A couple of months ago, I saw a Facebook ad for Plated – a “meal-in-a-box” service that seeks to make dinner “fun, easy and delicious.”
The concept is very appealing — they do all the work: chefs plan the meals, they portion out the ingredients, send you fresh ingredients, and tell you how to put it all together.
I spend so much time looking up recipes, and so much money on ingredients that yield leftovers but that I only use once. So I was delighted to find this service that plans gourmet meals for you, and goes one step further than meal-planning services like emeals by sending you the ingredients!
Unfortunately, the first box I received was mailed a couple of days late, so I couldn’t use it. I don’t know what happened, but I called Plated and they let me place another order with no extra money. So, once I finally received a usable box, I was excited to dig in.
First impression: LOVE!
The box was so well-organized, and I loved seeing all of the fresh ingredients. I received four plates: 2 Beef Bibimbap and 2 Chicken Souvlaki. These are dishes that I never would have made on my own, so it was a plus to be able to make meals that were different from our normal made-at-home meals.
The box is recyclable and degradable, and I love that you can see all of the ingredients when you open it.
I was most excited to try the Beef Bibimbap, a Korean mixed rice dish that usually incorporates leftovers. It had flank steak, an English cucumber, spinach, bean sprouts, garlic, mushrooms (I didn’t use those), Sriricha (if David hadn’t already discovered his love for this, he would have then!), sushi rice, and all of the sauces with the exact portions. How cute are these soy sauce packets?!
Some of the recipes, like this one, call for ingredients you have at home. For this dish, I had to add two eggs, canola oil, water, and salt and pepper. Not bad.
This dish was very easy to make. Cook rice, prep the veggies, cook the steak, fry the egg, and assemble. Easy peasy.
Overall impression of the Beef Bibimbap dish: Easy to make, good flavor, but we won’t cook it again. Perhaps there was too much sesame oil, or the fact that the recipe called for the meat to be medium rare (I don’t like my meat to bleed when I eat it) but it was a little too … something for us. But we enjoyed the process, and eating as usual!
Next up: Chicken Souvlaki! We love Greek food, and this was David’s favorite of the two dishes. Again, it was very easy to make with very easy-to-follow instructions.
This dish took a little longer because we had to marinate the chicken. But the only ingredients we had to add were olive oil, salt and pepper.
I really enjoyed the homemade tzatziki, and I saved that recipe to make again (you also get the recipe cards with all the ingredients and steps to save for later!). The chicken, the pita and the side salad were all delicious.
Overall impression: We really enjoyed both of these “plates” — both the cooking process and eating the food! But there’s still some work you have to do at home; you have to cook it (and not burn it!). But it was easy, and I really enjoyed trying out some different recipes.
- You get to choose the plates you want. And they have a large variety of meals that differ from week to week.
- You get everything pre-portioned so you don’t have to pay for a full-size bottle of a special ingredient that you’ll only use once.
- The ingredients are very fresh.
- You don’t have to pay a monthly membership fee. But if you do become a member, you get a discount on the weekly plates. Of course you still have to pay for each plate.
- Members save 20% off of regular menu orders ($3 per plate).
- For a few weeks after we made these dishes, I would go on the website to order more. But I couldn’t find anything I wanted; either the dishes I wanted were sold out already, or they didn’t offer anything that week that appealed to me.
- It’s a little expensive: $15 per meal per person without a membership. For two people that’s $30 per meal, which would cover a meal out at certain restaurants.
- You have to order a minimum of 4 plates (each dish comes with two plates/ services), bringing the total for one delivery to $60 per week.
- The delivery day for my area is only on Saturday, and we are usually away from the house almost all day on Saturdays.
Verdict: Good, but I’m not going to become a member. I’ll keep checking the Plated.com website when I think about to see if there are any dishes I want to order. These special meals are great for the weekend when David and I can cook together, and want something different. But it just depends on if they offer anything that we feel is worth $60!
Disclaimer: I ordered from Plated.com and wrote this review on my own accord; I did not receive any kind of compensation from the company.