Comments Off on Our Fun Sunbasket Review – YUM! Best Organic Meal Delivery Service
Hi! It’s Kathy and Martin from MyFavDeals.org, and we just had a wonderful opportunity to review the popular Sunbasket meal delivery service. This is something we hadn’t been able to do earlier since they weren’t yet on the east coast (at the time we originally wrote this review).
But the great news, as you may have read about elsewhere on MyFavDeals.org, is that Sunbasket expanded a couple of months ago and now DOES serve the eastern seaboard! (Here’s our post about their expansion: https://myfavdeals.org/sun-basket-meal-delivery-has-expanded-to-the-eastern-u-s/)
What is Sunbasket?
Sunbasket is an organic food delivery service that packages everything you need to prepare a delicious, complete, healthful meal at home. All the ingredients are natural and organic, and are delivered to your home packed in ice. In each “basket” (or box, as you can see in the photo), you will find everything you need to create a gourmet and organic meal in your own kitchen (with the exception of utensils). The contents of the box includes:
- All proteins/meats/fish
- All the fruits and veggies (including garlic, onion, etc)
- Sauces and/or spice blends and herbs (including fresh herbs like cilantro, parsely, etc)
- Complete instructions on the Recipe Card, including a color photograph of how the meal should look
How much is Sunbasket?
Apart from any specials or promo codes, Sun Basket typically breaks down to approximately $11.49 per person per meal (plus $5.99 S/H for the week) – and you would get 3 meals. There are a variety of ways to order, including by subscription that you can pause (e.g. for vacation) or cancel anytime. You can also order as a gift for someone. So, it might look like this:
- 1 Person: $40.46. Breaks down to $11.49 per person x 3 meals per week (+ $5.99 Shipping & Handling).
- 2 People: $74.93 for 3 meals each (+ S/H) – Note that if you subscribe, S/H for the first week is free.
- 4 People: $143.87 for 3 meals each (+ S/H) – Note that if you subscribe, S/H for the first week is free.
We are huge fans of organic foods, and when we were offered the opportunity to do a Sun Basket review, we jumped at the chance.
In this article, we’re comparing our notes as we’ve both now finished our respective “Baskets.” And, we are also able to provide a different point of view since I just LIKE to cook, and Martin actually IS a trained chef.
In this Sunbasket Review, we share our ENTIRE experience!
How We Chose Our Sunbasket Meals
Kathy: This will be interesting! So, for me and my husband, I ordered the Paleo Sunbasket to try, and they sent 3 meals. Each meal was definitely enough for the 2 of us. What about you?
Martin: I ordered the Chef’s Choice since I wanted to be surprised, and I’m not that picky. And yes, I have to agree that there was enough in each meal to feed 2 people. So, let’s compare notes: the 3 meals I got were Summer Vegetable Paella, Turkey Tacos with Roasted Red Pepper Salsa, and the Chicken wings with Barbacoa Salsa Verde. You?
Kathy: I also got the Chicken with Barbacoa Sauce, then I had a Brazilian Seafood Stew and a Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon meal – the Thai-Style Salmon with Peach-Cabbage Slaw. As it turns out, I wound up filming the entire unboxing, which I’ll upload to YouTube. Once I have a chance to do that, I’ll post the video here as well.
But my initial impression of the entire Sun Basket presentation was very positive. I loved how it even LOOKED when I opened it – the paper bags of all the non-protein ingredients looked perfect, and there was enough ice, too. Then, they had it well separated from the next layer with the ice and cardboard.
Sunbasket Overview: We are balancing Pros & Cons
Kathy: So, I only have a couple of teeny weenie “criticisms” about the packaging if that’s even the right word – because frankly, I’m having a tough time coming up with any “cons” since a balanced review is supposed to have both “pros” and “cons.”
The exterior of the box itself didn’t say “Perishable” or “Open and Refrigerate” anywhere on it. I had mentioned in my order that I live in bear country, and that the delivery driver would need to put the box inside my back vestibule to make sure it didn’t attract wildlife. He (the driver) said he didn’t see anything on the delivery about that. But nonetheless, they know me, and probably would have put it inside anyway if I hadn’t been home. How did the delivery and first impressions go on your end?
Martin: I came home around 10pm after a night at the dragway to find the box on my porch. I believe you told me the date Kathy, but I didn’t remember.
Kathy: Oh right – it was the 23rd… August 23rd.
Martin: Anyway, to my surprise, after sitting on my porch on a 90 degree day, for however many hours (I am guessing at least 6 hours), it was still good.
