When it comes time to embark on a vegan or plant-based approach to eating, the easiest and most helpful thing any modern urban eater can do is click to buy. As in, get food delivered! Thankfully, there are several meal delivery options out there that are a perfect transition from eating “regular” food to eating plant-based food that makes it easier, simpler and a lot more fun to switch over. When I decided to go plant-based, I needed some help as to what I could eat, so I started "dialing for dinner."

If I had my way, a cheerful chef would arrive at my house every day and deliver a delicious vegan dinner and then leave, so my husband and I could eat healthy plant-based meals every evening. In real life: I would order in guacamole and chips and black a bean burrito and hope they remembered to leave off the sour cream and cheese. Something needed to be done.

So I enlisted the pros. I tried out every delivery option for someone who wanted to eat vegan, or plant-based (or as my husband called himself vegan-esque) and here is what we found out. Like most things, if you throw money at the problem (not private-chef money but still some pretty big dollars per day, like $80 or so) you could have amazingly fresh, beautiful, delicious meals in a snap. That's Sakara Life. Still, there are much cheaper ones that are truly great.

Once you try a couple of these, we bet you will have the same thought process we did, which is: I could make this. I can do this. With a little bit of shopping (for things like oatmeal and avocado and protein toast (to make for breakfast) and planning (meal prep for simple cooking your weeknight dinners) and deliberate thinking (for where to go grab a plant-based healthy lunch) and you're going to arrive at thinking: "I totally got this."

But between where you start contemplating the plant-baed lifestyle and where you actually do it, there are bridges in the form of meal delivery services to help you get to your goal. Here are our picks of the best vegan or plant-based delivery services—from the cheap and cheerful to the luxury options. Find out which is the best one for you!

Week 1. Sakara Life: A Master Chef in Your Kitchen

The first delivery service I tried was Sakara Life. This is the chicest and most pricey of the options, but it looks so aspirational and the brand is so fashion-forward I decided to treat myself. After all, this was the time I was investing in my health so why not go to the one that seems like the biggest luxury first? In fact, its ingredients were so crisp you would swear they came from the farm in the last 24 hours. But eventually, the cost wore on me and while I wanted to keep going, I couldn't justify the price, especially since I was not eating all the food and a lot of it went bad in my fridge, even though I was sharing it with my husband. (I was unable to bring lunch to work back in those days since our co-working space would not allow it, and we were going out most nights, so this was not a great use of my dollars after the first week.)

Sakara averages out to about $84 a day if you order five days a week, three meals a day on their signature subscription plan. The price is just slightly less if you want just three days ($80 a day) or just dinners ($95 a week for three meals) and while it is fresh and delicious, the steep prices are not accessible to the average person. 

What it is: A Lifestyle—And a Beautiful One at That.

Beautifully curated, packaged and artfully created, Sakara Life reflects the chic aura of its co-founders, who want you to not just clean up the way you’re eating, but your entire life. When you start the Sakara Life, you burn a piece of aromatic Palo Santo Incense, to ritualize the change from your old way of life to the new way of life.

Okay maybe I’m a cynic, but I didn't think lighting a little piece of wood would make me camera ready. Still, I lit the stick, inhaled the aromatic fumes, and was surprisingly sold. It’s actually a lovely thing to do. (I also like pyrotechnics.)

Once you’re "in the club," the food you receive is gorgeously packaged, though not actually planet friendly with everything individually delivered in hard plastic containers. But it is delicious. The baby greens are crisp, cold and farm-fresh to the taste—so much so that you barely need the dressing to want to eat the leaves on your plate. The dinners are gorgeously plated, the breakfasts adorably jarred, and everything looks IG-worthy out of the box.

This would be my first choice every week, were it not for the price. The options range from $239 a week for 3 days a week on up. They even have a pre-bridal package that is the deluxe offering, including a discount for a dress at Kleinfeld's and a deal at a local fitness studio. Their Detox II plan is sold out, and there's an actual waitlist to get the chance to pay for this 5-day $400 cleanse. (We did tell you this is a whole life approach). Despite the price, I was still tempted to keep going. Although delicious and convenient, the price tag made it a luxury rather than something that I could center my plant-based journey around.

 

Favorite Dish: The salad greens. The salads were some of the tastiest and enjoyable parts of every meal I ate. I’m not a big salad lover but these all tasted amazing. Promise.

Why We Loved It: This is the closest thing to spa food at home or a personal chef.

Best For: Someone who is busy and has trouble making time to be healthy, but has a big enough paycheck that spending on quality food does not make them blink an eye.

Recommended Order: The weekly subscription plan allows you to adjust your meals and frequency as you go with just 48 hours’ notice. That means you can decide if you’re not keeping up with the food you can let them know by Wednesday and they will dial down the amount you get delivered. 

