Sun Basket Classic Plan Subscription Box Review + Coupon – April 2017
Sun Basket is a meal kit delivery subscription dedicated to good-tasting, clean foods. According to their site, Sun Basket is committed to sustainability, low-impact fishing and responsible farming methods, organically grown produce, and giving back to the community via food banks and other programs. Award-winning San Francisco chef Justine Kelly lends her culinary know-how to developing Sun Basket‘s simple, seasonal recipes, which feature pre-portioned ingredients and signature pre-made sauces and spice blends.
Sun Basket offers two menu options: the Classic Plan (3 “inspired, farm-to-table recipes” for 2 or 4 people per week) for $11.49 per serving, and the Family Plan (2 or 4 “family friendly meals that kids will love” for 4 people per week) at $9.99 per serving. The Family Plan was co-created by Tyler Florence from Food Network!
Within each plan, there are options for vegetarians, paleo eaters, gluten-free diets, and even breakfast-lovers (Classic Plan only). According to the Sun Basket FAQs, these are the options for the Classic Plan, which I’ll be reviewing today:
Classic Menu Meal Plans:
Chef’s Choice: Chef Justine’s favorite recipes made with fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Rise & Shine: Chef Justine’s 2 favorite dinner recipes, plus 2 5-minute breakfast recipes, so you can start your days off right. The weekly price is the same as our other plans.
Paleo: Quick, low-carb recipes designed for the Paleo diet, featuring fresh seasonal produce and sustainably sourced meats and seafood.
Gluten Free: Gluten Free: Inspired gluten-free recipes featuring fresh, seasonal produce, sustainably sourced meats and seafood, plus healthy gluten-free grains. Please note, Sun Basket meals are prepared in a facility that handles wheat, and while the Gluten Free meal plan follows a gluten-free diet, due to risk of cross-contamination, meals are not suitable for people with severe gluten intolerance.
Vegetarian: Delicious, meatless recipes with an emphasis on seasonal produce and nutritious plant-based proteins.
Regardless of the plan you choose, you can always log into your Sun Basket account and hand-pick what meals you’d like to receive. If you don’t go in and curate things for yourself, Sun Basket will just choose meals for you based on your plan/preferences. Keep in mind that folks with special diets will always have more limited options. For example, there will always be at least 3 or 4 vegetarian options on the menu, but that’s it—there’s not a lot to go in and choose between.
This is a review of the vegetarian version of the Classic Plan for 2 people per week ($11.49 per serving).
Check out all of our reviews of Meal Delivery Services to see every meal kit subscription box option!
My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Subscription Box: SunBasket Classic Plan
The Cost: $11.49 per meal with free shipping on your first delivery. (That’s $68.94 per week for 2 people or $137.88 per week for 4 people.) After your first week, shipping is $5.99. If you’re serving a family (especially a family with kids), check out their Family Plan for pickier eaters priced at $9.99 per serving.
COUPON: Get $35 off plus free shipping! No coupon needed - just use this link.
The Products: Farm-to-table-inspired recipes and the pre-portioned, high quality, non-GMO, organic ingredients you need to make them. Some items, such as signature sauces and spice mixes, come pre-prepared for you.
Ships to: AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, UT, VA, WV, VT, & parts of AK, AL, MI, MS
Good to know: Sun Basket offers plans for vegetarian, paleo, and gluten-free diets. The Classic Plan also offers a breakfast option!
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
Okay, let’s take a peek inside the box. This week, I stuck with two of the dinners SunBasket chose for me and swapped one dinner out with the vegetarian-friendly breakfast on the menu. This is one of the few meal kits that offers breakfasts, so I was eager to give ’em a try.
The box was topped with this card, which is promoting a new book about recipe expert Paula Wolfert.
The back of the card has a bonus recipe for “chermoula”, which is a green, herbaceous sauce I’d never heard of before. It looks awesome, though, and according to the recipe card, it sounds very versatile.
The box also included these stickers, which are meant to help roll and seal up the box insulation for recycling. I read that Sun Basket is a big fan of sustainable practices, so I appreciate that they’re encouraging recycling.
