Sun Basket Subscription Box Review + Coupon – October 2018
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 responsible farming and fishing 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 $11.99 per serving, and the Family Plan (2 or 4 “family friendly meals that kids will love” for 4 people per week) at $10.99 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:
Chef’s Choice: Healthy favorites from our chef. Fresh, seasonal recipes feature top-quality meats and seafood, organic and sustainable produce, and flavorful housemade sauces.
Paleo: More meat & veggies, less carbs. Paleo recipes feature plenty of lean meats and seafood, organic and sustainable produce, and housemade sauces. No gluten, grains, soy, corn, or dairy. (This is the one I subscribe to!)
Gluten-Free: No gluten, just delicious. Gluten-free recipes feature top-quality meats and seafood, organic and sustainable produce, gluten-free grains and pasta, and housemade sauces.
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.
Lean & Clean: Around 550 calories per serving, loads of flavor. Manage your weight and feel great with delicious meals high in protein and fiber, with no gluten, dairy or added sugars.
Vegan: Organic produce & plant-based protein. Creative meatless recipes with seasonal organic produce, plant-based proteins, and our house-made signature sauces.
Vegetarian: Balanced dinners full of organic veggies. Vibrant, creative recipes starring fresh, organic producer, responsibly sourced dairy, and organic pasture-raised eggs.
Pescatarian: Plant-forward with a healthy dose of seafood. Combine the benefits of a vegetarian diet, rich in seasonal organic produce, with an added dose of wild-caught, sustainably sourced seafood.
Mediterranean: Seasonal produce, lean meats, & healthy grains. Enjoy seasonal produce, lean meat & wild-caught seafood paired alongside whole grains, healthy fats, and fresh herbs.
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 a bit more limited options.
This review is of Sun Basket’s Chef’s Choice recipe offerings for two people, from the October 22th menu.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About Sun Basket
The Subscription Box: Sun Basket Classic Plan
The Cost: $11.99 per meal = $71.94/week for 2 people, or $143.88 for 4 people, plus a $6.99 delivery fee
The Products: High quality, non-GMO, organic ingredients for delicious meals!
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
Sun Basket Meal Kit October 2018 Review
Sun Basket encourages recycling, so all of its contents (food packaging, shipping materials, insulation and freezer packs, etc.) are recyclable. Love that!
The info packet included a friendly welcome, some quick advice for unpacking the box and how to prioritize dishes, account management info, and a handy guide for recycling the packaging materials. The gel in the ice packs can be composted—so cool!
As for the menu booklet, it contained all of the recipe info for every dish offered during this particular week, a guide on how to cook great rice, some positivity tips (pictured), and an infographic of cooking basics.
This week, I chose the following dishes: speedy Korean BBQ chicken lettuce cups with kimchi, salt-and-pepper tofu stir-fry with glass noodles, and simple squash fajitas with sweet peppers and queso fresco.
Let’s get this culinary adventure started!
Meal #1: Speedy Korean BBQ Chicken Lettuce Cups with Kimchi
I went for the Korean BBQ chicken lettuce cups first, as cooking the meat felt like a top priority. As I’ve mentioned in some other reviews, I don’t cook with meat very often, so if there’s any in my fridge, I make it a point to get it cooked ASAP.
First, I patted the chicken thighs dry and tossed them in the Korean BBQ sauce base before prepping the vegetables, so the meat would have as much time to marinate as possible. I snuck a little taste of the sauce before mixing it with the chicken, and it was wonderfully complex with its combination of coconut nectar and aminos, garlic, Frank’s RedHot, ginger, smoked paprika, and more.
Then, I cut the zucchini into half moons, and thinly sliced 3/4 of a cup’s worth of red onion. That left me with half of a red onion to use on a future dish.
The red onion cooked in the pan with a few teaspoons of hot oil over medium-high heat until softened and beginning to caramelize, about 3-4 minutes. I pushed the onion to the top of the pan, and working in batches, added the zucchini slices to soften and brown, about 2-3 minutes on each side. They were seasoned with salt and pepper while cooking. Once both veggies were cooked, they were transferred to a plate to rest.