Nice Feature: The little bonus they throw into the box with every order. You can choose between Youth & Beauty Tea, Beauty Chocolates, and other perks like bars and more. You get the feeling their next business will be all beauty, all the time.

Bottom Line: If money were no object, I would live the Sakara Life every day of my life. Eventually, I wanted to see if I could do it without the crutch of a delivery service, and work out for myself how to eat a healthy, whole-food, plant-based diet. But this is a great first step for anyone who needs a hand on their journey toward health and wellbeing and can afford it. 

2. Plantable: Delicious, Nutritious, Convenient and Your Coach is in Your Corner

I might be partial to Plantable because first of all, it makes life easy to just zap dinner in a microwave, plus the food is truly delicious, and they offer personalized health coaching to anyone who needs or wants it. I met the founder through my doctor, and she is truly brilliant and trying to change the world by making plant-based eating easier for anyone to do!

All that, and the price is right. The cost of Plantable is $225 for the "Quickstart" program for six days of 12 meals that can be eaten as either lunches and dinners or "ReBoot" which is $175 a week for four weeks of 12 delicious, chef-prepared meals.

This was my second test of Plantable, since I tried this meal delivery service the first time a year ago, when it first launched, when my cardiologist told me about the benefits of eating a plant-based diet. I loved it the first time, but I loved it even more than the second time around because I now realized that the hardest part of going plant-based is the first 28 days, and that is exactly the timeframe Plantable is there to help.

Plantable is like Your Physician, Your Chef, and Your Nutrition Coach All in One.

Plantable offers hands-on coaching for anyone who wants to get emails or engage in a one-on-one conversation about the pain points of your journey. Because of that, you get the feeling Plantable is really on your side. Founder Nadja Pinnavaia, who is a scientist by training (she received her Ph.D. in Quantum Chemistry from University of Cambridge) and a total foodie, wants you to be your healthiest version of you. Unlike other meal delivery services, this one seems personal and on a mission to change the way we eat.

Pinnavaia told me the story of losing her mother, then her when her mother-in-law got cancer, she was determined to figure out the best way to eat to be healthy. She left her job to devote her professional life to finding a way to eat foods that will turn off inflammation and boost immunity, in other words, to equip the body to be as healthy as it can be to fight disease when it strikes.

Her latest mission is working with breast cancer survivors in a study with Memorial Sloan Kettering to provide them with plant-based eating and determine whether this can reduce the risk of recurrence. Plantable wants us to kick the sugar habit, the processed food habit, the meat, cheese and animal proteins, so the food has a lot riding on it. The meals are so delicious, and taste like some of the best soups, pasta, and risotto you can find anywhere, so it's never a compromise to eat this way.

What We Love About It:

Plantable meals are both delicious and affordable, and because they come frozen, all you have to do is pop them into the microwave to have a fast, easy, healthy meal in minutes. I loved their packaging, which is more eco-friendly than others', and the fact that I could go out to dinner and these meals would last in the freezer for weeks, so there was absolutely zero waste involved. I could eat them the following week or whenever I needed an easy vegan fix in a flash.

Favorite Dish: The meals to repeat are their hearty lunch soups, the Lentil Tacos and the Summer Squash “FauxSotto” aka risotto was restaurant-quality.

Why We Loved It: Overall, Plantable gets my vote for simplest and quickest food to make in a hurry when you’re hungry and don’t have much time. 

Best For: Non-cooks, or the busy working person who doesn’t want to spend more than 10 minutes putting food on the table after getting home from work, and someone who wants health coaching and support along their plant-based journey.

Nice Feature: You can now order à la carte, by the meal, day or week and choose from the Chef’s Menu or put your favorite meal on repeat. This is a great option since sometimes I found myself not eating all the meals they sent over on a busy week, so you can now sample it before committing to the longer-term delivery. 

Recommended Order: Try the Quick Start 1-week program first. It’s six days' worth of food but I split it with my husband and we still had leftover meals, since we didn’t eat every lunch and dinner at home. Freeze what you don’t need now and you’ll always have a healthy, delicious option that’s about 3 minutes away from being ready. 

Bottom Line: We love Plantable and Nadja Pinnavaia’s tough-love approach to cutting out the sugar and processed foods. She is both knowledgeable and encouraging. Her motto when she launched was: “Cut the Crap” and though they have dropped this from the branding, I actually liked it to remind me that vegan and plant-based is not the goal, healthy is!  She and her health coaches are there to help you stay on track and feel and look your best. 

