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My Tovala Review — Everything You Need to Know About This Smart Oven + Meal Delivery Combo

Lindsey Morse
ByLindsey MorseAug 4, 2021 | 36 comments

My Tovala Review — Everything You Need to Know About This Smart Oven + Meal Delivery Combo

Tovala Review

Everything You Need to Know About This Smart Oven + Meal Delivery Combo

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.

We review a lot of different subscriptions here at MSA, and it’s rare that something utterly new crosses our desk. Tovala is pretty unique. In this Tovala review, we’ll give you everything you need to know about this oven/meal kit subscription hybrid, and we’ll take a look at the cost, food, packaging, value, and convenience to help you determine if Tovala is right for you. Now, let’s dive into this Tovala review!

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

by Lindsey Morse, MSA Reviewer, Techno Geek, & Foodie
August 4, 2021| 36 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.)

Tovala Pros & Cons

Tovala 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.

Tovala 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.

All About Tovala

How does Tovala work?

In this Tovala review, we’ll go over all the things you need to know about this oven and prepared meal delivery service, but let’s start with the basics. The first thing to know is that Tovala is not your standard subscription. In order to enjoy Tovala’s meals, you’ll need to purchase the oven. The meals and oven are specially designed to work together, and while you could theoretically cook the meals in a regular oven, they’re designed to be scanned by the Tovala and utilize several different cooking techniques. On the flipside, if you want the oven but not the meals? That’s no problem. There are deals available that may entice you to give the meals a try, but you’re by no means required to be a long term subscriber. The oven is a great piece of machinery that stands alone.

If you do decide to sign up for the oven AND the meal delivery service, keep in mind that you’re signing up for a recurring subscription. You’ll enter your credit card information when you join, and you’ll continue to be charged until you decide to cancel. Here are the steps you can expect to follow when you sign up for Tovala meal delivery:

  • Choose your plan and personalize it: when you join Tovala, you’ll set up the parameters of your subscription. How many people do you need to feed? Do you have any special dietary restrictions? Personalize your plan to make sure it works for you.
  • Set your weekly delivery day: most subscribers will have several different delivery days to choose from. Some people prefer to receive meals at the very start of the week, while others like to receive deliveries mid-week. You can select your preferred weekly delivery day when you join.
  • Pick your meals for the upcoming week: after you enter your dining preferences, Tovala will automatically pick meals for you each week that fit your style of eating. However, you can always log in, override your auto-picks, and hand-select your own meals.
  • Check back regularly to skip weeks or set your menu for upcoming deliveries: don’t want to receive a box every single week? No problem. Log into your account to manage your upcoming deliveries. In your account portal, you’ll be able to skip shipments, pick out what meals you’d like to receive, or cancel your subscription.

How much does Tovala cost? 

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, we recommend at least trying 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).

Does Tovala have different plans available? 

Tovala does not have a selection of different plans available, however you can adjust the number of meals you’d like to receive. Meals are ordered individually; you can order as few as 3 and as many as 16 per week. 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.

Where and how does Tovala ship?

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

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.

Good to know:

  • Delivery days vary by area, but most subscribers will have several options to choose from. You can change your preferred delivery day at any time.
  • A signature is not required, and you don’t have to be home to accept the box.
  • Food is kept cold in transit with insulated liners and frozen gel packs.

How is a Tovala delivery packaged?

 

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

What are Tovala’s meals like?

 

Every week, Tovala offers a selection of approximately 13 meals to choose from. (Some entrees can be customized, which expands the selection.) All of the meals are preservative-free, shipped fresh, and last for between 3-7 days in the refrigerator.

The meals rotate weekly, but here are some examples of what you can expect to see on the menu:

  • 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

How do I cook Tovala meals?

 

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.” The oven will automatically set the timer and bake, broil, and/or steam your meal according to the recipe. 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 uses a combination of cooking techniques to make sure your meal is cooked properly. Meals do not come with separate instructions, and success in your own oven is not guaranteed.

What’s the Tovala oven like?

 

The Tovala smart oven is such an integral part of the Tovala experience, so 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 the countertop, and it’s comparable in size to your standard 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.

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 easy 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, 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.

