Since launching my blog, I’ve reflected on Being An “Almost” Vegan Turned Vegetarian and also shared how I fell off the wagon On the Anniversary of One Year As a Vegetarian. What I have not shared are some of my staple vegetarian meals… while I have a few of my own, I first wanted to take the opportunity to show some love for my favorite meal delivery service company, Hello Fresh!
In my opinion, this company does an excellent job promoting on television, via social media ads, and with well know influencers and brand ambassadors. So, I probably don’t need to explain the premise… but in a nutshell, you set up an account, pick your preferences based on your dietary needs/restrictions, size of your family, and desired schedule. Hello Fresh then sends ingredients for your meals straight to your door so that you can create healthy and satisfying meals, all in about 30 minutes. Also included are easy-to-follow, step-by-step cooking instructions, complete with photos and nutritional facts . You can cancel your subscription at any time, or pause your deliveries at any time (Think: for vacation or long business trips).
I was gifted my first three meals by my good friend, Emily. As many of you might suspect, I happily accepted the three meals my friend gifted me and then cancelled my subscription immediately so I wasn’t ever charged. #BallinOnABudget. Of course, I never received any additional meals as a result, but I already had two awesome recipes. I absolutely fell in love with all three meals, but these two I’m sharing were the ones that I chose to recreate on my own… meaning that I went to the grocery store and gathered my own ingredients.
After further research, I also realized that Hello Fresh actually features all of their recipes on their Website. Initially, I was shocked by this, until I realized that they really aren’t in the business of “recipes” or “cookbooks.” In reality, nearly any recipe can be found on the Internet these days.
Their business thrives off the convenience they offer to individuals and families who live busy lives. While theoretically, everyone tends to make time to grocery shop, Hello Fresh delivers everything you need right to your door – no need to make time for a trip to the grocery store after work and before picking the kids up from soccer. I could also see where there would be a market in those who constantly find themselves at the drive-thru because they have no time, or like me, hate grocery shopping with a passion. One last reason I love the concept is because no food goes to waste. They provide exactly what you need and nothing more. Grocery shopping only to be cleaning out your refrigerator of all the spoiled food two weeks later is a thing of the past!
Anyhow, check out my two favorite vegetarian recipes and my finished products when I recreated them months later.
A couple notes on the Bountiful Barley Bowl:
1. I substituted slivered almonds for the pepitas in this recipe. Couldn’t find pepitas in the grocery store, and because I rarely want to interact with people at the grocery store, I refused to ask for help locating them. Almonds were just as good!
2. Don’t skip the step of charring the brussel sprouts on the skillet first before baking. I swear people don’t like brussel sprouts because they don’t really know how to cook them. This step is vital! [Ashley, this comment is directed at YOU!]
3. As much as I despise buying ingredients I know I’ll only use once, the feta cheese is a must. You may eat feta often, but I do not. Nonetheless, it compliments the taste of the balsamic vinegar, honey, olive oil mixture perfectly.
4. If you aren’t a fan of barley, I think this would be good with quinoa or jasmine rice (or any DRY grain). However, barley is very high in protein and I think it’s the perfect grain for this meal. After all, it is a Bountiful BARLEY Bowl. But hey, if you try some other grains and you’ll have other varieties of the same dish.
A couple notes on the Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto:
1. This meal is so easy to cook. However, do not, and I mean, DO NOT walk away from your risotto. I’ve realized that cooking risotto is an art, and a time consuming one at that. Your first step to a successful risotto is parking your ass right by that skillet.
2. For you meat lovers, consider substituting grilled (or baked) sage chicken for the butternut squash.
3. Speaking of the squash… do yourself a favor and just buy the pre-cut package at the front of the produce section. The first time I made this dish on my own, I decided to be a hero and buy a whole squash to cut up myself… not at all worth that struggle, my friends.
4. Make this on a cold fall or winter day! I swear it’s so comforting and delicious.
Well there you have it. These two dishes have been staples for my vegetarian lifestyle… y’know when I’m not eating chicken because I’ve had a little too much wine. 😉