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.
We are officially off of our hiatus (things have been busy at Paste!), and back into the swing of things to finish our first series of I Promise It’s Vegan: testing and tasting meal kits. Today, we look at Hungryroot.
Hungryroot is less of a meal kit service and more of what I call a “stock your pantry and fridge” service and what they call the “first and only personalized online grocery service.” Each week, you get to select 12 (or more!) items for your box, ranging from sauces, fresh vegetables, quick lunch options and more. They’ve recently partnered with several brands like RightRice, Banza, and Beyond Meat to offer even more of a selection, and fellow vegans will be excited to hear that Field Roast, Kite Hill, and Yves are added (or soon to be) as well. With all of your items, Hungryroot gives you recipes and ideas for meals, or you can just make your own culinary creations with whatever else you have at home. Hungryroot itself is not entirely vegan, but it is customizable enough that you can certainly create an entirely vegan box.
My box included some fresh packaged vegetables (read more on those in the disclaimer), a Thai peanut sauce, a lemon artichoke quinoa cup, black bean brownie batter, kale pesto, a roasted red pepper quinoa cup, ancient grains pancake mix, basil zucchini white bean salad, Banza chickpea cavatappi, hearty tofu veggie burgers and braised lemongrass tofu nuggets. The only item that absolutely required cooking was the cavatappi pasta, making Hungryroot incredibly convenient for the everyday consumer.
Disclaimer: I did not get to try the vegetables, as my box had been sitting in the mailroom at my building for a little bit too long for me to justify using them. This is not Hungryroot’s fault, this is purely my own for not picking up my box in time!
It’s time to break it down.
For all of the convenience Hungryroot offers, I was a little disappointed when it came to the taste. The majority of the items were simply okay on their own. You know when something tastes… healthy? Hungryroot products taste healthy. This is not a bad thing, because after all, health is important, but sometimes when something tastes too healthy, it can defer to tasting bland. Bland is a bad thing. After deciding to use Hungryroot products as ingredients rather than standalone products, the taste vastly improved. I used the kale pesto (quite uninteresting on its own) in a cashew-based pesto alfredo, and it was delightful. The ancient grain pancake mix made excellent pancakes once they were smothered in vegan butter and syrup. The lemongrass tofu nuggets fit excellently into a stir-fry with broccoli and onions. The Thai peanut sauce, a little too tangy running solo, will be a great addition to a very spicy homemade Pad Thai. I will give props to the tofu veggie burgers— they were quite delightful.
Ease of Preparation
Because the only thing that needed cooking was the cavatappi pasta, Hungryroot gets an A+ on ease of preparation. You CAN cook any of the box items, but you don’t need to. A lot of the items are great on-the-go, which makes preparation about as easy as possible, considering there’s actually no preparation.
Hungryroot allows you to shop its entire product line for your box, and from a vegan perspective, there is a whole lot to offer. Especially now that they’ve partnered with so many plant-based bands and are continuing to add more, the variety offered is pretty solid. For someone that might live in an area where vegan options are few and far in between, Hungryroot is a good place to look to supplement your diet. Because everything is pre-packaged, most items last for quite a while.
Hungryroot costs a pretty penny. The starting price for a box is $69 per delivery. When you sign up for the service, you essentially subscribe, so week after week you get a box. You can skip weeks and end your subscription whenever you’d like. To me, $69 is rather expensive for 12 items to supplement your groceries for the week, but because of the quality of some of the items (here’s looking at you, Beyond Meat), I wouldn’t blame you one bit if you wanted to give it a go. A $99 box and a $129 box is also available.
For the small ($69) box, you get 12 items. Some of them, like the quinoa cups, are individually sized, but the majority are large enough to share with at least one other person when you add them to recipes. The items that are individually sized are not enough for a full meal.
OVERALL RATING: 8.4/10
Overall, Hungryroot is an interesting, albeit pricey, concept. The vegan-friendly brands are a big bonus, and the ability to get creative in the kitchen with all of the items acting as ingredients is actually quite enjoyable. On top of it all, the packaging is by far the most well-designed of all of the food boxes I’ve reviewed. I recommend this box to anyone who can afford it, at least once, because not only are the boxes full of nutrition, they’re surprisingly fun.
Annie Black is Paste Magazine’s social media manager and resident plant person. She likes noodles and soups mostly, but will try anything and everything as long as it’s animal product free. Follow her on Twitter!