If you’re going to launch a meal delivery orservice these days, you’d better have a good angle. By that I mean there are plenty to choose from — 10 or 12 by my count — with many of them stepping on each other’s toes in a quest to deliver a “unique” meal kit experience or the absolute best meal kits for a specific type of home chef. But if you’re looking for and other wholesome foods delivered every week as a means to eat better in the new year, would like your attention.
The six-year-old San Francisco-based meal kit service has evolved into one of the top options for healthy meal kits, using mostly organic ingredients and catering to niche diets and eating habits (how very San Francisco). That includes vegetarian and vegan meal kits along with gluten-free options and recipes that adhere to specific diet plans such as keto, paleo and the Mediterranean diet, among others.
- Creative, interesting and healthy takes on classic dishes
- Fresh, mostly organic produce
- An enormous marketplace of grocery items you can add to every box
- On the pricier side due to higher quality ingredients
Sun Basket just introduced another wrinkle into its business model as well, in the form of a nearly full-service online marketplace of grocery items, including fresh meat, fish and seafood, cheese, coffee, snacks, bread and more that can be added to your box each week. The timing for this offering couldn’t be better, with rising COVID-19 cases and many of us trying to make fewer trips to the store.
Sun Basket slides in at a higher price than other meal kit delivery services likeand , but that leaves me with a raft of questions. Are Sun Basket’s healthy meals good enough to justify the extra cost? Are Sun Basket meal kits good or just healthy? Who are Sun Basket meal kits good for, and who are they maybe not so good for? Thankfully, the answers are here: I tested Sun Basket over the past few weeks, and my thoughts on the evolving healthy meal kit service are below.
How Sun Basket works
Sun Basket operates much like Blue Apron — the original meal kit service — and offers a range of meal kit delivery plans that vary depending on the type of food you’re looking to cook, how many people you’re cooking for and how often you want meal kits delivered. You can choose two, three or four meals per week with recipes serving either two or four people. It’s also worth noting that you can adjust those choices as you go, so don’t worry about being locked into a plan.
Sun Basket pricing at a glance
|Meals per week
|Price per serving
Next, you’ll select a meal plan type, which you can also change later. Sun Basket has quite a few options including Chef’s Choice, which will give you a bit of everything. You can also select Lean & Clean, Vegetarian, Pescatarian plans or diet plans such as Carb-Conscious, Keto-Friendly, Diabetes-Friendly, Gluten-Free and even the Mediterranean Diet (the only service I’ve seen to offer this one.) There’s also a Family Plan with more kid-friendly meal kits. If you choose one of the niche plans, Sun Basket will filter out any meals that don’t fit. You can also do swaps and upgrades like chicken breasts in place of chicken thighs or change from pork to fish, sometimes for an added charge. Or you can add meat to any plant-based meal — an option I appreciated.
Each week you select meals and market add-ons (more on this later) for the following week’s delivery. Your box arrives on the doorstep on a day of your choosing in insulated packaging and you’re ready to go. Sun Basket ships to nearly every US zip code excluding Alaska, Hawaii and parts of North Dakota, Montana and New Mexico.
What are Sun Basket meals like?
Healthy, to be certain. Sun Basket has around 15 meals to choose from each week but they’re nearly all recipes I would categorize as at least somewhat healthy, with an exception of one or two. You won’t find much greasy comfort food as you do with some other meal kit companies such as EveryPlate or Home Chef. Sun Basket also claims to use roughly 99% USDA-certified organic produce, all of which I personally found crisp and fresh when it arrived. All of the nutritional information you could possibly want is made readily available both at the time of selection and when your meals show up.
In terms of style, Sun Basket meals are creative and unique. While some meal kit services play it safe with familiar food and flavors, Sun Basket takes chances and delivers interesting and often healthy spins on global cuisine. Take thisfor example, or . Sun Basket has lots of low-carb and keto-friendly options as well, with interesting side salads, veggies and healthy slaws.
The quality of ingredients was very high for this meal kit service, and Sun Basket’s meats and produce were some of the freshest of any meal kit service I’ve tested. Portions were also just right, in my opinion. I often had a bit of food left over, but never so much that I’d worry about it going to waste.
Fully prepared meals for ‘those nights’
In addition to traditional meal kit delivery, Sun Basket offers a variety of oven-ready or “Fresh & Ready” meals that are fully prepared and only require heating and no prep, assembly or cooking. For example, the week I chose meals there were five Fresh & Ready meals including three pasta dishes, chicken tikka masala with rice and a Mexican-style quinoa bowl.
An enormous market of grocery add-ons
This is perhaps the one feature that distinguishes Sun Basket most from other meal kits. It was also one of my favorite features of the meal delivery service. In addition to your meal kit subscription, you can also other tons of market items. There’s breakfast stuff such as coffee beans, sous-vide egg bites, oatmeal cups and nut butter as well as lunchier items including premade empanadas, ready-made soups and quinoa bowls. You can even add loaves of bread, tortillas, fresh salmon, chicken breast, blocks of good cheese, fresh seafood, impossible beef, steaks and tons more.
Sun Basket has essentially rolled an entire market into its meal kit operation, which is perfect for people trying to make fewer trips to the store. While it doesn’t have everything, you could easily do most of a week or month’s worth of grocery shopping via Sun Basket if you wanted. Did I mention I love this feature? Because I do.
