Hello Fresh: Are There Vegan Options in the UK

While not strictly vegan, HelloFresh offers some plant-based recipes and many of their vegetarian dishes can be tweaked to make them suitable for vegans.

HelloFresh is a meal kit delivery service that is popular both in the US and the UK. The service offers weekly deliveries of a variety of recipes and all of the ingredients that you will need to cook bring the recipes to life.

You can select the recipes that you receive each week or set your account so that you are offered a variety of surprise cooking kits. It is disappointing that HelloFresh does not offer a truly vegan service given that it is a worldwide brand and vegan dishes are more in demand than ever.

If you search for vegan dishes in HelloFresh it will bring up a veggie or plant-based recipes but some of these dishes contain cheese so you need to take care when ordering.

We take a look at what vegan food delivery is and how you can tweak HelloFresh recipe kits so that you can adhere to a vegan diet.

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What are Meal Kit Boxes?

A meal kit box is an all-in-one kit that contains a recipe and the ingredients that you need to cook it. You can have a weekly delivery with your chosen number of meals.

Some people choose a recipe for each day and some people order a couple of meals, there are lots of choices depending on which company you order from. Meal kits are ideal for those busy mid-week days when you do not have time to shop for and prep your evening meal.

They can cut down on the time you take to plan and prepare your meal and can usually be created in a few easy steps. 

Why get Meal Kit Deliveries?

As mentioned earlier, using a meal kit delivery service allows you to save time when planning and preparing meals to make life easier for you and your family. There is still some cooking involved when you buy meal kits like HelloFresh but it takes a lot less time to cook than it would be making it from scratch.

Vegetables, sauces, toppings, etc are all prepped and ready to add to pans and roasting tins with clear instructions to follow at every step.

Ordering HelloFresh and other meal kits also mean you get to try out new recipes and flavor combinations that you have not tried. Having variety in your weekly meals means that you do not get bored and can often enjoy healthier, more balanced meals. 

Sustainability 

planet earth first

Like most meal kits, packaging can be a concern in regards to sustainability. Many vegans are not only concerned about animal welfare but also the impact food production and distribution have on the environment.

HelloFresh says that is a sustainable company that buys ingredients directly from producers to reduce CO2 emissions. They claim to be the first carbon-neutral meal delivery company.

Packaging is paper-based but it also includes recycled plastic bottles which are better than the wool alternative that is used by many companies to keep food cool during transit. 

Plant-Based Meal Kit Boxes

Finding plant-based meal kit boxes is beginning to get easier and we will recommend a few of the best in this article a little later. When it comes to HelloFresh, they advertise that they have “made it easier than ever before” to include tasty vegetarian dishes into the weekly range of recipes they offer.

To choose the best plant-based recipes with HelloFresh you need to choose your plan and look through the veggie options to see which ones are vegan-friendly or can easily be adapted (for example, leaving out the cheese).

Vegan food items on HelloFresh

HelloFresh UK offers a variety of vegetarian dishes that contain many vegan-friendly ingredients. Listed are some examples from the recipes listed on their website.

It is important to note that recipes change every week so the ones displayed online at any one time will vary from the below list.

Protein—chickpeas, pinto beans, black beans, peanuts, sesame seeds, and pistachios

Vegetables—peppers, courgette, broccoli, spring onions, butternut squash, and onions

Fruits—lemon, tomatoes, limes, pineapple 

Carbs and Grains—pasta, potatoes, flour, breadcrumbs, couscous, quinoa, and rice

Spices—chili flakes, soy sauce, vinegar, parsley, basil, thyme, garlic, and ginger

This is not an extensive list but gives you an idea of the types of ingredients that you can find from HelloFresh that are vegan-friendly. 

Nutrient Quality

plant based

As we have mentioned that you would need to tweak some of the HelloFresh ‘plant-based’ or veggie meals, there may be some concerns as to whether or not your meals will be nutritionally balanced.

While many ingredients offer food from the main food groups, it may be that if you take some ingredients in the recipes away, such as eggs and dairy, then you should replace them with nutrient-rich foods that are suitable for your diet.

If you are already vegan and trying out HelloFresh you may be comfortable with the knowledge you have to add plant-based protein to your meals but the question has to be asked if you are constantly having to tweak meals is HelloFresh the most convenient meal kit delivery service for you?

If it is simply a matter of switching a couple of ingredients, such as vegan yogurt for natural yoghurt or oat milk for cow’s milk then it might not be as much of an issue.

If you plan and know that your HelloFresh meal is not nutrient-rich you may want to get your nutrients in your breakfast or lunch so that you can simply enjoy your evening meal with any non-vegan ingredients omitted. 

Vegan Options

Some of the HelloFresh vegan options include:

  • Sesame peanut noodles with peppers and carrot ribbons do not need any adjustments
  • Bulgogi Mushroom and Tenderstem® Stir-Fry
  • Red Lentil and Spinach Dal with aubergine and basmati rice
  • Southeast Asian Inspired Chickpea Curry
  • Indonesian Style Spiced Tofu Curry with green beans, pak choi, and basmati rice
  • Coconut Caribbean Style Sou

While there are a few good vegan recipes like those above there is no guarantee that there will be a vegan option every week. 

Tweaking Vegetarian Recipes

man opening a food bag delivery

When you receive your box each week you can discard any non-vegan options and give them to family members or neighbours if there is nobody in the house to eat them.

You will mainly be looking out for any cheese or dairy items, such as sour cream or yoghurt but will need to be alert to other ingredients such as bread that contains milk.

Some of the recipes from HelloFresh that can be made vegan-friendly quite easily include:

  • Veggie burrito bowls with charred corn and tomato salsa are easily made vegan by leaving out the sour cream and the cheese that is added at the end
  • Chickpea-powered couscous with courgette and heirloom grape tomatoes can be made without the feta cheese
  • Charred corn elote bowls with farro, spiced pepitas, and chipotle-lime dressing are threat dish that can be made with oil instead of butter and with no sour cream or cheese added
  • Smoky black bean and corn tostadas with pico de gallo and lime crema taste great without the cheese and sour cream
  • Creamy Green Veg and Pesto Pasta can use vegan mayo or a plant-based yoghurt instead of creme fraiche and the cheese can be substituted for vegan cheese
  • Lentil and Black Bean Chilli is almost vegan apart from the creme fraiche which can be left off

Geen Chef

HelloFresh UK has launched a second meal kit service Green Chef that offers hundreds of recipes that are suitable for vegans. It is not a sole vegan service but is directed at those who have a special dietary requirement, such as Keto-friendly, low-carb or vegetarian.

The Green Chef offers the same great value meals but without the need to tweak or switch ingredients as it has a dedicated vegan section for you to choose plant-based recipes from. This is the better option for vegans in the UK, particularly if your household is vegan.

There are also lots of other meal kit delivery services that are fully vegan or contain some vegan recipes are:

  • Gousto
  • Mindful Chef
  • Feastbox
  • Soulful Food
  • AllPlants
  • Planty

Summary

plant based food

HelloFresh is a high-quality meal delivery service that offers good vegetarian options but does not have an official vegan menu. Many of the vegetarian meals can be adapted so that they are vegan but you may end up wasting food and money if you do not live with someone who will eat the non-vegan ingredients.

If you do choose to take out some ingredients you should be careful to replace them with nutrient-rich alternatives, particularly those rich in protein. HelloFresh does now have a sister company that is Green Chef, which is fully plant-based and may be more suitable. 

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