Sun Basket Meal Kit Subscription Box Review: Week One

*This is NOT a sponsored post. We paid for these boxes with our own funds.

I am a subscription box nerd, yet it has taken me years to try one of those meal delivery kits.

Plated, Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Home Chef, Green Chef, Blue Apron. . . there are so many. So, why did I choose to start with Sun Basket?

These are the three reasons:

  • The variety of meals caught my eye. I read a lot of meal kit reviews, but this service seems to serve a wider variety of dishes that aren’t boring or too simple.  I like toasted  sandwiches and tossing a few things with pasta for dinner, but don’t need to pay for a subscription box offering meals of this nature. You can also choose from a large variety of meals of many influences each week that include proteins like shrimp, steak, and fish.
  • The portion sizes are generous. What has turned me off from trying other meal kits is the skimpy portion sizes. We’re hungry after work. If I’m going to pay $12+ dollars per plate that I have to make myself, I expect it to fill me up. Sun Basket’s portions appeared noticeably larger.
  • Sun Basket offers discounted introductory rates. Coupon codes float around the internet. The one I used gave me $25 off my first box and $20 off my second bringing the cost down to around $46 and $59 per box for each box of three meals.

What is Sun Basket’s vibe? The company offers organic produce and sustainable raised seafood, meats and poultry. You can pay extra for organic meats (I chose not to). Being headquartered in the Bay Area, many of the suppliers are local to there. Menu options accommodate special diets like gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and paleo. There are also dishes for people like me who can eat everything.

Ordering: The ordering process is simple. Sign-up online (make sure to use a coupon code) and choose your meals. The deadline to order or cancel each week i Wednesday at 10 a.m. CST the week before the scheduled delivery date. You click on photos of the meals you would like and can skip weeks.

Delivery and Packaging: My first order arrived about two weeks after ordering. One thing I don’t like is that my delivery date is a Wednesday. I submitted feedback through a pop-up stating I preferred Monday. Date preferences may change as availability opens. We eat out more on the weekends and I felt rushed to prepare the meals before the ingredients spoiled.

The food arrives in a cardboard box. The meats are layered on top of some type of frozen gel packs. Then, the rest of ingredients are packed on top. Each meal’s ingredients are packed in a paper bag. The meat was cold when I got home from work, but I would be slightly concerned about the ice packs on a hot summer day. They don’t have as much umph as dry ice. Something I appreciate his that all of the packaging is recyclable or compostable.

Recipe Book: I love that Sun Basket includes a recipe book filled with all of the week’s recipes. The photos are beautiful and instructions are easy to follow. Plus, I’m excited to save them for later so I can try more of the recipes.

Here’s what we thought of the first three meals:

Thai-Style Salmon in Spicy Red Curry

This is the first meal that I made and I didn’t love it. The red curry paste gave the sauce a great heat and I liked the combo of the napa cabbage and mushrooms. While the fish didn’t taste unfresh, I thought it tasted bland. The sauce needed some rounding out. Since this was a simplified version of red curry, it tasted a little flat like it was missing that fish sauce, shrimp paste, sweetness, galangal, etc.

The portion size was very generous. Rice is not included.

Chicken Milanese With Charred Lemon And Insulate Romana: 

Sun Basket kindly confirmed their romaine is sourced from California, not Arizona. They answered their customer service line quickly on a Saturday.

This meal involved quite a bit of prep work from spinning the lettuce to setting up a breading station. In the end ,I really enjoyed this meal and would make it again. The portion size was very generous for both the chicken and especially the salad. I liked the herbs and spices in the salad dressing base that I mixed with fresh lemon juice.

A modification I would make is to char two lemon quarters to squeeze over the chicken instead of charring slices. The slices are pretty but you don’t actually want to eat them and they’re hard to squeeze.

Steak with Italian-style Greens And Salsa Verde:

This meal was delicious. The sirloin steaks were tender. I really liked the cooked mustard greens tossed with sliced radishes and seasoned with some of the parsley-pecan pesto, chopped capers and anchovies. The extra pesto is for serving with the steak. All in all, very easy to prepare, flavorful, and also a large portion.

Final Words:
One thing to keep in mind is that this subscription box is for people who want to cook. The recipes aren’t complicated, but require prep work and cooking.

Some of the meals are low-carb which Jake sometimes prefer. I have no problem making my own side of steamed rice or bread and butter. They’re always sitting around my kitchen, anyway.

No ingredients were missing; however a couple of the vegetables could have been slightly fresher but were mostly usable.

All in all, I enjoyed my first week of Sun Basket meals. The menu is intriguing. I appreciate the effort put into sourcing, the portion sizes, and the creativity of the recipes. Reading the intro cost, $46-$58 feels like a fair price for three meals that include generous portions of meat or seafood. I’m not sure you’re going to get the value if you order the vegetarian or vegan meals. If we continued Sun Basket at the full-price rate (around $75 for three meals the serve two), we’d spend more than our typical weekly grocery budget, as we’d still have to supplement the kits with staples like eggs, bagels, snacks, fruits, beverages, etc.

It all depends on your budget, priorities, and meal preparation preferences.

Next Week’s Menu:

  • Mongolian Beef and Spinach Stir-Fry Over Rice
  • Lebanese-style chicken breasts with Quinoa and Tomato Tabbouleh
  • Turkey and Black Bean Tacos With Roasted Red Pepper Salsa

Have you ever tried a meal kit delivery service? What are your thoughts?

6 Comments

  1. I’ve always been fascinated by these subscription meal boxes! That chicken meal looks delicious and definitely something I would choose!

  2. The steak dish with the radishes caught my eye –looks yummy. I have not tried one of these yet either although I have several friends who have. With my traveling so much I wasn’t sure I could keep up with it but this one looks like it has some really great options. When I stay home for awhile maybe it will be the one I try!

  3. Looks delicious! I have never tried a food subscription box yet but this one looks delicious and I love the variety you got your first week, and are getting your second week.

  4. I am a huge fan of HomeChef. I have loved all the meals we get from there. You can make choices and it arrives very similar to Sun Basket.

    I love that magazine with the recipes! With HomeChef you get a 3 ring binder and then you have 8.5×11″ cards that come with each meal. On one side is the meal and the other has step by step instructions with pictures.

    I do think they’re spendy. If money was no issue I’d get 5 meals a week, but for us we stick to 3 meals a week when we order.

  5. I did a hello fresh order once and didn’t love it. mainly due to price. but I could see being busy and wanting to cook good meals it would make life easier!

    • The amount of packaging with these kits seems kind of crazy, but it does make meal prep easier. I was curious about Hello Fresh-I see a lot of reviews for them

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