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My Tovala Review — I Tested the Smart Oven and Sampled the Meals

Tovala Review

This Smart Oven + Meal Delivery Combo Blew My Mind

Pros: 

  • The Tovala oven is amazing
  • Tovala’s meals are tasty
  • Hands-on cooking time is practically zero
  • Meals are ready in 20 minutes or less
  • Food is fresh, never frozen
  • The oven can be used for non-Tovala meals
  • You can try risk-free with Tovala’s 100-day trial

Cons: 

  • There’s a significant upfront investment
  • 2.4 GHz WiFi and a smartphone are required
  • Tovala’s meals do not support all special diets
  • Portion sizes are sufficient, but not ample

My Verdict: 

Initially, I wasn’t sure I’d love Tovala. (Would the oven live up to the hype? Are scannable meals just a gimmick?) I may have started out skeptical, but this oven + meal delivery combo won me over. I’m now a certified, card-carrying fan. I’ve always kept a toaster oven on my kitchen counter, and the Tovala smart oven is a fabulous upgrade. It’s beautiful and user-friendly, and most importantly, it PERFORMS. The Tovala meals are a tasty time-saver, but the oven is the real star. It’s a great machine that has changed the way I cook in my kitchen.

COUPON: Use code MSA30 to get $130 off your Tovala Smart Oven when you order 6+ weeks of meals.

by Lindsey Morse, Techno Geek & Foodie
January 15, 2021| 30 comments

This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out our review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

Getting Started

Why Tovala?

In a sea of meal delivery subscriptions, Tovala is different. Instead of simply signing up and getting food sent to your doorstep, the barrier to entry here is higher: you have to purchase the Tovala smart oven, which scans your meals and pulls cooking instructions (time, temperature, method) from the cloud. If you’ve ever had mediocre results microwaving or baking a frozen meal, you can probably understand the draw here. Tovala’s recipes are designed and prepped by chefs, and the meals are shipped fresh. The oven is the final step that ensures your food is cooked just so and that all the work that goes into creating the meal truly pays off. Using a combination of cooking techniques, the oven cooks your meal perfectly; all you have to do is scan the provided QR-code, place your meal in the oven, and press start.

I’ll talk about my experience with the oven and food in a minute, but let’s start by navigating the sign-up process, looking at the oven’s stats, and exploring how the Tovala meal subscription works.

Plans & Pricing

Image via Tovala.

When you sign up for Tovala, you’ll need to decide if you want the entire Tovala experience (oven + meal kits) or just the oven. While it’s absolutely possible to purchase the oven on its own, I recommend at least considering the meal kits. If you think you’ll enjoy them and are willing to commit to 6 deliveries in the first 6 months, you’ll receive a significant savings on the cost of a Tovala oven. Here’s what pricing looks like:

  • $299– Tovala Starter Kit (includes oven + accessories), purchased without meal subscription commitment
  • $199– Tovala Starter Kit (includes oven + accessories), with a commitment to purchase at least 6 meal deliveries within 6 months

COUPON: Use code MSA30 to get $130 off your Tovala Smart Oven when you order 6+ weeks of meals.

Once you have the oven, you can sign up for weekly meal deliveries. Here’s the pricing info for the meals:

  • $11.99– cost per Tovala meal. Shipping is free when you order 6 meals or more. Shipping is $5.99 if you order fewer than 6 meals. The smallest meal plan is 3 meals per week (each meal serves 1).

Shipping & Delivery

Tovala ships to the contiguous United States. (They do not yet service Hawaii or Alaska.)

Most customers will be able to select between two different available delivery days. Here’s more info about that from Tovala:

We offer a choice between two weekly meal delivery days for most customers. Currently, customers living closest to our Chicago facilities receive meals on Mondays. For all other customers and depending on your zip code, you will either have Tuesday or Thursday deliveries available, or Wednesday or Friday deliveries available.

Once you place your order, your oven should arrive within 2-5 business days. Meal orders are placed every Wednesday at 6 pm CT for delivery the following week.

About the Oven

The Tovala smart oven is such an integral part of the Tovala experience, so I think it makes sense to start by exploring what it’s all about. Let’s take a look at what it can do.

Image via Tovala.

First of all, how big is it? As you can see in the above graphic, the oven measures 18.5″(L) x 12.32″(D) x 11.75″ (H). It fits nicely on my countertop, and it’s pretty much exactly the same size as my toaster oven. The interior space is large enough to cook a 4-pound chicken, a 10″ pizza, or 4 Tovala meal trays.

