Plated Subscription Box Review – August 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 make, how many plates of each dish you’d like to serve, 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, seasonal produce, and meat that’s free from 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.
Recently, Plated started using earth-friendly insulation. According to the sticker inside this month’s box, the new jute insulation is all-natural and the plastic lining is 100% recycled. I’m glad to see they’re making efforts to minimize their environmental footprint, and I like that the jute wrapping makes it seem like the ingredients are wrapped in their own cozy blanket.
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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).
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 (08/11) and selected Linguine with Crab, Beef & Scallion Meatballs, and Zucchini Ricotta Crostata.
When my box shipped, I received an email letting me know that I would need to have the following “pantry items” on hand: water, black pepper, kosher salt, olive oil, and an egg yolk. The email also clearly listed the difficulty level, cooking time, and calorie content of my selected dishes.
As always, the box was packed with extreme care. Ingredients were bundled by recipe, and each item was in its own container.
The meats were sealed and packed at the bottom of the box, safely away from the produce and surrounded by cool packs.
Recipe #1- Linguine with Crab
Calories Per Serving: 780
Cook Time: 40-50 minutes (novice) & 30-40 minutes (pro)
A few weeks ago, I ordered a crab pasta dish from Plated that was absolutely phenomenal, so, when I saw this similar recipe, I knew I had to try it!
To begin, I prepared my ingredients.
Next, I set to work on the crab. I boiled the claws in salted water, allowed them to cool slightly, and then picked the meat. Jonah crab claws have pretty thick shells, so I bashed them with a heavy pot to break them open. (Plated recommended using the back of a knife or large spoon, but I think my ad hoc method should get points for gusto. It was fun, effective, and, I’m told, quite amusing to watch.)
The sauce for this dish was a simple chili-infused oil. The recipe called for a Thai red chili, but Plated had to substitute a Thai green chili because they weren’t happy with the quality of the red chilis they received. The bag containing the replacement chili was marked with a sticker explaining the reason for the substitution and letting subscribers know that they could use the new chili without making any changes to the recipe.
To make the chili-infused oil, I simmered olive oil with garlic, the green chili, and crushed red pepper.
I boiled the pasta while the oil simmered, and, when it was al dente, removed it from the water and stirred in the cooking oil, some lemon juice, the crab meat, chopped parsley, a bit of the pasta cooking water, breadcrumbs, and salt and pepper.
I plated the pasta and served it alongside a simple salad of butter lettuce with lemon dressing.
This dish was heavenly. The pasta dish was comforting, delicious, and a little spicy and the lemony salad was a bright accompaniment that helped cut through the richness of the main dish. I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be jumping at the next opportunity to order crab pasta from Plated. They’re 2 for 2!
Meal #2- Beef & Scallion Meatballs
Calories per Serving: 510
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes (novice) & 20-30 minutes (pro)
The following day, I made Glazed Beef and Scallion Meatballs with Wasabi Noodles.
As always, I began by unpacking all of the dish’s components and cleaning, chopping, and separating the veggies.
To begin, I soaked the vermicelli in hot water to cook it. While it softened, I prepared the meatballs by mixing hoisin sauce, gochujang, scallion whites, ground beef, salt, and pepper.
The meatballs baked at 425, and, while they cooked, I made their glaze by reducing soy sauce and honey over medium heat. When the meatballs were done cooking, I brushed them with the glaze and then popped them under the broiler for a couple of minutes to allow the glaze to become a little sticky.
When the noodles were done cooking, I rinsed them in cool water and then combined them with the raw carrots, sliced bell pepper, fresh mint, and a simple dressing of wasabi, sugar, water, and soy sauce.
I plated the cold noodles first and then topped them with a few meatballs and a drizzle of the remaining glaze.
This dish was another hit! The wasabi gave the noodles a nice punch of flavor, and I liked the abundance of raw veggies. My favorite part, though, was the sticky honey soy glaze on the meatballs. YUM! I loved it so much that I’ve already used it in another dish. (I made sticky glazed chicken thighs a few days later!)
Meal #3- Zucchini Ricotta Crostata
Cook Time: 45-55 minutes (novice) & 35-45 minutes (pro)
I finished out my Plated week with Zucchini and Ricotta Crostata with Micro Greens and Basil.
Before I got started, I prepped my ingredients.
I tossed the zucchini, squash, and red onion with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper and roasted them at 400 for about 10 minutes. (Note: Plated recommended a small dice for the red onion, but I chopped mine because I like chunky red onion.)
While the veggies baked, I mixed up a filling of yogurt, pecorino, ricotta, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and an egg yolk. When the veggies were done cooking, I mixed them into the filling and then assembled the crostata by pouring it on top of the piecrust and folding over the edges. I then sprinkled herbes de Provence over the top.
It baked for about 15 minutes, until the crust was cooked and the filling was set.
I plated slices of the crostata alongside a salad of microgreens that was topped with lemon dressing and basil.
This was another excellent dish! The crostata had excellent flavor, and it was somehow both rich and light. I loved the addition of summer vegetables, and the lemony salad of basil and microgreens was a perfect side dish.
Verdict: This box from Plated was a total home run for me! I loved every single one of the dishes I selected, and I even picked up a couple of techniques that I’ve already incorporated into my cooking repertoire. As usual, all of the ingredients that Plated sent arrived fresh and in good condition, and the recipes were clear and easy to follow. The cost per dish is about what I’d spend if I went shopping for ingredients at Whole Foods, and, considering the recipes and convenience factor, I’m happy with the value Plated offers. If you enjoy cooking at home, I would definitely recommend giving Plated a try!
Do you subscribe to Plated? If so, which Plated meals did you choose this week?