The best meal kit delivery services of 2020: Blue Apron, Freshly, Sun Basket and more – CNET Posted: 01 May 2020 09:36 PM PDT With the prospects of heading to the grocery store growing less attractive by the day, a meal kit service just may be a fitting solution for healthy home-cooked meals during the current coronavirus crisis .What follows is our pre-virus round-up of meal kit services.Freshly, Blue Apron, Sun Basket, Every Plate and Gobble are all currently offering deals for new customers.Are you looking to find the best meal kit delivery service in 2020? It seems like the variety of options for healthy eating and convenience gets bigger with each passing month.To find the best possible options for your home meal kit needs , knowing the differences between all the options will help you make the best decision when it comes to selecting a meal kit subscription.
If you live anywhere where it’s even a little bit possible to glimpse the stoops of your neighbors, you’ve probably noticed cheerful meal kit company boxes from the likes of Blue Apron, Freshly , Home Chef , Sakara Life , Purple Carrot and Gobble making ever-more-frequent appearances on said stoops over the last several years.

The age of the meal kit food delivery service is upon us.

It’s a type of convenience service that combines the efforts of chefs, nutritionists and personal grocery shoppers, and delivers them into the hands of enthusiastic eaters or willing home kitchen cooks , with weekly menus and delicious, preportioned fresh ingredients including vegetables and meat for you to easily prepare.

The variety of options available today is just staggering, with everything from gluten-free healthy meals to vegetarian options available and ready to ship.That means that people with special diets such as a diet for healthy weight loss don’t have to exclude themselves from reading further.It’s time to find the best meal kit delivery service for your needs whether you are a picky eater, vegan or on a special diet.
I once met one of the founders of Blue Apron, whose delivery box I’d become familiar with, thanks to the denizens of my apartment building.I mentioned that I thought the Blue Apron service sounded like a cool idea, but inundated him with a litany of reasons why such a thing didn’t apply to me: I work in an industry where tasty meals are often provided, I’m rarely home, I’m culinary school-trained and so on.His counterargument was flawless: “Can I send you a free box?” I mean, duh.
Despite my protestations, the reasons I enjoyed the Blue Apron meal plan were plenty, and inspired me to continue my subscription with an occasional box of ingredients.

Even with culinary school cred, I liked having ingredients I didn’t know of or would rarely seek out when grocery shopping put directly into my hands.I was especially moved by the concept of getting provided the single rib of celery that a recipe demanded, sparing me the heartache of watching an entire head of celery languish in my produce drawer when left to my own devices.
There are now dozens of meal kit delivery programs to choose from, like Sun Basket , Martha & Marley Spoon and Purple Carrot , with a variety of niche customizations, ingredients and menus to fit special diets like vegan gluten-free, vegetarian gluten-free, plain old gluten-free, paleo, low-carb, vegetarian pescatarian, keto, plant-based, health conscious diet and just about anything else when it comes to dietary preference.You’ll also often find promotional offers for new customers and convenient features like being able to skip weeks and cancel anytime.

With limited or no commitment, if you’re a calendar master and an account-management ninja, you can dabble in any or all of these services and choose, week-by-week, which best suits your circumstances.
Read more: Best air fryers of 2020: Philips, Cuisinart, Black and Decker and more Home Chef
Home Chef boasts over 38 meal kits to choose from in any given week, including the all-new grill packs and one-pan dinners.Meal kit examples include Chipotle Chimichurri Mini Pork Meatloaves with Roasted Sweet Potato and Garlic Peppercorn Salmon Scampi with Garlic Cream Gemelli and Broccolini.Plus, you can customize the protein in your meal choices, which makes Home Chef dishes stand out from the pack.For example, with some Home Chef recipes, you can order double the protein such as chicken or meat without doubling the overall portions.With other Home Chef options, you can choose to order antibiotic-free protein instead of the standard version.