One thing I like about Sun Basket is that ingredients come grouped together and packaged in these simple paper bags. Other subscriptions mix everything together—honestly, it takes 5 minutes to sort through a box of ingredients, but I’ve got to say I do like being able to just grab everything I need out of the fridge, drop it on the counter, and get started.
Calories per Serving: 460
Time According to Sun Basket: 5-10 minutes
Actual Time: 15 minutes
I was encouraged by how quick the recipe card said this meal would take to make. In addition to being really, really new in the kitchen, I’m usually rushing around breakfast and dinner time. (I like to stay in bed as late as I can in the mornings before work, and my evenings are often busy with friends and rehearsals for my improv hobby.) I need simpler recipes that I can whip up and enjoy in a pinch.
Making this meal, however, proved a lot trickier than I expected. First and foremost, the eggs! Not all food boxes actually ship eggs to you (some consider them pantry staples that you have to supply yourself, in the same way this box considers salt and pepper to be staple ingredients), so I liked that this one included them. They arrived without a crack, too. I read over the recipe several times, prepping myself for how to make a dainty fried egg. But things started to go downhill as soon as I dropped the first egg in my pan. You’re supposed to cook both eggs in the same pan at the same time, but my first egg immediately spread out so much that adding another egg wasn’t an option. The extent to which the egg spread out also made it hard to judge when the egg was really done. The majority of the whites set almost instantly, while a pool of raw whites sat patiently around the yolk. The second egg did the same thing! I didn’t mind the edges of the eggs being a little crispier and drier, but I was frustrated that I didn’t get the perfect eggs that they showed in the photo.
Once the eggs are done, the meal is basically ready. The tortillas warmed on the stove, form the base layer of the dish. Then come the eggs, sauce, cheese, cilantro, salt, and pepper. It looks gorgeous, but upon taking a bite, I was… disappointed. The salsa, which arrives pre-made, is more of a thick, oily sauce. I thought warming it (part of the recipe) would help blend the oil into the other ingredients, but the heated sauce was still kind of runny in an unpleasant way. It also was strangely bitter—the deep pepper and tomato flavors I expected were just not there. Even the cheese tasted oddly soapy. I know that cilantro can taste soapy to some palettes, but it was actually fine. The cheese, on the other hand, had something odd about it. All in all, it was a really underwhelming meal. Such a bummer!
Overnight Mixed-Berry Chia Pudding
Calories per Serving: 380
Time According to Sun Basket: 2-5 minutes
Actual Time: 10 minutes
This pudding is meant to be kind of a side dish to the huevos rancheros. I’ve been dying to try chia seed pudding since it seems so easy, healthy, and delicious. I could see making a bunch and stock my fridge with it for the week.
Unlike the huevos rancheros, this was a recipe that both looked easy and was impossibly easy to make. The process is basically just dumping all of the ingredients into a blender, processing until smooth, then pouring into cups to let sit, refrigerated, overnight. The only hard part was cleaning the pesky, sticky little chia seeds out of the crevices of my blender… (Seriously. It took awhile.)
The next morning, you have thick, purple pudding that you can top with granola. In case this wasn’t clear, chia pudding is essentially the fancy, foodie-ified version of the sticky, gloopy seeds you put on top of a Chia Pet. Knowing that, the consistency was pretty much what I expected it to be—it’s kind of wet and gelatinous, but not super firm, almost like jam. I can see why it’s referred to as “pudding,” but that name got my hopes up for a creaminess that wasn’t quite there. However, the berry flavor was bright and fresh, the granola, which I mixed in pretty generously, provided a bit of texture, and most importantly, I was happily surprised by how satisfying it was. (I needed something filling after only picking at my huevos rancheros.) It’s such an easy recipe that I’m really tempted to try making it again (and even try some different flavor combinations).