With a touch more oil drizzled into to the already hot pan, I added the marinated chicken thighs to cook for 6-7 minutes on each side until browned and cooked through. Once finished, I left the chicken to rest on the cutting board before slicing into pieces.
While the chicken was doing its thing in the pan, I chopped the end off the romaine heart and separated the leaves, sliced the radishes into thin half moons, and roughly chopped the kimchi. I’m a huge fan of kimchi, so it was a little disappointing to see such a small serving for the wraps. Should I order this recipe again, I’ll be sure to have additional kimchi on hand. I just can’t get enough of the stuff.
Before I knew it, it was time to eat! I grabbed a slice of romaine, layered some chicken on the bottom, added the zucchini and red onion on top, tossed on some radish slices and shredded carrots, then garnished it all with black sesame seeds.
This dish took me a little longer than 30 minutes to prepare, as I gave the chicken extra time to cook and brown in the pan. I really appreciated how optimization-minded the recipe was, and the lettuce wraps themselves were quite nice. They were incredibly flavorful. I just wish the serving size would have been larger, because my boyfriend and I made quick work of this meal, and still had room for more, even after all the ingredients were long eaten.
Meal #2: Salt-and-Pepper Tofu Stir-Fry with Glass Noodles
I really wanted to challenge myself with this dish, as I’ve never cooked with tofu before. Honestly, there have only been a few times (out of many attempts) where I’ve thoroughly enjoyed eating tofu. I’m already crazy about glass noodles, so jumping into this vegan, gluten-free recipe felt exciting from the start.
Before starting any prep work, I started to boil a large pot of water and heated a deep pan. My stove can be pretty neurotic, so getting things heated and ready to go is always my first step. Then, after patting the block of extra-firm tofu as dry as I could get it, I sliced it into 1.5-2 inch pieces. Originally, I wanted to cut the pieces down even smaller for some nice, crispy little bites but decided to stick as closely to the recipe as possible since it was my first foray.
I mixed the cornstarch with the Celtic sea salt and black pepper blend, then dredged each tofu cube until coated, tapping off the excess as I went.
Once the pot was boiling and ready, I tossed the glass noodles in for seven minutes. The recipe advised to cook them for 8-10 minutes, but I prefer my noodles to be al dente, hence the shorter cook time. Isn’t it wild how translucent they are, considering they’re made from sweet potatoes?
I tossed the dredged tofu cubes into a medium-warm pan with two tablespoons of canola oil. The pan should have been a lot hotter, and I regret not being braver with the heat. However, because my stove occasionally has an attitude, I played it safe and just cooked the tofu for far longer than advised, just to get the right pan fry and not upset my appliance in the process.
I drained the noodles into a colander and rinsed them with cold water once they were finished boiling. Then, I wiped out their pot with a tea towel.
While the noodles and tofu were going, I added a bit of canola oil to the already-hot noodle pot to begin stir-frying these sliced red peppers I prepped. However, the pot was so hot, the oil started to smoke immediately, so I shut the burner down and started over with cooking the peppers once it had cooled to a manageable temperature.
I seasoned the sliced red peppers in the pot with salt and pepper and cooked them until they were soft, about 4-5 minutes. Then came the spinach, the shelled edamame, and more salt and pepper. The spinach was cooked until totally wilted.
With the tofu still frying and the vegetables doing their thing in the pot, I mixed together the stir-fry sauce base in a small bowl with 1/4 cup of water. The cashew butter flavor came forward in the sauce but was nicely balanced by the coconut aminos, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. I also chopped the scallions, on an angle, per the instructions. Around this time, I removed the tofu from the pan, as it was finally cooked to my liking, and transferred the cubes to a paper-towel-lined plate.
As the tofu cubes were resting, I mixed the glass noodles into the vegetable stir-fry, then added in the stir-fry sauce base.
Upon filling a bowl with the glass noodles, veggies, and sauce mix, I topped it all off with some fried tofu cubes and a generous garnish of scallions. What a photogenic dish—and a quick one at that!