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).

Does Tovala accommodate dietary restrictions like allergies?

Have food allergies? Here is some information from Tovala 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.

What is the nutritional info for a standard Tovala meal?

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

Is Tovala’s food tasty?

 

We’ve been consistently impressed with the quality of Tovala‘s ingredients, and most of the recipes are delicious. The meals that feature simple recipes, like chicken and veggies, are solid, but Tovala’s prepared meals (like pasta and chicken stew) are where the food truly shines. The recipes are delicious, and Tovala’s cooks clearly know how to construct a tasty dish. 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. (Like freshly baked biscuits cooked in the same oven as braised chicken? Whaaaat?) The fact that these meals come out the way they do with so little hands-on prep time is incredible.

Are Tovala’s portion sizes large?

Portion sizes tend to vary between meals, but it’s fair to say that most are on the small-ish side. Volume eaters who enjoy large portions and substantial meals may want to supplement some of Tovala’s meals with a side salad, some extra veggies, or some bread.

Is Tovala convenient?

Without a doubt, we can say with 100% certainty that Tovala is convenient. When you receive meals from Tovala, you’ll save time meal planning and grocery shopping, and picking meals from an online selection helps streamline the weeknight dinner process. If you ever struggle to plan a menu for the week, feel like you’re stuck in a run of cooking the same handful of meals, or don’t have time to make up a shopping list and shop for groceries, Tovala will most certainly add convenience to your routine. There’s nothing quicker or easier than simply scanning a meal and letting your oven cook it for you, and with a Tovala meal subscription, the meals will show up on your doorstep like clockwork. What’s more convenient than that?

What information is available in the Tovala app?

To connect your oven to WiFi, you’ll need to download the Tovala app, which is available for Android and iOS. 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 is like living in the future.

What do MSA reviewers say about Tovala?

In preparation for this review, I was sent a Tovala oven with a shipment of meals to try. Before I dive in to my review, I’ll share a little bit about my review experience and my drinking profile.

My Tovala Review

  • Review expertise: I’ve been writing food reviews for My Subscription Addiction since 2014, and I love to explore new meal subscriptions. I’m a professional baker, so I know my way around the kitchen, and I tend to approach meal delivery services with a critical eye. I love to eat, and I’m always on the hunt for my new favorite recipe.
  • Eating profile: I eat anything and everything, though my favorite meals tend to feature global flavors and interesting techniques. I’m also a sucker for comfort foods like pizza and tacos. I love to cook, but I’m also always on the hunt for meal solutions that help streamline dinner service.
  • Tech profile: 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.
  • Thoughts on the Tovala oven: 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. 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. When I first received the oven, I wasn’t sure it 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. 
  • Thoughts on Tovala meals: The food is really tasty! The pre-prepared dishes 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. My favorite meal was the Creole Tomato-Braised Chicken with Freshly Baked Biscuits. The biscuits themselves 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. My husband loved the Sweet Corn, Mushroom & Goat Cheese Pasta with Basil Vinaigrette, and I agreed the flavors were on point. He felt the portion size might be a little on the small side, but he thought it was delicious. The Smoky BBQ Salmon with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes wasn’t my favorite flavor-wise, but I ws impressed that both the salmond and potatoes came out perfectly cooked in the same amount of time.
  • Verdict: I’ve tried A LOT of meal subscriptions in my day, but never a service quite like this one. I won’t lie, I was initially skeptical. Requiring a special oven to cook meals seemed… pretentious. But the truth is that I fell in love with the oven and enjoyed the convenience of the smart scan-to-cook meals. I use my Tovala every single day for all kinds of different things (not just the Tovala meals), and I’m obsessed with it.

Are there alternatives to Tovala?

There’s nothing quite like Tovala, but if you want just a smart oven or just a meal delivery service, there are a few competitors that might be a better fit.