They did a nice job packing it all up, and it is in a very insulated box, with plenty of ice packs at the bottom. There was a bit leftover with packaging, yet there were simple instructions how to recycle everything, and it is suggested to keep and reuse the freezer bags.
Having an eye always on sanitation, with my culinary background, I would recommend rinsing off the ice packs if you keep them, since they are in direct contact with packaged raw food. Even though it is packaged, better to be safe than sorry.
I liked how it was packed, in 3 brown bags, and with the raw stuff at the bottom. I hadn’t taken the time to research what exactly a Sunbasket box would look like ahead of time. So I was excited to see the extensive ingredients included, where literally everything besides things like cooking oil are included, with neat little cards telling you how to prepare each meal.
Sunbasket Recipes and Prep
Kathy: Oh my gosh… I love the cards! Here’s a photo of one of them… next to all the ingredients that I had pose for the picture. So, I guess it’s time to talk about the food! Want to go first?
Martin: Sure. Okay, first up was the Vegetable Paella. This was more than enough for two people. I had three decent sized portions of it, and it was very tasty.
It is a unique dish, as there is some creativity added (not your typical run of the mill type of meal – very much California-style; I have cooked in Napa Valley in the past so I know), and I saved the rest after my first meal, and it reheated beautifully. Even the rice wasn’t overcooked or soggy (they included a ‘Paella Rice’ which I have not seen before).
It was a great meal, and simple to prep, though for someone who’s not experienced with knife skills etc., it will take them a few minutes to prep all the vegetables. I added salt and pepper, which they call for, and it was actually quite delicious.
I just needed to slice the pepper into strips, slice the shallot, and dice the tomato that was included. Then there is a bit more chopping for the finishing ingredients (olives, artichokes, parsley and almonds).
Quality and Quantity of Ingredients
They were reasonably fresh for having been shipped, so I assume they are at least 2 days old, and nothing was spoiled.
The Paella Spice had spilled inside the bag, but there was still a good amount left in the container. The spice was tasty, though it did get a bit all over everything, no huge deal though. I was grateful to have so much of the meal pre-thought out for me, and I understand what it takes to prepare and transport perishable foods.
Kathy: In one of our bags, the cumin spice also spilled, but there was plenty left in the container – So maybe one note that we can point out to the folks at Sun Basket is that the little containers with the snap-on lids might need to be taped shut. But like you said, it was no big deal.
Choosing our first meal: For us, because I felt that the shrimp might not last long enough, the Brazilian Seafood Stew is what we made first. In that photo above, to the left, on my kitchen table – those are the ingredients for the Brazilian Seafood Stew.
We really enjoyed it – and what John really liked about it besides it being good was that he got to try a traditional international dish that there’s no way we could find in a restaurant up where we live. Now, if we were to go to a Brazilian restaurant and saw this on the menu, we’d know it’s something we like!
I’d never tried Yucca either, and that took on the flavor of the sauce in the stew. Just wonderful! And, I should note that John burns a ton of calories during the workday, and he felt there was enough… and trust me, he can eat a lot of food!
Tip on Maintaining Quality and Freshness of Ingredients
Martin: That sounds delicious, my kind of meal. BTW, shrimp doesn’t typically go bad too fast, for one because it is infused with a natural preservative – sea salt (not all fish is like that, but shrimp has an OK shelf life). And you can always poach it briefly in boiling water (like 20 seconds), and then drop it in ice water, to extend the life a little more 😉
Kathy: I knew I should have asked you! Thanks for that – TOTALLY noted for the future!
Martin: The next meal I tried was the Turkey Tacos with Roasted Red Pepper Salsa. This was even more unique of a meal than the Paella. It is definitely another Californian style meal, and definitely for those who enjoy creative, healthy meals.
As was the case with the first meal, I was again very pleased with the overall flavor, and the cool choices of ingredients. You essentially make turkey meat with black beans for the inside of the tortillas, a tomato-cucumber salsa on the side, and have Queso Fresco cheese, a Mexican/South American cheese similar to a mix of Feta and Goat’s cheese. It is a nice subtle cheese for a dish like this.
For prep, it was probably 5 minutes for me of actual prep, and I think I was eating it 20-30 minutes after starting to get it ready. Here’s my photo of the meal… (to the right)
Once again, very straight forward directions ( I love how they send the cards, which you can of course use again if you decide to make your own, or collect as recipe cards), and I very much enjoyed these as well.
The tortillas are corn tortillas, and they have that slightly pungent flavor that comes with an organic corn tortilla, so that definitely adds an additional flavor (unlike traditional flour tortillas).