Image via Tovala.

When I was first looking into this service, I was concerned that the oven would have limited capabilities or perhaps be designed to cook Tovala meals and little else. This is not the case. In addition to the Tovala meals, you can make your own recipes— basically anything that you’d cook in a convection oven or toaster oven. It’s no problem to manually select your cooking method (toast, bake, broil, or steam), temperature (up to 450 degrees), and time. You can make toast, roast veggies, cook fish, bake muffins, etc., etc., etc.

But this is a smart oven, and when it comes to cooking Tovala meals, this machine really shows off its brilliance. All you have to do is scan the QR-code that comes with the meal, put the trays in the oven, and press start. You can then sit back and wait for a push notification to come through on your phone telling you the meal is ready to eat. But the “smart” part of this smart oven doesn’t stop there.

From Tovala:

You can use the oven to do any cooking you’d normally do in your conventional oven. You can also steam, toast with 5 settings, reheat, cook from the app’s library of recipes, and Scan-to-Cook hundreds of brand name grocery products—like Eggo® Waffles and Pop-Tarts®!

Image via Tovala.

You can “scan-to-cook” lots of different brands. I’ve tried this with a few products so far (check out my Eggo waffles below), and this feature has worked like a charm. You can make pizza, Pop-Tarts, crescent rolls, Bagel Bites, and meals from Trader Joe’s all with a quick scan of the product barcode.

You can also use the Tovala app to communicate cooking instructions to your oven. If you enjoy cooking from scratch, you’ll find a number of recipes in the Tovala app that you can make at home using your own ingredients. The app provides recipe instructions that help you prep your meal, and when your food is ready to cook you can press a button in the app that will send specific cooking instructions for that dish to your smart oven.

About the Food

You can cook lots of different foods in your Tovala oven, but in this section, I’m going to talk specifically about Tovala meals. What’s the food like? How do you prepare it?

Menu images via Tovala.

The Menu

Every week, Tovala has around 13 meals to choose from. (Some entrees allow for customization, which opens up different meal possibilities.) All of the meals are preservative-free, shipped fresh, and last for between 3-7 days in the refrigerator. Meals are ordered individually; you can order as few as 3 and as many as 16 per week.

The menu rotates weekly, but here are some examples of past meals:

  • Italian Sausage Meatballs with Cauliflower Rice, Roasted Peppers & Giardiniera
  • Greek Veggie Lentil Salad with Crumbled Feta, Almonds & Pickled Red Onions
  • Jamaican Jerk Pork Chop with Coconut Beans & Rice
  • Eggplant Parmesan Lasagna with Roasted Broccoli & Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Bacon Swiss Chicken Melt with Honey Mustard Green Beans

Preparation Instructions

This is the fun part. All of the meals are designed to be cooked in your Tovala oven, and the cooking instructions are communicated to the machine via a QR-code that comes printed on the meal. When you’re ready to eat, all you do is press the “scan” button on your oven, hold up the code so it can be read, pop your meals in the oven, and press “start.” Clean up is easy, too. You can recycle the provided baking trays or wash and reuse them.

Theoretically, you could sign up for a Tovala meal subscription and cook the food in your own home oven; however, this is not recommended. The Tovala oven can bake, steam, and broil, and many of the meals use a combination of these to achieve cooking perfection. Meals do not come with separate instructions, and success in your own oven is not guaranteed.

Will Tovala work with my special diet?

Here’s information from Tovala about which special diets are currently supported:

Every week, we offer at least 3 gluten-free meals and at least 2 vegetarian meals (some of which overlap). You can find the nutrition information for our meals on our menu page. When you order and on our meals’ packaging, we specify nutrition information, allergens, and dietary meal tags (including calorie smart and carb conscious).

Have food allergies? Here is some information about how allergy information is conveyed:

We clearly list the allergens in every meal when you order and receive them, but you should know that our meals are packaged in a facility that handles milk, wheat, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, and gluten.

Nutritional Info & Calorie Content

Calorie content varies by meal, and most will come in between 400-800 calories. (I’ve seen meals as low as 320 calories and as high as 820.) Nutrition information is accessible online, and it’s also printed on the card that comes with every meal.

Packaging & Recycling

From the Tovala box to the packaging materials that keep the meals safe in transit, Tovala’s packaging is 100% recyclable.

