Recipe kits get you cooking scrumptious meals without any of the faff of going shopping, thinking up recipes and measuring out ingredients. Plus, there’s no food waste. Each box, which is delivered to your door, contains the pre-measured ingredients you need, along with recipe cards. Even the kits that require you to buy the fresh ingredients yourself provide a short and clear list of what you need to add.
With some, you buy them as a one off kit, although most are part of a weekly subscription service, whereby you choose how many meals you want each week and for how many people. Most also have plenty of flexibility, though, enabling you to pause or cancel anytime.
1. Marley Spoon Weekly Plan: from £36 a week, Marleyspoon
Subscribe, and each week the chefs at Marley Spoon dream up a menu for you to choose from (up to three meals every seven days). Recipes are wholesome and imaginative – we particularly liked the red pepper koftas with mixed bean salad and Greek yogurt – instructions are idiot-proof and packaging is recyclable.
2. Tastesmiths: from £3.50, Tastesmiths
These kits contain exactly the right amount of flavour-defining chilli, ginger, garlic and spices (you add the fresh bits) to cook up authentic curries from around the world, ranging from Persian Khoresh to, our favourite, Goan fish curry.
3. Farmison Meal Box: from £34.95, Farmison
Farmison’s boxes stay the same all-year-round, save for seasonal alterations. Our favourite is the ‘NYC rib steak and chips’ – the meat is succulent and full of flavour, the home-made fries are easy to make, and the beer mustard is delicious. One-off purchase.
4. Riverford Organic Recipe Boxes: from £34, Riverford
These 100-per-cent organic boxes come in ‘original’, vegetarian and – if you’re time-poor – ‘quick’ versions. Weekly changing recipes, such as lamb and broad bean curry, are delicious and ingredients come organised in a box with handy subsections. There’s no subscription so purchases are one-off.
5. Hello Fresh Recipe Box: from £36 a week, Hellofresh
Choose between classic, veggie and family-friendly varieties for up to five meals a week, all of which are flavoursome and none take longer than half-an-hour to cook. It’s easy to swap meals you don’t fancy or pause if you’re going away.
6. Simply Cook Discovery Box: £9 a month, Simply Cook
Each kit includes four meals’ worth of specially-blended ingredients, from infused oils to rubs and pastes, for dishes such as Firecracker Chicken and Cod and Chorizo Broth – you just have to buy the fresh stuff. The box fits through the letterbox for easy delivery and there’s a gluten-free option, too.
7. Mindful Chef Paleo Box: from £24, Mindful Chef
We’re seriously impressed by this newcomer: the recipes are paleo, so you get lean, healthy, gluten-free, organic, British ingredients. Unusually, they offer a one person box, as well as boxes for two. Both include three meals. Delivery within M25, but expanding soon.
8. The Spicery: £20 for three months, The Spicery
This service sends you all the spices you need to make one really tasty three-course meal a month, from Korean Bibimbap to Cajun Jambalaya - you just add the fresh ingredients. They’ve supplied restaurants including Ottolenghi and The Fat Duck and now have over 25,000 monthly subscribers.
9. Gousto: from £30 a week, Gousto
You get the ingredients and recipes for three healthy meals a week. All use certified organic vegetables and locally-sourced ingredients where possible. There’s a variety of cuisines, with about 10 options per week, and you can pause or cancel at any time.
10. Abel & Cole: from £33 a week, Abel and Cole
The fruit and veg delivery champions offers four organic boxes: ‘Heavenly Veggie’, ‘Supperbly Simple’,’ Fantastically Foodie’, for those who are up for more unusual ingredients, and, the latest, ‘Delightfully Light’, which focuses on meals under 400 calories.
Our favourite kits were from Hello Fresh because they ticked every box – easy-to-follow recipes, imaginative ideas and fabulous flavours. For something with a longer shelf life, our vote goes to The Spicery.
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