I was so excited when I got the opportunity to try out three dishes from Green Chef’s new Keto subscription meal plan (they also offer omnivore, carnivore, gluten-free, vegan, paleo, and vegetarian plans). Healthier versions of some of my favorite dishes, made with quality organic ingredients, and requiring only about 30 minutes of prep and cooking time all together? Yes, please! I enjoy creating original recipes and experimenting in the kitchen, but sometimes I need a break from the cleaning and chopping and figuring out how to assemble a dish. Also, I want to eat take-out style food that has the same unique flavors but without the mystery cooking oils and often low-quality ingredients. The Green Chef meals totally fit the bill.
This post was sponsored by Green Chef, but all opinions are my own and I genuinely enjoyed every meal in the kit. The variety of flavor profiles and the high quality of the ingredients (especially the proteins), made each meal a treat to prep and chow down each day.
What Is a Ketogenic or “Keto” Diet?
A ketogenic (“keto” for short) diet, contains a high amount of good fats, a moderate amount of protein, and small amount of sugars and carbohydrates. The goal of such a low-carb diet is to help the body achieve a metabolic state called ketosis, in which the body begins to burn more fat for fuel due to the lack of carbs, causing the liver to produce ketones for energy rather than glucose from carbs.
Green Chef’s Keto Meal Plan Dishes Are Not Your Average Bland Keto Fare
The list of meals offered in the Green Chef Keto Meal Plan reads like a list of my favorite restaurant dishes, with a lot of ethnic recipes included. Upcoming meals in the plan include merguez chicken and mustard pork, and the meals supplied the week I tried it out consisted of dishes I almost always order when listed on a menu—chicken with salsa verde, a shakshuka, and sesame crusted tuna. I usually associate the keto diet with bland grilled chicken and veggie-packed Tupperware containers, but this is most definitely not that. The meals actually felt indulgent.
The Details of the Green Chef Keto Meal Plan
Before I delve into the prep and taste of each dish, here are the basic facts of the Green Chef Keto Meal Plan:
- One box of Green Chef Keto includes 6 servings (3 dinners to serve 2 people), with each serving priced at $14.99, plus $9 shipping and handling per box.
- The meal kits consist of USDA-certified organic ingredients, with produce sourced from local farms which use sustainable practices.
- The kits do not include dairy, grains, added sugar (i.e. refined sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave, etc.), fruit, tubers, farmed seafood, soy, or peanuts. For a full list of what types of ingredients are and are not included, click here for the answer to the first question in Frequently Asked Questions.
- Green Chef notes that not all the Keto Meal Plan dinners are necessarily high in fat, so to hit a desired fat profile, you should consider cooking with saturated fats like coconut oil. It also advises that if you are maintaining ketosis, you may want to reduce your intake of the vegetable portion of the meal since each serving includes a significant amount.
Review of the Keto Plan Meals
All three meals, which are based on popular ethnic dishes, are healthier, lighter, but still tasty versions of the originals. I especially appreciated how veggie-packed each dish was and that they had unique seasonings, like lemon peel and coconut aminos, and not just some salt and pepper and oil. As advertised, each recipe only took about 30 minutes from start (with only minimal chopping and slicing) to finish. The tools and ingredients I needed to have on hand were basic kitchen items (ie. cutting board, baking sheet, salt and pepper, coconut and/or avocado oils and olive oil, sauté pans, etc.).
On days when I had a lot of computer work to do, it was great to have this option because I could quickly whip up more than enough food for lunch and dinner that day, since two servings of each dish are provided. The instructions are foolproof—they go step-by step with photos and detailed instructions explaining any cooking technique required. Here are the deets on each dish and, to check out the recipe on the Green Chef site, click on the name of each dish:
Chicken Verde with Arugula-Olive Salad and Lemon-Roasted Cauliflower (400 calories—14g fat/10g carb/ 50g protein): This is a great light, but satiating meal. The verde sauce is simple to make (just 8 ingredients including salt and pepper) but it was so good that I would slather it on anything. I found the very detailed instructions for searing and roasting the chicken helpful, since even experienced cooks many times overcook or undercook chicken. Mine was done to perfection. I was a fan of the lemon-y (but not too lemon-y twist) on roasted cauliflower, and not having to hack up a cauliflower head for florets since they were pre-cut.
Lamb Shakshuka with Bell Pepper, Tomatoes, Eggs, and Jalapeno-Cilantro Cauliflower Rice (500 calories—26 g fat/20g carb/37g protein): I had not eaten lamb in many years, so I was nervous about how it would turn out, but it was delicious. Following the directions, I cooked the lamb until it was just tender enough, with the high quality of the meat helping the process along. The shakshuka tomato sauce base itself was perfectly seasoned; it did not just taste like plain tomato sauce as is often the case many restaurant shakshukas I’ve had. I loved the jalapeno twist on cilantro cauliflower rice, which I’m totally co-opting. I appreciated that the kit included way more than enough jalapeño to work with, even for a heat-lover like myself.
Sesame-Crusted Tuna with Sauteed Mushrooms, Snap Peas, Bok Choy, and Cashews (450 calories: 12g fat/34g carb/51g protein): I always thought sesame-crusted tuna was a very difficult, tricky dish to make but, again, the instructions walked me through how to sear the tuna, and each yellowfin tuna steak was a beautiful, generous cut—more than enough for one serving. The crunchy salad of fresh bok choy, snap peas, carrots, red cabbage, and sautéed mushroom with a coconut aminos and ginger dressing was a cool Asian spin on your usual side salad. I may have eaten both large servings in one sitting….