My Tovala Oven

It feels like we’re smack dab in the middle of a kitchen appliance renaissance; air fryers, fancy multicookers, and smart ovens are revolutionizing the way we prepare meals. But unlike my friends (who are often raving about their shiny new gadgets), I’ve always been fairly old fashioned when it comes to outfitting my kitchen. I do most of my cooking on the stove, in the convection oven, and in my toaster oven. I tend to take a minimalist approach to new contraptions in my own kitchen, but the truth is that I’m quite the techie. I’ve been intrigued by some of the smart ovens that have recently come onto the market, I just wasn’t sure that they were right for me. (Were they really any better than my toaster oven?) When my Tovala oven arrived, I wasn’t sure I’d love it. I wasn’t sure it was necessary. But I was excited to give it a whirl.

The Machine

 

Once the order was placed, my oven arrived pretty quickly. I unpacked it from the box and inventoried everything I’d received. For the record, this is the Second Generation Tovala Oven.

 

In addition to the oven itself (and coordinating accessories like a steam tray, baking pan, and shelf), I received a measuring cup, potholder, recipe cards, instruction manual, and quick start guide. My first impression: this oven is a beauty that feels sturdy and well-made.

 

I followed the instructions supplied in the Quick Start Guide to get the oven up and running. This involved connecting the oven to my local WiFi network, inserting the steamer cover inside the oven, sliding the drain tray into place underneath, and pouring some water into the steamer reservoir.

 

The oven comes with a measuring cup for this purpose. When the oven is plugged in and connected, it will tell you when the water needs to be refilled, and it lets you know if you get close to overfilling the reservoir.

 

Here are the buttons. Three different controls allow you to select cooking mode, temperature, and time. The start/pause/cancel button sits at the bottom. When the oven is plugged in, these areas illuminate and display relevant information.

 

In addition to the quick start guide, my oven also came with some recipe cards (for basics like roasted broccoli, roasted chicken, and baked eggs) and an instruction manual.

 

Last but not least, here’s the potholder I received. I tend to use dish towels and kitchen rags for taking hot pans out of the oven, but I’m always happy to receive a hot pad.

The App

 

To connect your oven to WiFi, you’ll need to download the Tovala app. The app allows you to order meals, look up recipes, and even control your oven. You’ll also get notifications on your phone when your food is done cooking; really, this oven makes me feel like I’m living in the future.

How it Cooks

I’ve had this oven for several weeks, and when I set it up, I made the conscious decision to use it as much as possible for this review. The funny thing is that by day 2 or 3 I was using it for pretty much everything— not because I need to, but because I wanted to. I kid you not, I was smitten with this oven.

First things first, let’s talk about toast. Both my husband and I eat toast pretty regularly, so that’s a decent chunk of what we use our toaster oven for. It made sense to start with a basic “toast test.” Tovala‘s toast setting allows you to choose your level of toastiness, from 1 (light) all the way to 5 (very dark). I’m probably a 2 or 3 kinda gal, and my husband is a 4. My expectations for this test weren’t crazy. Really, I was just trying to set out a basic challenge that would allow me to try out the oven. I mean, toast is toast, right? Wrong. This machine makes awesome toast. Because Tovala uses a combination of heat and steam when cooking, every piece of toast (light or dark) is perfectly toasted on the outside and nice and soft in the middle. No brittle, dry toast here, folks. It might seem like a small thing— and I even feel kind of silly making a big deal out of it— but this alone has added a little bit of joy to my morning routine. I seriously love the toast that comes out of my Tovala oven. 

 

Next up, I tried roasting an eggplant. There wasn’t an eggplant option in the Tovala app, so I set the time manually. After 30 minutes, it was done. Perfectly. (Check out my Firstleaf review to learn more about this dish and see how I paired it with wine!)

I also tried the scanning feature, which allows you to scan packaging from a number of grocery store brands. I don’t eat that many pre-prepared foods, but I picked up some Eggo Blueberry Nutrigrain Waffles at the store to test out this feature. They scanned easily and cooked beautifully.

My Tovala Meals

Of course, I couldn’t give Tovala a thorough review without trying the meals. While you could absolutely just purchase the oven and be very happy with it, the Tovala meals are a huge selling point.

 

A few days after my oven arrived, I received a box with four Tovala meals to try.

