Sun Basket was one of the first meal delivery services that was ever introduced to me by a friend.
Their first words were, “If you’re looking to cooking healthier meals that actually taste good, check out Sun Basket.” I was a bit skeptical, considering I was already a pretty bad cook and my healthy eating consisted of grilled chicken with a side of heated frozen veggies. However, Emily and I decided to give Sun Basket a try to see what they’re all about.
If you’re unfamiliar with Sun Basket, they’re a meal delivery service that focuses on bringing you healthier (yet also tasty) food options when compared to some of the meal kits on the market.
Keep reading my full review below to see the ins and outs of Sun Basket, what makes it different, and what my experience was like.
Sun Basket Overview
Sun Basket is a company that’s committed to making fresh, healthy eating more enjoyable for their customers and their families. They focus on keeping their food as clean as possible, using organic and non-GMO produce, humanely raised meat that’s free from antibiotics and hormones, as well as seafood that has been approved by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Watch List.
They have a large variety of options to suit different dietary needs. These options currently include vegetarian, paleo, and even gluten-free. I’ve heard from friends that they are looking to expand their meal plans to include vegan and possibly even keto meal options.
Each recipe you’ll receive in your box has been developed by their award-winning chef, Justine Kelly. You may have actually seen her before. She appeared on the wildly popular show, Iron Chef (the American version). She’s also held very high positions in the restaurant world before starting Sun Basket.
How to Join & Choose Your Items
I found ordering on the SunBasket.com website to be effortless. They’ve streamlined all of the steps and taken out unnecessary ones. This led to me being able to checkout in less than 30 seconds.
To get started with Sun Basket, you’re first prompted to enter your name, email address, and zip code. They also ask you to choose a password so they can set up an account for you. Having an account is essential because you’ll need to log in to be able to manage things in your account such as your meal plan options and your delivery schedule.
The first decision you’ll have to make is which menu you’d like to order from. They offer a Classic Menu, as well as a Family Menu. The Classic Menu will get you three recipes per week, which are two or four serving each. The Family Menu contains two or four recipes each week and every meal has four servings.
If you decide to go with the Classic Menu, you’ll have a few meal plans to choose from. Sun Basket offers the following: Chef’s Choice (fresh, seasonal recipes with quality ingredients and homemade sauces), Vegetarian (meatless recipes with organic produce, plant-based proteins, and vegetarian sauces), Paleo (recipes free of grains, soy, corn, dairy, and gluten – contains plenty of lean meats and seafood), Gluten-Free (meals with gluten-free grains and pasta, quality meats and seafood), Rise & Shine (two quick breakfasts and two chef’s favorite dinner recipes).
With the Family Menu, you’ll have fewer options to pick from for your meal plan. You can choose the Chef’s Choice meal plan, Vegetarian, or Gluten-Free. When ordering from the Family Menu, Sun Basket sneaks plenty of vegetables into their recipes and focuses on kid-friendly flavors. They also include family favorite dishes which are geared more towards children’s taste. It’s a great way to get them eating healthy while still allowing them to enjoy the foods they love.
No matter which one you choose, you’ll still be able to choose your own recipes every week. This ensures you’re able to choose the items that suit your tastes. You also have the option to let the chef select meals for you if you’d like to be a little adventurous.
You’re able to choose any recipe you like, no matter which meal plan you wind up choosing. The only thing you aren’t able to do is mix and match between the Classic Menu and the Family Menu since they are two different serving sizes. If you ever decide to switch your meal plan, you can do so online via your account setting.
Types of Food They Offer
As mentioned above, Sun Basket has plenty of options when it comes to the meal plans they offer. If you’re vegetarian, paleo, or gluten-free, you can choose the plan that best suits your dietary needs without worrying that it’s going to limit your options.
To give you an idea of the types of meals you can expect to receive, you can visit their website to view the current menu, as well as past and future menus. Some of the recipes include: Steak Fajita Lettuce Wraps with Guacamole, Chipotle Chilaquiles with Black Beans, Grilled Chicken and Summer Vegetables with Yuca Mash and Chimichurri, and Quinoa and White-Bean Burgers with Roasted Sweet Potato Fries.
