Best Vegetarian Meal Delivery Service? (they curate and ship/ I cook)
May 16, 2018 10:32 AM   Subscribe

We've been using a combination of Hello Fresh and Home Chef for the past yr and a half. We love their offerings and customer service but would like to switch to a similar service that features Vegetarian meal delivery. I'm thinking going Vegan is too far a leap for us, so Vegetarian is definitely what we're shooting for. I hear Blue Apron does a decent job but they send all ingredients for several meals in one big box. It's a hassle to store and retrieve ingredients when it's time to cook the meal; a major frustration. So, no Blue Apron. Any Vegetarians using meal delivery services that are not just a bunch of veggies? I'm listening!
posted by mickeefynn to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure why you're discounting Blue Apron... their boxes are almost exactly the same as Hello Fresh and Home Chef.

We rather enjoyed Blue Apron, especially when we switched to the vegetarian option, because they seemed to make up for the lack of meat by increasing the amount of vegetables, so we would almost always have dinner and lunch the next day from one meal prep.
posted by Grither at 10:44 AM on May 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure whether you're saying you DO want to cook (they have to send you the ingredients and you have to store them, just like Blue Apron and Home Chef, how else would that happen?) or want cooked food, which just sends you meals to reheat. If cooked food to reheat is what you're looking for, it's actually sort of hard to find a service that does a decent array of vegetarian but not vegan. Splendid Spoon is vegan. (I use Freshly but they only have ~2 no meat/no fish options most weeks, plus usually one or two breakfast choices with no meat.)

Sun Basket is a you-cook service with the most non-meat options. But they still have to send you ingredients in a box.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:59 AM on May 16, 2018

Response by poster: I love Home Chef and Hello Fresh. Their food comes with all ingredients for the meal parceled into individual bags. Blue Apron doesn't do this. Everything is just there in the shipping box left for the cook to sort out. I can never re-locate all the ingredients I need when it comes to cook each meal (really frustrating). I do want to prepare and cook ingredients as in Hello Fresh and Home Chef. Been doing this for quite some time now. The only change, is that I want to connect w/ a meal/ ingredients delivery service that offers a great variety of Vegetarian meals. Neither HF or HC do. Hello Fresh keeps promising to bust out a Vegetarian Box option but so far, no variety.
posted by mickeefynn at 11:11 AM on May 16, 2018

We never found a cook at home meal service that was vegetarian. BUT Purple Carrot is vegan meal cook-at-home with everything parceled into separate recipe bags. We liked it and just added cheese or used the egg instead of flax seed substitute or whatever since we're not vegan and I dislike some vegan substitutions.
posted by crush at 11:37 AM on May 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

I haven't used them so I don't know how the ingredient parceling works, but I've heard great things from friends about SunBasket They have a variety of meal plans, including vegetarian.
posted by rhiannonstone at 11:47 AM on May 16, 2018

I'm not sure very many services are going to meet your need for variety - other than hello fresh and blue apron, most meal kits have small constituencies and can't really support the numbers for too many choices. Fortunately, the vegetarian options both services offer are pretty damn delicious.

You might like Gobble, which does the individual portioned bags with *some* ingredient prepping (for instance: they might pre-caramelize onions for you, but lettuce will still show up in an intact head that requires normal processing). It cuts down the time needed considerably - though my experience is well over the advertised 15 minutes.

Also, as far as blue apron: some of the ingredients do come somewhat mixed together (veggies are portioned, but not bagged specifically by meal) but all of the small ingredients (spices, vinegars, dairy, etc.) come in "knick-knack" bags that are already separated by meal. Honestly getting stuff out of the fridge takes less than 30 seconds - and I consider the arrangement a plus because that means that you can keep the types of fruits & veggies that shouldn't be refrigerated at proper temperature and away from the fridge. It's really not a hassle, I promise.
posted by mosst at 11:51 AM on May 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

We've liked the boxes from Greenchef; they have vegan and vegetarian menu options. Their foods are shipped similarly to Blue Apron's where everything is loose in a box, with one notable difference -- everything is color coded to the recipe cards (e.g., The recipe card for Mongolian Tofu will be mostly red and all ingredients will have red labels; everything for sweet potato samosas will have purple, etc.)