Each of the meals comes packaged in its own little cube. Food for each meal comes prepped and stored in aluminum trays that are nestled into these boxes. Depending on the meal, sometimes you’ll have one tray, sometimes two, and certain proteins (like the fish and chicken I received) are packed separately. My Tovala meal shipment arrived at lunchtime, so I wasted no time cooking my first Tovala meal.

 

Meal #1: Creole Tomato-Braised Chicken with Freshly Baked Biscuits

Cooking Time: 19:45

Calories: 750

 

I was really excited to try this meal. Firstly, I love biscuits. Secondly, NEVER have I seen a freshly prepared meal kit that’s included stew and biscuit dough that you cook in the oven at the same time. This seemed like a true challenge for my brand new Tovala steam oven, and I have to admit I was uncertain about how this dish was going to turn out.

The biscuits and chicken were each packaged in separate baking trays. I unpacked them, removed the plastic film, scanned the QR-code that was printed on the meal card, and we were off to the races.

 

19 minutes and 45 seconds later, my meal was ready. Do you see those biscuits? They came out perfectly, and I’m pretty sure this is the moment that I went from being a Tovala skeptic to a Tovala believer. I topped the chicken with cheese and roasted red peppers that came on the side, and I thought the garnishes were a great addition. The biscuits were fantastic. (You can’t really beat freshly baked biscuits.) The Creole Braised Chicken was delicious, too, and the flavors were surprisingly bold. The dish was savory and a little spicy. When I first looked at the portion sizes, I wasn’t sure the ratio was quite right. Initially, I thought I might prefer just one biscuit and more stew, but I ended up being very happy with the meal just the way it was.

 

Meal #2: Crispy Panko-Crusted Chicken Breast with Honey Mustard Roasted Broccoli

Cooking Time: 20:00

Calories: 400

 

The next meal I tried was Crispy Panko-Crusted Chicken Breast with Honey Mustard Roasted Broccoli. Unlike the first meal that went straight into the oven, this one required a little bit of prep. The chicken arrived sealed in plastic, so I had to unwrap it, transfer it to a provided baking tray, smother it with mayo, and top it with seasoned panko. When it was prepped and ready, I scanned the QR-code and placed the trays in the oven.

 

20 minutes later, my meal was done. Included with the meal kit were a couple of optional garnishes: honey mustard dressing and hot sauce. I plated both of these garnishes but ended up more or less ignoring the hot sauce. I enjoyed this dish, and I thought the chicken was tasty. It was creamy, crunchy, and well-seasoned. I prefer my broccoli a bit more al dente, but most people would probably say it was cooked just right.

 

Meal #3: Sweet Corn, Mushroom & Goat Cheese Pasta with Basil Vinaigrette

Cooking Time: 17:00

Calories: 430

 

Goat cheese is one of the few foods I’m just not that crazy about, so this meal had my husband’s name all over it. Like the first meal, this one required almost no prep. I removed the plastic covering from the pasta dish, sprinkled parmesan cheese on top, and then popped this in the oven.

 

When it was done, I transferred it to a bowl and topped it with basil vinaigrette, an “optional garnish.”  (One thing to note here is that many Tovala meals come with optional garnishes. Calories for these garnishes are not included in the meal total. The basil vinaigrette for this dish added 119 calories, which is not insubstantial. If you’re tracking calories, I recommend keeping this in mind when you’re ordering meals.) My husband loved this dish and described it as creamy, hearty, and satisfying. He had this for lunch but said that if he was eating it for dinner he might find the portion a bit small. I managed to sneak a bite, and I agreed with his assessment of the taste. I found the flavors to be well-balanced, and it was delightfully cheesy. I’ll never love goat cheese, but it was nice in this dish. The flavor was relatively subtle, and it added a depth that elevated this dish from just “cheesy comfort food.”

 

Meal #4: Smoky BBQ Salmon with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Cooking Time: 13:15

Calories: 600

 

My last Tovala meal was this salmon and potatoes dish. Much like the chicken & biscuits, I was really surprised that both the fish and potatoes cook in the same oven for the same amount of time. I was even more shocked to see that some of the potatoes were nearly twice as large as others! It just seemed unlikely that everything would come out of the oven at the same time cooked just right. But the oven hadn’t let me down yet, so I went with it. I transferred the salmon into a tray, topped it with BBQ sauce, and put the food in the oven.

