Review: Cooked Chicago

Mike and I have a new favorite local Meal Delivery service!

We’ve previously tried out a few Meal Delivery services that provided ingredients & recipes for US to cook, but who wouldn’t love getting fresh, delicious ready-made meals even more?  We are so excited to find a company that makes and delivers balanced, flavorful meals at an affordable price point!  

Earlier this summer, Chef Jona Silva reached out to me inviting me to try out Cooked Chicago, a service he started with his wife in 2014.  Cooked Chicago is super-local for me, as they are based out of Evanston, where I live.  They also deliver to Chicago, the North Suburbs, and Northwest Suburbs and have plans to expand even further soon.

We found the meals to be even better than restaurant food – they TASTE like restaurant quality food, but FEEL much better since they limit their use of salt and saturated fats and use no preservatives or chemicals. Two of my favorite Chicago bloggers Erica Finds & Chritiques also agree that Cooked Chicago is fantastic!

While not an exclusively Vegetarian or Vegan service, they have several Veg options each week to choose from that I guarantee will tempt your tastebuds.  

Read on for the details of my experience with Cooked Chicago:

Our Order

Every week, Cooked Chicago offers 3 new Vegetarian Entrees to choose from in addition to an array of juices, lunch bowls, and sides that change with the seasons.

Chef Jona generously offered me a $50 gift card to facilitate my review, and I was impressed with the amount & variety of food I was able to get!

Mike and I tried out each category of their offerings including 2 Entrees, a Lunch Bowl, a Juice, a Side, and an Organic Cookie – all of which was Vegan except for the Cookie!

With shipping to Evanston just $3.75, I got all of this with a few dollars left over!

 

Delivery

While impressively they offer same-day meal delivery service for orders placed by 10am, we placed our order in advance.  They had plenty of delivery days & times to choose from (including evenings) and our food arrived promptly within the one-hour delivery window we selected.

I was especially impressed with the packaging of the food – everything was organized & well-labeled and the packaging was clearly selected with the environment in mind.

Our cookie had the simplest packaging of all with just a parchment paper wrap.  Our juice came in a sturdy glass jar that we kept and will use to transport smoothies to work.  And everything else was compostable! 

Meal 1

For our first meal, we enjoyed the Simple Coconutty Dal & Brown Rice.  Not only was the dal fantastic, the portion size was also very generous.  Both Mike and I have very hearty appetites and along with shared sides of their Crunchy Cauliflower and Pineapple Cooler, we both had a hearty dinner that night!

I truly could eat this Dal every day.  I’ve been to India twice before and this dish was as artfully seasoned as some of the best food I had while there.  In addition to the comforting blend of seasonings, I also enjoyed the flavor notes of mellow coconut, sneaky heat, and cooling cilantro.

Mike was smitten with the Brown Rice which came with a seasoned oil to be mixed in.  The oil gave the rice a mild flavor of smoky chiles which he especially loved.

The Crispy Cauliflower was nicely charred and perfectly cooked.  However, I regret that I used our Microwave instead of the Oven for reheating this dish.  The cauliflower was generously sprinkled with bread crumbs which I’m sure would have crisped up beautifully in the oven, but were left soft from the microwave.

And we both enjoyed the Pineapple Cooler made of kale, spinach, romaine, cucumber, pineapple, raw coconut water, & lemon.  It was very, very green and obviously packed with nutrition, with the sweetness of the pineapple balancing out the bitterness of the greens nicely.

 

Meal 2

The next night, I feasted on the Grilled Cauliflower Steak with Lentils & Mango Salsa.  This was one of the most original dishes I’ve had in a while.  I never would have thought to pair Butternut Squash & Lentils in a peppery gravy with Mango Salsa and a perfectly charred Cauliflower Steak.  This unusual combination was magic together – both warm & comforting but also bright & tropical.  I feel like Chef Jona really understands vegetarians because, for me at least, a Cauliflower Steak on its own would not be filling enough, so serving it over a melange of Lentils & Chickpeas was genius.

Again, the entree serving size was very generous and I was able to make a small plate of my meal for Mike to try.  He loved it too!

Along with his sample of my dish, Mike also enjoyed “Lunch Bowl #3” – organic power grains (quinoa, amaranth, millet) with Teriyaki saucemushroomsbell pepper, & grilled eggplant.  I have an odd quinoa intolerance so we ordered this tasty dish with Mike in mind.  He especially loved the Mushrooms which he said he could tell were of a fancy variety (not plain old button mushrooms!) and the yummy Teriyaki sauce.

At just $5.95 the Lunch Bowl portions are understandably a bit smaller.  I’d suggest adding some fruit or salad on the side if you have a hearty appetite like we do.

Or you could do like we did, and add a Cookie to the side :-) 

For dessert, we split this rich, buttery Chocolate Chip Cookie from local Evanston bakery Hewn, made with Organic Flour and high quality Chocolate.  I asked Mike for his thoughts on this cookie, and he gave me one word: “Amazing”.

Discount Code for VeggieNextDoor Readers!

While I was lucky enough to try out Cooked Chicago for free, I absolutely feel that these meals would be well worth my hard-earned money and a great treat on any busy week.  For less than $50, we got 4 restaurant quality meals out of our order, and the only time I spent in the kitchen was at the microwave!

If you’d like to try out Cooked Chicago for yourself, Chef Jona is generously offering 25% off your first order with the discount code “VeggieNextDoor”!

If you give it a try, I’d love to hear what you think!

I’d love to hear from you!

Have you ever tried out a Meal Delivery Service?

What’s one of the most creative dishes you’ve eaten recently?