In 2018 I tried and reviewed the Green Chef meal delivery service. It was a cool and interesting experience. In my ongoing quest to find lazy-girl hacks for the keto lifestyle, I then spent a couple of weeks trying the Ketoned Bodies meal delivery service, and now I have gotten the chance to try the SunBasket meal delivery service, which now offers a “carb-conscious” menu plan.
And, of course, I am blogging about my experience.
SunBasket is a certified organic company which “strives to source organic produce 100% of the time.” They also have fully recyclable and compostable packaging and work with farmers using sustainable growing methods and fishermen who use low-impact fishing methods.
As I have noted in previous reviews, I generally assume that if a company is completely organic, then it tends to drive up the price.
In the interest of transparency and full disclosure, I did NOT pay full price for my SunBasket box. I received a 60% off coupon in my email and then the site itself offered free shipping while I was processing my order.
However, I paid my own money for this food and this review is in NO WAY subsidized or sponsored by SunBasket.
SunBasket offers a “Classic Menu” meal plan for 2 or 4 people and a “Family Menu” meal plan for 4 people.
- Classic Menu allows you to choose from 18 recipes each week and costs $11.99 per serving, making a box with 3 meals for 2 people (6 servings) $71.94 plus shipping
- Family Menu allows you to choose from 6 “family-friendly” recipes each week and costs $10.99 per serving, making a box with 3 meals for 4 people (12 servings) $131.88 plus shipping.
Just as with Green Chef, Sun Basket is a subscription service, so if you do not pause or cancel your account, you will continue to get charged and boxes will continue to be sent to you. *But it is VERY simple to pause or cancel your account and orders. I did so after receiving my first box and it took about 30 seconds on their website.*
Because I got 60% off and free shipping, my personal total cost for this box of 3 meals for 2 people was $28.78. For me, this is far less expensive than buying groceries for 3 meals, so I consider my price worth it for this service.
Unlike Green Chef, once you pick how many meals you want to receive, you then are able to specifically select which recipes/meals you want in your box from a list on their site.
When selecting your meals, you have all of that week’s recipes available to you, so pay attention to the tags if you are looking for Paleo, Carb-Conscious, Gluten-free, Vegan, etc. The recipes are not initially separated by type, you must filter for that and look for it specifically.
If you are following a specific diet, your meal options will be more limited than the initial 18 recipes available each week. As I wanted carb-conscious (not keto, they do not offer those meals) meals, I only had 4 recipes to choose from for my box.
But I very much appreciate being able to select the recipes you want. With Green Chef, each week was a specific set of 3 meals, whether you liked all of those ingredients or not.
You specify what day of the week you want to receive your box. I had no problems at all with shipping and it arrived on Monday, March 4th as requested.
I ordered and received 3 recipes.
The first one I tried was Lettuce-Wrapped Lemongrass Salmon Burgers with Crunchy Asian Slaw.
This meal was delicious and very easy to make. The salmon burgers came all ready to go in patty form and once I spread the lemongrass paste on them, I just let them cook while I cut up some of the components for the raw Asian slaw, which were lettuce, scallions, mint, and cashews. The carrots and cabbage came pre-sliced. The dressing was a cashew-lime dressing with coconut milk. The dressing was a bit too lime-y for my taste, but overall this was a healthy, light meal that was very quick and easy to cook and put together.
My second meal was Steak with Garlic-Herb Ghee, Sauteed Mushrooms, and Spinach.
This one was both mine and my husband’s favorite of the 3 recipes. The steak, which could have been any of 3 cuts (top sirloin, filet mignon, or NY strip), was a sirloin and the recipe included cooking instructions for each cut of meat.
I am personally not a fan of mushrooms, so I gave all of those to my husband and kept the majority of the spinach for myself.
In this recipe, you combine a garlic-herb spice packet with clarified butter (ghee) and cook the steak in it, occasionally spooning the ghee over the steak during cooking. Then you cook the veggies in the same pan with the leftover ghee.
The steak was tender (I used a meat thermometer to get the medium-rare I wanted instead of relying on the instructed cook time) and delicious and the garlic and herbs were prominent in a good way. The veggies were also good but the mushrooms required more cook time than the recipe stated, as well as there were no instructions to clean the mushrooms, but I did anyway.
The final recipe I cooked was Orange-Glazed Chicken with Broccoli Rabe, Carrots, and Dates.
While the meat and glaze on this one was one of my top 2 favorites, the side dish was disappointing, making this our least favorite of the 3 meals, since neither of us could eat a lot of the side dish.
The chicken was easy to cook and the instructions were clear and the orange juice/arrowroot slurry ended up thickening and making a delicious sauce. It was really good!
The broccoli rabe instructions were a bit confusing with how to prepare them, it just said to trim the roots and “cut in half crosswise.” I know with kale, I do not cook with the stems at all due to the bitterness, but this did not say to remove the stems, so I did not. The broccoli rabe ended up being too bitter, despite cooking it exactly as the directions stated (until “just tender, 5–8 minutes”). The carrots were good, though not usually considered to be a low carb vegetable. The dates were also delicious and were simply chopped into small pieces.
The surprise here was preserved lemon. You remove the lemon insides and dice the peel into tiny pieces and mix it in with the carrots, broccoli rabe, and date mixture. Unfortunately, the preserved lemon was a pretty overwhelming flavor and took over the rest of the side dish, aside from the bitterness of the broccoli rabe.
Overall, this was a positive experience. All 3 recipes were pretty quick, none took more than 20ish minutes, which was great. I’m glad I tried SunBasket, and one thing I really like is that they send you the recipe book for all 18 meals for that week so even though I did not order the other 15, I have the recipes and could recreate them on my own if I wanted.
To me, the best parts of the meals were the proteins. They were the right portion, they all tasted great, and the cooking of each was straightforward and delicious. The side dishes seem to be more hit and miss but overall were decent.
I have some specific positives and negatives which I will list out below, but overall SunBasket was a positive experience with a decent variety of options if you have any dietary restrictions (gluten-free, diabetes-friendly, paleo, etc.) or food preferences. I was happy with the variety of different meals offered when I placed my order.
And the price was spectacular and deserves a special mention. I got 6 servings of dinner for under $29 including the good-sized portions of protein. SunBasket regularly has sales, so if you’re thinking about ordering from them, wait for a discount on their site!
The price was great; the proteins were delicious; recipes were very easy to find and follow overall; the produce all seemed mostly fresh; quality of food was good; pre-portioned servings were a good size; the pre-portioned ingredients were the right size and I used up everything for each recipe; it is easy to not use an ingredient if you do not like it; the variety of recipes offered seemed good; they offer several different styles and meal types for people (gluten-free, paleo, carb-conscious, etc.); packaging is all recyclable or compostable; the ingredients came bagged separately for each recipe (making it very easy to identify what went with what).
I personally don’t care about eating all organic, so that is more of a neutral.
The cooking instructions at times were not as clear as I’d like (do I wash the mushrooms or lettuce? It did not say. And the broccoli rabe did not get the bitterness cooked out at all.); my broccoli rabe had some not-fresh leaves I needed to dispose of; no non-subscription or “just once” purchasing option; the “carb-conscious” recipes do not seem especially low carb, they just have no bread, grains, or pasta; there are not that many options for you when you have a food restriction or preference, maybe 4 or 5 to choose 3 of (but that’s still better than having no choices in meal selection!).
Note: I took pictures of some of the cooking process and the nutritional information for each meal, so if you’d like to see those, here is an imgur album.
Have you ever tried a meal delivery service? What were your thoughts and experience? Did I get this one right or am I way off base? Let me know in the comments!