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Best Meal Delivery for Omnivore Households
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Best Brunch Offerings
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Best Pre-Made Meals
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Best Pre-Packaged Vegetarian Sides
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Between packed schedules, commute times, and all the other obstacles that keep you from your kitchen, cooking can quickly become a juggling act. Plant-based diets require even more creativity, but having vegetarian meal delivery can take the guesswork out of mealtimes.
Services like Green Chef, Sunbasket, and HelloFresh all provide sustainably sourced ingredients to make tasty dishes that will supplement a vegetarian diet. Using a meal delivery service not only saves time but also allows you to be more selective with what you put in your body. When walking down a grocery aisle, you can’t always be sure where your food comes from, but the companies in this roundup rely on sustainable farming practices to get top-quality produce and ingredients. Meal kits also give you the freedom to take control of your kitchen. If you prefer to prepare the food yourself, there are services designed for that, just as there are pre-made meal options that you can simply heat up in the oven or microwave. Meal delivery is a choose-your-own-adventure, so you can create satisfying plant-based meals without all the stress.
The Best Vegetarian Meal Delivery Services for 2021:
What Can Vegetarians Eat?
Vegetarian tends to be used as a cover-all word for non-meat, but there are actually four distinct categories of vegetarians, notes Tamar Samuels, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist and co-founder of Culina Health. Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians do not eat any meat but will eat dairy products (cheese, milk, yogurt, cream, ice cream, etc.) and eggs. Lacto-Vegetarians do not eat meat or eggs, but will consume dairy products. Ovo-Vegetarians will eat eggs, but not meat and dairy. Vegans do not eat any animal products including meat, dairy, eggs, and sometimes honey. “Flexitarian and plant-based diets are less clearly defined and include mostly plants as the basis of the diet, with the occasional addition of animal-derived foods-usually from ethically sourced/local sources,” Samuels says. “Some vegetarians also choose to only eat locally sourced and seasonal foods.”
Generally, a vegetarian diet will include foods such as fruits and vegetables, plant-based proteins, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats. “[These] have been shown to be health-supportive and successful at reducing the risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, prediabetes/diabetes, and insulin resistance among other conditions,” Alice Figueroa, MPH, RDN, CDN, a New York-based registered dietitian nutritionist, cookbook author, and founder of Alice in Foodieland, says. Some examples of these include:
Fruits & Vegetables: berries, leafy greens, pineapple, onions, broccoli, asparagus
Plant-Based Proteins: soy milk, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, seitan, edamame
Whole Grains: rice (white and brown), millet, amaranth, quinoa, barley, oats, teft, spelt, buckwheat groats, bulgur
Heart-Healthy Fats: seeds (flax, chia, pumpkin, sunflower, basil, sesame seed), nuts (almonds, pecans, macadamia, Brazil), avocado, olives, olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut (in moderation)
Essentially, you just want to make sure you’re getting your daily nutritional requirements from the foods you’re eating.
What Are the Best Sources of Protein for a Vegetarian?
The top five plant-based sources of protein are black beans, soybeans, almonds, oatmeal, and hemp seeds, according to Dr. Vikki Petersen, CCN, DC, a certified clinical nutritionist and doctor of chiropractic based in Silicon Valley.
“Daily protein needs vary depending on what kind and how much physical activity you do, your age, gender, and certain medical conditions,” adds Samuels, who says that lentils, chickpeas, nuts, seeds, edamame, tofu, tempeh, soy milk, cooked quinoa, nut butter, and legumes are also great sources of protein.
“Most adults should aim to consume about 0.8 grams of protein/kilogram of weight per day,” notes Figueroa. “The easiest, most practical way to gauge whether you are getting sufficient protein is to make sure that you include a portion of plant-based proteins at most meals and snacks. You’ll want one-fourth of your plate to be made up of protein-rich foods.”
Best Overall: HelloFresh
A leader among customer reviews, HelloFresh has been a fan favorite since its founding in 2011. Fueled by high-quality produce and globally conscious practices, the delivery service offers affordable, healthy, and sustainable meals to simplify your dining routine. Full transparency is important to the company as evidenced by its public list of suppliers, which allows customers to be fully informed about where their food comes from.