Meal kits and ingredients are usually pretty standard in their offering (which is what keeps Home Chef efficient to the masses).
One new and unique offering from Home Chef is their oven-ready meals, which come with everything you’ll need to make the meal including the cooking tray (no messy kitchen and no dishes).See an example of an oven-ready meal here .
Subscription : Starting at $7.99 per serving with additional premium Home Chef recipes offered at market price.
Read more: The best toaster oven is the one you’ll hate the least Chowhound
Healthy and fresh are common favorite meal kit descriptors, but Sun Basket goes a step further.Sun Basket is committed to organic, non-GMO, sustainably and responsibly raised products and ingredients, which it packages in 100 percent recyclable materials to boot.Basically, the box took the trip to the farmer’s market for you.Sun Basket’s recipes are developed by Justine Kelly, a San Francisco chef known for her work at the James Beard Award-winning Slanted Door restaurant, and for her appearance on Top Chef.

All of her easy and delicious meals with organic ingredients are nutritionist-approved (500 to 800 calories per serving), and most meals take only about 30 minutes to prepare, with online Sun Basket tutorials available if you need a little extra guidance.You’ve got options for these nutritious meals too — you’ll be able to choose from a selection of six to 18 different organic meal recipes each week, including paleo, vegan meal, vegetarian and gluten free meals, so you’ll always get what you want.Sun Basket delivery is available in 36 states, and Sun Basket shipments arrive on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 8 a.m.and 9 p.m.For three Sun Basket meals each week, you’ll pay $74.93 for the two-person plan (or $11.99 per serving) and $143.87 for the four-person plan ($10.99 per serving), with a $5.99 shipping fee either way.
Subscription : For three Sun Basket meals each week, you’ll pay $74.93 for the two-person plan (or the $11.99 price per serving) and $143.87 for the four-person Sun Basket plan ($10.99 per serving), with a $5.99 shipping fee either way.

Freshly
A few of these services provide fully cooked, ready to eat meals to your doorstep, and Freshly is a good one if you desire wholesome, tasty comfort foods such as peppercorn steak, penne bolognese or chicken and rice pilaf.Meals are prepared right before delivery and are never frozen.

With minimal reheating required by you, it’s like having Mom cook dinner for you in your kitchen, without having Mom live with you.(Sorry, Mom.)
Subscription : $8.99 to $12.50 per serving, with up to 12 servings per week.Shipping is free.
At just $4.99 per serving and with an emphasis on delicious, hearty meal options and generous portion sizes, EveryPlate is the best plan for those whose journey into meal kit delivery is based on affordability.It keeps its overhead low by offering eight easy recipes to choose from weekly, which does mostly exclude vegetarians and those on special diets, but the eight available meals are full of variety and flavor otherwise.

Get 18 meals for only $3.33 each, free shipping on your first order, plus the ability to skip or cancel anytime.
Subscription: Each serving is only $4.99.Each weekly box includes three recipes with either two or four servings apiece.Blue Apron Best intro to meal kit delivery Blue Apron
Blue Apron is largely accepted to be the granddad of meal kit delivery programs in the US.The eight menu choices available weekly range from simple pastas to delicious international options, with a seafood and vegetarian option always available.Even the simplest recipes might include an unfamiliar component or two, and the website often highlights these ingredients as an educational opportunity.Recipes are tagged with helpful keywords such as “customer favorite,” “quick and easy,” “great for grilling” and so on.

Occasional promotions include a menu from guest celebrity chefs, or recipes that highlight popular travel destinations.An optional wine pairing service is also offered.
Subscription : Price per serving ranges from $7.49 to $9.99, with options to prepare two to four recipes per week and two or four servings per recipe.Dinnerly
Dinnerly rolls out some pretty exciting-sounding and delicious meals such as summery chicken panzanella and risotto with asparagus and cannellini beans.But with no more than six ingredients per recipe, the damage done to your time and kitchen is minimized.Along with not overwhelming you with myriad ingredients and multiple steps, the price tag for Dinnerly puts it squarely in the budget-friendly category, clocking in with a cost per serving of around $5.
Subscription : The options include a Two-Person Box for $30, or a Family Box for $60, each with three recipes for the week.Brandy Yowell
Gobble takes the template from the old guard of meal delivery kits but speeds it up by prechopping and part-cooking many of the components so that all recipes have a prep time of 15 minutes or less.

