With the rise of celebrity chefs and foodie culture, more of us have the desire to broaden our culinary horizons. But eating like a top chef can be tough on your wallet and schedule given the cost of trendy restaurants and the time you’ll spend researching, shopping for and preparing new dishes. A variety of services have stepped up to the challenge, offering innovative, seasonally inspired meals—prepared or with pre-portioned ingredients and delivered to your door at reasonable prices. Check out six of our favorites.
Arguably the most popular of these services, Blue Apron delivers all of the ingredients for complete meals—you’ll only need olive oil, salt and pepper on hand. You choose as many as four dishes a week, all with calorie counts between 500 and 700. Plans begin at $8.74 per person per meal, and for those who enjoy popping open a bottle of vino with dinner, the company offers an optional wine program. They even sell cooking accessories you may need. Visit the site or use the iPhone app to manage your account, watch how-to cooking videos and share meal photos on social media.
HelloFresh also sends fresh, pre-measured ingredients to make the meals you choose, but takes a slightly different approach. Subscribers select three out of five weekly meal offerings for $69 (two-person) or $129 (four-person)—dishes like Vietnamese beef stir-fry with basil, coconut rice and crispy green beans. They also have vegetarian boxes—roasted eggplant linguine with sundried tomatoes, basil and chilies, anyone?—for $59 and $109. The app has recipes and cooking tips, and can even help you stick to your diet as it syncs with Apple’s health app. Gift cards are available as well.
As you might expect, the Atlanta-based company “PeachDish” specializes in Southern-infused recipes like a classic meatloaf with mashed potatoes, sautéed spinach and mushrooms. But if you’re feeling less like comfort food, you can also cook up more exotic fare like chicken tikka masala with basmati rice. Customers choose two out of eight meals—three of which are vegetarian—starting at $50 per week for two people. Subscriptions are optional, but non-subscribers are charged a $7 delivery fee.
Plated is another option for pre-portioned ingredients delivered to you door. Plated offers the most weekly options—up to nine, including three vegetarian, one seafood and two “Chef’s Table” dishes—and customers can choose between two and four meals at $12 per person per meal. And brace yourself—dessert is available for $4. Dishes range from trout piccata with capers, rosemary orzo and green beans to Cuban chicken empanadas with crispy plantains. Dessert might be espresso brownies with sea salt. There’s no subscription, but they charge $6 shipping for all orders under $50. Want to save the $6? Buy dessert!
You’re wondering: What if I’m vegan? Well, start Vegin’ Out, which ships nine fully prepared vegan meals comprised of three entrees, four side dishes, soup and five cookies. All you have to do is reheat them per the included instructions. Sample dishes include orange tofu, oven-roasted broccoli and carrots, and lentil and rice soup. Vegin’ Out is very flexible, allowing substitutions based on preferences. Extra portions and double orders can also be accommodated for an additional fee. A box starts at $127.99, with higher rates for shipping outside of Los Angeles.
22 Days Nutrition
After going without meat and dairy for 22 days in 2013, Beyoncé and trainer Marco Borges launched 22 Days Nutrition, a vegan meal delivery service. Its name comes from the idea that it takes 21 days to break a habit, and you begin to form new ones on the 22nd. Customers select up to three ready-made meals a day for five, seven or 22 days, with the cost starting at $9.24 per meal plus shipping. The dishes include shitake mushroom yellow curry and Lebanese lentils with spiced cabbage and a hearty granola.
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