Review: My Veggie Chef

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This week, I got my first delivery of meals from My Veggie Chef. I’d been holding on to a Groupon since April and finally remembered to use it (just before expiring!). I’m pretty proud of myself for the timing, considering that this turned out to be a week I did not want to go to the grocery.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, My Veggie Chef is a service run by Kristie Rigdon that delivers vegan “meal kits”—storage bags stuffed with all the prepared ingredients you need to make a meal (or, in some cases, a main dish). The standard order is $80 (plus tax), and you get five separate recently frozen meal kits (serving two to three people) that include all the components of the entrée — already chopped, measured and prepped to cook at home. It also includes serving size and nutritional information. All you have to do is put it in a skillet or pot, and in anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes (soups take longer to cook), you have a meal.

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  • Chickpea piccata — myveggiechef.com
It’s a bit like having a nutritionist sous chef. Someone who does all the shopping, chopping and measuring for you. And someone who keeps you honest about your diet. A meal of chickpea piccata was very tasty, healthy and low-fat, and it was still rather low-calorie even when I served it over some noodles and with a side of sauteed green beans. Though I will say that my 200-ish calories' worth of split pea soup was screaming to be served with a heavily buttered grilled cheddar cheese sandwich on seeded bread. If that sounds very specific, it’s because I stole a bite of my daughter’s sandwich during dinner.

There are some things you should be aware of before ordering. First and foremost, don’t expect that these meals are just ready to pop in the microwave and serve. Though you don’t have to do any of the shopping and prep work, you will have at least one pan or pot to clean (and probably more if you make side dishes). And the cost per meal isn’t super cheap (though cheaper than eating similar-quality food in a restaurant).

But if you want fresh, good food and you don’t have a lot of time to chop vegetables, plan creative meals or do your own shopping, this is a really great service. It’s a wonderful option for people who have more money than time, but still want to eat healthy and freshly prepared food. The kits will keep for up to six months in the freezer, so it’s nice to have one or two on hand for those nights when you’d be tempted to get a pizza, fast food or takeout.

Rigdon posts the menus each week, and you have until midnight on each Thursday for Sunday delivery (within 20 miles of downtown Nashville). If something on the menu doesn’t appeal to you, she’ll even work around it by allowing you to double up on another kit. And all kits are either already gluten-free or have the option to be gluten-free upon request. Ordering via the website is quick and easy. And each week’s menus include all the nutrition information as well as suggestions for other items you may want to serve.

In addition to getting five meals ready to cook for this week (or next), I also learned something from the My Veggie Chef website! Did you know that you can recycle plastic storage bags (i.e., Ziploc bags) with your plastic shopping bags? I didn’t! I’m definitely glad to know that. If you haven’t been recycling your bags, note that you can collect them and drop them back off for recycling at many grocery stores. Publix also collects foam cartons for recycling as well. The more you know ...

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