Meal Kit Comparison: Which Is Best?

It’s ABOUT TIME… my long promised Meal Kit Comparison post. We tried Sun Basket, Gobble, Marley Spoon, Green Chef, Purple Carrot, Dinnerly and Freshly. We rate and review each of these meal kit companies, recipes and respective ingredients below. I learned A LOT and report about it after making and trying the aforementioned and 100+ Blue Apron meal kits.

Meal Kit Comparison – Starts with Sun Basket

Sun Basket Packaging

Sun Basket — Fast Chicken Salad with Kale, Kiwi and Apples (Recipe 1). Top photo. The Kale arrived pre-cut. I found myself picking out the inferior, dry pieces. I would rather chop it myself. I usually remove the stem/center, but it was included in the chopped Kale. The provided dressing was just okay. And the Coconut Flakes would’ve been better toasted, seemed like an after-thought garnish. We (Matt & I) rate each recipe starting with this one.

Sun Basket Recipe 1: Matt 6 1/2, Shelly 6 (Out of 10).

Greek Salmon over Zucchini Noodles and Wilted Greens

Sun Basket — Greek Salmon over Zucchini Noodles and Wilted Greens (Recipe 2). I tossed out the pre-chopped Greens due to a bad smell. The Salmon was dry, though not overcooked. I liked the Tomato and Olive Relish. We liked the Zucchini Noodles, but they’re hard to stir and preserve as ‘Noodles’ when cooking. That’s fine, but good to know.

Sun Basket Recipe 2: Matt 6 1/2, Shelly 5 1/2.

Mediterranean-style Cod with Artichoke Hearts and Kalamata Olives

Sun Basket – Mediterranean-style Cod with Artichoke Hearts and Kalamata Olives (Recipe 3). Cod quality wasn’t that great. Potatoes didn’t have much flavor though Salt and Peppered. I liked steaming the Fish over the Vegetables. Learned how well this cooking method works. Dish was easy to make and clean-up.

Sun Basket Recipe 3: Matt 6, Shelly 6.

Sun Basket Recipe Booklet

Sun Basket Overall — Menus are just okay, not as exciting as others, seemed somewhat repetitive with ingredients. Though Menu is international, which is good. Website is friendly and easy to use. Choose (3) out of (18) different recipes/meal kits. Recipes arrive in booklet form. Also within it are all the recipes you didn’t choose, which is nice. Best recipe score was 6 1/2.

Gobble Review Notes

Meal Kit Comparison – Trying Gobble

Gobble – Nice packaging, similar to Blue Apron. Received one incorrect recipe card, but was easily able to print the correct one from Gobble’s website. They provide smaller recipe cards than other companies.

Gobble – Pan-Roasted Chicken in Three Peppercorn Sauce with Green Beans and Mashed Potatoes (Recipe 1). Potatoes were not good. Gravy made up for it. Chicken was tough, though not overcooked. Odd cuts of chicken were provided. Not as pretty as the online photos.

Pan Roasted Chicken

This is how the Mashed Potatoes and Gravy arrived (below). No bueno.

Gobble Recipe 1: Matt 7, Shelly 6.

Louisiana Shrimp with White Cheddar Grits

Gobble – Louisiana Shrimp with White Cheddar Grits (Recipe 2). Had to further devein the ‘deveined’ Shrimp. Like the Mashed Potatoes in Recipe 1, I don’t like unloading grits from a plastic bag to heat them in the microwave. Also, I didn’t like the pre-cut trinity. It looked a bit degraded in freshness, translucent Onions.

Pre-cut Trinity and bagged Grits, etc.

Gobble Recipe 2: Matt 7 1/2, Shelly 7.

Brazilian Black Bean Stew

Gobble – Brazilian Black Bean Stew with Roasted Squash and Swiss Chard (Recipe 3). I had to toss-out the provided Swiss Chard. It was too dried out. It’s scary not knowing what’s inside a compact bag of pre-cut Greens. Good thing we’re growing our own Swiss Chard. I love the idea and components of this recipe, but the pre-made beans and rice were just okay. I plan to re-create this recipe sometime. Our score for this recipe is below. Best overall recipe score was 8.

Gobble Recipe 3: Matt 8, Shelly 7 1/2.

Meal Kit Comparison – Trying Marley Spoon

Marley Spoon – Box was delayed a day, because company didn’t have enough ice to ship. Recipe card photos are dull in color and paper is un-glossed. Nice packaging. Largest, tallest box received.

Marley Spoon Packaging

Marley Spoon – Cheesy Roasted Pepper Panini with Goat Cheese & Spinach and Side Salad (Recipe 1). Too much filling for the Panini, it overflowed. A Bun for the Panini Bread is not the best option. No photo.