Despite the “fast food” angle, each menu has a sophisticated and worldly vibe.Weekly recipe choices are cleverly categorized into From the Range, From the Ranch, From the Sea and From the Earth options.
Subscription : Options range from $11.99 to $13.99 per serving, with options for two to four servings of two or three (or more!) recipes.HelloFresh
HelloFresh helpfully tags each recipe accordingly, whether you are allergic to (or avoiding) dairy, gluten, soy, nuts and so on.Familiarity of ingredients is key, even when applied to dishes from various world cuisines.A Hello Fresh’s portion sizes are generous, going with its relatively high cost per serving (up to $10 a person).”dinner to lunch” element is a unique twist that provides the home cook a variation on tonight’s dinner to serve as a tasty portable lunch tomorrow.
Subscription : Options range from $8.74 to $9.99 per serving, with options for two to four recipes per week and two or four servings per recipe, customizable along Classic, Veggie and Family plans.Green Chef
We like Green Chef for its versatility in the different specific diet plans available.Green Chef offers paleo, keto, pescatarian, vegan, and vegetarian options as well as gluten-free meals.

No matter which diet you’re following (for health or personal reasons) you’ll be able to find a Green Chef plan that works for you.Because it offers so many different diet plan choices, this also makes Green Chef one of the most versatile meal kit delivery services since you get a plethora of different tasty menu options per week.
Subscription : $12.99-$11.99 per serving for a two-person Green Chef subscription at three meals/week; $10.99 per serving for a four-person Green Chef subscription at two meals/week.
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2:09 More food delivery recommendations 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.With restaurant meal kits, you become the sous-chef – The Washington Post Posted: 01 May 2020 05:05 AM PDT One of the most promising conversations I’ve had with a chef in the past few months involved Victor Albisu, owner of the upscale Mexican Poca Madre in Washington and five branches of the casual Taco Bamba , which originated in Falls Church seven years ago.

While he has closed Poca Madre and the lone Taco Bamba in the city — both in a once-bustling business district — Albisu says he’s doing about 85 percent of the business he had before March with his four Taco Bamba operations in Northern Virginia.The chef says his taco meal kit was “the first thing we pivoted to” when takeout and delivery became the only way to eat restaurant food.The $42 “prepare your oven” package includes a choice of two reheatable fillings, 20 corn tortillas and a pint of freshly made pico de gallo.Instructions are simple: All you do is add a little water to the fillings, pop them in a 400-degree oven for about the time it takes to watch a couple of shorts on Quibi , then add the foil-wrapped tortillas for the last few minutes.Cooking is even faster in the microwave oven, but why rush in a pandemic? Pork slowly roasted in condensed milk with oregano, cumin and bay leaf leads to superlative carnitas, their edges crisped in the cooking.More complex is “spicy shroom,” a dusky vegetarian fantasy teaming portobellos, grilled corn, stinging onions, chipotle and earthy cilantro.

The pico de gallo sparkles, no doubt because it’s made fresh throughout the day and the maiden restaurant doesn’t have a walk-in cooler.The storefronts sell about 300 meal kits a week.You’ll want to supersize your order with rice, beans and salsa.Taco Bamba’s sunny yellow grains are freckled with familiar vegetables, and its black beans, infused with sofrito, reveal unexpected bright notes.Albisu credits dried avocado leaves for the umami.Bamba salsa, wicked with arbol chile, costs $8 for a 16-ounce bottle.

A little dab will do you on the tacos; leftovers of sauce are a given.Albisu says the creamy, burnt-orange lava can be enjoyed as a dip for sliced vegetables, drizzled over enchiladas or added to gazpacho.(Just be sure to inform recipients of the torch to follow.) The chef’s partner in the business is his mother, Rosa Susinski, whose Latin grocery shares a parking lot with the original Taco Bamba in Falls Church.The merchant goes to the trouble of making her own chorizo and chimichurri, but she knows that some things can’t be improved upon.Those bright little peas, carrots and corn in her son’s brilliant rice might be familiar because they’re out of bags, from her shop’s freezer case.