3. Purple Carrot: Your Cooking Lesson-In-a-Box has Arrived

If you love to cook, this is the plan for you. When the box comes you get to sort your ingredients and line up which meals to cook first, which is fun, like being a chef in your own personal restaurant, where someone has done the shopping, sorting and measuring for you. Then dive in. About 45 minutes later dinner is on the table. For me, coming back from a long Saturday bike ride, feeling hungry for lunch, this meant having to patiently make the beet and bean veggie burger and cook it, along with the fries, as I yearned for an easier and quicker solution. That said, once I did, it was totally delicious, the meal felt like a treat and if I had been a little less rushed it would be an Instagrammable masterpiece, rather than a somewhat disorganized pile of veggies on a bun.

Who is it For:  Chef-types. I would highly recommend Purple Carrot to anyone who wants to be healthy and enjoys cooking or wants to learn a few tricks about unlikely pairings and interesting sauces. The process of pulling each meal together is joyful when you aren’t starving and impatient or you don’t feel like cooking.

Best part: You can order just two meals a week, and you can customize those choices. So if you and your spouse or roommate or honey want to do it together, you can get the price as low as $11.99 per serving for three dinners a week or $7.99 per serving for six nights. The food is fresh, delicious and creative. It's just a whole lot of work.

4. Hello Fresh, Not Really Designed for Vegans but You Can Make It Work.

I was planning to order Hello Fresh because I realize it's one of the most well known and popular meal delivery services. Unfortunately, the site only has a vegetarian option plan, not vegan. Though they announced they were adding Beyond Meat to the menus due to popular demand, most of the vegetarian options still include some cheese, sauce or other non-vegan elements, so if you are planning to "customize" these meals you may be disappointed since the packaging doesn't make it easy to do. For this reason, we are not reviewing Hello Fresh in this roundup. If they make changes to their plan we will update it here.

5. Sun Basket Does not Shine a Light on the Vegan Meal Option, but it's Affordable.

I never want to be harsh, because what's the point of reviewing something in a recommendation roundup and giving something a scathing review. That said, I netted out that services like Sun Basket don't cater to the vegan or plant-based population, and their offerings in that department are pretty uninspired. The bags arrive with the ingredients separated but none of it looks appetizing and the meals I did make were uninteresting. I'm not a big fan of seitan or jackfruit, so perhaps my own lack of enthusiasm for those proteins slightly tempered my view. I did eat the raw ingredients like the avocado and other fresh veggies, but ultimately I was disappointed with the way these meals were presented.

6. Veestro is the Problem Solver, on a Busy Night, and It Grows On You.

I tried Veestro because it's not only the biggest plant-based meal delivery service in the country, with over 2 million meals served, but one of the most cost-efficient as well, with $7 meals if you plan it right. Anyone trying to be plant-based on a budget will love this delivery service, and when Veestro arrives you can pop these in the microwave and have dinner on the table in minutes.

Best Part: Veestro grows on you. I underestimated the taste factor since the food is prepared and the meals are generally not as fresh as the other meal delivery services, but the more I ate it the more I liked it. And in the days afterward, whenever I needed a quick and easy plant-based dinner, I was grateful to have Veestro in the freezer to choose from.  If you like having packaged healthy frozen meals ready to eat in the freezer but want plant-based options, then Veestro serves your dinner needs!

7. Daily Harvest Makes it Super Easy to Blend, Sip and Be Healthy

Daily Harvest, founded by Rachel Drori, was designed to make it even easier to eat healthy, fresh, organic fruits and vegetables daily. Hardly anyone in the US routinely gets their five servings of fruits and veggies a day, and Daily Harvest makes it doable and delicious, with no trips to the farmer's market or supermarket needed. The plan options allow you to pick your frequency, and when you order 12 cups or bowls, you can get the cost down to $7.99 a serving. They recently added soups, and now offer healthy bowl options, along with the original smoothies, so suddenly DH is punching above its weight, going head-to-head with meal delivery services.

Best Part: Some assembly required. When Betty Crocker made it simple for 1950's housewives to add water to powdered ingredients and bake a cake, it made early adapters felt like they were cheating cooking. When the cake makers then required the cooks to add an egg, suddenly the product took off. Everyone wants to feel they are adding their own personalized touch to making dinner, baking a cake, or taking control of their health with meals that are carefully and artfully created. Now we have the fun of making a smoothie, soup or bowl, but the ingredients are there for you so you know you'll have something healthy to eat at home and not have to hit the fast food or order in pizza instead.

The customization allows you to choose Low Carb, High Protein, Vegan, Gluten-Free and other filters. The choices narrow quickly depending on what you choose, but the fact is you can be sure you're getting the best ingredients that are in season, no matter what you choose. While the bowls, smoothies and soups were incredibly fresh and delicious, ultimately, I felt like Daily Harvest didn't provide a high enough volume of food to sustain me throughout the whole day. But it's a nice snack, smoothie or soup to have around when you need something to tie you over till your next real meal. Ultimately it was fun to blender up the smoothies and made eating healthy a joyful experience.