Welcome to I Promise, It’s Vegan, Paste Magazine’s completely plant-based column. Here we’ll taste vegan products, discover new ways to cook cruelty-free, and embrace the veggie lifestyle.
Not vegan? That’s totally okay, but it might be something you’d like to consider. Veganism is great for your health. “Research has linked vegan diets with lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer,” according to The Vegan Society. It’s also beneficial for the environment! Alluding to an article in Nature, CNN said that eating less animals will lead to the avoidance of greenhouse gases, which is scientifically a detriment to our ozone layer. And lastly, animals shouldn’t have to suffer, whether it’s in the dairy industry or in a slaughterhouse. Just a bit of (vegan) food for thought.
Our first series of I Promise It’s Vegan is dedicated to testing and tasting meal kits. Last time, we explored Purple Carrot. Today, we look at Sun Basket.
Ah, Sun Basket. Before starting this series of meal kit reviews, I’d heard of Sun Basket from the podcast Who Weekly, which had been sponsored by the company for quite some time. Based on their rave reviews, I was interested in sampling, especially after I realized there was an entirely vegan option. Sun Basket offers meal kits for just about everyone. They have vegan, vegetarian, carb-conscious, pescatarian, Diabetes-friendly, and more. They use certified organic products.
Sun Basket sent me three meals to try, allowing me to choose exactly what I wanted beforehand. I ended up with Pakora pita pockets with spicy mango-chile sauce, General Tso’s tofu with broccoli and brown rice and Tokyo udon noodle bowls with roasted butternut squash and edamame. Sun Basket offered a certain flexibility that I didn’t notice with the other meal kits I’ve sampled: the Pakora pita pockets gave me a choice of how I wanted to prepare the recipe rather than just giving me one option. This was great news, because I’m not the biggest fan of pita bread. They gave me instructions to make the meal as an appetizer, and I’ll be honest, I enjoyed the pakoras as little bites much more than I would have liked them as a pita sandwich. Sun Basket also recently started a salad line. They sent me a vegan Caesar kit which took two seconds to prepare and was very tasty.
Disclaimer: I didn’t get to the udon noodle bowls in time to fully prepare the dish based on the recipe. Some of the ingredients went bad (my fault, not theirs) but I used the majority of the ingredients to create something spectacular in my kitchen. Kudos to Sun Basket for the versatility.
Behold, a close up of the General Tso’s tofu with broccoli and brown rice!
My slightly modified Tokyo udon noodle bowl, made with all Sun Basket ingredients except for the broccoli and sauces.
It’s time to break it down.
These three Sun Basket meals were delightful. The General Tso’s tofu was a healthier version of what I might order from a Chinese takeout shop. It was fresh and light and didn’t weigh me down, which tends to be a problem for me when eating Chinese food. The pakoras were spiced well, but included a sweet mango-chili sauce of which I wasn’t a huge fan. It was kind of a bummer, because I absolutely love Indian mango pickles. I was hoping for a similar tanginess. As far as the udon noodles went, the butternut squash went bad before I could get to making it. This is not Sun Basket’s fault in any way! If anything, it shows that Sun Basket uses real vegetables. I did enjoy the udon noodles my own way, however, adding broccoli and a homemade spicy sesame aoili and sriracha.
Ease of Preparation
Sun Basket was relatively easy to prepare all together. The instructions were laid out clearly, and no steps were overly complicated. I did have trouble with some of the instructions in regards to the Pakoras, but I’m going to call that user error. Sometimes panfrying can be hard, okay?
If you’re looking at all of the Sun Basket options, there is plenty of variety. There are 18 recipes to choose from, and you can mix and match what you’d like between the meal kit types. As far as the vegan variety goes, the options are not quite as diverse, (this week menu only includes four options) but between my noodles, my pakoras and my General Tso’s tofu, I had three completely different flavor profiles, and with that I was satisfied. I do wish there were a few more options to try, but if you’re getting Sun Basket sent every week, I think most people would have little to complain about in the variety department.
As I’ve stated in my meal kit reviews before, these are usually not cheap. These run about the same as Purple Carrot: each recipe offers two servings, coming to $11.99 per meal. The classic option for two people gives six meals a week, coming to just under $72 before taxes. They do have options for four people, but overall, it’s pretty pricy. You do get a 50% your first time trying, however. I don’t think I can ever justify spending $12 on a meal I have to prepare at home.
Altering the recipes a bit (like I did for the pakoras, to turn it from a dinner to an appetizer) changed the portion sizes, but over all, I cannot complain. Sun Basket left me very full, and I did not feel like I overindulged for any of the meals.
OVERALL RATING: 8.5/10
Sun Basket is fun, fresh and freaking delicious. I was a huge fan, and if it wasn’t for the cost, I might be a regular subscriber to the meal kit. My favorite part with these recipes was the fact that I could easily alter them on my own or based on the recipe. The ingredients were simple enough that I didn’t have to think much about what to do if I made a mistake, and all in all the recipes were both easy and enjoyable to prepare. Just as I said with Purple Carrot, I’d recommend Sun Basket to virtually anyone interested in meal kits. Vegan or not, it’s a good place to start if you’re curious how meal kits work.
Annie Black is Paste Magazine’s social media manager and resident plant person. She likes noodles mostly, but will try anything and everything as long as it’s animal product free. Follow her on Twitter!