2190 Pimmit Dr., Falls Church.703-639-0505.tacobamba.com .Open 10 a.m.to 9 p.m.daily.Delivery available from Grub Hub.

Other locations at 10629 Braddock Rd.in Fairfax, 6691 Backlick Rd.in Springfield and 164 Maple Ave.West in Vienna.Taco kit $42.The general manager and executive chef at Osteria Morini huddled after restaurants were required to suspend sit-down service.What could they do to best engage customers? Kim Hunter and Tommy Levandoski figured a pasta-making kit had potential and that cappelletti stuffed with truffled ricotta — the Italian restaurant’s signature dish — was the noodle to promote.

Their hunch proved a hit from the night it was introduced.Within just half an hour of opening, 25 of the 40 packages had been snatched up.Business for the kit remained brisk enough to bring back Morini’s senior pasta maker now and then — a win-win for all.The step-by-step directions, illustrated with stamp-size photos, are so thorough, it’s as if Levandoski is watching over your shoulder, coaching you on.Meanwhile, the rhythmic nature of lining up the 30 little circles of pasta, using the enclosed piping bag to dot the centers, and twisting the rounds into pretty hats is, as the chef says, “very Zen.” For the sake of comparison, I ordered with my kit the cappelletti whipped up (to the finish) by the osteria.

To the restaurant’s credit, they were close as twins.Same pretty ruffles, same pleasant chew, same wash of truffle butter melted with a splash of pasta water.Snips of pre-measured pink prosciutto and a dusting of grated Parmesan make fine enhancements.My order, designed to serve two, came with more filling than pasta; Levandoski says that’s intentional.He would much rather send a kit off with more ricotta than too little.Anyway, the filling can be repurposed atop pizza, in lasagna or, as I enjoyed it, spread on ( oh, what a beautiful morning ) toast.To sustain interest, Levandoski is thinking of swapping out cappelletti for another pasta down the road.On the horizon, he says, are gnocchi and tagliatelle — more to help home cooks get into the zone.

301 Water St.SE.202-484-0660.osteriamorini.com .

Open daily from 4 to 8:30 p.m.Delivery available from Caviar, DoorDash, GrubHub and UberEats.Pasta kit $40, $45 if delivered.Ramen purveyor Hatoba sweats the fine points.

The restaurant’s thin and wavy noodles are the result of its owners consulting with the esteemed Nishiyama in Sapporo, Japan, which uses water from snow-capped mountains in Hokkaido that runs into a lake and eventually finds its way to a spring beneath the noodle factory.You might have expected the Navy Yard newcomer to create a ramen kit during the crisis.

Instead, its principals opted to offer another Japanese comfort, yakisoba.A fixture in food stalls and festivals on its home turf, yakisoba is a stir-fry built around noodles, meat and vegetables — ingredients Hatoba always has on hand — and typically cooked on a griddle, says chef and co-owner Katsuya Fukushima.”The dish made sense.” While the directions involve a dozen steps, the time from start to table is fleeting, since Hatoba has chopped and measured everything.The drill goes like this: Heat up some oil, add the shaved pork belly, let it brown, push it to the edge of the pan.Onions, crisp bean sprouts and shredded cabbage follow pretty much the same steps.Near the end, the signature pale yellow noodles go in the center of the pan, along with some water to loosen them up.

Next, a little cup of brown sauce livens the stir-fry with oyster sauce, Japanese Worcestershire, sugar and vinegar.Garnishes of red pickled ginger and green powdered seaweed nudge the dish from beige to beautiful.Fukushima says yakisoba makes frequent appearances on his parents’ table in Havre de Grace, Md., where his father, Reggie, insists on cooking for his son.(Dad, who grew up in Hawaii, is reportedly liberal with the pickled ginger, and in recent years replaced Spam with pork shoulder in the stir-fry.) Step No.12 on the list is almost too easy: “Enjoy!!” Yes, chef.300 Tingey St.

SE.202-488-4800.hatobadc.com .Open noon to 8 p.m.Sunday through Thursday and noon to 9 p.m.Friday and Saturday.Delivery via Caviar, GrubHub and Uber Eats.

Yakisoba kit $13.For stories, features such as Date Lab, Gene Weingarten and more, visit WP Magazine .

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