Sun Basket offers meals with organic and clean ingredients, chef-inspired recipes, and a wide variety of meal plans. We tried out a week of meals to see if it’s worth the money.
- Recipes from award-winning chef
- Organic produce and clean ingredients
- Lots of plans to meet special dietary needs
- Family plan available
- Ingredients are pre-measured
- Family Plan meal choices are limited
- Doesn’t ship everywhere
- More expensive than some competitors
- Some recipes involve a lot of work
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Sun Basket wants everyone to be so happy and healthy because of their meal choices that they shine like the sun. The little (or big) cynic inside me scoffs at such sentiment, but the realist in me saw the menu options, and after salivating for a moment or two, decided it was worth taking a closer look. Sun Basket offers meals with organic and clean ingredients, chef-inspired recipes from the award-winning culinary expert Justine Kelly, and a wide variety of meal plans to choose from. At first glance, Sun Basket seems like a great option. But what’s the catch? I signed up for a week of meal recipes to find out everything I could. Here’s the scoop.
Sun Basket is an easy to use meal kit delivery service. Signup is simple, picking your meals is simple, and deliveries are simple. You just go to the website and sign up. Add in your email address and choose a password (you can also sign in using Facebook, points for convenience). Now, pick a plan, including how many people you want to cook for, how many recipes you want for the week, which dietary preference you want (quick and easy, paleo, etc.), and which week you’re ordering for. Finally, add in your delivery and payment info to complete the process.
Nice and simple. Recipes, on the other hand, could use a little work. By that, I mean, I had to work a little too hard to get these meals ready. I know meal kits are a lot about the experience of cooking your own meal from scratch, and I’m all for that (mostly). But I don’t want to have to grate, chop, or press garlic. Most recipes require you to wash, peel, slice, and fry vegetables. And then the sauces are a whole other story. Maybe for someone else, this would be ok, but that’s a little too much hands-on for me.
When my box arrived, I was really happy to see how well-organized everything was. Unlike some services like EveryPlate, Sun Basket puts each recipe into its own bag, so there’s no confusion about which ingredients go with which recipe. The box also comes with a nice booklet with the recipes, colorful pictures, and full nutrition information.
As I already mentioned, putting together the meals was really complicated. I don’t want to slice apricots to make a sauce. That’s more work than I bargained for, and that took away from my experience a lot. But I should emphasize that many people enjoy and are actually looking forward to the cooking process. So, if that’s you, this won’t be a drawback.
At long last, I was ready to sit down to my meal. Of all the meals I tested, I think I liked the fettuccine alfredo with Italian salad the best. But everything I made came out really good, with lots of flavor, and a fun mix of tastes.
Sun Basket earned full points for variety on all fronts. It’s got a huge selection of special dietary needs plans, so if you have a particular diet you’re following, health condition you need to cater to, or are just finicky about what you eat, you can probably get your fill from Sun Basket. Meal plan options include:
- Lean & clean
- Quick & Easy
- Chef’s Choice
That’s a really good variety of plans to choose from. You also get 18 different meals to choose from every single week. That is leagues above the rest of the competitors like Green Chef or BistroMD that only offers four to six meal options. Of course, a lot of the dishes overlap into different plans. For example, the chicken breast with salsa verde and succotash is on both the Lean & Clean and the Diabetes-Friendly menus. But that makes sense, and I don’t think it detracts from the wide variety of choices you get.
The menu options themselves are pretty exotic too, so you’re getting a real education in cultural cuisine. Menus change every week, but at the time that I was writing this review, here were a few of the impressive-sounding meals on offer (how it tastes I’ll get to shortly):
- Seared steaks with bagna cauda, cauliflower, and radishes
- Chilaquiles verde with fried eggs and queso fresco
- Okonomiyaki savory pancakes with smoky flaked sole
- Korean rice bowls with sticky sweet rice and barbeque chicken skewers
Just from reading the menu options (and looking at the pictures), you can tell that Sun Basket is trying to give you a taste from as many places around the world as possible. I like this idea. It opens your palette and gives you a chance to taste authentic, cultural cuisine from every corner of the globe without having to fork over the airfare. Nice.
Sun Basket also has a decent variety of add-on items like soups, snacks, salads, and dips. There’s an excellent spinach-artichoke dip that I love to eat with Doritos (is that against the rules?). Sun Basket also offers organic veggie packs and gluten-free crackers to dip into these spreads.
