We’ve been Riverford Veg Box regulars for many years now but I still get that little frisson of excitement when I open the back door to find a box brimming with organic fruit and veg waiting for me! Because I am a pretty confident cook it hadn’t occurred to me to try a Riverford vegetarian recipe box but then they offered me one to review and it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it?
Packed with all the crisp, fresh veg I have come to expect from Riverford but with the added excitement of pre weighed spices, herbs, nuts, grains and dairy produce all just waiting to be whipped up into a vegetarian meal for four may have had me dancing a little jig.
Riverford Vegetarian Recipe Box – A Review
Each Riverford vegetarian Recipe Box contains everything you need to make three meals for two or four people (apart from basics like oil, salt and pepper), the portions are generous and easily stretched to feed the five of us. Each week brings a new selection of recipes which you can see on the site before you decide whether to order or not. Our boxes were filled with ingredients to make
- mushroom and kale lasagne with spiced squash and pumpkin seed salad
- potato, apple and lentil curry with raita and homemade spelt flatbread
- parsnip, date and walnut spelt with pomegranate, harissa yoghurt and feta
Each dish was delicious, simple and satisfying – both to make and to eat. What I absolutely loved about the Riverford Vegetarian Recipe Box experience was that I didn’t have to plan food, it was all there, ready and waiting, all I had to do was work my cheffy magic!
Each recipe comes on a card with a photograph of the finished dish, the ingredients required, when you should cook it by if you want it at its freshest and a list of the cooking paraphernalia you will need to create it. I loved that each recipe had its own numbered compartment in the box filled with all the little bits I would need – you can see it in the picture above! It made everything really simple and allowed me to produce delicious home cooked food from scratch even at the end of the busiest of days.
We started with the mushroom and kale lasagne, always a firm family favourite and one of the best comfort foods during these dark and shivery months. I stuck to the Riverford recipe to the letter – which is something I NEVER normally do. The result was cheesier than I normally make it and was, therefore, a massive hit. The mushroom and kale mixture which formed the base included a small handful of dried mushrooms which ensured it was rich and tasty and the spiced squash salad complemented the dish really well. I think it’s easy to get stuck in your ways with family favourites and this was just the shake up I needed – this one will definitely be reappearing on the menu soon.
Next up was potato, apple and lentil curry – a curry of one kind of another appears on our family menu at least once a week so this simple dish was bound to go down well. One or two were a bit dubious about the addition of apple but it added that little bit of sweetness which works so well in a curried dish. The curry was flavoured with garlic, ginger, bay, cinnamon. star anise, curry powder and vegetable stock and it was warming and hearty – not a scrap was left on any plate. The homemade spelt flatbreads were a nice addition as was the minty raita on the side. I’ve already made this one again and am looking forward to making it for vegan boy when he comes home for Christmas – with soya yoghurt for the raita of course!
Last but definitely not least, I made parsnip, date and walnut spelt with pomegranate, harissa yoghurt and feta. I’d left it until last because it’s been chilly and I didn’t fancy a salad for my dinner – oh my goodness, how wrong I was! This is so much more than the worthy ingredients in the name would suggest! The parsnips are little bites of savoury sweetness, spelt is tummy filling and absorbs the flavours of honey and lemon beautifully, walnuts add a satisfying crunch, dates offer that chewiness I need in an evening meal, watercress introduces a welcome peppery back note, the pomegranate is just beautiful to look at and sweetly delicious to eat and the feta and harissa yoghurt round of a possibly perfect dish. It was divine. Recipe below!
- 800g parsnips
- oil for roasting, e.g. sunflower or light olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 200g pearled spelt
- 100g walnut pieces
- 200g watercress
- 60g parsley
- 100g date pieces
- 2 teaspoons harissa paste
- 2 teaspoons dried mint
- 2 small pots of plain yoghurt
- 1 lemon
- 1 pomegranate
- 2 tablespoons honey
- good olive oil
- 2 packs Wooton white, feta style cheese
- Put a large pan of water on to boil. Preheat your oven to 210C/190C fan assisted/gas mark 6. Peel the parsnips and cut into smallish dice
- Toss the parsnips in a baking dish with just enough oil to coat and some salt and pepper to season. Pop in the oven until just tender and starting to caramelise, approx 24-30 mins. Toss once as they cook, so they roast evenly.
- Once the pan of water comes to the boil, add the spelt. Cook for approx 25 mins until just tender (it will still have some bite)
- Meanwhile, put the walnuts in a dry frying pan. Lightly toast them for a minute or so, then transfer to a small plate or bowl. Wash the watercress and parsley. Shake the parsley dry, or pat with kitchen paper, then finely chop the leaves.
- Mix the harissa and dried mint with the pots of yoghurt, with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice to taste.
- Remove the seeds from the pomegranate. Mix the honey with the juice from half of the lemon and 4 tbsp of good olive oil in a large bowl.
- Once the spelt and parsnips are cooked, drain the spelt and add to the bowl, together with the roasted parsnips, dates, walnuts and parsley. Crumble in 1 pack of the Wooton white cheese (about 150g per pack).
- Gently toss together. Divide the watercress between 4 serving plates. Divide the spelt and parsnip mixture.
- Drizzle over the harissa yoghurt, crumble over some more of the Wooton white cheese and sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds to serve.
I am definitely going to be ordering myself another Riverford Vegetarian Recipe Box in the run up to Christmas – it was such a treat to not think about food, to not have to plan, to pick up the recipe and know I have everything to make it to hand. It was lovely to make familiar recipes with someone else’s twist and to discover new ones. It was wonderful, at the end of some of my busiest of days to cook up fresh, organic food without a second thought. These are brilliant recipe boxes. Try them!
Each Riverford Vegetarian Recipe Box contains ingredients to make three meals and costs £33.95 for two people or £58 for four. You can see this week’s and next week’s Riverford Vegetarian Recipe Box contents here.
With thanks to Riverford for providing the recipe box for this review, for kicking me up the bottom with my mid week meals and for allowing me to reproduce the recipe you can see above!