 

I forked the potatoes to check they were all done, and they were! Mind= blown. I plated the food, drizzled slaw vinaigrette over the potatoes, and sprinkled on corn nut crumble. Of all the meals I received, I think this one was my least favorite. There was nothing at all wrong with it, but I just don’t think BBQ salmon is my thing. I love salmon, and I love BBQ sauce, I’m just not sure I think they belong together. But that is, of course, a matter of personal preference, and putting that aside, this was objectively a good plate of food. The potatoes were cooked beautifully, the salmon was moist and tender, and I thought the corn nuts were a really fun garnish that added some great texture.

Is Tovala worth it?

 

Okay. Now that we’ve looked at the Tovala oven and the Tovala meals, let’s break things down. Is Tovala worth it? This is a difficult question to answer, but one thing is clear: this is not the cheapest meal delivery service. Not by a long shot. Since you’ll need to purchase a Tovala oven if you want to sign up for Tovala meals, you must be prepared to shell out $199 upfront. You’ll then need to pay $11.99 per meal for future food deliveries. This is obviously not a meal delivery service that will work for everyone, but I really love it. The food is great, it’ll save you time, and the oven is awesome. If you’re super busy and love the idea of simply scanning dinner and having your oven cook it for you (or if you’re in the market for a smart oven and like the idea of coordinating meals), I think you’ll love Tovala.

How’s the Food?

The food is really tasty! The pre-prepared dishes (like pasta and chicken stew) were the highlights for me, but all of the food was good. It’s clear the meals are thoughtfully designed, and the meals + oven combo allows for feats of cooking that other delivery services could simply never pull off. (I mean, freshly baked biscuits and braised chicken? Whaaaat?) The fact that these meals come out the way they do with so little hands-on prep time is incredible.

What about the portion sizes?

The portion sizes I received varied between meals, but I’d say that most are on the small-ish side. Most of the meals would work just fine for me for dinner or lunch, but I think my husband might find some of them a bit light if I served them for dinner. If I were to rely on Tovala meals for dinners regularly, I’d probably plan to also serve a side salad, extra veggie, or some bread.

Will I love the oven?

I suppose I can’t tell you whether or not you’ll love this oven, but I can tell you that I sure as heck do. As I said at the start of the review, I wasn’t sure this oven would live up to the hype. I was perfectly happy with my standard, run-of-the-mill toaster oven, and I wondered if this might just be the same thing with flashier lights. I am so pleased to tell you I was wrong. The scan-to-cook function is clever and useful, but bells and whistles aside, this is just a fantastic cooking machine. The Tovala steam function is a real game-changer; this oven makes great food. I haven’t tried baking in it yet, but I have a feeling it’s going to make incredible muffins and homemade pizza.

Is Tovala convenient?

No question. If you only have 3 minutes for meal prep work, you can still have high-quality meals made with no preservatives that taste like they were homemade. When it comes to convenience, it doesn’t get better than this. Tovala is great for busy people.

Is it easy to skip a week or cancel?

It is! To skip a future delivery, sign in to your account and navigate to the delivery calendar to make changes to your upcoming order(s). Note that the deadline to skip or modify upcoming orders is Wednesday at 6 pm CT for delivery the following week.

If you’d like to skip meals, pause your deliveries, or cancel your account, you can do it online. Once you’re signed into your account, just follow the prompts.

Should YOU sign up for Tovala?

I’d recommend Tovala to anyone who:

  • Is looking for fully-prepared meals that taste great
  • Wants to save time while eating meals that taste like they’re homemade
  • Doesn’t have a lot of time for meal prep
  • Doesn’t mind paying a premium for convenience and quality
  • Is in the market for a new smart oven
  • Loves technology and good food

 

Ready to try Tovala for yourself? Save on your first order here:

COUPON: Use code MSA30 to get $130 off your Tovala Smart Oven when you order 6+ weeks of meals.

Or if you’ve tried Tovala already, tell us about your experience! Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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Written by Lindsey Morse

Lindsey Morse

Lindsey is a professional baker, cold brew coffee addict, and rosé aficionado who loves writing about food and wine. When she’s not sharing her love of subscription boxes with the world, you’ll find her in the podcasting studio, perfecting her cake decorating techniques, or cursing her way through the New York Times daily crossword puzzle.

Comments (30)

  1. “Portion sizes are sufficient, but not ample”

    …I’m not sure what that means. I’m not being nit picky, I would like to learn more about this service. But I’m trying to plug my definitions of “ample” and “sufficient” in to any sentence that makes sense together and I’m not getting it. Please, can you clarify what you mean? What is “ample” to you, and what is “sufficient” to you, and how do these serving sizes merit being sufficient but not ample? Thank you!

