Plated Subscription Review + Free Box Coupon – April 2015
Plated delivers a weekly box of pre-portioned fresh and seasonal ingredients, everything you need to cook their chef-designed recipes at home in your own kitchen. Each week, they offer a different menu, and you can select which dishes you’d like to receive, how many plates of each dish you’d like to make, and when you’d like to receive your delivery.
Three of the dishes offered on every menu are vegetarian. Plated also regularly rotates in vegan and dairy-free options. They’re committed to using sustainably sourced seafood, seasonally fresh produce, and meat raised without antibiotics or added hormones.
Plated also makes it easy to pick recipes that best suit your culinary skill level and lifestyle. Each recipe is tagged with a difficulty level and clearly lists calorie content and prep time.
Check out all of our reviews of Meal Delivery Services to see every meal kit subscription box option!
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The Subscription Box: Plated
The Cost: Recipes begin at $12 per plate. 2 recipes (4 plates)= $48 per week (+ $6 shipping). 3 recipes (6 plates)= $72 per week (with free shipping). 4 recipes (8 total plates)= $96 per week (with free shipping).
COUPON: Get your first box free (4 Plates) when you purchase 2 Plates, no coupon required, just use this link
The Products: All of the pre-portioned fresh and seasonal ingredients you need to make chef-designed recipes at home in your own kitchen.
Ships to: 95% of the US. (Currently, Plated does not ship to Hawaii and Alaska, and there are also a few cities in Texas, including San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Laredo, and Midland, where they don’t yet ship.)
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Each week, Plated offers a different menu with 7 dishes to choose from. I opted for a Tuesday delivery (03/31) and selected Beef Lettuce Wraps, Chicken with Fennel, and Ginger Trout en Papillote. When my box shipped, I received an email letting me know that I would need to have the following “pantry items” on hand: black pepper, canola oil, kosher salt, olive oil, and water. The email also clearly listed the difficulty level, cooking time, and calorie information of my selected dishes.
When I unpacked the box, I was immediately impressed by the care with which my items had been separated, wrapped, and packaged. Ingredients were bundled by recipe, and each individual item was in its own container.
The meats were all vacuum-sealed and packed at the bottom of the box, safely away from the produce and surrounded by cool packs.
Even the soy sauce arrived in its own pre-portioned container.
Meal #1- Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps with Basil Rice
Each meal comes with a card that provides information about the dish.
On the reverse, Plated provides detailed cooking instructions, recipe tips, and a list of what you’ll need to make the dish.
I decided to make the lettuce wraps first because I wanted to use the lettuce while it was still crisp. It arrived in good condition, but I wasn’t sure it would hold up well to a few days in the fridge.
As per Plated’s recommendation, I prepped my ingredients before I started cooking. (Note that they even provide a pre-measured bag of brown sugar!)
I began by boiling the rice. Once it was ready, I stirred in the basil and set it aside.
I sautéed the garlic and ginger and then added the beef. While it browned, I made the sauce by mixing together the brown sugar, soy sauce, and sriracha. When the meat was ready, I removed it from the pan with a slotted spoon and added it to the sauce. I finished it by stirring in chopped water chestnuts and cilantro.
Assembly was easy. I topped each lettuce leaf with a spoonful of rice, some of the beef mixture, and a sprinkle of chopped peanuts.
The lettuce wraps were delicious! The beef mixture was spicy and a little sweet, and I loved how the cilantro and basil added freshness to the dish. The portions were also generous. The recipe yielded about 12 wraps (of varying sizes).
Meal #2- Ginger Trout en Papillote with Miso Butter, Sweet Potatoes, and Snow Peas
The following day, I made the Ginger Trout.
While I thought the recipe looked appealing, I mainly selected this dish because of the cooking technique. I’d never cooked en Papillote before (a French cooking technique that steams food in a parchment pouch) and have always wanted to try it.
After everything was cleaned and chopped, I roasted the sweet potatoes.