They even have breakfast options each week, where you’ll see recipes such as: Fried Eggs with Green Romesco & Overnight Strawberry-Chia Pudding, Fresh Herb and Goat Cheese Scramble & Mango-Chia Overnight Oatmeal, and Mixed-Berry Smoothie Bowls & Summer Squash Frittata. These dishes are perfect for anyone who wants two quick and easy, yet nutritious, breakfasts each week.
We decided to go with their Classic menu where we picked the Chef’s Choice meal plan. We picked the following meals for our first box…
- Linguine with summer squash, tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella
- Bucatini with chicken, goat cheese, and walnuts
- Bibimbap with snap peas, carrots, and fried eggs
Being able to choose a variety of meals instead of being stuck with whatever they want to send you is a big plus when it comes to Sun Basket over some of the other meal kits.
If you’re interested in trying Sun Basket for yourself, you’ll first need to see if they deliver to your area. They’re currently shipping to most zip codes across the United States, excluding Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, and parts of New Mexico. You can visit their website to see if your area is covered, but they are said to be working on more delivery options in the future.
Once you’ve placed your order, you can expect your delivery to arrive on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday between 8 AM and 8 PM. The date and time of your package’s arrival will all depend on your delivery area.
The box you receive is made of 98% post-consumer cardboard. Once you’re done with it, you can recycle it instead of trashing it and causing excess waste. You can even recycle the insulation inside the box. The insulation is actually made from recycled water bottles. When you’ve unpacked the box, roll up the insulation, seal it with the enclosed sticker, and send it off for recycling.
To dispose of the ice packs, you can cut them open and pour the mixture into the trash. The ice packs contain a gel that’s 98% water and 2% non-GMO cotton, but it’s not wise to pour this down your drain. Empty it into the trash instead, where the water will evaporate and just leave the cotton behind. The lining can be sent to recycling centers that accept #4 plastic films.
Plastic jars and bags you receive are also #4 plastic and will need to be sent to a local recycling center that accepts this type of plastic. The containers inside your box are compostable, plant-based plastic, or recyclable plastic. Any containers labeled “Greenware” can go in a composting bin, while any others should be recycled.
Throughout our testing and reviewing of various meal delivery services we’ve found Sun Basket to have one of the most environmentally friendly packages currently available.
When shipping food all over the country, there’s often a concern about ingredients not being fresh by the time they arrive on your doorstep. To prevent this from happening, Sun Basket has taken the time to carefully engineer packaging to ensure it does its job at keeping your food fresh, delicious, and safe to consume. You won’t have to worry about anything spoiling before you receive it.
They do, however, offer a 100% money-back guarantee on all food they ship. If you do find there’s a problem with your order, just contact them within seven days of delivery to discuss refund options. With the exception of Blue Apron, Sun Basket is one of the few meal delivery companies that offers a money back guarantee on every box they ship. For curious but wary customers, this is a big plus and it definitely put my mind at ease when making our first purchase.
Freshness of Food
Whether you’re purchasing ingredients from the grocery store or receiving them through a food box subscription, you want to make sure everything is high-quality. That’s exactly what you can expect with the meal ingredients you’ll find in every box from Sun Basket. They’re a certified organic retailer through California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and aim to provide customers with only the best ingredients.
Being organic, everything they use is produced without toxic fertilizers or pesticides. The ingredients are also free from genetic engineering and they also use sustainable practices to help mitigate the spread of unwanted GMO cops and contamination.
Sun Basket takes the time to carefully screen the suppliers they used to receive produce. They also choose produce that is non-GMO and free of various herbicides and pesticides. The meats and seafood are free from antibiotics and artificial hormones, plus they come from fisherman and ranchers who are also committed to sustainable practices.
Organic ingredients are always used whenever possible. However, there are times when organic ingredients aren’t available due to the weather conditions and seasonality. Anything that is organic will always be clearly labeled so you can see it when you open your box.
