I tried a popular meal kit for a week—is it worth your money?
Here's what happened when I got "delivery" for dinner.
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Beginning December 1, 2019, Plated will no longer be offering their subscription service. Plated meals will still be sold at certain stores across the country. Check out our roundup of the best meal kit delivery services for other options.
I love cooking. Honestly, it’s my favorite activity (followed by eating and grocery shopping). Few things get me more excited than looking up new recipes and watching cooking videos on YouTube. With a busy schedule and not too much effort in planning, my meals have gotten pretty simple and boring lately. So when my friend gave me a coupon code for a free box from Plated, I immediately snagged the deal.
Plated is one of those fancy meal kit delivery services everyone’s been talking about that promises quality ingredients and delicious recipes. Plus, there’s a dessert option. After cheffing up three of their meals one week, I really enjoyed it, but I don't think I'll be getting a box every week.
The meal options
Before Plated gives you your meal options for the week they ask you a few questions about the food you like and any dietary preferences—for me that meant choosing every flavor they offered (I told you I really like food!) and checking the vegetarian box. I thought this was a really engaging and semi-accurate way to determine they meals they’ll choose for you.
Plated offers a ton on variety compared to other meal kit delivery services. Each week, you have 20 meal options to choose from, but your options are more limited if you’re a vegetarian like me. I could choose two, three, or four servings of the recipes, and pick the delivery day of the week.
I decided to go with two servings of three recipes, which I figured would be enough food for my dinners that week and then some. These are the recipes that Plated chose for me:
- White Pizza with Asparagus, Gruyere, and Ricotta
- Mushroom Cavatelli with Mascarpone and Chives
- Vegetable Tostadas with Creamy Mexican Street Corn
Honestly, all these meals looked absolutely delicious and they weren’t things I would typically make on my own. My only real issue with the vegetarian options from Plated, though, was that the meals were very carb- and cheese-heavy, which isn’t how I usually eat. It would have been nice to see more Buddha bowls, stir-frys, or veggie burgers, rather than pasta and cheese. Contrary to popular belief, that isn’t what all vegetarians eat. Nonetheless, I was going to make these dishes anyway.
The cooking experience
When my Plated box arrived, I was very excited. I ripped through the box and pulled out the ingredients—each nicely packaged in separate bags for each recipe with some vegetables in bags of their own. Although I thought I kept everything together, I did, unfortunately, mess up.
I accidentally used the mushrooms for the tostadas in the mushroom pasta (whomp, whomp), leaving my tostadas less plump. I do take full responsibility for not reading the directions entirely, but it would have been nice if the loose bags were labeled for each recipe, too.
Once I got cooking, I really understood the hype surrounding these meal kits. As a self-proclaimed home chef, I didn’t find the meals too difficult to make and each one took just as long as the suggested prep time. Since this wasn't food I typically cook, I had fun seeing the meals come together and using skills like rolling out pizza dough—something I haven’t done in years.
Once the food was happily in my belly, I didn't completely dread the clean up. These particular meals didn't require too many bowls, which is a common complaint with these meal boxes, so it only took a few minutes to wash everything.
Most of the meals I cooked on my own and each made more than enough for two meals, so I had my dinners set for the week. I also made the last meal with my roommate, so I can confirm this is a fun date night idea for couples and BFFs.
All the recipes we're delicious, but as someone who doesn’t eat a lot of cheese or pasta all too often, I did feel a bit unwell and bloated (tmi?) after eating them. I do consider them more as something I would order at a restaurant as a “treat,” but since they were so good, I'm going to try to recreate the dishes in a more healthy way.
What it costs
Three 2-serving meals cost $71.70, which comes to $11.95 per meal. However, meals for 3 or 4 people come to $9.95 per meal. This is pretty standard pricing compared to other popular meal kits—but it still seems a bit pricey to me.
I usually try to spend less than $50 on groceries each week, putting a weekly Plated box a bit out of my budget. But if you compare the costs to eating out three nights a week, it’s definitely a lot more affordable.
The big appeal with these meal kits is that you don’t have to go grocery shopping for the meal. I got a chance to use ingredients I don’t typically buy and I had some leftover ingredients when all was said and done (except for mushrooms). Plated even gave some cute suggestions on how to use them.
Overall, I really enjoyed Plated. A meal kit delivery service is a great way to try new recipes, learn new cooking techniques, and even cook with others. I would definitely use it again, but because of the price, I wouldn’t use it every week. Since there are so many meal options each week and members have the ability to skips weeks, I will probably wait for a week when the vegetarian options are more my eating style (i.e. less bread and cheese).
Prices are accurate at the time of publication, but may change over time.