Everything we've eaten has been fresh and a lot of the sauces come already or largely prepared, making the meals a little quicker and typically less messy (fewer dishes!) than Blue Apron.
posted by ThatSomething at 11:59 AM on May 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

I’ve tried all the meal boxes. Right now I’m doing a vegan plan through SunBasket and it is spectacular. I’m not vegan. They have great vegetarian options as well.
posted by OrangeVelour at 12:14 PM on May 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

You want SunBasket. I have done HC, HF and BA, and it's by far the best as a vegetarian (with options to add on meat and fish proteins if you like). They package things like you want, and they are a bit more eco-friendly than the others, plus their recipes are fantastic.

The one drawback is that they are a tad more expensive, but the portions are ENORMOUS in my experience.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 12:20 PM on May 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Great suggestions, all! I've heard of Sunbasket but haven't looked into specifics. GreenChef also sounds worth a try. Thanks for all your insights. I used to despise cooking, but have come to love it with the help of the services I mentioned before. Time to branch out!
posted by mickeefynn at 1:06 PM on May 16, 2018

I've done the HelloFresh vegetarian option. The ingredients are very well organized and the meals are decent, but you don't get to choose from a variety of dishes (which seems to be the reason you're not interested, right?), and there is a healthy amount of repeat over the months.

I've also done Purple Carrot, which is vegan. The ingredients are MOSTLY organized into labeled bags, with the occasional loose thing, and occasionally there is an ingredient in one bag that you have to also use for another (like a whole head of garlic that's for all three meals). The meals are very tasty and savory, pretty much zero repeats in a year, and I don't miss the dairy or egg at all. (Sometimes I sub my own butter in for the "vegan butter" or sprinkle some cheese at the end, if I have it on hand). You also don't get to choose from a variety of dishes, but if you don't like the PC dishes, they give you the option of switching to their TB12 meals instead (vegan, gluten free, high in protein) for a slightly higher price. I was surprised to find I enjoy those as well
posted by lampoil at 2:03 PM on May 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I love these responses! I want to try them all! I know how skillfully these chefs are at pairing flavors and teaching process. I have learned SO much about the art of cooking since we've been using these services.
posted by mickeefynn at 3:01 PM on May 16, 2018

I’ve been getting saffronfix which has recently morphed into globalbelly - I’ve enjoyed most of the vegetarian Indian dishes and should soon find out if the Thai dishes are good too.
posted by cindywho at 3:22 PM on May 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

We were doing a mix of Blue Apron and Hello Fresh non-vegetarian meals, but switched to Hello Fresh’s vegetarian option about a month ago. We’re really happy with it, although it would be nice if they offered the ability to choose your meals.
posted by jshort at 11:41 PM on May 16, 2018

Response by poster: We've been really loving Hello Fresh. But it seems they're having a tough time gearing up for enough vegetarian variety to keep us happy. (btw... I love the grilling cheese meal!). Really hoping they come around with lentils, tofu, tempe, and other goodies to warrant just staying w/ them. Home Chef offers occasional veggie meals but not w/ enough consistancy to be able to rely on their service every week for all veggie meals
posted by mickeefynn at 7:08 AM on May 17, 2018

I'm not sure I'm understanding you correctly, but if the problem is that you can't find all the Blue Apron ingredients once you've stuffed them in your fridge, perhaps just sort them into separate bags before you put them away.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:25 PM on May 18, 2018

Response by poster: well... that requires the user to do the tedious stuff. Do not want tedious.
posted by mickeefynn at 12:45 PM on June 15, 2018

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