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Kitchen & Cooking

Our favorite pre-made meal kit now offers plant-based options

Just add heat.

Packaging of three Freshly Purely Plant meals Credit: Freshly

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There’s a reason Freshly is the best pre-made meal kit we’ve ever tested: It’s delicious, high quality, and effortless to prepare. So we were excited to hear about its new line, Freshly Purely Plant, which offers plant-based meals with the same microwavable convenience of its steak and chicken parm.

Because Freshly aims to satisfy “flexitarians”—or people who eat plant-based on occasion—as much as vegetarians, we had a meat-eater try these meals to see how they stood up to Freshly’s classic offerings, and how filling they were in comparison.

About Freshly Purely Plant

Six bowls full of Freshly Purely Plant meals
Credit: Freshly

Freshly's Purely Plant options include dairy-free cauliflower mac & cheese with broccoli, a deconstructed plant-based burrito bowl, and more.

Freshly has built its business around delivering pre-made, never-frozen, chef-prepared meals to customers who then only need to pop trays in a microwave for a few minutes. We’ve reviewed Freshly extensively and stand by the taste and high-quality ingredients that make it our favorite service among all the pre-made meal kits we’ve tested.

Purely Plant meals feature ingredients like lentil pasta, coconut milk, chickpeas, veggies, and more to keep them plant-based and dairy-free. We tried the Unwrapped Salsa Verde Burrito, Indian-Spiced Chickpea Curry Bowl, Farmstead Baked Lentil Pasta, and Buffalo Cauliflower Mac & Cheeze. These pre-made meals start at $8.49 each as part of Freshly’s existing plans of 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 meals.

What we like about Freshly Purely Plant

A bowl of Freshly Purely Plant lentil pasta
Credit: Freshly

This lentil pasta bowl was one of the tastiest dishes we tried.

These meals taste great

After testing Freshly several different times, I’m no longer surprised that the meals are so tasty, but I was impressed with other elements this time around. The Buffalo Cauliflower Mac & Cheeze was creamier than expected, considering it’s a dairy-free dish. The Farmstead Baked Lentil Pasta was so yummy that it opened me up to the idea of incorporating more lentils into my day-to-day meal planning.

They all hold up well to microwaving, as well. All of the pastas and vegetables held their shape and integrity after a few minutes on high.

It makes eating plant-based more approachable

As someone who grew up on traditional meat and potatoes meals, eating plant-based (especially for dinner) is not something that comes easily to me. I tend to get stuck in the thinking that plant-based has to equal salad or tofu, neither of which sound as appetizing on a chilly fall day as a bowl of chili or a burger.

Purely Plant offers alternative protein sources that taste great and don’t require me to learn how to use another kitchen tool. (Though if you are interested in tofu, our cooking editor swears by this tofu press.)

What we don’t like

A bowl of Freshly's Indian curry dish.
Credit: Freshly

Freshly's Indian-spiced curry bowl is tasty, but not as filling as some of the Freshly meals with meat.

They’re slightly less filling than the meals with meat

This is a minor issue, but as someone who has tried Freshly’s meals with steak and chicken, these plant-based options were slightly less filling. They were hearty enough for a solid lunch, but I found myself not fully satisfied with dinner. It wouldn’t affect my decision to order these meals again, but it’s something to be aware of if you tend to like a heartier meal at the end of a long day.

Should you buy Freshly Purely Plant meals?

Left: Packaging for Freshly's burrito dish; right: Freshly's burrito dish in a bowl.
Credit: Freshly

Freshly dishes reheat so well, you'd never know they were microwaved.

Yes, especially if you’re looking to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet. As someone who typically has meat, fish or poultry with dinner, it was interesting to explore legumes as protein sources instead, especially considering the microwave aspect removed the learning curve of cooking those new foods. The taste is what we’ve come to expect from Freshly, and the fridge-to-table time is less than five minutes—truly a gift on busy weeknights.

If you’re still on the hunt for a meal kit to fit your diet, check out the best pre-made meal kits we’ve tested. And if you’re feeling more ambitious, we can also recommend the best meal kits that involve all the prep work and cooking you’re up for.

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