The best meal kits
make it foolproof to get a meal on the table. Some kits coach you through the cooking
process, while others are of the heat-and-eat or assemble-and-eat variety. Many
include two servings per meal, with a minimum of two or three meals at a time.
Others are more suitable for singles. Splendid Spoon’s niche is convenience for
one. The menu consists entirely of prepared, single-serve, vegan, gluten-free
meals. Every item is a smoothie or a bowl, which means either soup or some
combination of ingredients served over a grain, like brown rice. Everything is
GMO-free. Nothing takes more than two minutes to heat up. You can drink the smoothies straight from the bottle.

The convenience really is unparalleled.
There’s excellent variety in flavor, too. I wouldn’t want to eat too many meals
in a row from Splendid Spoon, though, as I’d go crazy without fresh vegetables.
If you’d rather cook fresh, Purple Carrot meets similar dietary
needs. It’s the best meal delivery service for vegans. Green Chef is best for mixed households of meat and non-meat eaters. Neither of them is
tailored to solo diners the way Splendid Spoon is, however.

Another benefit of Splendid Spoon is you don’t
have to eat all your meals by a tight expiration date because you can easily
pop them in the freezer. See the convenience? That said, other meal
delivery services offer ready meals, too. Even Sun Basket has heat-and-eat
options, though they’re all portioned for two. For exceptionally busy people,
like hospital workers, who want to still eat healthfully or those with different
abilities for whom cooking is difficult or unsafe, it really
makes sense to keep some Splendid Spoon meals on hand.

Splendid Spoon group one food

Splendid Spoon Pricing

Compared with shopping and preparing your own
meals, most meal delivery services are expensive, somewhere around $12 per
serving. That’s not far off what I’d expect to pay for decent takeout.

Splendid Spoon’s prices vary based on how many
items you order at a time. It ranges from $9.50 to $13 per serving.

Option 1 is called Lunch, which includes 5 bowls that you get to pick, delivered weekly for $65. The per-meal cost is $13.

Option 2 is The 7-Day Breakfast and Lunch. That one lets you pick 7 smoothies and 7 bowls per week for $135. The per-meal price is $9.64.

Option 3 is called Breakfast + Lunch. You choose 5 smoothies and 5 bowls per week for $95. The per-meal price then is $9.50.

I have a hard time justifying $9.50 for a
bottled smoothie. Then again, I would have a hard time paying $9.50 for a fresh smoothie. For the bowls, $9.50 or
$9.64 seems more justifiable, as long as you recognize you’re mostly paying for
the convenience. The quality is all right, but it’s not nearly the same as a
freshly made meal.

Splendid Spoon chocolate cherry smoothie promo

Splendid Spoon divides its menu into smoothies
and bowls. We can go one step further to better clarify your options:
smoothies, soups, grain bowls, and light soups.

Smoothies are straightforward. They are
pre-blended drinks, usually containing fruit and some kind of protein-rich
ingredient, such as pea powder, hemp protein, chia seeds, or almond butter.
Each bottle has a list of ingredients right on the front. If you’re new to
protein powders, be forewarned that they can add a slightly chalky or gritty
texture.

Soups are soups, unless you object to calling
red lentil dal a soup. I wouldn’t fault you if you did. Dal is dal (or dahl or
daal). Among the soups, you’ll find some wonderful flavor profiles, like
Morrocan lentil with tomatoes and turmeric, and cumin sweet potato with cashews
and cilantro.

Grain bowls consist of a few ingredients,
usually vegetables, served over a grain. A Tuscan white bean and tomato dish,
for example, comes with greens, fennel ragout, and sorghum (it’s a type of
grain that looks like pearl couscous, and yes, I had to look it up).

The light soups are part of a special package
deal you can order called The Reset, “designed to reset your digestive
system in one day.” I’m not 100% sure what that means, but I interpret it
as “won’t make you fart or poop weird.” Two examples of light soups:
fennel consommé with lemon peel and dill, and butternut turmeric soup with
sweet potatoes and nutmeg.

Splendid Spoon also has a 3-oz Wellness Shot.
It’s just a tiny orange juice punched up with ginger, lemon juice, and oregano
extract. Does it do anything for your “wellness?” Unclear. But it’s
delicious.

Splendid Spoon packaging

Packaging

Shipments deliver on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Mine arrived on Wednesday packed with five smoothies, five bowls, and one
Wellness Shot. A warning label told me to watch out for dry ice, which had
disappeared like a ghost by the time I opened the box. There were some other
cardboard and paper-based liners keeping everything cold.