When choosing your plan, you have the option to filter by dietary preference, one of which is vegetarian (others include pescatarian and calorie smart). You then select the number of servings (two or four) and recipes (two to five) you’d like to receive weekly. For each order, you curate your own menu by choosing from a huge selection of recipes. The vegetarian offerings include tasty dishes like Garden Quesadillas, Roasted Veggie Caprese Bowls, Curry-Spiced Cauliflower and Squash, and Brown Butter Gemelli. You can also order by category (think: pasta recipes, taco recipes, and stir frys) or by cultural inspiration (Cajun recipes, Mediterranean recipes, American recipes, etc.) for a truly customized menu. Plus, HelloFresh lets you skip a week whenever you need to. Need more convincing? The company supports philanthropic efforts through its “Beyond the Box” initiative, which actively works to combat hunger and supply fresh foods to local communities.
To buy: From $57/week; hellofresh.com
Best Eco-Friendly: Green Chef
If you’re vegetarian, Green Chef is an optimal choice because the service goes above and beyond with its sustainable practices. Not only are the ingredients organic and sustainably sourced, but Green Chef also instituted company-wide green initiatives, which include the use of recyclable and reusable packaging with each kit as well as ice packs that contain non-toxic gel. The brand also claims to be the only meal kit company that offsets 100% of carbon emissions from operations, travel, and shipping.
With Green Chef, you can choose between two, four, or six servings and three or four meals per week. The inspired menu changes weekly and features delicious options such as Sun-Dried Tomato Flatbreads, Smoky Plant-Based Protein Tacos, Thai Peanut Noodle Stir-Fry, and Roasted Veggie Hash with Pesto. Order around your schedule and cancel any time. While this service is slightly more expensive than others on the list, customers vouch that it’s worth the price.
To buy: From $72/week; greenchef.com
Most Convenient: Blue Apron
Serving folks for almost a decade, Blue Apron brings creative takes on old classics to your kitchen in proportioned amounts to help prevent food waste. This weekly subscription service allows you to become an instant culinary artist by giving you the tools (ingredients and chef-designed recipes) to create simple meals on your schedule. If you need to skip a week or cancel for any reason, the process is simple. As the portions do not allow for excess, this service is ideal for young professionals who are cooking for themselves and one partner since the vegetarian offerings come with two servings instead of the signature four.
Examples of Blue Apron vegetarian recipes include Pesto and Goat Cheese Fettuccine, Peach and Snap Pea Grain Bowl, Baked Tofu and Creamy Cashew Korma, and Potato Hash and Eggs. Each meal comes with prepared ingredients, step-by-step instructions, and cook time approximations, making the process smooth for even novice cooks. When signing up for the vegetarian meal delivery, you can opt for two or three meals per week, with the recipes changing each week to keep things interesting. Compared to its competitors, this meal kit service is one of the least expensive options. And if you like to complement your meals with a smooth sip, Blue Apron also offers wine delivery as well as pairing recommendations for each recipe to elevate your dining experience.
To buy: From $48/week; blueapron.com
Best Meal Delivery for Omnivore Households: Home Chef
If you live in a household with at least one meat-eater, Home Chef is the way to go. Though the vegetarian offerings are limited, the recipes available are packed with unique flavors and textures. For instance, your tastebuds will be treated to delectable dishes like Crispy Portobello Parmesan, Crispy Teriyaki Tofu Tacos, Sesame Sweet Potatoes and Avocado, and Oven-Roasted Gnocchi with Pesto Cream. While you can sign up for between two and six servings, you’re limited to two vegetarian recipes per week because there are only two weekly options available at this time (which also negates the free shipping option available for choosing three or more recipes per week). However, a Home Chef representative observed that occasionally non-vegetarian recipes can be customized to accommodate plant-based diets, such as changing a burger out for a veggie burger-but this seems to be the exception, not the rule.
The order process involves choosing your weekly recipes with recommendations by Home Chef based on your preferences and dietary restrictions. Customers cite how useful the included nutrition information and cooking times are as well as the step-by-step guides that come with each recipe. However, it should once again be stated that Home Chef is best for families who are looking to order a mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals.
To buy: From $50/week; homechef.com
Best Organic: Sunbasket
Sunbasket is a USDA-certified organic meal delivery service, meaning it adheres to the highest standards when choosing ingredients for each meal. The company has options upon options to keep vegetarians full and satisfied all week long. There are five vegetarian (and vegan!) meal kit offerings and around eight “Fresh & Ready” pre-made meals to choose from each week-and the list rotates on a weekly basis. With dishes like Cauliflower Mac and Cheese, Pineapple Fried Rice with Tofu, Water Chestnuts and Shichimi Togarashi, and Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff Over Egg Noodles, you won’t easily get bored with your food. For the standard meal kits, customers can choose between two or four servings and select two to four dinners per week. The Fresh & Ready meals are one serving and come in quantities of four to eight meals a week.