Marley Spoon Recipe 1: Matt 8, Shelly 8.

Cilantro Chicken and Rice

Marley Spoon – Cilantro Chicken and Rice with Bell Pepper and Lime (Recipe 2). Flavorful, but wouldn’t garnish it with raw onions again. It’s unnecessary and over takes the dish. Having to use a blender or food processor is a first for a boxed Meal Kit. Good thing I have one.

Marley Spoon Recipe 2: Matt 7 1/2, Shelly 8.

Four Cheese Ravioli Alla Norma

Marley Spoon – Four Cheese Ravioli Alla Norma with Crispy Garlic Breadcrumbs (Recipe 3). It was super easy to make and very good.

Marley Spoon Recipe 3: Matt 8, Shelly 8.

Overall… good quality, nice packaging, tasty meals and good recipe selections. Marley Spoon costs about the same as Blue Apron, my long-time favorite Meal Kit company (so-far). Best recipe score for Marley Spoon was 8.

Meal Kit Comparison – Trying Green Chef

Green Chef also offers Paleo, Vegan, Keto and Gluten-free meal kit options. Very nice packaging. All looked good, though much was pre-prepared.

Green Chef Meal Kit Ingredients

A pre-cut Red Pepper was provided for a recipe. I want a whole one. There are small Red Bell Peppers. Pre-cut Onions too. I don’t like that either. They degrade, but I used them, and it didn’t ruin the meal.

Harissa Spiced Tuna Steaks

Green Chef – Harissa Spiced Tuna Steaks and Apricot Tomato Sauce, Kale Pistachios and Couscous (Recipe 1). The Tuna was nice looking. Recipe said to cook the Yellowfin Tuna 3 to 5 minutes per side, but was too long for the thin Fish provided. I cooked ours 2 1/2 minutes per side and it was still overcooked, as expected, but all was flavorful.

Green Chef Recipe 1: Matt 8, Shelly 8.

Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

Green Chef – Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps with Quinoa, Toasted Nuts and Seeds, with Lemon Pesto Aioli (Recipe 2). I liked the Couscous with the Vinegar, Agave and mixed Toasted Nuts. The Dressing was just okay, pre-made. Homemade would have been better.

Green Chef Recipe 2: Matt 8, Shelly 8.

Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

Green Chef – Cheese Steak Stuffed Pepper with Provolone Cheese, Spiced Potato Hash with Red Peppers (Recipe 3). Uneven, pre-cut Onions and Grated Cheese were provided. The small Onion pieces burned a little while cooking. Not a good thing. However, not a bad flavor overall. Our score for this recipe is below. Best recipe score was 8.

Green Chef Recipe 3: Matt 7, Shelly 7.

Meal Kit Comparison – Trying Purple Carrot

Purple Carrot Packaging

Purple Carrot – All was fresh and impressive. Some stuff was pre-cut, but mostly whole ingredients. Only the hardest thing to cut, the Squash was pre-cut, which was helpful. A booklet of all recipes was provided, as like Sun Basket. Only six recipes to choose from online at this time.

Black Bean & Polenta Casserole

Purple Carrot – Black Bean and Polenta Casserole with Chile Butter (Recipe 1). The large bag of Spinach was very fresh. I was a little nervous about the Vegan Cream Cheese and Vegan Butter provided for this recipe, but didn’t notice a difference. That was nice to discover.

Slice of the Black Bean and Polenta Casserole

Purple Carrot Recipe 1: Matt 7, Shelly 7.

Autumn Bibimbap

Purple Carrot – Autumn Bibimbap with Gochujang Brussels Sprouts and Sesame Aioli (Recipe 2). I didn’t use the Kimchi or Vegenaise (Mayo instead). I didn’t like the color of the Vegenaise, yellow-ish. I liked the Brussels Sprouts with Gochujang. The Fried Rice ended up too hard. Seems 5 to 7 minutes is too long not to stir the Rice. I don’t know. Kind of a weird recipe, which I like, but it didn’t work properly.

Purple Carrot Recipe 2: Matt 6 1/2, Shelly 6.

Butternut Squash Gnocchi

Purple Carrot – Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Cranberries and Hazelnuts (Recipe 3). A beautiful photo of this recipe is on Purple Carrot’s booklet cover. Had to toss out the Broccoli Rabe for this recipe, since it didn’t last a week. Used Swiss Chard from our garden instead. Added leftover sauteed Onions before the Squash. All was tasty with the Dried Cranberries, and had good texture with the Toasted Hazelnuts.

Purple Carrot Recipe 3: Matt 8 1/2, Shelly 8.

Black Bean and Polenta Casserole Ingredients

Recipes were grouped in plastic bags. I prefer no bags, loose ingredients or in paper bags, because all seems to stay fresher longer.

