I’ve Tried a Lot of Meal Kits, and Hungryroot Might Just Be the Best

Bon Appétit

Meal kits for things like Rainbow Ground Bison Tacos and Seared Lamb Chop Dal go for around 11 credits, while most snack add-ons run anywhere from one to three credits. You can choose to go all-in on their suggested recipes, stick to prepared meals (a lot of microwave-friendly bowls, soups, and sandwiches), or use the service to grocery shop a la carte. I decided to try a little bit of everything.

The Experience

Hungryroot uses different carriers depending on where you live, and shipments tend to arrive 3-5 days after the deadline to edit your order. When my first order showed up, it looked like a lot of food. I went for eight Hungryroot recipes in addition to a handful of add-ons, prepared meals, and grocery items, and felt like I had enough in my fridge to last way more than a week (spoiler alert: that was true). I chose a variety of proteins, from raw bison filets to pre-cooked sous vide chicken and salmon, and liked that they were all portioned for two servings. Since I was hoping to use this week as an excuse to cook more easy, healthy meals, I received a lot of bagged salad mixes and pre-cut vegetables with my order. There were also things like gluten-free sweet potato wraps, multigrain pancake mix, and green juices.

I have never been a meal prep person, but after my week-plus of cooking with Hungryroot meal kits, I kind of get the appeal. The first dinner I made was a rainbow veggie and plant-based chorizo hummus bowl. I order versions of this dish almost any time I see them on a restaurant menu, but never think to make it at home, so I was excited. Dinner really did take just 15 minutes to make: the lemon garlic Ithaca brand hummus was premade, the vegetables were chopped, and the plant-based chorizo required nothing more than a quick sauté with some sliced onion—the most intensive prep work I had to do for this meal. Unlike my experience with meal kits like Blue Apron, which always felt unnecessarily complicated to me (Do I really need a recipe card to make grilled chicken breasts with roasted veggies?), this was quick, simple, and delicious, reminding me a little of the hommus mah lahm I love from José Andres’ NYC restaurant, Zaytinya. I would make this recipe again, with or without Hungryroot’s meal kit.

I had this experience over and over again. I have a bit of an overpriced chicken Caesar salad wrap habit, but I was able to make four pretty delicious wraps at home for less than the cost of a single $15 wrap at Milano Market on the Upper East Side. That multigrain pancake mix led to two weekday (gluten-free and dairy-free!) pancake breakfasts, and whipping up a big salad with some protein (chicken or salmon) was suddenly not a big deal because everything was done for me, from chopping vegetables to cooking proteins and preparing a flavorful dressing. There were multiple nights when I would have normally ordered takeout because I was feeling tired and lazy, but ended up cooking at home because Hungry Root had already done most of the work for me. These weren’t the generic, flavorless meals I’ve had from other meal kits. This was food I’d actually choose to cook, if I had the time to think about it.

What I Didn’t Like

I did find that I had more food than I actually needed, but that was an easily solved problem. When I put in my next delivery, I just reduced the number of credits I wanted, and ended up with a cheaper plan. Not every single item was fantastic. A chile verde breakfast burrito, for example, lacked flavor and came wrapped in a stodgy tortilla, and I did have a slight panic attack that I would forget to edit my delivery before the deadline—if you don’t, they’ll send you a random box based on your quiz answers. You’ll need to edit your order every week, unless you like playing grocery delivery roulette. But other than that, I don’t really have any complaints.

The Verdict

Hungryroot is flexible, affordable, and easy to integrate into your lifestyle. It’s a great choice for anyone who wants to meal prep and do more healthy eating at home, but doesn’t want to wash a battalion of food storage containers every week. If you’re the kind of person who dreads making big trips to the grocery store but likes to have a well-stocked pantry, it’s worth it, too. I liked that I was able to pick and choose exactly what I wanted to receive, and that I didn’t feel married to a specific meal plan. For example, I used the tortillas that came with a bison taco recipe to make snacky little quesadillas a few times, and it didn’t mess up my entire weekly meal plan. If you’re not sure whether you want a grocery delivery service, a full-on meal delivery service, or a meal kit service that will take some of the work out of getting dinner on the table, Hungryroot lets you have the best of all worlds.

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Author:Carina Finn | Website:www.bonappetit.com

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