Tovala vs. Home Chef

Home Chef is a meal kit delivery subscription that provides delicious, crowd-pleasing meal kits to cook at home. Recipes can typically be made in around 30 minutes, and most meals can be customized. While this can increase the cost, it’s a simple way to double up on protein or swap ingredients. Let’s outline some of the key differences between these two subscriptions:

  • Customization: Both Tovala and Home Chef allow for customization. With Home Chef, you can tweak the recipes to feature a different protein, double protein, or even meat-free protein.
  • Prep time: Home Chef is a meal kit, which means you’ll receive all the ingredients you need plus a recipe that you’ll cook yourself. Tovala meals are mostly pre-prepared, which means the hands-on cooking time is almost zero.
  • Servings per recipe: Home Chef meals serve two or four people, so they’re a natural fit for couple and families. Tovala meals are ordered individually.

Tovala vs. Freshly

Want meals that are cooked and ready to be reheated? Freshly has you covered. Both Tovala and Freshly send prepared meals that are ready to heat-and-eat. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between these meal subscriptions:

  • Price: Freshly meals start at $8.49, making them a bit less expensive than Tovala.
  • Menu size: With only 13 items on each Tovala menu, you’ll find a greater selection with Freshly, where there are over 30 recipes to choose from.
  • Cooking Method: Freshly’s meals are designed to be heated in any standard microwave. With Tovala, you’ll need the Tovala oven.

Tovala vs. June Oven

If you’re just looking for an oven, June Oven is a smart oven with lots of bells and whistles. Let’s see how these two subscriptions stack up:

  • Price: June Oven costs $599, making it over twice the price of Tovala.
  • Meal plan: June Oven does not have an accompanying meal subscription. It’s just the oven.
  • Luxe-level: Tovala is a great oven with lots of features, but June Oven is super high tech. It can bake, warm, toast, broil, reheat, slow cook, dehydrate, proof, air fry, and stone fry pizza (just to name a few). The touch screen display is intuitive and futuristic, and the June app allows you to preheat the oven, adjust the cooking time and temp, and even watch a live-feed video of your food cooking— all without leaving the sofa.

Is Tovala worth it?

We’ve covered a lot of info in this Tovala review, but one big question remains: is Tovala worth it?

Let’s get the most important thing out of the way first: Tovala is truly unique in the subscription box world, and there’s really nothing like it yet. The Tovala meals are specially designed to be cooked in the Tovala oven, and this comes with both pros and cons. On the plus side, the entire experience is high-tech and very cool. You scan a meal, pop it in the oven, and sit back and wait for your meal to be ready. The meals are tasty, and the programmed instructions allow things like stews and biscuits to cool side-by-side perfectly. The technology works. Of course, the biggest negative is that if you want to subscribe to Tovala’s meal service, you’ll need to buy a special oven, which is a substantial additional expense. As such, this subscription might be best for those who are already in the market for a smart oven and want the added bonus of an accompanying meal delivery subscription.

But despite the barriers to entry, there’s a lot to love about Tovala. The meals are tasty (though a little on the small side), and the oven is great. Meals aside, the Tovala oven is a great machine that is sure to add a lot to any kitchen. The convenience of this oven + meal delivery combo is a thing of beauty, and if you’re looking to purchase an oven and also want meals delivered, Tovala is an excellent option.

Ready to subscribe? Make sure to sign up using our coupon below to ensure you get the best deal.

 

You can try Tovala for yourself here:

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


Have you tried Tovala? Head to the comments section and let us know!


We're Tovala, a meal service for insanely busy people. We've reinvented home cooking to save you time.
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.

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.
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36 comments

Leslie

I looked at the different Tivala menu choices and it seems that for sides it is typically a starch or veggies, but not both. I am a huge potatoes and rice eater. I bet if you save the QR codes for previous dishes that had rice or fingerling potatoes, you could just quickly add that to a tray you saved and then cook a veggie side dish meal and then add the starch. Is this something people have done? I bet it makes a perfect baked potato. I wonder if the prep for making scalloped potatoes is just slicing potatoes, chopping a little onion and garlic and mixing it in a tray with a little milk and butter and it’s done in 20 minutes? That would cut down on the cooking time in a regular oven by 40 minutes. I think I would use it with 3 Tivala meals a week and use it to cook my own meals too. When a menu option is steak and crispy broccoli, you could buy that once, note the ingredients and arrangement and save the codes. Buy it yourself, I bet the prep time with that is still really short. The simpler dishes seem like they would be easy to recreate.

