot

A screenshot of a conversation with Green Chef's text bot

I contacted Green Chef’s customer service via Live Chat with a question about filtering for allergens when choosing meals. Olive was a bot rather than a real person, but she got back to me in seconds and provided the information I needed. Between Live Chat and the FAQ, I give Green Chef high marks for customer service.

Prices

Starting from

Minimum Order

Shipping Fee

$5.99 per portion

3 meals per week for
2 people

$9.99

The starting price above takes into account Green Chef’s discount on your first order. Future orders will cost more. As is the case with most meal delivery services, the price you pay per serving at Green Chef decreases the more meals you order.

Green Chef is a premium meal kit company, and this is reflected in its price tag. To contextualize, let’s compare it to an average order from Green Chef’s parent company, HelloFresh:

Let’s say you want three meals per week for two people. With HelloFresh, this order will cost you $70.93, with shipping. The price for this order from Green Chef, however, is $90.93. In my opinion, Green Chef’s higher-quality ingredients are worth the additional price if you can afford it.

Those who are dining on a budget, or who don’t follow a specialized diet such as vegan or keto, may not want to pay the premium for Green Chef. No-frills services, like HelloFresh or the budget-friendly EveryPlate, feature delicious recipes, just with fewer fancy ingredients and less emphasis on niche diets.

If you’re on the fence, give it a try using this Delivery Rank coupon – Get $250 Off + Free Shipping. You can try Green Chef at a discount and decide for yourself if it’s worth the money for you.

The Bottom Line: Is Green Chef Worth It?

For me, Green Chef’s quality is good enough to back up its higher price tag.

Green Chef is among the priciest of the many meal delivery services I’ve researched and reviewed. The premium cost makes sense, though, when you consider the quality of the ingredients and the healthy recipes that make cooking restaurant-level meals easy even for an amateur like me.

It’s up to you to decide if these features are worth the added cost over similar, less-expensive services. Personally, I found Green Chef’s meal kits to be well worth the extra money, especially with a discounted first order (currently: Get $250 Off + Free Shipping).

If the cost is too steep for you, though, don’t worry: there are several budget meal kits on the market that work out cheaper than Green Chef.

FAQ

Where does Green Chef deliver?

Green Chef delivers to all contiguous US states, except for certain parts of Louisiana. Like most meal delivery services, it, unfortunately, doesn’t deliver to Alaska or Hawaii. See where you can check your zip code in my walk-through of the sign-up process.

Is Green Chef good for weight loss?

Green Chef could work for weight loss if you follow the low-carb keto diet, but it doesn’t advertise itself as a weight-loss meal delivery service. In general, Green Chef’s meals are designed for those who want to enjoy a healthy, balanced diet.

Who owns Green Chef?

Since 2018, Green Chef has been owned by HelloFresh, the world’s largest meal delivery service. Green Chef serves as the premium offering of this massive German company, with organic produce and sophisticated recipes.

Is Green Chef worth it?

When I tried it, I could taste the difference in Green Chef’s high-quality, organic ingredients that makes it worth the price in my opinion. Green Chef is one of the more expensive meal delivery services out there, but you get what you pay for.

Can Green Chef meals be frozen?

Many, but not all, Green Chef meals can be frozen. Green Chef’s FAQ provides instructions on which meals can be frozen and an estimated amount of time they’ll keep in the freezer.

About The Author

Kenaz Filan
Contributing Writer, Delivery Rank
Based in New Jersey, Kenaz has decades of experience writing on many subjects and sampling the many cuisines his neighborhood has to offer. Working from home, Kenaz is writing a book between reviewing meal delivery services and raising a family.
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