They also had lime and cilantro to finish, which I love on these types of dishes. By the time I cooked this dish, it was maybe 2-3 days later, and the cilantro had gone bad, not a huge shock, and the rest of the ingredients were good.
Tip: Consider cooking those dishes with ingredients that are more perishable first.
I’m not sure if there could be a recommended order of cooking the dishes, for stuff like that, but my last meal had cilantro, and that bunch was useable.
Our next one was the Thai-Style Salmon and the Peach-Cabbage Slaw which was very tasty. The best part of this meal – and I think John agrees with me, is that the slaw was phenomenal! The flavors were absolutely perfect, and I actually went out and bought cashews so that I can make this again.
Of course, the fact that I have the recipe card now is great because I can just refer to that so I can make it again.
Okay – so the only thing about that meal is that there was SO MUCH cabbage that it made enough slaw to easily feed 4 people, which was fine because we both had it for lunch the next day. Man, that was good!
Oh – I have a note here about prepping the hot pepper for the Salmon meal – actually, probably for any of the meals that include hot pepper. We thought it would be a really good idea to chop those really finely so that you don’t get any “surprise” or large hot chunks of pepper – unless you like that.
The instructions were to thinly slice the Thai chile (if using it – it wasn’t required), but we found that chopping them really finely helps incorporate the flavors more so you don’t get a mouthful of heat.
Anyway, that was a darned good meal too.
Martin: Ha ha! Yeah, I can see where that could be a surprise if you aren’t used to the heat. That salmon sounds tasty, I love salmon. That also goes to show that not only are people in for some very selectively picked ingredients (most of mine also had organic labels, which I like), but also, these are not your run of the mill typical meals.
So anyone looking for unique, tasty, organic, healthy meals will be in heaven, as everyone of mine were well thought out, and all ingredients went together well.
The ingredients held up over a few days…
Okay, so my next meal was the Chicken Wings Barbacoa with Salsa Verde. I believe I cooked this the following Thursday (6 days after having received the Sunbasket Box), and they were still good!
This meal could have served two people, although it may not have entirely filled up two famished individuals. The Paella would have made a nice side though, with the one portion left over 😉
As with all the meals, I cooked this exactly as instructed to get an authentic experience, as opposed to adding my own spin on any of the preparation techniques.
Kathy, if I remember, you did something alternative with the Barbacoa sauce, as opposes to coating the wings with it. I actually did as suggested, and tossed the wings in it, with the sweet potatoes laid out on the same half-sheet pan, and roasted away.
I was rather hungry with this meal, and I ate almost all of it myself. It takes quite a few chicken wings to fill someone up. It was once again, quite unique, and I enjoyed the Salsa Verde drizzled all over everything. I used all the lime and cilantro and used all of that, which may have been a little too much, but I enjoyed it.
Prep for this once again probably took me around 5 minutes, and I would say for the untrained person, maybe 15 minutes of prep are needed, depending how they are with a knife. (All meals took around this long).
They recommend 20-25 minutes for this. You could perhaps go a little longer, and cooking time will also depend on your oven’s calibration, and also whether or not you use convection, so check the sweet potatoes and wings to see if they could use a little longer. I could have cooked this for another 5 minutes; it was cooked enough, though I would have enjoyed the wings just a bit crispier (you don’t have to worry about over cooking chicken wings too much either, as they can go a bit longer, and some people even prefer them that way).
Kathy: Incidentally, I like the way you served yourself – nice presentation!
For our final meal, we had the Chicken Wings Barbacoa with Salsa Verde too! Now, THIS was a combo I never would have thought of, but those sweet potatoes and red onions were delicious! And that salsa verde really did add to that.
I have to say though, that I thought the Barbacoa sauce was pretty spicy! I was able to eat it – and I absolutely loved the flavor – but I think it might be pretty spicy for some folks. What did you think, because you had this one too…
Martin: Yeah that was tasty, and a bit spicy for sure! It may be a bit hot for some people. It was a great flavor also, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Kathy: Martin, your photo of the meal was almost exactly how their photo showed it. We weren’t able to really prepare the meal exactly the way that the instructions called for because:
- our kitchen doesn’t have a sheet pan large enough (check out my photo of my largest sheet, which is a cookie sheet that was completely loaded with the veggies – so there was no room for chicken there), and
- I was squeamish about baking chicken in the same pan as the veggies.
What was your take on that?
