[Since posting this review, Plated has suspended their meal kit service. They do still make a few boxes and sell them at select grocery stores in California. I was disappointed by this change, because I had grown to really love their service.]
When it comes to meat kit services, I have been rather loyal to Hello Fresh. However, I recently decided to give Plated a try.
My first delivery from Plated was off to a rocky start, but I tried very hard to not make quick judgements on the service just based on my first week. I did have some concerns that these recipes were going to be much more complex and time-consuming than the Hello Fresh boxes, but the recipes I chose were ones I genuinely was excited to cook.
The first meal I chose to make was buffalo chicken sliders with carrot fries. I am a buffalo chicken purist, so was slightly offended that Plated sent Sriracha and tried to pass this recipe off as buffalo chicken. Buffalo sauce should be made with cayenne pepper hot sauce. I love Sriracha, but I would never put it in buffalo sauce because it doesn’t belong there. The sauce from this recipe just wasn’t good, and it left me craving for something more. I did love the carrot fries, though. I have incorporated these carrot fries a few times now into my meal planning.
I also made lamb shakshuka, which was full of flavor and pizzazz. Finally, that week I made Cuban chicken empanadas. While the filling was different, this took me back to my days of eating empanadas in Argentina. I would absolutely try either of these again.
In week two, I started out with a simple mushroom cavatelli. It was easy to make but very delicious. I would never have thought to use mascarpone to make a creamy pasta, but it worked so well. This pasta was rich and velvety without being too heavy.
The second meal I made this week was black bean chilaquiles. I messed this one up a bit because I accidentally broke my egg yolks when I cracked them. I missed having the runny yolk of sunny side up eggs. I still enjoyed the taste, especially the flavor from the chipotle paste. The last meal I made this week was turkey burgers over quinoa with pesto ricotta. This was an excellent recipe. I was fond of the use of spinach and mozzarella cheese mixed in with the ground turkey for the burger.
For week three, I made barbecue chicken panini, which I shared with my best friend, Chris. This recipe had many great features, one of which was how Plated sent boneless, skin-on chicken breast. I typically only cook with skinless chicken, so I forgot how amazing it is when you get a piece of chicken with a nice crispy skin. The panini were also fried in the chicken fat, so this was like a flavor bomb party.
I then made turkey burrito bowls with a colorful slaw and avocado. This was probably the most visually appealing dish I made from all my meal kits, and it was also delicious. You know you cooked good food when you come back to the microwave at work to pick up your leftovers heating up and several people in the office are talking about how good your food smells. Finally, I made a savory dutch baby with ricotta and crispy prosciutto, which was a fantastic combination of textures and flavors.
I was supposed to get a fourth box. However, there were some issues with delivery. Fed Ex did not ship out the box early enough, and it did not make it here for the date of delivery. This means that the food would not be guaranteed to be safe to eat. I was disappointed because I was really looking forward to cooking those recipes, but I called customer service when this happened. I had a phenomenal customer service experience. The CS representative was kind and professional. She quickly found a solution for the problem and put a credit on my account. I was very impressed by how the situation was handled. Now, I get to order another box with my credit.
Despite a rocky start, my overall experience with Plated was positive. This service is a little more expensive than Hello Fresh, but the quality was generally greater than I have experienced with Hello Frresh. The meals were not as elaborate and complicated as I thought they’d be (which is good). I was still able to get in a fairly quick meals during the work week. They were delicious and creative. I tried my best to choose meals that are outside my normal scope of cooking, to expand my horizons. I feel I accomplished this and gained some new skills.
I am trying to cut back on expenses in order to save money for grad school. However, I will keep both my Plated and Hello Fresh accounts active and order one or the other once a month or so. I just can’t give up this convenience.
*This post reflects my honest views. I did not receive any compensation or other incentives to post this review.