This does sound like a game changer. I wonder if Tivala would consider adding partnerships, like a large nation wide resteraunt chain, where you could pick up a Tivala/said resteraunt creation dish and cook it at home for a lesser price than ordering it from the menu and eating it there. If I was doing thier marketing I would think of so many ways to expand their offerings with partnerships and a collection of 6-10 “favorites” and sell them in a refrigerated Trivoli branded meal case at the grocery store. You could keep the meal price the same in the grocery store. This would give the brand greater visibility and solve the Texas heat issue. I’m sure that you would have to work at finding restaurants or a grocery chain that would do this, but with time and effort, I bet it’s doable. I bet the grocery store issue is that people would cook them in thier ovens at home which would reduce the quality of the meal that Tivala promises. But as this oven becomes more widely known, that would be lesser of an issue.

Thanks for the detailed and informative review Lindsey! I never realized I wanted one of these.

Cindy

Wow, those portion sizes are seriously small. I must be some kind of glutton because I would need about twice as much food to feel that I’ve eaten a real meal and I’ve always considered my appetite pretty normal. If I’m shelling out this kind of dough I expect the meals to satisfy me, not require a side salad or extra bread.

Gigi Drummond

I have wanted this oven for a long and now it’s on sale at 50 percent off! I keep looking for a bad review but so far haven’t found any. Are there any reasons (that anyone here can think of) not to buy this oven? Please let me know soon – the sale ends today.

Elisabeth Berlowitz

I absolutely love the tovala. I have never tried their meals but I use it to cook/bake/steam my families every day meals. You could easily cook for a family of 3-4 depending what you are putting in there. But this thing is a game changer. You don’t even have to heat up your whole house in the summer time when you want to bake something. I have a convection gas oven and this tovala manages to do a much better job. Also I love that I can store barcodes for future cooking. It just saves me alot of time and money as well. I didn’t buy this for the meal plan I bought it to save me time cooking for my family (which it has).

Mountaineer95

“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!

Cat

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.

Carol

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!

Mountaineer95

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!

Jody

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.

Hallie

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.

Leslie

For the South and I’m there are be other spots in the US where the ice melting is an issue, they need to partner with a large grocery store chain. Same price or perhaps a dollar less than the subscription cost, but I bet if they created Tovala branded refrigerated cases owners of these ovens would love that and the company would sell more ovens. You could have a regular mainstay collection of ten meals that are the most popular and then add a few fun new seasonal recipes. Wilted chicken spinach salad with strawberries and goat cheese for the summer, butternut squash soup with crusty tortellini for fall, pot roast for winter, etc. I would even love to see that here in the Pacific northwest because it would cut down on waiting for the delivery. Just pick up a few of your favorites each week or if the weeks menu’s dishes are not your favorites then you could supplement this with the grocery Tovala standards. Most large grocery chains deliver now, so if mobility is an issue, people can still get the meals without the issues of melting ice.

Lars

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!

Lindsey Morse

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. 🙂

Amy

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.

Izzie

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.

Connie

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.

Leslie

Are the Tivala recipes feature low meal prep and are they good? I was wondering how it would cut down on the cook time for the perfect baked potato? Or could you make scalloped potatoes by slicing potatoes, garlic and onions and heat up milk, butter and flour, a roux usually doesn’t take long to make, and then cook it in the Tivala oven in 20 minutes? That cuts down on the cook time greatly. Also some of the simpler menu options, for example steak and broccoli, must be easy to buy, have little prep, and then just reuse the trays and codes. Can you use your own baking trays, like a glass dish that is about the same size?

Kristin

Dang you Lindsey now I want this oven!

Lindsey Morse

Sorry, Kristin! 🤣

Kathy Langenfeld

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.

Molly Honey

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…

Dea

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!

Snow

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 😂

Dea

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.

Lindsey Morse

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!)

Ashleigh

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.

Lindsey Morse

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

Cindy

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).

Whitney

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!

Also Beth

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.

Lindsey Morse

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

cc

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.

Snow

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

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

Cc

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 👏☺️

Lindsey Morse

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.

Sandy

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.

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