At a glance
With quick, tasty weeknight dinner menus, EveryPlate Meal Boxes are a dream for anyone low on time and energy. This food is fresh, fun, and simple enough to suit kids and fussy eaters. It's also unbelievably easy to prepare. Trade-offs are that their packaging isn't the most eco-friendly, and meals aren't always bursting with flavour. But all in all, EveryPlate Australia simplifies affordable weeknight dinners.
This product was provided free of charge, but opinions are my own.
Ordering my EveryPlate box was pretty straightforward. The website is almost a little too easy to navigate. After choosing the delivery window and meal options, it took me a minute to figure out that was all I had to do. By default there's 1 vegetarian option each week, with 2 chicken meals, 1-2 beef meals, and 1-2 pork meals. There aren't any explicit options for dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan or vegetarian meals, and I didn't see any fish during my trial.
Even so, meals are veggie and meat-focussed with less eggs, dairy and gluten than expected. I was sent a tracking link on Sunday night, and when I woke up on Monday morning my EveryPlate box was waiting for me at the door. When I checked the link, there were photos of the box at my doorstep to prove it had been delivered.
I'm not very impressed with EveryPlate's packaging. In the first box, the contents were a shambles, though packing seemed more strategic in the second week. EveryPlate Australia uses a cardboard divider to separate a cooler bag from pantry items. Unfortunately, this doesn't stop tomatoes or bags of spinach from being squished.
In the first box, a bag of pre-cut pumpkin burst, so there were rogue bits strewn throughout. I personally would have preferred to be sent a pumpkin to save on packaging, but EveryPlate keeps prep to a minimum with pre-packed, pre-cut veggies. I liked that some vegetables, i.e. garlic, carrots, and potatoes, weren't in plastic. This was more eco-friendly, though again, it meant veggies roamed around a fair bit in transit.
What’s in the box
In the box are plenty of recipe cards, as well as referrals for friends. EveryPlate's ingredients are pre-portioned, so there's a fair bit of packaging. All spice mixes, for example, are individually sealed in plastic. The pre-portioning also means there are double-ups with things like yoghurt, spinach, spices, rice and salad mix.
Meat and dairy items are very securely wrapped. They're tightly sealed in a disposable cooler bag with thin plastic ice packs. In terms of food safety, this is well done. I wish there was an option to recycle ice packs and cooler bags with the next delivery, which is a service offered by other meal box providers. EveryPlate doesn't include things like eggs, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar or flour, so you'll need to supplement with pantry items.
My partner and I are stoked with how painless EveryPlate meals are. We're often wrecked at the end of the day, avoiding the 'who's doing dinner' convo by opening the UberEats app. EveryPlate is much cheaper than getting a hot dinner delivered, though there's more effort involved. There's also something to be said for decision fatigue. It took a huge weight off our minds knowing that dinner was sorted for the week.
It takes us around 40 minutes to make most meals, which isn't that much shorter than our usual dinner prep time. In saying that, we both have years of professional hospitality experience, so we're fairly speedy in the kitchen. By EveryPlate's estimation, most meals should take around 25 - 40 minutes. Honestly, I think 25 minutes is unrealistic, given it takes that long just to roast veggies for some meals.
We find ourselves adding steps, like peeling or marinating, as sometimes recipes are too basic. Veggie roasting times are also underestimated, but that could just be our oven. There are usually three or four main cooking tasks: preparing ingredients, cooking meat, roasting or cooking vegetables, and finishing by simmering or mixing. Pre-portioning and pre-packaging speeds up the process.
The ingredients are mostly pre-packaged, though not grouped by meal. This means there's no advantage to EveryPlate when gathering ingredients to begin cooking. EveryPlate cuts out a bunch of chopping by limiting onions and other ingredients that require more than basic effort. Prep tasks are simple enough that even little ones could help with dinner. It's easy to follow the recipes, too, with clear pictures and instructions on each card. Sometimes it's hard to read the tiny text, but my reading glasses do the trick.
While EveryPlate doesn't offer gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian or vegan options, we love that many recipes are low-gluten and low-dairy. We generally don't eat much meat or wheat at home because of my chronic health condition. EveryPlate offers 1-2 vegetarian options each week, but these meals aren't suitable if you have strict dietary requirements. EveryPlate meals also tend to be built around meat. Often it feels like too much meat, but that's to be expected when you're used to vegetarian.
We do like that veggies or rice are usually the main carbohydrate. Couscous and flour tortillas don't agree with me, but we had corn tortillas, gluten-free pasta and rice at home to replace these ingredients. The portions are just right (if not a little generous!) and chicken is RSPCA-approved. You won't have leftovers for a full packed lunch the next day, but you might have a spare taco or a snack-sized portion of risotto.
For the most part, EveryPlate makes the dinner-making process straightforward. Although we found ourselves adding steps to boost the flavour, like including fresh ginger, chilli, onion and coriander, or rinsing rice before using it.
EveryPlate crams so much fresh veg into each meal, making it easy to get your 5+ a day. Part of the EveryPlate excitement is trying something new - in a single week, we tried Persian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Indian and Malaysian cuisine.
The flipside of limited prep and simple ingredients is that flavours aren't always punchy. These meals will suit kids, older folks, and fussy eaters, and the trade-off is that some meals could be more flavoursome. Of course, you can add your own spices and seasonings. Sometimes pre-packaged veggies like pumpkin or salad leaves are better off eaten early, but EveryPlate makes note of this on recipe cards.
Meat and dairy is always good quality, and we're pleasantly surprised by more 'luxury' ingredients given the affordable pricing. Chorizo and arborio rice, for example, are exciting finds in these meal boxes. Some ingredients, like tomatoes, weren't perfectly ripe, but it helps prevent squishing in transit. All in all, EveryPlate is a neatly-packaged answer to the 5pm panic. It takes the time and stress out of dinner, with options to please nearly any household member.
The final word
My favourite thing about EveryPlate Australia meals is the 'oh god - dinner?!' weight taken off your mind. It's hard to balance time, money, and the energy to cook. But EveryPlate is onto something great here, making weeknight meals a breeze with fresh, tasty meal options for the whole family. I reckon EveryPlate's boxes are best for families, student flats, and anyone without the time to cook from scratch every night.
What I'd like more of from EveryPlate is punchier flavours and more vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free options. It would also be cool to see more menus that focus on veggies, especially given that vegetarian meals are economical. Because EveryPlate is designed to cater to everyone, recipe cards could be in other languages, with accessible large print or audio recipes for low vision or hearing impaired folks.
I'd also like more info about the ethical stuff - where ingredients come from and whether people are fairly paid. Lastly, the packaging just doesn't do it for me. I appreciate that certain trade-offs keep EveryPlate affordable, but there's just too much disposable plastic in these boxes.