Kitchen & Cooking

This grocery delivery service makes it easy to eat healthy

Hungryroot promises quick meals that are nutritious and delicious

A collection of salads, pasta, and toppings from Hungryroot Credit: Hungryroot

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I don’t know about you, but my October is already off to a weird start. Work is hectic, school is back in session, and all I want to do is curl up and watch horror movies for about a week straight. When it comes to cooking...I have had more inspired days. But with so much to do and my motivation on the decline, I've found that this is the perfect time to try out a new grocery delivery service.

I was curious to try Hungryroot, since it seemed like it might be devoid of some issues I've had with meal kits in the past. Hungryroot, a grocery delivery service, promises flexibility, recipes with plenty of wiggle room, and food that is just as nutritious as it is delicious. Over the course of a week, I tried four meals from Hungryroot—and I'm still working through some of the remaining groceries. Here's how it went.

What is Hungryroot?

Taco ingredients
Credit: Reviewed / Tessa Bahoosh

I liked the fact that Hungryroot doesn't portion every ingredient for their recipes, so I finished the week with tortillas and cashew cheese left over.

The simplest way to describe Hungryroot is that it’s a personalized grocery delivery service that also includes recipes. It’s not a traditional meal kit, where each ingredient is planned and portioned to make an exact number of meals.

When you sign up for Hungryroot, you answer a quick questionnaire about your food preferences, and then the service structures your cart around meals that fit your tastes and diet. It's basically the happy medium between a meal kit and an online grocer, sending you both raw foods and specific instructions on how to prepare them.

Hungryroot’s mission is to provide meals that are healthy, delicious, and super easy to make. To keep cooking simple, boxes come with a combination of prepared food and ready-to-cook groceries.

What does this actually mean? Here’s one example: My Hungryroot box included all the ingredients to make vegan tacos, topped with bean salad and cheesy Brussels sprouts. The bean salad was already prepared, so all I had to do was heat everything up and cook the Brussels sprouts. If you’re trying to eat well while also avoiding complicated or time-consuming recipes, Hungryroot could be right for you.

What I like about Hungryroot

Grain bowl
Credit: Reviewed / Tessa Bahoosh

The salmon grain bowl was my favorite meal in the box and I have not stopped dreaming of it since.

It suited my tastes and offered some surprises

First things first—each meal I made from my Hungryroot box was fresh and tasty. Overall, Hungryroot’s offerings fit right into my normal diet, but I'm happy to say there were also some new and surprising additions that I’ll definitely revisit. I roast Brussels sprouts frequently, but I loved them pan fried with cashew cheese. My hands-down favorite meal was the salmon grain bowl, especially its tangy lemon tahini dressing.

The untouchable breakout hit of my box, though, was also the least conventional item—the black bean brownie batter. Now, let me be up-front: I buy pasta made out of lentils. I make cake with aquafaba. I am, in short, exactly the type of person who is predisposed to like this kind of thing. So if you don’t trust me when I say this was incredibly delicious, trust my girlfriend, a dessert savant and self-identified “vegan food skeptic.”

The moment she tried the brownie batter, her eyes went round with amazement—and then I spent the rest of the week catching her in the middle of the work day, digging through the fridge to steal a bite at 1 p.m. The black bean batter was super chocolatey, and it had the perfectly fudgy texture of a slightly under-baked traditional brownie. (One note: We tried this egg-free treat both raw and baked, and agreed that it was far superior raw.)

It felt like I was making a good choice for my body

When it comes to conventional meal kits, I tend to have the same complaint—they’re often pretty heavy, with lots of dairy and thick gravies, and sometimes my stomach is just not up for it. After eating food from Hungryroot, on the other hand, I felt really good. With plenty of vegetarian, gluten-free, and lactose-free options, it was easy to stick to meals that I knew would work well for me.

I don’t think Hungryroot’s commitment to health is just branding, either. Based on the nutrition information I found in my box and online, I actually felt satisfied that I was getting the protein, fiber, and calories I needed. It’s always a good idea to do your own research about your food, but I was pleasantly surprised by the nutritional value in my Hungryroot box, especially compared to meal kits I’ve tried in the past.

