As a food blogger and someone who finds the entire process of cooking (from planning to prep to execution and even clean-up) an immense creative outlet and source of relaxation, I’ve never considered using a meal delivery service. However, when the nice folks over at Thistle reached out to me to try one of their vegan meal plan options, I admit I was definitely curious to see what receiving a plant-based meal delivery would be like.
Before I get into more details about the experience and food, a little background on Thistle!
Thistle is a California-based meal delivery service with a solid, plant-based subscription option, all made with high-quality and nutritionally dense ingredients. Their subscription plans vary, but are all very reasonably priced, super convenient and delicious! I tried out their Wednesday dinner thru Friday lunch plan + snacks, and was really impressed with the taste, freshness, variety and convenience, which I’ve detailed below. Check out Thistle’s FAQ page for more info.
The package I received was all plant-based, dairy- and gluten-free. All packaging came with a clear and simple list of ingredients which, from what I could see, were all designated organic (except for pink Himalayan sea salt, which was only used in a few of the meals), and everything but the soup listed nutritional highlights. I loved that Thistle not only made their meals varied and delicious, but also took great care to ensure that the entire process, from delivery to opening the packages, was super convenient! Most of the food is ready to eat and meant to be eaten at room temp or cold, while a few other items only require a quick zap in the microwave. That’s it for prep … now onto the food!
Fall Harvest Arugula-Apple Plate with Roasted Garlic Cider Dressing (also pictured: Potato-Leek soup)
First up is this amazing fresh salad! It was full of wonderful flavors and textures, packed with plump Cannelli beans, dried apples, beets, wild rice, fennel and celery over a bed or arugula. Everything was vivid and crisp, and the portion size was very generous. I loved the mix of savory and sweet elements, and the roasted garlic apple cider vinaigrette, although very light, pulled all the flavors together perfectly and balanced everything out.
The soup was hearty, and measured about one cup, so it was perfect to pair with the salad! Although it only contained four ingredients (potato + leeks: both organic) and Himalayan salt and black pepper, it was expertly prepared: silky and rich, and easily warmed in the microwave for about a minute!
Breakfast | Creamy Cinnamon Persimmon Quinoa Pudding with Pecans
I ate half of this warmed and half cold. Loved it both ways! This breakfast quinoa was perfectly seasoned with vanilla, nutmeg and cardamom, and topped with juicy cranberries and sweet persimmon slices.
Lunch | Spinach Bowl with Roasted Red Grapes, Fall Squash and a Sultana Apple Cider Vinaigrette
This deep green, vibrant purple and bright orange salad is also packed with plump white beans, artichoke, radicchio and pickled onions, with a delicately tangy vinaigrette. Like Wednesday’s salad, this portion was huge and filling, and every bite was deliciously different.
Dinner | Moroccan-Style Vegetable and Chickpea Stew
Forbidden black rice, chickpeas, sweet potato and carrot with spinach is spiced with cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne. The rice and chickpeas added some bulk and texture, while the big discs of sweet potato and chunks of carrot added some sweetness and earthiness to each bite. This was good cold, but I also gave it a quick zap in the microwave (as indicated on the package), which intensified the flavors and gave it a heartier feel.
Also pictured here is Thistle’s mushroom bisque, which is a simple puree of crimini mushrooms and onion, seasoned with a bit of thyme and pink Himalayan sea salt.
Breakfast | Turmeric-Mango Overnight Oats
I ate this at room temperature, which was perfect, but it would also be good warmed or chilled. As with all of the other meals, this is a simple but perfectly balanced and seasoned meal, packed with soft mango chunks, rolled oats, turmeric, ginger and hemp milk. The portion size was perfect, and kept me full until lunch!
Lunch | Slow-Cooked Black Bean and Mango Caribbean Chili
This is one of the items in the package that definitely needs heating up! After a quick, two-minute warm up in the microwave, this dish smelled amazing! Brown rice, stewed tomatoes, black beans and mango have been slow-cooked in a mixture of orange juice, cilantro, jalepenos, cumin and cinnamon to create a dish that tastes amazing and super comforting for December in California. Yes, it’s still in the 60s here, and my New England love for the cold wants it to be much lower, but this kind of made me feel wintery … really!
Also pictured here is Thistle’s Vegan “French Onion” soup which is, like their other soups, just four ingredients: onions, shiitakes, black pepper and sea salt. Love the smaller portion, which makes it perfect as a small meal or a side.
At the top left is an extra snack of hummus and raw tomatoes, celery and carrots. At about a cup of hummus and a couple handfuls of vegetables, this is a generous portion that’s perfect for mid-day. Also included at bottom right are Thistle’s Moringa Energy Bites, which are tahini and date-paste based, and packed with sesame, pumpkin, hemp, chia, flax and sunflower seeds. Even dessert is a powerhouse of nutrition as well as flavor, which I found to be the case with every meal that Thistle provided!
Is it worth a try? If you hate to cook, want to take a break from cooking or are too busy to think about cooking, but still want nutritionally sound and varied meals with the convenience of free delivery in California, then Thistle is definitely worth a look. If you’d like to give it a try, be sure to enter enter THISTLEFORDINNER at checkout to receive 20% off your first order!
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This post has been sponsored by Thistle, but thoughts expressed here are my own.