Can you eat like a celebrity chef for just $9 a meal? Yes you can – but you do have to be a little bit of a Master Chef.

Last year, we reviewed three meal boxes to see what the fuss was all about. Here are two more –  and a league table to help you pick your favourite.

Pepper Leaf

Founded two years ago by John Cincotta and Simon Kahil, Pepper Leaf is “farm to table”, delivering produce picked on Thursday to Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide by Saturday. Caters for households of one up to six.

What the box costs: $8.83-$15.97 per person per meal

What we did: I was enticed back by the generous offer of ground coffee and the third box free. Recipes aren’t too complex or time-consuming.

What we thought: I wasn’t a fan of the blackened fish and radish salad but you can select your dishes.

What’s in the box: Salmon Provençale with pearl couscous, lamb pide with red onion salad, and sirloin steak with sweet potato mash.

The Cook’s Grocer

The Cook’s Grocer delivers to Sydney, Southern Highlands, Canberra, Newcastle and the Central Coast. The company claims to develop its recipes with nutritionists, chefs, personal trainers and food buffs.

What the box costs: $10.95-$16 per person per meal

What we did: Nothing takes more than 30 minutes and there’s low prep time. No need to spend an hour doing mise-en-place.

What we thought: For simplicity, this is our favourite, with fewer than 10 ingredients in each meal.

What’s in the box: Summer rainbow noodle salad, honey lemon baked chicken, Turkish lamb with tomato, yoghurt and couscous.

Buy it yourself?

Think it’s overpriced? This is the cost of ingredients for two:

Salmon provencale $25.01
Turkish lamb mince $21.69, including $7.05 for spices you may never use again.

With free delivery, a meal box is really worth it if you want to eat well, reduce waste and save money. They all offer at least $30 off the first box and subscriptions can be cancelled any time. How do they all rank? Considering value, customer service and recipes, this is what we think.

Your Kitchen Rules League Table

  1.   HelloFresh – This well-established player keeps getting better. Generous portions. Great recipes.
  2.   The Cook’s Grocer – Outstanding simple recipes. Just a bit expensive.
  3.   Pepper Leaf – We love the ethos of fresh. And customer service from the CEO himself.
  4.   Marley Spoon – The “posh food” choice. Easy to follow recipes.
  5.   Aussie Farmers Direct –  Healthy recipes. Off-putting telemarketing tactics.

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