It’s just as convenient as it promises

Hungryroot says it will help you get dinner on the table fast, and it definitely lives up to that promise. My order included four recipes—a turkey burger, vegan tacos, a salmon grain bowl, and chickpea pasta with meatballs. Not counting the time spent boiling pasta water, none of these took me more than 10 minutes to put together. Grains and meats were pre-cooked, so the only real work was warming the ingredients, preparing the produce, and plating the meal.

It’s a starting point for culinary experimentation

One of my favorite things about Hungryroot is that it encourages improvisation. Yes, it gives you simple recipes and all the groceries you need, but it also suggests extra ingredients to add and encourages you to make adjustments. It doesn’t feel like Hungryroot is trying to keep you dependent on their weekly supply of recipes. Instead, they give you plenty of room to experiment, and provide you with enough food that you will likely have groceries left over.

I loved that it felt like Hungryroot was encouraging me to integrate new grocery items and ideas into my regular diet, instead of making me rely entirely on pre-packaged, pre-portioned ingredients, and on a very specific list of curated recipes.

What I don't like about Hungryroot

Tacos
Credit: Reviewed / Tessa Bahoosh

I loved the cheesy Brussels sprouts, but I wish I had added a few more toppings.

My meal satisfaction varied

While I enjoyed every meal I tried from Hungryroot, some of my meals were much more substantial than others. The salmon grain bowl was super satisfying, but the vegan tacos could’ve used one or two extra fillings (I wish I had thought to bulk it up with some fillings of my own!). The tacos in particular felt pretty straight-forward. To justify their inclusion in the box, I wish they’d either been more substantial, or more stand-out.

Some meals played it safe

While I enjoyed my meals and found them refreshingly stress-free, about half of them felt like meals I’d likely be making anyway. It was fun to try chickpea pasta, but rotini and meatballs are so well integrated into my diet already, it didn't really feel necessary to receive them in a specialized delivery box. I tossed in some zucchini to add extra freshness and crunch to the pasta, and I was glad I did.

Hungryroot provides a great starting point for lots of meals, but I think you’ll have your best experience if you’re willing to add extra ingredients to some of the simpler meals—or if you care more about convenience than novelty.

How much does Hungryroot cost?

Turkey burger
Credit: Reviewed / Tessa Bahoosh

Like the meatballs that came with my pasta, the turkey burger arrived fully cooked.

The cost of your Hungryroot haul will vary, but the average hovers between $60 and $100. My meals were $9.99 per serving, so requesting 8 meal servings and a handful of snacks took me to around $84. For the most up-to-date pricing, check out the plans available on Hungryroot’s website.

Is Hungryroot a good way to plan meals?

Salmon bowl ingredients
Credit: Reviewed / Tessa Bahoosh

My Hungryroot box came with fresh veggies and cooked grains and meat, making dinner as quick as possible.

Whenever I try a new subscription box or delivery service, I ask the same questions: Who is this for? Is it worth the money? Is it providing something that I couldn't easily get for myself?

As someone who enjoys both cooking and grocery shopping, it’s easy for me to be skeptical of specialized grocery services. When you sign up for an automated delivery service, you do give up some control over what you're getting. That being said, I tried Hungryroot at the exact moment I needed it.

The week I tried Hungryroot was also one of my first weeks of back to graduate school. Between school and work, I was feeling busy, tired, unmotivated to cook, and unhealthy. It was a real gift that Hungryroot made it possible for me to continue eating meals that felt healthy, tasted great, and fit with my dietary preferences—and only took 10 minutes out of my down time.

The meals I tried from Hungryroot were pretty similar to my normal diet, but there were enough standout and unique items to make the experience fun and fresh. As with practically any subscription service, Hungryroot is probably going to cost you more than it would to go bargain-hunting. Considering the amount of food I received and the quality of the items, though, it felt like a pretty reasonable price tag. Which leaves me with my final question—who is this for?

I think that Hungryroot is perfect for a very specific demographic. It makes a lot of sense for people who want to eat well, but don't have enough time, motivation, or interest to cook elaborate meals.

To my surprise, in the week that I tried Hungryroot, I fell squarely in this demographic. I probably won't be that person every week—in general, I really enjoy taking my time with meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking. But at this moment, when nothing sounds better than alternating sleeping and eating delicious, wholesome meals, Hungryroot has been perfect.

Try Hungryroot

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