I learned from my last box that Plated and I disagree on how long it takes to roast potatoes. (For this recipe, they suggest 15-18 minutes, but I like my potatoes soft in the middle and crispy on the outside, which takes about twice that amount of time.) Knowing that this time around, I was able to plan for the extra roasting time.
While the potatoes baked, I assembled the papillotes. Plated provided a large sheet of parchment that I cut in half. I folded each piece down the middle and placed a fillet of trout on one side of each piece. I then topped each fillet with salt, pepper, mirin (a Japanese condiment similar to sake), ginger, and miso butter.
I sealed each parchment pouch by tucking and overlapping the edges.
The technique seemed pretty simple, but I was still very glad to have Plated’s pictures to help make sure I was doing it correctly.
Here’s a picture of one of the sealed pouches:
When the potatoes were done, I baked the papillotes for 8 minutes at a fairly high heat. Plated provided a helpful tip: when the pouches puff and the trout is opaque, they’re done baking.
The final component of this dish was the snow peas. While the trout was in the oven, I sautéed them with sesame oil and scallions, and, when they turned bright green, I added the roasted sweet potatoes and a squeeze of lime.
I unwrapped the papillotes and plated the trout alongside the veggies.
I had a lot of fun making this dish, and I will certainly be cooking en papillote again soon. Plated made the technique seem easy, and I think it definitely adds a little panache to dinner. That being said, I thought this recipe was just okay. The fish and veggies were very fresh, which made for a nice, light meal, but I lost the flavor of the miso butter and the mirin behind the trout and ginger. I also thought the mix of snow peas and roasted potatoes was a little odd and not particularly special. In my limited experience so far with Plated, I’ve found their recipes to be dynamic and extremely flavorful, but, apart from the cooking technique, I didn’t find this dish to be all that exciting.
Meal #3- Braised Chicken Thighs with Fennel, Orange, Farro, and Red Rice
I got sick this week, and for a couple of days I was eating only crackers and orange juice. It wasn’t until Sunday that I was ready for normal food again, and I was a little worried (and curious) whether my ingredients would still be fresh. Plated recommends using ingredients within 4-5 days of receiving them, and Sunday was day 5. Luckily, everything still looked great. (Though I’m not sure all ingredients would hold up this long. I think the lettuce wraps, for example, might not have fared so well.) My chicken was okay and even the herbs hadn’t yet started to wilt.
I’m not sure if you can tell from the picture, but I was sent a huge fennel bulb that yielded a mountain of sliced fennel. Not that I’m complaining- I love fennel!
For this recipe, I started by boiling the faro and red rice in salted water. While the grains boiled, I browned my chicken thighs in a medium hot pan. When they were seared, I set them to the side and cooked the fennel, oregano, and red pepper flakes. After the fennel became tender, I added in the cooked grains along with the white wine, chicken base, and some water and brought everything to a boil. I then nestled the chicken into the broth.
I topped this with olives and sliced oranges and covered the pan. The chicken braised until it was cooked through, about 6 minutes.
When the chicken was ready, I plated the dish and topped it with chopped parsley.
This dish was excellent and a great example of why I like Plated so much. I would never think to combine oranges, fennel, and olives, but the result was delicious. I think it takes a talented chef to come up with a recipe that utilizes such different ingredients so successfully. I’ll definitely be re-creating this dish soon.
Verdict: This is my second box from Plated, and I’ve been really impressed with my boxes so far. The meat and produce they send is high quality and fresh, and most of the recipes I’ve tried have been excellent. As someone who cooks regularly (and enjoys coming up with new recipes), I wasn’t sure if Plated would be for me. Initially, I was a little worried that it would feel like cooking with training wheels, but I don’t find that to be the case at all. On the contrary, I like the ease of cooking with pre-portioned ingredients and the Plated recipes. I think the portion sizes are generous, and I think the value is fair. I would compare the quality of the meat and produce to what you can buy at Whole Foods, and I think I would probably spend about as much there for the same number of meals. If you haven’t tried Plated before, I would definitely recommend it!
Have you tried Plated?