  2. The portions really seem to be smaller than I would like, and most of the men I’m around eat more than that for dinner FOR SURE. Sounds like they’ve created a nifty oven though. This was interesting to learn about.

  3. Great review!

    I have an air fry toaster oven and I hate it. I am only half-joking when I say that it ruined my tiny, tiny kitchen and made me dislike cooking. This is pretty neat though. It looks a lot smaller than the monstrosity that we bought and it steams too! I am too cheap and stubborn to replace the oven that we bought or I would look into this. I don’t think that I would purchase the meals though, they seem pricey, but they look nice!

    • Carol, I too suffer in a small (and oh boy I do mean small, the house itself is 620 square feet) kitchen. FWIW, I’ve managed to make a TON of things using just my toaster oven (the trick is buying cookware to fit it, but it’s available on Amazon), a few good skillets/Dutch ovens, and…this is the highlight…the Betty Crocker Pizza Cooker. On Amazon, was $30 when I got it two years ago. I HATE using my actual oven in my tiny kitchen. This pizza cooker allowed me to abandon my oven all together. It’s like two super hot skillets connected by a hinge. I make full sized pizzas on my counter (and have garlic or veggies roasting in the toaster oven at the same time.)

      I hope that helps somehow!

  4. This is very interesting. I could not feed my family of 6 but I do like the idea of the oven. I want perfect toast. I haven’t got on the new gadgets bandwagon I think do to lack of space. I don’t even have a toaster oven anymore. Just a 4 slot toaster which is so lame lately.

  5. I love my tovala! A huge hint. Save the cards that come with the meals and write down what temp the meal is cooked at. Use the QRvcodes for home made meals. I even save the pans.
    When I am cooking something that doesn’t scan, I use an old meal qr code that matches the time frame and temp of the meal I am putting in the oven.
    You can cook a pizza by preheating and cooking according to box directions but it doesnt do the whole steam, cook deal. Now I take a pizza straight from the freezer and scan a code 2 minutes longer than the cooking time. I like crispy almost burnt pizza.
    This does make the best toast ever. I became kinda toast obsessed too. Sourdough bread with irish butter. Swoon.
    I have had a few meals that I didnt finish because I was full. The vegetarian meals seem larger and more filling. I am not a huge chicken fan but I crave tovala chicken. It is so moist and fresh. It’s never been dry or bland.
    My only complaint is that it takes 3 days to get to texas. Because of this I can only order meals if it is cold out. Which isn’t very often in texas. My first order arrived with the ice packs FULLY melted. I was afraid to eat the food and tovala gave me a full refund. 3 days to deliver food is way too long. Especially sitting on a hot FedEx truck. Once the temps stay under 70 I order. Which means I can only get meals from. November to February. The rest of the year I love using the oven instead of heating up my entire house with my regular oven.
    Reheating leftovers is ideal. Fries are crsip. Even leftover nachos were crunchy.
    I am a hard core budgeter. Also have a chronic illness. I have tried most food deliveries. For me a higher price, way higher quality, just pop scan and go, meal service works best. I see these meals as a way to eat healthier when I am too sick to cook.
    I see that freshly has a microwave ready made meal kit now. I may try them too.

  6. In your review, you only cooked one meal at a time. Is it big enough to cook for 2 people at once (2 meals at a time)? I’m actually super intrigued by the whole experience!

    • Hi Lars! The oven will fit up to 4 of the metal baking trays & each meal has 1 or 2 trays. So, you can cook at least 2 meals at the same time. They just have to be the same. I didn’t have any duplicate meals in my box, so I could only cook one at a time. 🙂

  7. The oven looks nice, I’ve always wanted a toaster oven and the steam and other features seem cool.

    But $12 a meal is crazy (especially since I would probably need to add in my own sides sometimes).

    I get the convenience factor on having to do zero meal prep, but it’s also a huge investment of time that food is going to take 20 minutes to be ready, I guess for dinner/whatever meals you have a long break for it would work but I mostly need convenient food for my half hour lunch and I have maybe 5 minutes to heat whatever I’m having, which is usually whatever I prep on my days off and fridge/freeze to be grab and go.

  8. I really enjoy reading your reviews!
    From all the reviews I read and my experience, I found that meal kits don’t really include a lot of veggies (for what I am used to eat, at least) and I would need to get some extra from the store/market, defeating one of (my) purposes of subscribing.

