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The week where I tried Riverford Organic recipe boxes

Week 44: Monday 8th November - Sunday 14th November 2021

Since I started my weight loss journey I've been basing most of my evening meals around a weekly Mindful Chef recipe box. I've been doing this for around ten months now and it's been great. The meals are delicious, nutritious, varied and easy to cook. I've lost loads of weight with the Mindful Chef meals and I feel great.

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Playing the field

However, after ten months of steadfast loyalty to Mindful Chef, I thought it might be time to 'play the field' a bit and see what else is out there.

As it turns out, there's a lot more out there!

The market for recipe boxes seems to be exploding at an exponential rate - especially since all of the lockdowns and people now spending more time working from home. Whereas it used to be just be Hello Fresh, Gousto and Mindful Chef, it now seems that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of new recipe box companies popping up everywhere.

Over the next few months I intend to try out quite a few of the different recipe boxes, starting this week with Riverford Organic.

About Riverford Organic

Riverford Organic are a small farm based in Devon. Mostly known for their seasonal fruit and vegetable boxes, it is perhaps a lesser known fact that they offer recipe boxes too.  

Riverford Organic was founded by Guy Singh-Watson, who sounds like a pretty inspirational guy - it seems that he is genuinely more concerned about 'doing good things' than making profit. One example of this is how the company is mostly owned by it's employees; in 2018 he sold 74% of Riverford to its employees, at about one third of the market value.

Like Mindful Chef, Riverford Organic are a certified B corp business, which basically means they have been independently assessed as an ethical business, with policies and practices which not only create profit, but also benefit people, the wider community and the environment.

Choosing my recipes

The Riverford Organic recipe menu is seasonal and changes every week. This week there are 13 choices so not the widest choice. The relatively small menu is more than compensated for with the choices on offer though - nearly all of the dishes look tasty and appealing. The emphasis of the menu is clearly on plant-based and vegetarian meals - 9 of the recipes on offer this week are categorised as plant based or vegetarian, whilst only 4 are meat or fish based recipes.

Somewhat surprisingly I find myself drawn towards the vegetarian options on this occasion. As someone who loves meat, it is normally the other way around for me - I normally have to push myself to choose vegetarian options because I know that it is good for me - and good for the planet!

The four meals I end up selecting for this week are:

  • The Buffalomi Traybake with Apricots & Bulghur.
  • The Chestnut, Hazelnut & Tenderstem Broccoli Pasta.
  • The Middle Eastern Mushrooms, Carrots & Ginger.
  • The Beetroot & Black Garlic Risotto with Maple Walnuts.

How much do Riverford Organic recipes cost?

The recipes are individually priced depending on the ingredients. The vegetarian and plant based options on average cost around £12 - £14 for a two-person recipe. Understandably, the meat based recipes are more expensive at around £15 - £18 for a two person recipe. Additionally, there's a 5% discount added when you buy two recipes, and a 10% discount when you buy three or more recipes.

The total cost for my four recipes this week comes to £46 (including the 10% discount) - so that's an average of £11.50 per recipe (or £5.75 per plate given that each recipe is for two people).

Delivery

Riverford Organic recipe boxes are delivered for free across most of the UK using their own courier team. You can click the 'check now' button on their recipe box page to check whether they deliver to your area and which day of the week they will be in your area - I'm based in Wales and the delivery day for me is Tuesdays.

Riverford state that their delivery time is from "quite early in the morning up until dinner time on your delivery day." You don't need to be in for the delivery, as they will just leave the delivery at your front door, or at your specified 'safe place,' if there is no-one home.

Live life on the veg!

On Tuesday morning I awake with great excitement, eagerly awaiting the arrival of my Riverford Organic recipe box - it must have arrived early, as it's already sitting on my front doorstep at 8am in the morning.

Here's a picture of my box - I love the slightly cheesy slogan, "Live life on the veg!"

I'm also impressed with the packaging - more specifically, that there isn't a lot of packaging. Most of the fruit and veg is just loose in the box.