Most of the soups and bowls were still frozen.
I popped a few of them directly into the freezer and put the rest in the
refrigerator. If you worry about spoilage with more traditional meal delivery
kits, it’s way less of a problem here, not only because everything was so cold
but also because there’s no meat to go bad. Even on a hot day, I wouldn’t have
worried about this box sitting out unrefrigerated for many hours.

Soups and bowls come in what I can only
describe as a one-pound deli container. (I worked in a couple of delis and
bagel shops in my Long Island teenager days. These containers perfectly hold a
pound of cream cheese or chicken salad.) You can recycle them, or if you’re low
on plastic food containers, you can reuse them.

Splendid Spoon Cuban black bean and plantain dish

Cooking and Eating

Of all the Splendid Spoon meals I tried, I
enjoyed the soups the most. You heat them either on the stovetop or in a
microwave for about two minutes. The same is true for the grain bowls. Why did I
like the soups more? It comes down to texture. With soups, I expect some amount
of uniformity. Unless I put fresh toppings on my soup, everything should be
warm and mostly soft (remember, no meat).

With the bowls, I expected contrast. I wanted
the cashews atop a pile of coconut curry and rice to be crunchy. But because
they were microwaved, they weren’t. I wanted a bite of freshness from the green
onions on the Cuban black bean bowl with plantains, but again, only soggy
warmth.

That Cuban bowl needed a few tablespoons of
water added before heating it up, too, as it seemed way too dry all around. A
handful of fresh cilantro would have done wonders to it.

There were some pleasant surprises. I didn’t
even know I liked split pea soup until I had Splendid Spoon’s green split pea
with tarragon and basil. Lovely, whole, perfectly round peas give the soup
structure. A helping of diced carrots adds a pop of color. Subtle hints of
tarragon come through, riding on the brightness of a little lemon juice. I
didn’t know split pea soup could have such character.

My partner and I shared a Mexican tomato chili
with quinoa and ancho chili, which tasted nearly identical to a slow cooker
meal he makes on the regular. His version usually includes cheddar
cheese (sorry, vegans), fresh cilantro, thinly sliced jalapeño, a squeeze of
lime, and a shot of hot sauce. We did the same for the Splendid Spoon soup to
breathe a little more life into it.

The portion sizes are good. One bowl is a
meal, filling without leaving you feeling stuffed. If you’re especially hungry,
and you can easily build a larger meal around one of Splendid Spoon’s entrees.
Add some naan to the red lentil dal, for example, or spoon some diced avocado
and fresh cut corn on top of another bowl.

Of the smoothies I tried, dragon fruit berry
had a fresh and perky taste. AB&J (almond butter, banana, strawberry) was
my least favorite for coming off as bland and gloppy. Chocolate cherry was the
winner. I was fully expecting to turn my nose up at its chocolatey flavor.
Instead, I happily nibbled all the tiny cacao nibs suspended throughout it.

Would You Eat It Again?

Splendid Spoon sells slightly elevated, and
all vegan, convenience food. The meals contain a lot of good portions of
plant-based foods. If you need help eating better in a pinch, it’s a good way
to go some of the time. Some of the meals benefit tremendously from light
touches in the kitchen, a handful of fresh herbs, say, or a few lashings of hot
sauce. As to the smoothies, I would say you have to give them a try to find
what you like. The flavors I thought I would like didn’t match up with the ones
I did when I tasted them.

Would I eat Splendid Spoon meals again? The
money doesn’t seem worth it for the smoothies, but the soups are a solid go-to
choice for when you’re crunched for time. I love that they can sit in the freezer, and I
can easily picture them making for a convenient lunch, so long as I had a few
fresh accompaniments on hand to jazz them up.

If you’re interested in trying other meal
delivery services that involve cooking, Purple Carrot is best for vegans, and
Green Chef has a lot of vegan dishes as well as vegetable-forward meals that
involve meat or fish for people who eat a paleo or keto diet. Blue Apron has a little bit of
everything (although it’s very limited for vegans) and is the Editors’ Choice
pick if you’re trying to learn to cook.

Cons

  • Price for smoothies is high

  • Grain bowls soggy, lacking in texture

  • Some offerings needed rescuing from blandness in testing

The Bottom Line

Convenience food may be at its best with Splendid Spoon, a line of vegan, gluten-free meals made for one and delivered to your door. These smoothies, soups, and grain bowls aren’t a substitute for fresh meals, but they’re great when you’re crunched for time.

Best Meal Kit Picks

First Looks – Review 2020

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