Ed and I have thought of ourselves as meat reducers for some years, and at a rough guess, I would think that well over half our meals are vegetarian with at least a third being vegan. I think by eating a primarily plant based diet you possibly eat a great variety of ingredients than you might do on the standard Western omnivorous diet. There are are so many delicious and exciting grains, pulses, vegetables and herbs & spices out there that it is hard to feel you are missing out when you cut out the meat.
Riverford Organic have a new Drop a Day campaign to encourage people to eat less meat, both for their health and for the good of the planet. Like us they think that meat should be a treat, and when you do eat it it should be of top quality, and accompanied by lots of delicious vegetables. To encourage their customers to eat less meat Riverford have reduced their minimum meat order price to £17.50, so people can buy less, but better quality meat. Additionally they have also made one of the meals in their original recipe boxes vegetarian.
Riverford sent us 6 days of meals – one original recipe box (3 meals for 2 people, £39.95), and one vegetarian box (3 meals for 3 people £33.95) so we could Drop a Day.
The boxes contain everything you need to cook three meals (apart from oil, pepper & salt). As I expected the ingredients are excellent quality and carefully and thoughtfully packed. Everything you needed is included and well labelled. I especially appreciated the divided box which organised the non perishable ingredients each meal. The packaging is reusable – your Riverford delivery man will collect the previous week’s empty box when he delivers your order.
The majority of the meals are very generous, most providing 3 or 4 portions rather than 2 (as soon as I saw the amount of food in the boxes) I asked some friends to join us. Most of the meals we had are suitable for freezing, reheating or would make a good packed lunch, which really brings the cost of each portion down.
Day 1 was ham hock, pease pudding and braised carrots, very satisfying and a small amount of top quality ham went a long way. This easily fed us both, and leftovers made a huge pot of soup the next day.
A West African inspired sweet potato and peanut stew with red rice was warming and comforting, rich without being stodgy. The ingredients supplied made a humongous pot, easily enough for 6, we have some in the freezer and our guest that evening was sent home with a box full too.
Picada chicken was cooked in a vegetable rich sauce thickened with a paste of nuts and egg. It is a Catalan method that I’d not heard of before, but will be trying again. Again this fed three of us, and leftovers were more than enough for Ed’s lunch the next day.
Our vegetarian meals were equally as generous, I loved how much green there was in the box – with lots of fresh herbs, and bags of greens, salad and spinach. Meals this week were equally generous.
Beetroot, chilli and rosemary spaghetti won the prize for the prettiest meal out of the 6 – with spiced fried grated beetroot making a pasta sauce. Delicious and one to make again.
Saag aloo with homemade paneer, I really enjoyed making the paneer for this, which made the entire meal more special. Again a generous portion with enough for 3.
Stuffed green rolls – These were a twist on stuffed vine leaves, with wilted spring greens filled with spiced rice with lots of herbs, absolutely lovely and fun to make and eat.
We were very impressed with the boxes, and enjoyed the variety and quality of the recipes, and vegetables that we ate over the 6 meals. The recipe cards are well written and very detailed and suitable for both the less experienced and less confident cooks. With 4 out of the 6 meals being meat free we did not miss the meat at all, the quality and taste of the meals more than compensated for it. I really enjoyed cooking some new meals, and feel very inspired by some of the ideas.
There is no choice for the Riverfood meal boxes, but I was very happy with the selection sent and actually welcomed that I did not have to think about what I was going to cook – the recipes can be adapted and the cards do contain helpful hints about spicing levels. I made a few changes such as leaving onions out of the Greek salad etc. You can preview the menu before you buy and with the choice of original, quick or vegetarian, all but the most picky will find a combination they are happy with.
All in all excellent and I’ll certainly be ordering in the future.
Post in support of the Riverford Drop a Day Campaign commissioned by Riverford who also sent us two meal boxes for review. All opinions our own.