Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Sun Basket Meal Delivery Review

I live alone, so unless I cook something up for dinner...there's no dinner! I do enjoy cooking, but I'm not always great at coming up with meal ideas. Meal delivery services like Sun Basket have always interested me because they make it easy to put dinner on the table.

*Disclaimer: This box was purchased by See, Shop, Love!

I had a coupon for half off a box of Sun Basket so I decided to give them a try. Their menu looked great, so I signed up for the three meal/two portion plan. It ended up being around $35 with the coupon.

Sun Basket prides themselves on sending organic and sustainable ingredients in 100% recyclable and compostable packaging. They have lots of different meal plans available: Paleo, Lean and Clean, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Mediterranean, and Family.

I really appreciate that Sun Basket's packaging is recyclable and compostable. I've tried other meal delivery kits in the past and my main complaint was that they were so wasteful -- tons of plastic and other packaging. I still recycled what I could from those kits, and Sun Basket still had a lot of packaging, but being able to recycle everything eased my mind a bit.

Each meal's ingredients are packed in separate paper bags. The meats, if you order any, are at the bottom of the box with a big ice pack. The ice pack was also fully recyclable and compostable.

Sun Basket sends a booklet with all  of the recipes for that week, as opposed to individual recipe cards like some other services do. I actually really enjoyed having each recipe, even if I didn't order it, because now I can cook them all in the future on my own. There's also a kid's game and an extra article about salt in the booklet.

My first meal, and favorite, was the Orzo bowls with broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, and pistou. It was a vegetarian meal, and although I eat meat, I wanted to try it because I love orzo and this looked really colorful (as you can see from all the veggies above).

This was really easy to cook and tasted amazing! It also came with goat cheese to sprinkle on top. The goat cheese was a delicious, tart contrast to the smooth pistou sauce. I learned that pisou is the French version of pesto, the difference being that it doesn't have pine nuts in it. Sun Basket included full pine nuts to add on top with the goat cheese. I'll definitely save this recipe and make it again soon!

Another favorite of mine is pork carnitas, so I knew I had to order the Pork carnitas tacos with avocado and cabbage slaw. The kits include everything you need, except for maybe staples like oil and salt and pepper. The ingredients for the tacos are pictured above.

The best thing about this recipe was that the carnitas were already cooked. I kind of put off making this because I assumed I'd have to slow cook the pork, but once I read the recipe I realized that it was pre-cooked and I just had to crisp it up on the stovetop. Nice and easy!

I also really enjoyed the cabbage slaw. It also had radishes and red onion for a great crunch against the tender meat.

I loved these tacos! The carnitas spice was fantastic and the meat crisped up easily. The recipe said to cut up chunks of avocado to garnish, but I smashed it up into guacamole instead. I have a different carnitas spice in my cupboard so this recipe will be made again in the future, too.

My last meal was the Char-siu pork with quick pickles. I love char siu, but unfortunately I didn't enjoy this recipe as much.

The kit included baby broccoli, sichuan peppercorns, and garlic. I love anything with lots of garlic and heat, so I was excited to put them all together with the broccoli. I didn't care for the end result -- not a lot of flavor from the garlic or peppercorns transferred to the broccoli so it was just kind of bland.

The pork and "quick pickles" were also disappointing. The quick pickles were not pickles at all, but cabbage, sesame seeds, and carrots with a "quick pickling" sauce mixed in. I needed a lot more pickling sauce for this to be satisfying to me. It just tasted like cabbage.

Char siu is a Cantonese style of pork, basically a Chinese barbecue. The char siu I'm used to is really flavorful and nice and crispy. This was neither. I think it was mostly my fault, as I used all of the marinade on the meat and then rinsed out the dish I used to spread it on, when I was supposed to save some of the marinade to add to the pork before quick frying it again. It was cooked in the oven for 10 minutes then transferred to the fry pan to add a crispy sear, but I guess my stovetop just wasn't hot enough because this didn't really become crispy at all. The char siu sauce was delicious, but there wasn't enough of it on or in the meat to be worth it.
Bottom Line: I had a fun time cooking these Sun Basket recipes. I really enjoyed the orzo and tacos, and I might try the char siu again with a different cut of meat. I also appreciate that Sun Basket makes the packaging easily recyclable. That being said, I cancelled my subscription after this box because it's too expensive for me to stay subscribed in the long run. It comes out to about $75 a week, which is about what I spend on myself for groceries in two weeks. This would probably be great for a family or couple, but for me cooking alone it just isn't cost-effective.

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