Just before I was about to move flat, Riverford contacted me and asked if I’d like to try a free sample of their vegetarian quick veg box and do an honest review. I have always wanted to try a veg box but never quite been brave enough to go for it, and considering it had everything in it for two meals for two people I thought it’d be good to cook when we were still in a new flat and still getting sorted. So I said yes, and on the Wednesday after I moved this landed on my doorstep.
The box did indeed contain everything necessary for two recipes, neatly divided up into sections. All the vegetables (which are apparently 100% organic – doesn’t matter to me to be honest, but I know it does to a lot of people) are in one section, all the fridge stuff is in a recyclable cool bag in another, and then all the cupboard-y things are divided up into their individual recipes in another. I stuck all the fridge stuff in the fridge and put the box as a whole into the cupboard until tea time.
You get two recipes in each box. The first one we were going to try was Bang Bang Noodle Salad with Tofu & Green beans.
As you can see, everything is pre-measured and weighed, so you barely have to think about it. I made this coming home from a long day with two shoots, and I was this close to calling for a takeaway instead, but I am a dedicated blogger/poor so persevered with making this. I’m glad I did. Not having to run back to the weighing scales or fanny about with measuring spoons every five minutes definitely makes it much easier.
You know what else helps? Having a sous-chef.
The recipe was simple enough – grate some vegetables, fry them, fry the tofu, boil some other vegetables, mix everything together. I am glad Garry was there to help me because doing it alone would have required either a lot more thought/planning or a second set of arms, but I think that’s the case with most recipes where there are lots of components. And it was definitely worth the effort. Just look at this.
Yum. I’d never eaten tofu before. Wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it. Turns out, if it’s marinated and cook properly it’s delicious. Like most ingredients, it just needs to be treated properly. Apart from potatoes, which taste good no matter what you do to them.
Anyway, the real hero of this is the sauce, made by mixing spices and peanut butter and a little oil. It is incredible and I’m looking forward to chucking it over any and all noodle dishes in the future.
I checked the nutritional info and it said that this was 868 calories – a frankly ridiculous amount of calories for something that is almost entirely vegetables. But then, there is so much food in that bowl that we probably could have only had half a portion and been satisfied. But still. 868 calories. Bloody hell.
The second recipe was for white bean and harissa fritters with cauliflower couscous. We didn’t take photos as we went for this one, but it was just as simple (as long as you have a food processor) and resulted in something just as satisfying – although with far fewer calories!
Ours didn’t look as pretty as theirs, though. I need to get better at frying, I can never get it crispy enough. And I added a splash more water to the cauliflower rice when it went in the frying pan, and I probably shouldn’t have because it went a bit mushy. Always follow the recipe, folks. Don’t assume you know best.
So to get a quick vegetarian recipe box, you’re looking at £24.95. That’s two meals for two people, or £6.25 each. Not gonna lie, that’s quite expensive, especially considering there’s no meat involved. You can also get a “three meals for two people” box, which is £5.65 each. Slightly better, but still.
But…they are delicious. And easy. And much healthier than the stuff you’d get from a takeaway or a ready meal. I couldn’t buy myself one of these every week, but as a treat on a week where I know things are going to be hectic I totally could. The recipes you get change every week, which is cool, and we’ve kept the recipe cards because we will certainly make the meals again. I think if you ever find yourself slipping into “I’ll just go to the chippy” habits when you’re busy or stressed and wanted to stay away from that, spending £12.50 on your dinner is definitely going to encourage you to cook and eat something a bit healthier.
To be honest, I’m quite interested in getting a normal veg box from Riverford after this because the actual produce in the box was delicious, and I quite like the whole supporting-local-farmers thing and the fact that the boxes are all recyclable and good for the planet. What do you think? Do you get a veg box? Do you like it?