Burmese Chicken Aloo with Japanese Sweet Potatoes, Rainbow Trout Veracruz with Patatas Bravas and Tomato-Caper Olive Tapenade, and Chickpea Tikka Masala with Basmati, Yogurt and Cilantro, to name a few. These are just some of the mouthwatering meals you could create in your own kitchen, when you order a fresh-ingredient meal-kit, delivered in a refrigerated box right to your doorstep.
Meal-kit delivery services are on the rise, providing convenience and a way to manage your precious time and energy, as they take a trip to the grocery store off your list. These services send you pre-portioned ingredients (no waste) in labeled packages with “how-to” instructions, so you can create unique meals in your own kitchen. All you need are your own kitchen tools, novice skills and a few pantry staples. What comes out in less than an hour is a nearly gourmet meal to enjoy however you choose: Dress up for friends, or dine in your pajamas.
But the real beauty of these services is that they give you the ability to enjoy the ritual of cooking real food at home, whether that’s for your own therapy, or as a treat for your family or significant other. No guilt, no take-out.
As more and more companies pop up to provide fresh-ingredient kits to consumers, it’s clear that this trend is just getting started. Here are a few of the bigger names in kit delivery, each with a little twist.
Sun Basket makes healthy cooking easy. The USDA-certified organic service offers paleo, gluten-free and vegetarian meal kit options, including recipes for breakfast. You get to choose which recipes you want to receive, and each meal is priced at $11.49, running around 500-800 calories. Sun Basket also provides pre-paid return labels so that you can return the recycled refrigerated packaging to be reused. Sun Basket is currently available in several states on the West Coast.
Blue Apron has a mission to make incredible home cooking accessible for everyone. The recipes are never repeated in the same year, are 500-700 calories per serving and can be delivered on the day best for you throughout the week (usually Tuesday through Friday). The meats are naturally raised and antibiotic free, and dietary restrictions such as vegetarian are accommodated. From Blue Apron, you can order three meals for two people for $9.99 per serving, or you can order for a family of four, priced at $8.74 per serving, and shipping is always free.
HelloFresh offers balanced, fresh and nutritious meals using high-quality ingredients and even features recipes by famed chef Jamie Oliver. HelloFresh has a flexible subscription delivery service and offers meals for omnivores and herbivores priced at $9-10 per meal with free shipping.
Plated helps you cook more to live better. You can choose which recipes you want each week inspired by the season, and meals are priced starting at $12 each and ranging from 600-800 calories. You can also order dessert recipes from Plated, as well as special “Chef’s Table” recipes featuring specialty cuts of meat and market-priced seafood. Options are available for vegetarians as well.
Green Chef is a USDA-certified organic meal kit program offering vegetarian, omnivore, carnivore, gluten-free and paleo meal options. The meals range from 450-750 calories and prices range from $10.49 to $14.99 per serving, not including shipping. You can choose the best delivery day for you and then expect to find eco-friendly refrigerated package waiting at your doorstep. You can also take a look at the sustainable-food provider partners on the Green Chef site.
Some of the other benefits of ordering meal-kit deliveries include the chance to learn new cooking techniques and try new-to-you foods – ultimately giving you the opportunity to expand your mind, as well as nourish your body.