Sun Basket has a lot of dietary needs plans, but it also has a variety of pricing plans to choose from. There are two basic categories, and then you can decide how many people you want to cook for. Here’s a breakdown of Sun Basket’s general pricing structure:
|Classic Menu||Family Plan|
|Price per serving for 2 people||$11.99||N/A|
|Price per serving for 4 people||$11.99||$10.99|
|Number of recipes per week||3||2, 3, 4 depending on your choice|
|Number of recipes you can choose from each week||18||5|
There are a few differences between the Classic and Family plans. For one thing, the Classic Plan gives you access to the full menu options to choose from. That’s 18 recipes spanning all of the plans available through Sun Basket (paleo, vegetarian, carb-conscious, etc.). The Family Plan limits your selection to six family-friendly meal options from the Chef’s Choice or Vegetarian Meal plans. Six is still a pretty good variety for a week’s worth of food planning, but if you or your kids don’t like one of the meal options, you might be stuck repeating meals in a single week.
It’s great that Sun Basket offers kid-friendly meals, though. Most meal kit delivery services focus on more grown-up tastes and preferences, especially since a lot of people order these kits to make a fun date night (i.e., no kids involved…I hope). But there’s still a huge market of families who want to give their kids healthy, home-cooked meals but don’t have the time. The addition of a kid-friendly menu earns Sun Basket a lot of points for thinking of everyone.
If you’re looking for the most variety, choose the Classic Plan. If you want more kid-friendly recipes, stick with the Family Plan. By the way, the Family Plan comes with two, three, or four recipes each week and the meals come in four adult-sized portions. This means that if you have younger kids, you might end up with leftovers that you can have for lunches during the week also, making Sun Basket a better value for money.
Here’s where Sun Basket shines and where I thought I’d shed a little light on the shortcomings:
- Recipes from award-winning chef: In terms of flavor, variety, and new and interesting tastes, Sun Basket really hits the spot. The meals are delicious and eclectic.
- Organic produce and clean ingredients: If you’re looking for clean eating, this is the place. Sun Basket uses 100% organic, antibiotic and hormone free meats and eggs, and wild-caught seafood recommended by Best Choice or Good Alternative.
- Lots of plans to meet special dietary needs: This is a good option for you if you’re trying to stick to a specific type of diet plan. With all the options, your diet is bound to be covered.
- Family plan available: A major plus for Sun Basket, the Family Plan lets you feed families with kid-friendly and large-portioned meals that really make that dollar stretch.
- Ingredients are pre-measured: Convenience, check. With all the chopping you have to do, you’re going to appreciate this slice of convenience.
- Choose your own recipes or get the Chef Selections: Sometimes you feel like a nut, and sometimes you don’t. When you’re in the mood to be choosy, pick your own menu. When you don’t have the patience, let Sun Basket do it for you.
- Lots of information upfront: I like that there is all the nutrition information and cooking instructions available upfront. This way, you can plan your meals according to your diet and decide if the meal is too much work for you before you order.
- Sustainability all the way: All packaging is recyclable and compostable, the fish are caught using low-impact fishing methods, farmers use sustainable crop rotation and water efficiency, and Sun Basket even partners with Feeding America, food banks, and employment programs. That should make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
- Family Plan meal choices are limited: As I said, you only get six meals to choose from for the week. If you opt for four recipes a week and your family doesn’t like one or two of them, you’re still ok. But any more than that and you’ll end up doubling up on one or two nights of the week.
- Doesn’t ship everywhere: Sun Basket ships to a lot of places, but not everywhere across the United States. You won’t be able to use this service if you live in Arkansas, Hawaii, Montana, and select areas in New Mexico.
- More expensive than some competitors: Sun Basket uses all organic, recyclable, and fresh ingredients. So naturally, the cost of these meals is going to be higher than in other places. A service like EveryPlate offers meals for $4.99 a pop though, so you’d better really be committed to clean eating if you want to stomach this bill.
Sun Basket is an excellent choice if you are:
- People who care about the environment and/or eating clean: Sun Basket is one of the most reliable, healthiest, and cleanest meal kit delivery services in the industry. All of the ingredients are responsibly-sourced and as clean as you get. So, if this is a priority to you, Sun Basket is the way to go.
- Families looking for healthier, faster options to takeout (or pasta again): Sun Basket offers a Family Plan that makes feeding yourself and the kids a good, nutritious, and delicious meal up to four nights a week possible. As I said, you can usually get a leftover meal or two out of this plan also.
- People with specific dietary needs: Sticking to a strict diet can be rough, but having a meal plan that caters to your dietary needs makes it a lot easier. Sun Basket’s got the specialty menus you need to succeed.
On the other hand, Sun Basket isn’t for you if:
- You’re on a budget: These meals aren’t cheap.
- You don’t have time (or don’t like) to cook: These meals aren’t fast.
- You don’t like exotic: These meals are fun and zesty. If you like regular, run of the mill, look elsewhere.
Sun Basket has a good reputation in the industry, and after trying out the service, I can see why. The food is delicious, the variety is incomparable, and the ordering process is easy. It’s not the cheapest plan out there (it’s not the most expensive either, btw), so be ready to pay for top-quality ingredients, chef-inspired recipes, and hearty, healthy meals.
Topics: Green Living • Reviews • Smart Spending