Riverford Organic home compostable packaging

What is even more impressive is that the 'plastic' packaging for the leafy green things is not actually proper plastic at all - it's a special sort of biodegradable plastic made from wood pulp, sugars and corn starch. These bags are entirely home compostable - you can put them into your food waste bin, or on a compost heap, and within a year they will break down into carbon dioxide, water vapour and organic matter, with absolutely no microplastics present at all.

These home compostable plastic bags have been developed by Riverford Organic, and currently cost the company around £300,000 per year - a cost which has not been passed on to their customers. I mentioned above that Guy Singh Watson sounds like a really nice guy and this is another of the reasons why!

You can find out more about their packaging and recycling here.

Buffalomi traybake with apricots & bulghur

I decide to start with the Buffalomi Traybake with Apricots & Bulghur for Wednesday and Thursday's evening meals. I love the filling texture and nutty taste of bulghur wheat, and it's something I've not had the pleasure of eating in quite a long time now, as Mindful Chef recipes are all dairy and gluten free.

What is buffalomi?

I'm also very curious about trying buffalomi. I'm not sure what it is but it sounds - and looks - a lot like halloumi cheese...

I decide to do some research and it turns out that buffalomi is indeed a 'halloumi style' of cheese. It is in fact a brand new, unique cheese, recently created by Laverstoke park farm in Hampshire. They describe their new cheese as a 'halloumi style grilling cheese made from a blend of cow's and buffalo milk.'

The great thing about this recipe is how quick and easy it is to cook. I love things that I can just throw together and then leave to bake in the oven. This recipe is one of those types of things.

The taste of this buffalomi tray bake is...AMAZING!

One of Riverford's marketing slogans is "slow grown for flavour (not fast for profit)" and it definitely seems like there is some truth in this. I love all of the contrasting flavours - the sweet apricots, the sour lemon, the nutty bulghur wheat - and the tomatoes in particular taste so plump, sweet and juicy.

The buffalomi is good too - it's similar in texture to halloumi, but less salty.

Chestnut, hazelnut and tenderstem pasta

For Friday and Saturday night I decide to go with cooking the chestnut, hazelnut and tenderstem pasta.

I don't think I've ever had chestnuts before (I've lived a sheltered life!), so it's exciting to try something new. A little Internet research informs me that chestnuts are low in fat, high in fibre and a good source of complex carbohydrates - all good things for weight loss, and allowing for a slow, gradual release of energy, helping you to feel fuller for longer.

This recipe certainly tastes lean, filling and healthy - and I love the taste of the chestnuts. It doesn't beat the buffalomi tray bake though. The buffalomi tray bake was so amazing - I'm not sure that anything will beat that!

Middle Eastern mushrooms, carrots & ginger

The final Riverford Organic recipe for this week is the Middle Eastern mushrooms, carrots & ginger on Sunday night.

Again, it's tasty - but not a match for the amazing buffalomi tray bake.

I've still got one more recipe left to cook - the beetroot & black garlic risotto with maple walnuts, which I'll be cooking on Tuesday - so I'll be sure to let you know what that one is like next week!

The verdict on Riverford Organic recipe boxes

True to their 'slow grown for flavour (not fast for profit)' slogan, there really is so much more taste and flavour in these vegetables. As brilliant as Mindful Chef has been for me, It's been good to have some different styles of recipes from my usual ones this week. It's also been a good to have a less restricted range of ingredients. Mindful Chef recipes are all dairy and gluten free, which is good from a health perspective - but a little dairy and gluten sometimes is not a terrible thing either.

To be honest, I've enjoyed these recipes so much that I think I'm going to order one more box for next week. I do want to move through trying some other recipe boxes for comparison - but this one is so good that I can't resist doing just one more week!

How to sign up with Riverford Organic recipe boxes

Unlike most recipe boxes, there are no discount or signup deals for new customers signing up to Riverford Organic - they believe in a fair deal for all customers.

