Do you love to cook but end up wasting food because you only need to cook for yourself, or for yourself and another person? Is getting to the grocery store sometimes a hassle? Or is it tough to get farm-fresh ingredients where you live? If any or all of these are true, consider choosing a gourmet meal service that delivers pre-measured nutritious ingredients for meals right to your door in special packaging that keeps food fresh for 24 hours in case you’re not home at the time of delivery. You also get the recipes for each meal.
Hello Fresh and Blue Apron are the big players among these services, with Plated adding unique recipes to the offerings.
This site promises that delicious and nutritious ingredients will be delivered to your door, perfectly pre-measured for the number of people who will be eating that meal. Omnivore meals cost $10.75 per meal, per person, while herbivore meals cost $9.08 per meal, per person. Typically, the meals take 30 to 35 minutes to cook and each is reviewed by in-house dietitians.
One recent dish being offered, Parmesan Crusted Chicken, is rated with a cooking difficulty of 1 (on a scale of 1 to 3, with 3 being the most difficult). It contains the following allergens: wheat and milk. The actual ingredients are chicken breast, panko, parmesan cheese, Yukon potatoes, grape tomatoes, garlic, scallions, balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard. Other recent recipes are Zucchini Noodle Lasagna; Spicy Tuna Tar-Tacos with Creamy Avocado and Cucumber Radish Slaw; Sweet and Sour Pork with Mango and Sticky Rice; and Plantain and Black Bean Tostados with Pickled Red Onion.
If you order by midnight Wednesday, the box will arrive for the following week.
This site offers a similar service, and claims that it is the largest fresh-ingredient recipe-delivery service in the United States, delivering more than 800,000 monthly meals. It also shares a statistic that people who shopped for the same ingredients in the same portion sizes on their own spent 60 percent more than when they ordered through Blue Apron. And it says that only 75 percent of its ingredients are available in a typical grocery store.
- Here is the two-person list of meals for a recent week:
- Tomato-Basil Burgers with Olive Aioli & Green Bean-Tomato Salad
- Taiwanese Three Cup Chicken with Choy Sum & Jasmine Rice
- Southern-Style Shrimp & Grits with Corn, Zucchini & Cherry Tomatoes
- Whole Grain Spaghetti with Corn, Cherry Tomatoes & Mascarpone Cheese
- Spiced Lentil Stew with Summer Vegetables & Toasted Naan
- Heirloom Tomato & Stone Fruit Salad with Goat Cheese Toasts & Pickled Onions
Pricing is similar to Hello Fresh, with three weekly meals available at $9.99 per person, per meal, for a weekly charge of $59.94. You can skip any week you’d like and cancel any time. Blue Apron accommodates most dietary preferences, including vegetarians and pescetarians, but does not recommend its services for people with serious food allergies. Deliveries take place Tuesday through Friday, with limited Monday and Saturday deliveries. It sources its foods from family-run farms with sustainable practices.
A third option allows you to customize your deliveries in more detail, at a cost of $72 for three meals per week for two people for your first delivery. Afterward, the price depends on how much commitment you make to the service. The recipes are more specialized, with these listed as current favorites:
- Steak Frites, Creamy Shallot Sauce and Sautéed Spinach
- Squash, Ricotta and Sage Tartine with Apple Salad
- Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs with Bulgar, Raisins and Pine Nuts
- Blood Orange Wild Alaskan Salmon with Brown Butter Gnocchi
- Clementine Upside-Down Cake
Making you hungry? Give one of these gourmet meal delivery services a try!