I unexpectedly had to run out for a few hours on Wednesday evening, and when I got home my giant box was waiting for me downstairs in my apartment building. When I opened the box, everything was waiting for me—the recyclable cardboard containers all neatly stacked and still frozen inside an insulated freezer bag lined with dry ice packs. I loved that all the packaging is recyclable.
Ease of Use
Daily Harvest’s meals couldn’t be easier to prep. You simply pop one out of the freezer and follow the heating instructions, sometimes adding a couple of tablespoons of water (or broth if you want). Most dishes take six minutes or less and can be made in the microwave or on the stovetop. The microwave is easiest since you can cook the meal right in the container. The stovetop method dirties a pan and produces only a very slightly better texture (to my surprise). I would often top things with an additional sprinkle of seasoning or a squeeze of lemon juice.
The only meals that require any foresight and more than a few minutes are the flatbreads and harvest bakes, which have to bake in a pretty hot oven for 20-27 minutes. I cheated and used my beloved air-fryer instead a few times, which cut the cooking time in half and yielded great results. And the protein crumbles—a supplementary meal add-on—were the most work to make. And when I say “work,” I definitely mean emptying the desired amount of crumbles into a nonstick pan, breaking apart with a fork, and stirring over medium-high heat for five to seven minutes.
Daily Harvest’s nutritional profile is generally stellar. The plant-based meals are packed with a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds—plus spices, plant oils, umami-rich flavor enhancers (like miso, mushroom powder, or nutritional yeast), and fresh and dried herbs. That means plenty of complex carbs, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, 95% of the ingredients are organic. I can’t deny how nourished my body felt eating these meals.
My main complaint about many of Daily Harvest’s meals is that they’re not quite enough—many are on the lower end in terms of protein and overall calories. I purposely selected as many meals containing beans and legumes as I could for that reason, but even so a lot of them failed to provide more than 10 or 15 grams of protein or 400 calories. That’s fine for a lighter meal or big snack, but not as a comprehensively nourishing, totally satisfying, keep-me-full-for-hours kind of meal.
I found a few ways to make up for the less satiating, lower-protein menu items (like the smaller bowls or lighter soups). I could either eat two dishes together, add a serving of the protein crumbles (13 grams per serving), or stir in some extra ingredients of my own (like nutritional yeast, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, or diced tempeh).
The only thing about the crumbles, which are made with ingredients like lentils, hemp seeds, and walnuts, is that they’re quite high in fat, adding 18 or 24 grams of fat to my meals (depending on the flavor), many of which had a good amount of fat as is. That may not bother most people—fat is good for us and has a positive satiating effect. But for me, higher-fat meals can be difficult to dose insulin properly for and keep my blood sugar in range over the next few hours, thanks to how fat delays the absorption of carbs. Again, probably not an issue for most folks—just something to note for anyone who tries to avoid high-fat meals for whatever reason.
Overall Taste and Satisfaction
Daily Harvest meals are prepared plant-based food at its best. The meals were shockingly textured, flavorful, and fragrant for frozen food. (According to Daily Harvest, they harvest their produce at peak ripeness and flash-freeze it to preserve the taste and texture.) While in my past experience frozen produce can sometimes end up tasting kind of blah, mushy, and all the same, the flavors were strong and easily identifiable; the textures appropriately delicate and tender or firm and crunchy, depending on the ingredient. The mulberries in my oatmeal were plump and juicy while the steel-cut oats were firm and chewy. The diced carrots in my bolognese were crunchy while the lentils were just soft enough and the tomatoes ripe.