Tunisian Chickpea Soup with Soft-Cooked Eggs and Toasted Ciabatta
Calories per Serving: 670
Time According to Sun Basket: 20-30 minutes
Actual Time: 40 minutes
There were a lot of little ingredients in this recipe. I liked, though, that despite all of the ingredients, this was basically a one-pan meal. Most of the process is just building a soup by sauteing and adding stock to a pan.
The other part is tossing torn ciabatta in olive oil and toasting it into soft, tender croutons. The smells that filled my kitchen—the sweet, rich smell of the toasting bread and the fragrant shallots and porcini powder—were amazing.
The only hang-up I had with this recipe was… once again… the eggs! These darn eggs will be the death of me. I eat plenty of eggs but rarely make them for myself. When I do, they’re usually scrambled. Making a soft boiled egg never struck me as something all that difficult, but holy cow. I actually ended up only making one successful egg (RIP egg number 2). I followed the instructions in the recipe to a T, but the first egg I tried turned out underdone. The cooked whites kept ripping as I peeled it, and eventually, a crack in the cooked whites started seeping with the uncooked white inside. Yikes! My second egg went a little better, though I didn’t peel it super evenly. (There were lots of little notches and divots in the whites.)
The most frustrating thing about my egg saga is that I don’t really know what the egg added to the dish. There were tons of tender chickpeas in this oniony soup, providing plenty of plant-based protein and meaty texture. The soup is topped with other deliciously soft, moist ingredients, like olives, capers, and roasted red peppers. So the egg ends up getting lost in a bowl full of flavors anyway. Speaking of flavors, this soup is bright, light, and a little bit spicy. It’s like every classic Mediterranean flavor combined into one clean soup. I did feel like it was a little lacking in salt and pepper, so I sprinkled a bit of that in before really digging in.
Vegetables in Parchment with Green Goddess Dressing and Soft-Cooked Eggs
Calories per Serving: 540
Time According to Sun Basket: 35-45 minutes
Actual Time: 45 minutes
Gah! Another egg! This is another recipe where the egg seems extraneous—between the butter beans and the Green Goddess dressing, the recipe already seems to have its fatty, protein-rich ingredients covered. At this point in cooking my way through the box, I was so over failing eggs, but I was willing to give it one last shot with this dish.
First, the easy part. I cut up all of the awesome green veggies in this recipe, seasoned them, then packed them into the parchment paper included in the box. Folding the paper into a seal took a few tries—since the paper is so thin and delicate, it’s harder to get a crisp crease like you can with standard paper. But I was so charmed by my little paper pouches! I slid them into the oven to cook and got started on the eggs. And they turned out…
…not so good. The first one I tried turned out undercooked again. This one turned out okay, but in trying to peel the egg, the white split and this yolk plopped out like a little golden ball. So, sorry, Sun Basket. This dish is going eggless.
The thing is, it really didn’t impact the dish at all! The veggies were lightly browned but incredibly tender. I’m picky about mushrooms, but the ones in this pretty pouch were really meaty, rich with flavor, and tasted fantastic with the Green Goddess dressing. I destroyed this dish in a matter of minutes. Who needs the egg? This dish is incredible as is!
Verdict: SunBasket didn’t wow me as much as I thought it would, but most of the dishes were pretty tasty. I liked the soup and the veggies, sans the nightmarish eggs. Eggs are now my Everest, and yes, I will learn how to make them and make them well. But I also am kinda bummed that I spent so much time making eggs that didn’t leave a huge impact on the recipes they were involved in. That’s with the exception of the huevos rancheros, of course. And speaking of those huevos rancheros, they were the one thing in this box that I was super disappointed by, especially because one of the main parts of the dish was pre-made. It’s not like I goofed on the recipe for the salsa—it came ready from Sun Basket, but just did not please my taste buds. The Green Goddess sauce, however, was amazing. As far as value goes, this box is pretty on par with other popular subscriptions (like Plated, Blue Apron, etc.), so I’m interested to see how my next box will go. Will there be another miss, like the huevos rancheros? Or will it be all wins (and ideally, no eggs)?
Which of these Sun Basket recipes look the best to you?