Martin: I found they all did fit, but not lots of room to spare. Like I mentioned, I could have cooked mine a little longer, and actually, had I spaced put the sweet potatoes more, I think they would have cooked a little better. I slightly stacked them, and you don’t really want to stack something like sweet potatoes to roast them, at least not too much.
Kathy: Nonetheless, the flavors were amazing, and while we didn’t have any chicken left over – I can eat wings all day I think! – we did have veggies left over which we had for lunch the next day. I’ll be making that again, you can bet on that! I’d love to know how to make that Barbacoa sauce too…
Martin: Yeah, that was good for sure! And, from a professional perspective, one thing I really like and would definitely put in the “PROs” column here about Sun Basket is the way they package the sauces. No guesswork! And wow… they were all really tasty sauces.
Kathy: I totally agree. Now, there is a little more guesswork, in my opinion, about measuring a few ingredients – for example, with the cilantro-lime sauce for the Thai style salmon, the directions just say, “juice the lime,” and combine the sauce base with the juice – they don’t say how much juice. The lime we got was awesome!
But we had no idea whether or not to use the whole lime. It was huge – and so there was a lot of lime in that particular sauce. What if another Sun Basket meal gets shipped with a small lime? So, it might be helpful to say, “Add 1 tablespoon of lime juice,” or whatever the ideal measure is. What do you think about that, Martin, coming from your professional point of view?
Martin: Yeah good point, I used the whole thing because I am familiar with lime juice and similar dishes like this, but for someone uncertain, I think a rough portion size suggestion would be helpful, or just specify to use the whole lime. I was fine with it all, but someone with little cooking knowledge could use those tips so it is less confusing for them.
Kathy: I know what you mean, so it’s just something that people might want to keep in mind when they get their Sun Basket. In other recipes, they did specify, “chop enough garlic to measure 2 teaspoons,” for example.
But anyway, I was looking at my notes about the whole process – and I can see how Sun Basket is a really fun way to introduce organic and gourmet cooking to someone who may be a little nervous about trying something like this. It was so much fun!
If someone is looking for a very fast, pop-it-in-the-microwave meal, that’s not what you’re going to get with Sunbasket, because they aren’t about that. This is about preparing healthy, organic and gourmet meals at home with pretty much all the guesswork removed since they have done everything except send someone over to actually cook it for you.
But, even beyond that, the meals were truly healthful and nourishing, and you could FEEL how high quality every single ingredient was!
Martin: Yes this is definitely not for someone deciding whether to break out their Sunbasket meal, or head over to McDonald’s. It is for someone who enjoys a very thought out meal, with a very hand-picked feel, that wants to do a little of the preparation, and perhaps learn a few cooking ideas. Cooking skills are not absolutely essential, but a little cooking knowledge will help, and you will need to cut a few vegetables 🙂
Sunbasket Review: Wrapping it Up – Overall Summary
Kathy: At this point, if I had to give an overall summary, and do a star-rating, I’d honestly have to give it just about 5 stars across the board, with perhaps a 4 for clarity of instructions. 5-stars for quality, no doubt. 5-stars for ingenuity, too. And I’d have to say that because of how high quality the ingredients are, 5-stars for overall value too. One more thing I wanted to mention about how easy it is to order, is this: I noticed one of their meals this week included chick peas. While I love hummus and tahini, I’m not wild about whole chickpeas, so I can EASILY choose a different selection if I didn’t want that one!
So, that pretty much wraps it up. Martin, any final thoughts on this? Would you use the service again? I know I would…
Martin: I absolutely would, and I just might. Going forward, I would want to prepare to cook 3 nights in a row, or at least 3 out of 5 nights. I may also glance through to see what may spoil fastest (like cilantro), and use that meal first.
It is very easy to see what is in each meal, so that would be very quick, but yeah otherwise, for someone looking for a unique, healthy meal delivery service with delicious meals, and a little bit of prep needed, I would highly recommend it (I am pretty sure all these types of things will need some prep anyways; this is my first experience of it, and I am a big fan.
It adds a whole level of convenience, as it is a bit of work, and time consuming, to shop for meals this specifically, and most of the time, you forget something.
Kathy: I’ll be leaving for the winter fairly soon, and already see another Sun Basket in my near future. To the folks at Sunbasket – if you’re reading this: Thank you SO MUCH for allowing us to try the service. We truly do appreciate it!
Martin: Oh, for sure! Thanks so much guys – it really was a lot of fun to try Sun Basket, and I have a feeling that a lot of our readers will agree that it’s got to be about the best organic meal and grocery delivery service out there.
To our readers, thank you so much for taking the time to read this Sun Basket review!