Butternut Squash Gnocchi Ingredients

Vegan Butter and Cream Cheese work okay. You won’t notice the difference. Though I’m still sketchy on Vegenaise (Mayo’s substitute). Someday perhaps, or not. Best recipe score was 8 1/2.

Meal Kit Comparison – Trying Dinnerly

Spinach and Ricotta Calzones

Dinnerly – Spinach and Ricotta Calzones with Tomato Garlic Dipping Sauce (Recipe 1). Crust was large and could have used more filling. I added Peppers to the filling too, and could have added more. It had a good flavor and texture.

Dinnerly Recipe 1: Matt 7, Shelly 7.

Dinnerly is one of the least expensive Meal Kits available. You download the recipe cards from the internet, instead of them being provided. The menus make me think that I might as well make the dish myself and save even more money. Easy ideas. Dinnerly’s website functions just like Marley Spoon’s. The companies are related. Dinnerly is budget Marley.

Sausage and Kale Soup Ingredients

Dinnerly – Sausage and Kale Soup with Pasta and Parmesan (Recipe 2). It was just okay. A little bland. It made a lot of Soup. I added Beans for extra credit. I like the ‘extra credit’ options listed on the recipe cards. Helps company keep costs down, while suggesting something you might already have in your pantry.

Dinnerly Recipe 2: Matt 6 1/2, Shelly 6 1/2.

Banh Mi Burger

Dinnerly – Banh Mi Burger with Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers (Recipe 3). I didn’t like the provided Chipotle Mayo, weird taste. Would rather make my own combination.

Dinnerly Recipe 3: Matt 7, Shelly 6.

Overall… everything was just okay. With the right recipe choice, it could be a good dinner option, due to its price. And now I want to try Every Plate, Dinnerly’s budget meal kit rival I just discovered. I will amend this post after we try it. Best recipe score was 7.

Freshly = Pre-Made Meals

Meal Kit Comparison – Trying Freshly (Not a Meal Kit, a Pre-Made Meal)

Freshly – Choose between 30 meals. Just heat in the microwave and eat. They arrived nicely packaged between three layers of ice packs. They are best heated in their respective packs, and then plated, to keep moist.

Freshly Meal Samples

Freshly – We, mostly I, tried 6 different meals. Balsamic Turkey (Meal 1). The Vegetables were dry, cut too small and bland. The Turkey was tough. The Balsamic Mushrooms were good. Matt 6, Shelly 5. Pork Al Pastor (Meal 2). It was flavorful, could use a tortilla or chips for varied texture. Matt 6, Shelly 7. Moroccan Style Tagine (Meal 3). It was just okay. Had to pick out a few tough Vegetable Skins, and the small Onions in it were hard and not satisfying to eat. Seemed like a heated, frozen meal I’ve had before. And not any better. Shelly 5.

.

Freshly – Moroccan Style Tagine

Freshly – Buffalo Chicken and Cauliflower (Meal 4). Chicken was tender and good. Cauliflower was just okay, a little bland. Shelly 6. Southwest Chicken Bowl (Meal 5). It should have been tasty, but it was bland and dry. Needed Salt and Pepper and more sauce. The Corn in Freshly’s dishes seems once frozen or canned, not fresh. The Vegetables, Beans and Quinoa were dry too. The Chicken was tender and well cooked. Shelly 6. Meatballs and Spaghetti Squash (Meal 6). The Meatballs where okay. Sauce was very good. On a side note, I finally decided I don’t like the texture of Spaghetti Squash. Shelly 5.

Freshly Packaging

What I learned from all…

I want to prepare everything on my own. I don’t want to receive anything pre-cut. I never purchased pre-cut items in the grocery store. Also, few ingredients can be combined to make something great. And, I can save money not buying a Meal Kit every week. I can make simple, fancy meals on my own from what I’ve learned from Blue Apron, elsewhere, and from this Meal Kit Comparison. I also saved money taking advantage of the introductory offers from each of these companies. You should too. See their pricing below.*

Meal Kit Comparison Pricing:

Sun Basket – Introductory offer is 50% off = $25.

Gobble – Introductory offer is 30% off = $42. Generally $79/week.

Marley Spoon – Introductory offer = $30.75. Generally $61.50/week.

Green Chef – Introductory offer is 40% off = $38. Generally $79/week.

Purple Carrot – Introductory offer $25 off. Generally $72/week.

Dinnerly – Introductory offer is $30. Generally $40/week.

Freshly – Introductory offer $45 for 6 Meals. Generally $60/week.

*PRICES are estimated and subject to change. See respective websites for up-to-date pricing and other information.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Enter Captcha * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.