EATS // Testing Out Plated: Meal Kits, Delivered.

I’ll admit, when I first heard about Plated, I wasn’t sure it was for me. Plated is a meal kit delivery service, where you pre-select meals that you’d like to make, and they will deliver all the pre-portioned fresh and seasonal ingredients needed to make those meals. While I see the benefits of these sort of services– convenience, less waste, and easy to follow instructions, I tend to be one of those all-in types of people. For example, when I cook, I want to make it completely from scratch, no matter how much more difficult or even wasteful this may be. However, some of my closest friends began using these similar services and totally loved it. And so, I had to test it out for myself.  Can’t knock it before trying it, right? Check out my full candid recap and a sweet little perk below.

Plated menu

I first began by choosing my meals online (they also have an app). I’ll admit, the variety is awesome. Every week, there are nine different recipes to choose from, including options for vegetarians and omnivores. Although I’m not vegetarian, I ended up choosing two vegetarian recipes, just because they’re a little different from what I normally cook. I chose chipotle black bean burgers with roasted red peppers and slaw & creamy zucchini orzo with goat cheese and heirloom tomatoes. Yum. You had me at heirloom tomatoes…

Here’s a fair warning: the package comes in a huge lined box that is not handy to take on public transportation. Immediately, I’m really into the details of the package design. I love the little saying on the outside and the fonts they used. Yep, I care about those things.

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Everything is nicely sealed into the pre-lined box, which means the box is ok to sit in your office for few hours until you go home. The food was also packaged separately. The tomatoes were in a breathable plastic container, like the ones at your grocery store, and the herbs in a little envelope. The only thing that struck me as odd was the hamburger buns. They were sent in a plastic bag, and sadly, got squished in the process. Besides that, everything nicely sorted in their own little homes, which fit my obsessive compulsive tendencies.

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Then, off to cooking! Each recipe had it’s own set of directions, complete with step-by-step pictures. As one who has to take similar photos for my own blog posts, I definitely appreciate the effort in creating these. The only thing is that sometimes, we couldn’t tell if the picture represented the beginning of the step or the end? I guess once we have step by step photos, it makes me and A more neurotic and anxious about making sure it looks exactly like the photo.

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Steps are easy to follow for chefs of any level. Key words are bolded so it’s easier to pull out exactly what ingredient goes in each step.

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The total cook times were pretty accurate, although it took us a little longer. Probably because we’re doing it full paparazzi style with me hovering with my camera and stopping between each step.

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Finally, the finished product! It tasted great. I also took it to my book club to get more tasters, and it was book club approved :). I also like that they give you ideas for drink pairings for your food! For the orzo, they recommended a Sancerre.

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Overall, I definitely see the benefits of Plated. Below is a little overview of the pros and cons to help you easily decide:

Pros:
—No need to buy individual ingredients, less waste
—No need to grocery shop
—Less prep
—Convenient
—Step by step instructions
—Variety
—Great for beginners. No complicated kitchenware required!

Cons: 
—Need to cook it ASAP or else food can spoil
—Hard to transport if it’s not delivered directly home
—If you like the recipe, it’ll be hard to recreate as you don’t know the measurements of each ingredient
—Can’t change your mind! For me, it’s hard to know what I’ll want to eat a week ahead of time. However, once you choose what you want, you gotta cook it. Mainly more of an issue for fickle people like me :).

In general, there’s not many cons. It’s ideal for those who have busy lives, but value fresh food and want to try their hand in the kitchen. Decided it’s for you? Sign up here and get two free plates with the purchase of four plates. One plate = one meal, although I would even say you could stretch one plate into 1 or 2 meals, they are generous portions. Let me know what you think of Plated below in the comments!

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