Sun Basket Classic Plan Subscription Box Review + Coupon – May 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.
Check out all of our reviews of Meal Delivery Services to see every meal kit subscription box option!
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).
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 three meals free with your first box. No coupon required, just follow 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
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
SunBasket kicks off the box with some grilling tips. There are a few recipes this month that would benefit from a grill—I don’t have one, so I just followed their non-grill instructions. If you are an aspiring grill master, I could see these being handy tips to have!
On the back of the card, there’s a bonus recipe for micheladas, which are kind of like the Bloody Mary of beer cocktails. I’ve enjoyed a michelada or two on summer nights, and I can attest that this is a great summer drink. I’ll have to get some supplies and give this recipe a shot!
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—sure, 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. Some of the bigger items are loose in the box, but by that, I mean things like a bunch of romaine lettuce—it’s not like grabbing a bunch of tiny containers or packages.
Quinoa and White Bean Burgers with Roasted Sweet Potato Fries
Calories per Serving: 760
Time According to Sun Basket: 35-45 minutes
Actual Time: 50 minutes
I love a bean burger! As a vegetarian, one of the flavors I miss most is the feeling of biting into a big, generously topped burger on a fluffy bun. From the photo on the recipe card, these burgers look like they’ll be big and beautiful enough to satisfy my cravings!
This recipe took me a little longer than predicted to whip up, mostly because my knife skills are still pretty slow (these sweet potatoes are surprisingly hard—literally—to cut through). The beans smelled super weird, but I let it pass (I can’t say I’ve smelled fresh beans before, so I’m not really sure what they’re supposed to smell like). The recipe guides you through the creation of two burger patties, but if I make this recipe again, I’d probably split that into four. There is SO much burger “batter” to work with! I was cooking these babies on a pretty sizable frying pan, but just the two patties together, smushed down to the thickness the recipe calls for, were bumping into one another as they cooked.
There’s no doubt this is a healthful, hearty recipe—it’s all plant-based, packed with natural proteins, and super filling. But I’ll be honest… It tasted a little too healthy. Y’know what I mean? The burger was filling, but really dry, even with the cucumber salad topping added to the sandwich. I feel like I added substantial dashes of salt and pepper throughout, but the flavor seemed muted or lacking in some way. And wow, is this burger ever crumbly (maybe a symptom of it being so dry)? I kind of expect veggie-based burgers to be on the crumbly side, but this was a little much (especially since I was the person flipping and lifting the burgers out of the pan—I got a first-hand understanding of just how crumbly these babies could be!).
The fries, on the other hand, were really good. I don’t know if I could call them fries (maybe steak fries) because they didn’t have that crispness that I love so much about a formal fry. I left them in the oven a little longer than instructed, too, just to try and get them a little toastier. But for what they were, they were delicious! I had to reach for some ketchup since there wasn’t any sauce provided to dip these in (and what’s the point of a fry you can’t dip?). But I was proud of myself for successfully making this summer barbecue staple—the weekend after I made this recipe, I made these fries again at a friend’s cookout!
Grilled Romaine Salad with Chickpeas and Piquillo Peppers
Calories per Serving: 710
Time According to Sun Basket: 20-30 minutes
Actual Time: 25 minutes
I’ve had grilled romaine salads before, but I’d never made one myself. Obviously, this recipe relies on a grill, but it gives instructions as to how to use a regular frying pan to get the same grilled effect.
The first step of this recipe is to toast the almonds and the pita in order to intensify their flavors in the finished dish. Working on an electric stovetop, I found it a little difficult to find the right heat to cook everything on—the almonds seemed to toast almost too quickly, while the pita took a longer-than-expected amount of time to even begin to brown. For such a precarious step, I’m not sure it added very much to the flavor. Once everything’s toasted, you set it aside while you prepare the other ingredients, so even the warmth of the bread and nuts fades by the time it hits the plate. The crispness is there, as is a slight toasty flavor, but it’s not as decadent as I thought it might be.
The romaine didn’t hold up very well for me either. I followed the steps on the recipe, verbatim, in terms of how to cut and cook the lettuce, but by the time the lettuce developed the slight char it’s supposed to have, the lettuce had mostly gone limp. Some of that might come from the fact that the individual leaves started to split off from the rest of the romaine heart, so they probably cooked faster than they should’ve. I do think this dish would’ve been way better had it been made on a grill, where the flames could lick the romaine hearts, and the gaps in the bars of the grill would’ve prevented the inadvertent steaming of the lettuce leaves (which I think happened because the leaves, set on the flat surface of the pan, trapped the heat too much).
Pappardelle with Artichokes, Butter Beans, and Pistou
Calories per Serving: 600
Time According to Sun Basket: 20-30 minutes
Actual Time: 30 minutes
The last recipe in the box is a pasta dish dressed in artichokes—yum! And apart from the pot the pasta cooks in, this recipe pretty much happens all in one pan, which I appreciate as someone who hates doing dishes.
The beans in this recipe also smelled a little funky, but maybe that’s just beans? It was easy enough to make—the process is essentially cooking pasta, cooking some shallot, then adding everything bit by bit into one big pan. The aroma of this dish was awesome, especially with the kick of lemon in the mix.
The flavors of this pasta dish were a little less dynamic than I expected. The pre-made pistou (essentially pesto) that came with the recipe adds some tasty flavor, but I think the mildness of the pistou, along with the creaminess of the beans and a generous amount of noodles, neutralizes the pop I expected to get from the artichokes and peppers. Instead, everything’s a little bit oily and a little bit mild. I couldn’t eat a whole plate—I got really full really fast, which I suppose is a good thing. And while the leftovers are pretty good, this dish didn’t wow me as much as I had anticipated it would.
Verdict: These Sun Basket recipes were good, but not great. I found everything filling and mostly very wholesome, but there wasn’t anything that made me stop and say “Mmmmm!” On the one hand, I like that this box supplies its customers with pre-made sauces for lots of their recipes, and the general convenience of having a subscription box handle your meals is awesome. But these aren’t recipes I’m super eager to try again (apart from the roasted sweet potato fries, which are just a handy thing to know how to make in a pinch). I will say, the value of this box is pretty on par with other popular subscriptions (like Plated, Blue Apron, etc.), so I’ll have to keep an eye out for what they offer on their subsequent menus. Maybe these recipes just weren’t the right thing for my palate.
Which of these Sun Basket recipes look the best to you?