Everything is packaged to ensure it stays fresh during transportation. However, you should be sure to immediately refrigerate the ingredients after removing them from the box to ensure they they stay as fresh as possible.
Ease of Cooking
Sun Basket works by providing you with the ingredients you’ll need to cook a delicious meal. They don’t come already prepared, so that means you need to be ready to do some work in the kitchen. Fortunately though, the meals really aren’t difficult to prepare and you’ll receive step-by-step instructions to guide you along the way.
Our only minor note regarding the recipe card is that I wash they were slightly clearer. We noticed they had to make the text shorter to fit everything on one page. It’s not a huge deal but it would definitely help to have images on each step of the cooking process like some of the other meal kits do.
They do recommend having a few key ingredients on hand in your pantry when cooking their dishes. You’ll want to have olive oil, grapeseed oil, or sunflower oil, plus salt and freshly-ground black pepper. These small ingredients last a long time so they’re good to have in the kitchen regardless. As for kitchen equipment, you’ll need the basics like pots and pans, knives, a vegetable peeler, grater, zester, cooking spoon, spatula, ladle, and measuring cups.
You’ll want to consume seafood and shellfish within three days and meat and poultry within five days after the arrival of your delivery. Delicate greens and fresh mushrooms are best used within five days of receiving your box.
We were pretty blown away at the taste when it came to our Sun Basket meals. Each one was incredible. This probably has to do with the fact that they use high-quality ingredients across the board in all of their meals. Those ingredients really bring out the flavor in each dish.
- Linguine with summer squash, tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella: This colorful and lightly sweet dish combined two of my favorite things (paste and cheese). The addition of the summer squash plus tomatoes made this meal healthier than just your average pasta and cheese dish. And even though it was a pasta dish, it was only around 700 calories.
- Bucatini with chicken, goat cheese, and walnuts: This was the dish I was most surprised that I enjoyed. Something about goat cheese and walnuts confused me but then I tried the final meal and I was convinced this was easily one of the top pasta dishes we’ve ever made. The way that the pasta is cooked, it picks up a slight flavor of the chicken, which gives it a really unique flavor.
- Bibimbap with snap peas, carrots, and fried eggs: This was my first time ever trying Bibimbap. I picked it for the sole reason that I wanted to try something new with this meal delivery service. While it wasn’t my favorite meal that we cooked, it was enjoyable and certainly something I would eat again.
There are two menus for you to choose from when ordering with Sun Basket. You can opt for the Classic Menu or the Family Menu. With the Classic Menu, you’ll receive three recipes per week. Each recipe contains two or four servings and the price per serving is $11.49. The Family Menu contains two or four recipes per week. Each recipe contains four servings and the price per serving is $9.99.
You can skip a week or cancel at any time you need to. All you have to do to skip a week is log into your account and head over to the “Schedule” page. From there, you can edit your schedule according to your needs and skip any weeks when necessary.
Classic Menu vs Family Menu Comparison
|Classic Menu||Family Menu|
|Tagline||Inspired farm-to-table recipes||Family-friendly meals that kids will love|
|Recipes Per Week||3||2, 3 (not available everywhere), or 4|
|Servings Per Recipe||2 or 4||4|
|Price Per Serving||$11.99||$9.99|
|Meal Plans Available||Chef's Choice, Paleo, Lean & Clean, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian||Chef's Choice, Paleo, Lean & Clean, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian|
Overall, we were very impressed with Sun Basket. This meal delivery service is now one of our favorites. Regardless of whether you’re looking to cook “healthy” meals of not, I would recommend their service to anyone looking to try meal kits. Why? They get every aspect of meal delivery right — easy ordering, environmentally friendly packaging, great selection of meals, etc.
Their dedication to using only the best ingredients and using sustainable practices shows how much they care about delivering their customers the highest quality meals available.
Having the ability to choose your own meals ensures you’re able to pick the dishes that suit your tastes and the ones you’d most like to cook (even if you have picky kids). Based on my experience, whether you’re experienced in the kitchen or not, you’re going to enjoy not only eating these meals, but preparing them as well.
View our original Sun Basket review video here.