Sunbasket also prioritizes its sustainability efforts and is aiming to make all of its packaging 100% recyclable. Plus, the brand donates meals and food items to different food charities, frontline workers, cancer patients, and those facing food insecurity. Don’t miss Sunbasket’s ongoing promotion for new customers: $90 off, free shipping, and four free gifts across their first four deliveries.
To buy: From $48/week; sunbasket.com
Best Plant-Based: Purple Carrot
Plant-based diets are a step toward bettering the environment-an effort that Purple Carrot is especially focused on. The company claims that every meal results in 72% less carbon being released into the air and each one uses 51% less water than what it would take to produce “a standard American meal.” It also has a complete guide on the website for how to recycle the packing materials from your kits.
Purple Carrot offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner options as well as small sweet snacks. You can choose from a wide variety of vegan dishes such as Japanese Gnocchi, Roasted Red Pepper and Avocado Quesadillas, Kale and Tempeh Chorizo Scramble, and Pesto White Bean Melts. Opt to receive two servings three to four times per week or four servings two to three times weekly. You can customize your order by choosing a specific plan-like high-protein or gluten-free-or simply select the dishes you want from the full menu. The order process allows flexibility, giving you the ability to skip a week or cancel your order completely. Purple Carrot does run on the higher side price-wise, but you can save on the front end by getting $20 off your first order.
To buy: From $72/week; purplecarrot.com
Best Brunch Offerings: Daily Harvest
If you love everything about brunch-think smoothies, chia bowls, and oat bowls–Daily Harvest should be on your radar. The service stands apart from its competitors in terms of breakfast and lunch offerings as well as its methodology. Everything you order from Daily Harvest shows up frozen, as the freezing process helps retain nutrients. All food items are completely plant-based and some examples include the Mint and Cacao smoothie, Sweet Potato and Wild Rice Hash Harvest Bowl, Pear and Arugula Flatbread, Cinnamon and Banana Oat Bowl, and Cold Brew and Roasted Espresso Bean Chip ice cream, dubbed a “scoop.” While the offerings are varied, with more than 80 selections to choose from, new items aren’t added often, so this service is great for people who like routine-and have favorite go-to meals.
The order process is simple. Choose either a small box with nine items, a medium box with 14 items, or a large box with 24 items. All orders include free shipping, and you can pause your subscription, manage your deliveries, and even change your item selections through the brand’s mobile app. Because each item comes with just one serving, this service caters to individuals rather than families. Right now, you can get up to $35 off your first order.
To buy: From $49/week; daily-harvest.com
Best Pre-Made Meals: Territory Foods
Food choices can affect your health in more ways than you may realize. For example, certified clinical nutritionist Dr. Vikki Petersen cautions her patients to stay away from refined sugar because it’s the “preferred source of fuel for viruses, cancer cells, and bacteria.” Luckily, Territory Foods offers a wide selection of gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free meals for all dietary lifestyles. When ordering from the service, customers can select from dozens of meals (one serving each) and up to two delivery days each week for maximum freshness. Offerings include tasty pre-packaged dishes like Vegan Southwestern Quinoa & Black Bean Salad, Fresh Tomato Basil Zoodles with Roasted Potatoes, and Mediterranean Tofu with Rosemary Vegetables and Basmati Rice.
Because these are prepared meals as opposed to meal kits, Territory Foods has a network of talented chefs across the country to craft the creations that arrive at your front door. Using “responsibly sourced and nutrition-dense” ingredients, Territory Foods puts an emphasis on creating meals from choice ingredients that will serve your body, the planet, and even your community by providing the option to donate meals.
To buy: From $33 /week; territoryfoods.com
Best Pre-Packaged Vegetarian Sides: Thrive Market
While Thrive Market isn’t a typical vegetarian meal delivery service, the company does offer premium vegetarian side dishes that you can have delivered to your door. With options like Banza Chickpea Pasta, Organic Red & White Quinoa, Organic Long Grain White Rice with Black Beans, and Plant-Based Chili, Thrive Market’s pre-packaged items will simplify your weekly cooking schedule. The brand does have some pre-packaged vegetarian meals as well, such as Grilled Vegetables & Herbs Farro Quinoa and Indian Vegetable Curry, but these offerings are more limited.
Customers enjoy the simplicity of this grocery service and cite the significant savings compared to other retailers. Sign up for a monthly membership to get 25-50% off retail prices, free shipping, and samples. But the best part? For every paid membership, Thrive Market matches it with a free one for a member of a low-income community. If you sign up today, you can score free shipping on your first grocery order over $25, plus a free gift.
To buy: From $10/month or $60/year; thrivemarket.com