While I pride myself on maintaining a consistently healthy diet, there is always room to sneak in more vegetables. And with chicken, beef, and turkey dominating my weekly meal routine, it’s also good to venture into veganism to remind myself that satiating, flavorful dishes can be made using only plant-derived ingredients.
But sometimes life gets in the way, and the last thing I want to do is master a new recipe, especially if it involves tofu, beans and other proteins that I don’t have much experience cooking (at least creatively). Enter: deliverable, premade meals without a trace of animal products.
How Rootberry Works
Rootberry is a 100% vegan meal delivery service that doesn’t require a subscription. You can order a one-time send of plant-based meals. If you do decide to subscribe, Rootberry will knock 5% off your order total.
Once your delivery arrives, customers are required to do nothing more than cut slits in the plastic wrapping of each plastic tray and toss it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Best-by dates are printed on the packaging, as well, and it is suggested that meals are consumed within 48 hours of heating. That’s it — it really couldn’t be easier.
The company, which was founded in June 2021, aims to incorporate more plant-based food sources into people’s lives due to their high fiber content, nutrient density, protein and antioxidants. Currently, they offer online, ranging from baked vegetable ziti to kung pao cauliflower.
There are two ways to get your hands on Rootberry meals. The first is to order them online so that they are delivered to your home or office. Meals start at $13.29, and side dishes like garlic rosemary green beans and herb-roasted potato wedges can be added for $12.34 each. As an alternative, Rootberry meals can also be found in certain grocery stores, colleges and even hospitals around the country. Though they’re mostly limited to the Midwest, there is aso that you can find a brick and mortar that may be close to you.
Shipping and delivery
Shipments generally arrive Wednesday to Friday each week and can be sent across the continental US using ice packs and insulated boxes. Customers are required to purchase a minimum of eight meals to qualify for delivery, which costs $15 plus tax.
Rootberry is also running a current promotion of free shipping and $20 off your first order with the code WELCOME20, which can be applied at checkout.
What Rootberry meals are like
Each Rootberry meal is packaged in a plastic tray and sealed with plastic wrap for freshness. My delivery didn’t have the colorful sleeves that you see on the company’s website, but there were stickers to indicate the name, nutritional information and heating instructions. Meals arrive fresh, not frozen, but can easily be stored in the freezer to give you more time to eat them.
What I ordered and how it all tasted
To sample a variety of options, I requested six dishes that represented entirely different cuisines and flavor profiles. Here are my quick takes on how they tasted:
Breakfast scramble: This seemed unappetizing at first because I literally start most days with six egg whites cooked in a particular manner, but I was pleasantly surprised by the softness of the tofu and potatoes. This dish actually reminded me of my aforementioned go-to breakfast.
A quick side note: While it’s true that dinner and lunch entrees leave more room for fun and creativity when it comes to ingredients, I would implore Rootberry and other services to roll out more breakfast options. We all know the struggle of having to do, well, practically anything within the first hour of waking and heating this up was super quick and convenient.
Tikka masala: For a classically complex curry dish, this was surprisingly lackluster. I appreciated the softness of the rice, which doesn’t always fare well in a microwave, but I wanted more heat intensity and recognizable spices. Instead, I added a homemade mint cilantro chutney to elevate it and make it more palatable.
Veggie bolognese: This was a strong “okay.” I am Sicilian and frequently whip up a Sunday sauce, so any reheated pasta entree is going to pale in comparison. But this was not bad at all for chickpea pasta, pea protein crumbles and pesto. In fact, there were moments when I felt like I was tricked into thinking this was an actual Bolognese.
Fajita bowl: This was my favorite meal from the bunch. It’s really difficult to mess up straightforward, Mexican-inspired dishes, but I appreciated the abundance of beans and cabbage and brown rice and peppers, all of which worked harmoniously together to create something that was actually memorable. The *only* thing I needed to add was lime juice and a few dashes of hot sauce, but this arrived colorful, fresh and ready to be consumed.
Garlic rosemary green beans: This meal was fine. I appreciated the larger slices of red onion and the intensity of the rosemary and garlic, but $12.49 for green beans is borderline absurd.
Chocolate chip cookies: A huge miss, I’m afraid. Despite heating these up for over a minute (way beyond the recommended 15-30 seconds), they were still cold and hard as a rock. If you’re going to binge on a sweet treat, just go all in and forget about anything marketed as “healthy.”
Who is rootberry good for?
Rootberry is great for those who struggle to incorporate vegetables into their daily food pyramid and/or have specific dietary needs that will benefit from the vitamins and nutrients of plants. The trays would also be great for children, as well, considering how easy it will be to sneak the veggies into their diet. (As I was eating a few options, I genuinely forgot that no meat was present.)
Who are Rootberry meals not so good for?
Picky eaters may appreciate the blandness of these meals, but those looking for more dynamic flavors and general culinary inspiration will ultimately be disappointed. I was reminded of the phrase “eat to live and don’t live to eat” and that depressed me as a food connoisseur. I want to at least enjoy whatever I put into my body and not just rely on it as a source of energy. That said, they really did a good job of boosting my stamina as a pre-workout meal.
This is also not the best option for anyone looking to keep keto or cut carbs since Rootberry meals are particularly in carbs, with most dinners topping 50 grams.
How much does Rootberry cost?
Rootberry entree meals cost between $13 and $14, which is on the high side of average compared with other plant-based meal subscription services we’ve tried. Two-serving side dishes including garlic rosemary green beans and herb-roasted potato wedges can be added for $12.34. By comparison, some of our favorite meal delivery services such as Mosaic Foods and Fresh N Lean have meal plans with entrees for as cheap as $10 or $11 per meal.
Final verdict on Rootberry
Were Rootberry’s vegan offerings mind-boggling delicious? No. Did I look forward to heating them up every day? Sometimes. But can you really put a price on convenience? Well, that depends on who you ask. These are certainly pricey but not anything more outrageous than what you’d find at a local restaurant (at least in a major city). That said, I do think they should find a way to come down on that $14.29 price tag because it’s quite steep, especially without the presence of meat.
The higher expense is obviously because the company makes a commitment to only sourcing high-quality, natural ingredients, but these are not going to appeal to someone on a strict budget who likely isn’t going to prioritize healthier foods in the first place.
I will say that I valued the departure from canned and packaged foods that are chock-full of hard-to-pronounce preservatives, but I would encourage Rootberry’s culinary team to be a little more heavy-handed with sauces and seasonings so that its customers don’t become — for lack of a better term — bored. The no-frills nourishment is appreciated, but nourishment with a dusting of excitement will take the experience to another level.
Overall, the company did a perfectly satisfactory job of delivering fresh and satisfying meals. And while the flavors weren’t awe-inspiring, they followed through on their promise of spreading a passion for plant-based eating, which I wholeheartedly support and encourage.
Is there a better option for plant-based meal delivery?
We’ve tested more than a dozen plant-based meal delivery services. Mosaic Foods still ranks as our top pick in the category, but there are other options worthy of a look, including vegan meal kits (cooking required) and others that specialize in smoothies and lighter fare. Read more in our full and hand-tested list of the best vegan and vegetarian meal delivery services for 2023.