Overall, the flavor was really mild. I think it could have benefited from some sauteed garlic and perhaps a little sriracha or red pepper flakes. The glass noodles were cooked to perfection and were a perfect host for the sauce. As for the tofu, peppers, and edamame, they added a very satisfying crunch. The serving size of this dish was also more generous than the Korean BBQ lettuce cups, which I appreciated. There was enough left over for me to have for lunch a few days later, and it reheated beautifully. In fact, it tasted better as leftovers! If I were to try this dish again, I’d add in the garlic and spices for some more flavor, and get a little more bold with the heat while frying the tofu.
Meal #3: Simple Squash Fajitas with Sweet Peppers and Queso Fresco
I’ll start out by saying that this recipe took me the longest to make because of one rather moody avocado refusing to ripen. Eight days went by until I finally decided to go for it, as I was worried about my tomatoes and red pepper getting wrinkly. Spoiler: it all worked out in the end.
Before getting into the prep work, I started by heating a tablespoon of canola oil in my trusty pan to accommodate my aforementioned difficult stove. I chopped the ends off of the delicata squash, cut it lengthwise, removed the seeds, and sliced each piece into 1/4 inch half moons. Then, I peeled and sliced the red onion, and followed suit with the red pepper.
There was a note in the fajita ingredients bag about the sweet peppers being unavailable, so Sun Basket swapped in this red bell pepper. I was actually pretty happy to see this because I prefer bell peppers over sweet peppers!
Once the oil was nice and hot without smoking, I tossed in the squash slices first to cook for 6-7 minutes, until beginning to soften, stirring occasionally. The red onion, bell pepper slices, salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup of water joined the squash for the duration of the cook time, which was another 10-12 minutes. The instructions said to cook everything together for 3-4 minutes, but I let it all go longer so the onions would get nice and caramelized, and the squash would be totally cooked through.
As the vegetables were cooking in the pan, I finished prepping the last of the ingredients: slicing each tomato in half, juicing half the lime and cutting the other half into garnishes, coarsely chopping the cilantro (which at this point had become a little wilty and sad), crumbling the queso fresco (the packaging was darn near impossible to open and nearly broke my thumbnail), and showing that moody avocado who’s boss in the end by also cutting into slices.
I mixed the tomato slices in with the lime juice, some salt and pepper, a teaspoon of canola oil, and the bulk of the chopped cilantro. So fresh!
Lastly, I warmed each tortilla on both sides in a separate pan over medium heat for extra flavor and pliability.
Isn’t this a beautiful dish? All of the colors and textures working together—it’s quite a sight. This recipe took me 30 minutes or less to throw together, making it the quickest of the bunch. I was surprised to see how generous each portion was for three tortillas. The flavor was excellent, and three robustly-stuffed fajitas made for the perfect serving size. Avocado drama aside, I was really charmed by this dish, and would definitely consider making it again.
Verdict: My experience with Sun Basket was overwhelmingly positive! Since the cons are fewer, I’ll start with those. Waiting for that avocado to ripen was a pretty big pain, as it compromised the freshness of some of the fajitas’ other ingredients. The queso fresco packaging was pretty aggressive and did a number on my thumbnail when trying to crack it open. Lastly, the portions were on the smaller side for a couple with generous appetites, which was a little disappointing for the Korean BBQ lettuce cups. As for the pros, I loved how all aspects of the Sun Basket packaging are recyclable/compostable! The ingredients were unique and introduced me to quite a few new things (who knows if I’d ever encounter a delicata squash on my own), and the instructions were super easy to follow. The menus are crafted with such care and are pretty close to replicated restaurant-quality dishes at home. It’s a good option if you keep your fridge pretty pared down, or are a newbie to home cooking. Overall, I wouldn’t substitute Sun Basket for a weekly grocery trip, but I would use it to shake up my meal rotation every now and again. I found my time with Sun Basket to be worthwhile, and am looking forward to the next batch of dishes already!
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Since Sun Basket menus change weekly and you must choose them ahead of time, you won’t be able to order these dishes unless they are offered again in the future.
Coupon –Get $60 off ($40 off your first order and $20 off your second order) with this link!
Value Breakdown: At $71.94 for this box, you’re paying $11.99 per meal.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
Which has been your favorite Sun Basket recipe so far?