We've been cooking our way through a bunch of different meal kits lately, as I'm on a mission to review them all for you. If you're in the market for a meal kit delivery service, hop on this review train! I'll tell you all about how they shape up to the competition so that you can save your hard earned money for the right fit. Up now is my review of Sun Basket.
Table of Contents
The Review Criteria
For consistency’s sake, I will consider the following eight metrics across all of my meal kit reviews: Variety of Options, Cost, Ease of Recipes, Average Time Spent (Start to Plate), Clarity of Directions, Flavor, Recyclability of Packaging, and Replicability. I’ll also have a Notes section that I’ll use to pass along any other information to you that is applicable. So what are we waiting for?? Let's get started.
Variety of Options
Sun Basket is a front runner in this category. They have an astounding 23 meals available each week, with 8 vegetarian and 3 seafood recipes. They also have recipes with protein choices depending on your diet. Sun Basket earns a rating of 5/5 in this category. Color me impressed.
Additionally, Sun Basket has options for the following diets: Mediterranean, Paleo, Gluten Free, Soy Free, Carb Conscious, Diabetes Friendly and Vegan. When you initially sign up for the service, they ask if you ascribe to any of a number of diets and then recommend dishes based on your preferences.
The meals I received were:
- Sheet Pan Pork Sausages with Roasted Apple and Delicata Squash
- Chicken Tagine with Currants, Spinach and Artichokes
- Lemongrass Lettuce Cups with Steak
When it comes to cost, Sun Basket is definitely in the premium category. I spent $76.44 for my box of three dishes for two people. That's $12.74 per serving, folks! As I've stated before, that's pretty dang rich for our blood.
Generally speaking, when I cook for Joe and I, I try to keep my per serving cost to about $3. $5 per serving is if we're being fancy. Nearly $13/person/meal is basically restaurant prices in my world! That said, the produce was all USDA Certified Organic and the meat was antibiotic and hormone free. Even so, $76 for three meals still seems like a whole lot.
Granted, I purchased this through my iBotta app which was offering a 24 hour $50 cash back offer for Sun Basket, so with that credit to my account I was only out $26.44 which is way more in my price range. Y'all, if you haven't gotten iBotta yet, GET IT. I've literally earned back $130 in two months buying things I would've bought anyway. It's pretty great. But I digress. Back to my Sun Basket review.
Ease of Recipes
The three meals I made from Sun Basket were all very easy. There was a little bit of prep required for each of the dishes, but with a chef's knife, a cutting board, a sheet pan and a sauté pan I had all the equipment I needed. In this category, I'd rate Sun Basket a 4.5/5.
Average Time Spent
In terms of how long the recipes took to get on the table, Sun Basket did a reasonable job. For the Lettuce Cups, I had dinner ready in 15 minutes. With the Sheet Pan Pork Sausages, I didn't have it plated for about 45 minutes. That said, the oven did most of the work, and my active time in the kitchen was only about 10 minutes. The Chicken Tagine was the most labor intensive of the batch and took about 30 active minutes.
In their astounding list of 23 menu items, there are several throughout that are marked as "speedy" or "pre-prepped," so if you're short on time throughout the week they have you covered.
Clarity of Directions
Sun Basket's recipe cards were very straight forward and easy to follow. In fact, I had Joe cook his way through one of the recipes with me to see how a less experienced cook could handle it. He did great, y'all. Not only because Joe is great, but also because the instructions were very clear. I'll give Sun Basket a 5/5 in this category.
In terms of how tasty the meals were, I'm giving Sun Basket a ⅘.
Joe and I loved the Sheet Pan Pork Sausages. Not only was there a hefty amount of vegetables with the apples, delicata squash and roasted onion, but also with a frisée salad dressed in a creamy dijon vinaigrette. In fact, I'm working on a similar recipe inspired by this one because I liked it so much!
We also really enjoyed the flavor of the lettuce cups. My only complaint about this one is that instead of trying to make romaine spears work as lettuce cups (they don't. They're too long and narrow!), they had just made it into a salad. Other than that, the flavor was spot on.
The only reason I'm not giving a perfect score in this category is that the Chicken Tagine was only okay. It was pretty dang sweet, and I'm not sure that I agree with the use of marinara in this application. While it was a short cut that many people could use, I think it contributed the the sweetness factor. I definitely won't be making it again.
Recyclability of Packaging
Sun Basket, you're a dang hero in this category! I knew it was possible for a company to make this whole meal kit thing a little less wasteful. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!
Not only was the liner curbside recyclable, the ice pack contents were compostable! The little plastic containers that some of the ingredients came in are also perfectly reusable and cute, but they could also have been recycled curbside. Sun Basket gets a 5/5 A+++ in this category.
In terms of replicability, Sun Basket earns a score of 4.5/5. While there were a select few ingredients that came prepped (a quick pickle brine, lemongrass paste, marinara sauce), Sun Basket's recipe cards clearly list all of the ingredients used in these short cuts. If I really wanted to replicate a dish from this set of recipes, I could without too much trouble.
Sun Basket also has a massive selection of add on products. They offer meat and seafood boxes that range from $70-150 a pop with 12-24 servings in each. They also have a huge offering of cheeses, salumi, premade breakfasts and lunches, breads and ready to eat meats, snacks and individual protein portions.
Oh! And I was delighted that they sent a "free" snack along for the ride. I got a bag of parmesan Whisps in my delivery. Each week, Sun Basket throws in a freebie snack to illustrate what they have in their market. Smart marketing, and fun for the customer!
If you're really just DONE with the grocery store, then Sun Basket could be a viable option for you! Just be prepared for the price tag that accompanies this kind of convenience.
Sun Basket Review Conclusion
If you're in the market for a meal kit, Sun Basket is definitely among my top contenders to date. They rated consistently high in every category, and have a price tag to match. If you're in the premium category, I'd recommend either Sun Basket or Purple Carrot at this stage in my research.
If you answer yes to any of the bullet points below, I think Sun Basket could be a good match for you:
- You want to cook more adventurous, seasonal items without having to meal plan
- You follow a paleo, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, Mediterranean or carb conscious diet
- You want a variety of quick meals to choose from each week
- You'd ideally like to replace regular grocery shopping with an all in one meal kit and grocery service
- You're okay with spending upwards of $12 per serving for dinner
Until next time, friends! I hope you stay happy, healthy and well fed.
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