They do offer a 5% discount on an order of two recipe boxes, and also a 10% discount on an order of three or more recipe boxes. This is a permanent offer for all customers, new and returning.

To sign up, simply click the check now button to find out when they deliver to your area. Then choose your recipes, go to the checkout to pay, then sit back and await the arrival of your recipe boxes.

Thank you for reading this post!

If you're enjoying following my weight loss journey and would like to keep up to date, you can follow me on Instagram, or subscribe to my email newsletter, or leave me a comment below.

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This week I have been eating...

Breakfast: Two Weetabix with oat milk. Two or three cups of black coffee throughout the morning.

Snack: One piece of brown buttered toast with marmite.

Lunch: Three scrambled eggs on brown, buttered toast, with spinach.

Snack: One cup of tea with a dash of oat milk.

Dinner: Mindful Chef's Middle Eastern spiced chickpea and butternut squash.

Snack: A small bowl of muesli with oat milk.

Breakfast: Two Weetabix with oat milk. Two or three cups of black coffee throughout the morning.

Snack: None today.

Lunch: French toast with mixed berries, oatly creme fraiche & maple syrup drizzle from Little Man Coffee.

Snack: Two cups of tea, each with a dash of oat milk.

Dinner: Mindful Chef's Middle Eastern spiced chickpea and butternut squash.

Snack: A small bowl of muesli with oat milk.

Breakfast: Two Weetabix with oat milk. Two or three cups of black coffee throughout the morning.

Snack: A piece of brown, buttered toast with marmite.

Lunch: A Mindful Chef ready meal: Moroccan Chickpea Tagine with Tricolour Quinoa.

Snack: Two cups of tea, each with a dash of oat milk. A chelsea bun from my favourite local bakery.

Dinner: Buffalomi Traybake with Apricots and Bulgur from Riverford Organic.

Snack: A small bowl of muesli with oat milk.

Breakfast: Two Weetabix with oat milk. Two or three cups of black coffee throughout the morning.

Snack: None today.

Lunch: A Mindful Chef ready meal: Moroccan Chickpea Tagine with Tricolour Quinoa (half a portion) with two poached eggs and a piece of brown, buttered bread. A Mindful Chef smoothie.

Snack: One cup of tea each with a dash of oat milk.

Dinner: Buffalomi Traybake with Apricots and Bulgur from Riverford Organic.

Snack: A small bowl of muesli with oat milk.

Breakfast: Two Weetabix with oat milk. Two or three cups of black coffee throughout the morning.

Snack: None today.

Lunch: A Mindful Chef ready meal: warming coconut dahl with roasted squash (half a portion) and a piece of brown, buttered bread. A Mindful Chef smoothie.

Snack: Three cups of tea, each with a dash of oat milk.

Dinner: Chestnut, hazelnut and tenderstem pasta from Riverford Organic.

Snack: A small bowl of muesli with oat milk.

Breakfast: Two Weetabix with oat milk. Two or three cups of black coffee throughout the morning.

Snack: None today.

Lunch: A Mindful Chef ready meal: warming coconut dahl with roasted squash (half a portion) and a piece of brown, buttered bread. A Mindful Chef smoothie.

Snack: Two cups of tea, each with a dash of oat milk.

Dinner: Chestnut, hazelnut and tenderstem pasta from Riverford Organic.

Snack: A small bowl of muesli with oat milk.

Breakfast: Two Weetabix with oat milk. Two or three cups of black coffee throughout the morning.

Snack: None today.

Lunch: Chestnut, hazelnut and tenderstem pasta from Riverford Organic (a small leftover portion from last night's dinner). A Mindful Chef smoothie.

Snack: A caramel, almond and sea salt snack bar from Kind Snacks. A packet of crisps.

Dinner: Middle Eastern mushrooms, carrots and Ginger from Riverford Organic. A small glass of red wine.

Snack: A small bowl of muesli with oat milk.

Up next - my weight loss journey week 45

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