  9. I have had my Tovala for a couple of years now and it is great. I did the food service for about a year and meals were tasty but felt a little expensive for the portion. The seafood portions got smaller and smaller over time. I agree, the toast comes out amazing. I use it now for my own food and appreciate that Tovala gives quite a few good recipes.

  10. Dang you Lindsey now I want this oven!

    • Sorry, Kristin! 🤣

  11. I love my Tovala. I don’t particularly like their food, so I use it with food bought at the store. It’s so nice to just scan a barcode and hit start. I’ve also cooked lots of fresh meals in it as well. I’ve completely gotten rid of my microwave.

  12. Great review and great plate presentation. I think this may be a great option for people with fast pace lifestyles or the single or elderly. For me I either like to whip something up or make a more complex recipe that I definately want to make more than what’s offered here so there are leftovers for lunches, etc…

  13. I’ll skip the price issue. This ornery woman is appalled by the need for a smartphone to heat a meal. What’s the natural extension – scanning a QR code to get the toilet seat to come up?

    Sorry, I guess I’m low on blood sugar. Thank you for the thoughtful review!

    • Thanks, Dea. I feel I should clarify that you don’t actually need the phone to heat the meal, just to connect the oven to your WiFi. But I do hear you. I’m fully on the wagon with the smart home stuff (I control my lights and music with my phone), but I know not everyone feels that way! (And I will most certainly draw the line at a “smart toilet.” That visual made me lol!)

    • Great comment! I want to use my phone less not more.

      Do you remember once so long ago when companies and businesses took pride in their products? It wasn’t unheard of to have a refrigerator still running 60 years later. Now fridges have smart phones on them and Lord knows what else (probably spy cameras lol.)

      Maybe I’m just ornery too, but I do wish for more simple times.

      Of course I read the comments first, so now I have to go back and read what this toaster oven is all about 😂

      • Yes. People get cars with DVD players in them and then complain that their kids don’t talk to them, or they wire the light switch to their phones and then wonder why their kids are overweight and never get off the couch.

        Alexa and her competitors are always listening. That’s a fact.

  14. Thank you for this great review! While I don’t plan on buying this oven, I really enjoyed reading this well-written and thoughtful article.

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the review, Ashleigh! 🙂

  15. I’m not particularly overweight and I’m not particularly an overeater, but the portions of these meal delivery services always look waaaay too small for me. I like food and I like hearty portions. These portion sizes are just too small considering the price (I’d have to munch on something else afterwards just not to feel deprived).

    • That was my first thought as well! “That’s not a meal portion, that’s a snack I could eat in 2 minutes, and I’m a slow eater!”

      Thanks for doing this review – this was something I was super curious about!

  16. Ahhhh this looks so neat, but man oh man is it pricey! Any meal kit whose meals are more expensive than a restaurant meal is a bummer to me.

    But thank you for reviewing both meat dishes and veggie ones!! At first I thought Tovala was silly for vegetarians because it looked like so many of their veggie options were just salads, but that cauliflower looks DECADENT.

    • Thanks, Also Beth! I’m glad you enjoyed seeing one of the hot veggie meals in action!

  17. My mom uses this service, and I think it’s one of the most “extra”/boujee things she has or uses. But she does use it. Although, she did say the recipes get a bit repetitive after a while.

    • Lol, it is pretty extra, cc, but I am full-on in love with it. If my oven disappeared tonight, I would 100% go buy another one. Thanks for sharing your mom’s thoughts about the recipe variety! I haven’t had enough experience to see what the menus are like over time, and I’m sure others will find that feedback helpful.

      • Most meal service menus get repetitive within a couple of weeks. I guess the idea is to try all of the meals and by the time you are done you know what you like and stay in your lane. We eat almost 100% take out now so we are used to repetitive meals and we pay at least $12 per meal for dinner, breakfast is usually cereal or protein shake, lunch is whatever we have on hand but could be take out/not fast food. So, the pricing is fine if the quality is there.
        I am only concerned about the shipping for Texas if the food doesn’t stay cold like other meal service plans. We can have warm weather all year round so Tuvalu needs to figure out the logistics for the South.

    • I finally read this article and found it extremely thorough and excellent!

      Your boujee comment, cc makes a lot of sense now 😂

      • Haha, Snow. Yes! To my mom, this service is worth it with almost no prep and the food isn’t frozen. If it’s your thing, go for it 👏☺️

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