What’s in the box from Goodfood, one of the recipe-kit delivery services taking over Toronto’s home kitchens
We're whipping up these home-cooking kits to find out how they work and, most importantly, taste
You can’t fire up a podcast these days without sitting through a spot for Blue Apron, the recipe-kit startup that—so much for those promo codes—does not operate here. But Toronto has its own subscription services that will drop boxes of ready-to-prep ingredients right at your doorstep. We’re cooking our way through them to find out how they work and, most importantly, taste.
What comes in each box, and how much does it cost?
This Classic basket comes with three omnivore-friendly meal kits for two people. At $65, or $10.83 per serving, it’s the cheapest box Goodfood offers. Depending on how many people you need to feed, the meal kits are also available in four-person portions, and each box can contain as few as two or as many as four recipes. When placing an order, Goodfood’s slick website asks customers to specify some simple dietary preferences—uncheck “pork” or “shellfish” if you don’t want those things, for example—and whether they would care for spicy foods, discovering new ingredients, or more challenging recipes that might take longer to prepare. Vegetarian boxes and family boxes with kid-friendly ingredients are also available. Boxes are delivered weekly; an email reminder will preview the menu for the week ahead. Subscriptions can be paused or canceled at any time.
How is everything packaged?
First, a word on the Goodfood boxes. They look like your average cardboard box, but they’re double-lidded and insulated, with a few freezer packs next to the perishables.
Each individual recipe comes in its own clear plastic bag. Goodfood says the box and everything in it—including those freezer packs that you probably already have six of in the back of the freezer—can be emptied out and recycled. This delivery included three recipe kits (in those plastic bags above):
• Steak with Panzanella Salad & Purple Basil Pesto
• Coconut Chicken Curry and Toasted Garlic Naan
• Bourbon-BBQ Pork Meatballs with Sweet Potato Mash & Garlic Green Beans
The ingredients arrive in vacuum-packed pouches, small zipper-locking baggies and screw-top bottles. Everything (okay, not the loose vegetables) is labeled in English and French.
What are the recipes like?
Look at this thing: it’s more dossier than recipe. Goodfood really puts the emphasis on explaining why they included a particular recipe in your box, giving a quick overview of the dish and what’s in it, noting any unusual ingredients. (“Just like its better known green cousin, purple basil has all the same flavour-enhancing qualities with a subtle kick of anise.” And now you know.) The reverse side of the glossy, letter-sized recipe includes instructions and step-by-step photos. There’s even a mise en place step, which asks the cook to gather and prepare the raw ingredients—slice the onions, chop the tomatoes, mince the garlic—before doing any actual cooking. It’s a good habit for any home cook to learn, even if it means a bit more up-front time. Most recipes are timed at 30-45 minutes, which assumes you’re an adept kitchen multitasker. (It also assumes you have pantry staples, such as olive oil, and basic kitchen tools.)
And now, let’s get cooking!
Today, we’re making Steak with Panzanella Salad & Purple Basil Pesto. Steak! With the ever-escalating price of beef, there’s something about grilling steak that makes it feel like a special occasion. So let’s not screw this up. First, we’ll want to turn the demi baguette into croutons for the panzanella salad by drizzling it with olive oil and toasting it in the oven.
While the bread is toasting, let’s do our mise en place and gather everything into nice little bowls. And let’s drizzle that mellow champagne vinegar (ooh, fancy) over the onions.
When the bread is nicely toasted, we’ll rub it down with garlic and chop it into chunks alongside all of our other tidy little bowls.
Toast the pine nuts to bring out their flavour—but they burn super quickly if you don’t watch them, so be careful.
Once they’re done, set them aside and prepare the steak. Sprinkle it with salt, pepper and the enclosed packet of steak seasoning.
Heat some olive oil in a pan and throw in the steaks, turning them once, for three to five minutes per side. Don’t overdo it: medium-rare to medium is what you’re looking for. (Take them off when an instant read thermometer registers between 130 and 135 Fahrenheit.)
In a separate bowl, chop up some of that purple basil and combine it with the chopped pine nuts, garlic and parmesan and olive oil. Give it a nice grating of black pepper and some salt.
We could show you what it looks like to combine the croutons, tomato, cucumber, basil, and onions together in a bowl, but you’ve made a salad before, right? You don’t want to see that. You want to see the slicing of the steak. And here you go:
Toss the pesto into the panzanella salad and plate it alongside the sliced steak. Or eat the salad from a bowl, with the steak layered on top.
How was it?
Dare I say… refreshing? The fresh pesto elevates the salad into something richer and more complex than your basic panzanella; it’s hearty enough to be a meal all on its own. (Don’t worry: you’ll have plenty of leftover salad after the meat is gone.) The beef medallions, typically cut from the pricey tenderloin, were lean and fork tender, with very delicate marbling throughout. A salt-and-pepper-only purist wouldn’t be annoyed by the skimpy amount of steak seasoning included in the kit, but someone who prefers a steak coated edge-to-edge in spices and aromatics might be. It took slightly longer than the estimated 30 minutes to prepare, and most of the time spent is active.
From the website’s user interface to the step-by-step recipe cards, Goodfood feels like a glossy operation, with food to match. And its team of chefs seem to emphasize the inclusion of ingredients in each box that you might have been tempted to buy (champagne vinegar, ghee for the chicken curry recipe), but didn’t want to commit to buying an entire bottle or tub of. Getting to try these specialty ingredients in controlled quantities makes it easier to decide which, if any, deserve a spot in your kitchen arsenal.
Order this box if
You take comfort in having someone there to show you the ropes at every step of the cooking process.