How easy are Sun Basket meal kits to prepare?
Sun Basket meal kits run the gamut somewhat but most are simple to prepare. As with many other meal kit services, Sun Basket has some more involved meal kits and some that are super quick to make — some take as few as 15 minutes — which it categorizes as “speedy” or “preprepped.” You won’t find as many complicated recipes as you might with a service like Martha & Marley Spoon or Blue Apron and no extensive cooking experience is required.
The recipes I cooked and how they went
Balinese chicken with cucumber-cabbage salad: Simple as it was, this was one of the best meals I’ve made since I started testing meal kits and it’s a perfect encapsulation of Sun Basket’s food. It took only 20 minutes but the nuanced heat of the turmeric-spiced chicken and cool crunchy salad with fresh mint felt like something I might order at a fancy, al fresco lunch.
Pappardelle with wilted spinach, sweet peas and ricotta: This would have been difficult to mess up and thankfully I didn’t. A light, healthy pasta dish you could eat in any season and one I would absolutely have again.
Low country shrimp and grits: The shrimp was fresh and the cheesy grits were simple to make and this hearty recipe was packed with flavor. This was one of Sun Basket’s “heavier” meals, but it didn’t send me into a food coma.
Sun Basket support materials
There is nothing extraordinarily good or bad about Sun Basket’s recipe cards. I found them clear and concise with some helpful footnotes for beginners like a brief explanation of what a roux is, as an example.
The Sun Basket app is useful, clear and intuitive. You can place or change your weekly recipe selections through it, add market items, look up nutritional information for certain dishes and locate all recipes past and present.
What makes Sun Basket different from other meal kit services?
Of all the meal kits I’ve tested, Sun Basket had the most interesting healthy meal kit recipes. Instead of, say, plain grilled chicken breast with cauliflower mashed potatoes, as a low-carb or keto option, Sun Basket goes for something likeor .
Sun Basket’s market, full of useful and equally healthy snacks and grocery add-on items distinguishes it from its rivals and makes sense if you’re avoiding the grocery store.
Who Sun Basket meal kits are good for
Sun Basket is one of the best meal kit delivery options for someone looking for healthy meal kits that are anything but boring and easy to make. The culinary team has some creative takes on classic dishes using lean meats and fresh, organic produce. Sun Basket’s weekly menus also include many meals that cater to any number of popular diets including low-carb, keto, gluten-free and the Mediterranean Diet.
Sun Basket is also great for those trying to make fewer trips to the grocery store, since you can cut out a ton of your weekly grocery shopping with the many add-ons available, from pita bread to fresh pasta, soups, sauces, snacks and more.
Sun Basket offers around four vegetarian options a week, so it’s not a bad choice for those looking to go plant-based or add more non-meat cooking into their routine. The menu also features a good number of quality seafood dishes each week, such as this, making it one of the best meal kit services for fish and seafood eaters.
Who Sun Basket meal kits are not so good for
Even though it offers a family plan that turns out to be a good value, I would say Sun Basket is probably not the best meal kit service for picky eaters, young or old. It’s also not the best meal kit service if you’re looking for rib-sticking comfort food like meatloaf, pork chops and mashed potatoes. For that, I might suggest EveryPlate — you can read my.
How much do Sun Basket meal kits cost?
Sun Basket meals are between $11 to $13 per serving depending on how many you order each week. It’s $13 for two meals, $12 for three meals and $11 for four meals, plus a $7 flat-rate shipping fee for each box. This makes Sun Basket one of the more expensive meal kit services out there, but that’s not surprising considering you’re getting meal kits with organic produce and higher quality meat and fish. For example, two meals that serve two people and shipping would be about $52 total.
The Sun Basket market items are all priced differently but they’re on par with an upscale grocery store such as Whole Foods or Wegmans.
Sun Basket packaging and environmental friendliness
Sun Basket is not much better or worse than other meal kit services when it comes to eco-friendly packaging. The meals were each separated in paper bags and not plastic. All the ingredients were thoughtfully packed without much egregious waste and coolers and ice packs were recyclable.
Changing, skipping or canceling a Sun Basket order
You can add, change or cancel meals easily through the app or through the website. You can also skip a week’s delivery or cancel anytime prior to the weekly cut off which is the Wednesday before your next week’s delivery at 12 p.m. PT and 3 p.m. ET. There is responsive customer service available during business hours by phone, email or chat-bot if you have questions or concerns about your order.
The final verdict on Sun Basket
If you’re interested in trying a meal kits service to make weeknight meal planning easier and money isn’t a huge concern but eating healthy is, I would choose Sun Basket. I am the type who gets tired of eating the same thing and I loved the variety Sun Basket offers. Sun Basket’s ingredients were also some of the freshest I’ve tried, which makes all the difference in a simple pasta dish or stir fry.
I also absolutely loved the market — especially in these odd and odious times — and I think having easy, healthy add-ons such as egg bites, yogurt and fresh fish at your fingertips encourages healthy eating.
Sun Basket feels practical without feeling cheap in any way. Though some are more involved than others, most of the Sun Basket meal kits are simple and unpretentious but still feel special. At roughly $12 a serving, it’s not cheap but if you care about organic produce and quality, healthy ingredients it’s definitely worth the extra bucks.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.