I Tried Splendid Spoon. Here's What I Thought of the Vegan, Gluten-Free Meal Service
Splendid Spoon sends premade vegan and gluten-free smoothies, soups, bowls and more so you can whip up healthy meals in under a minute. Here's what I thought of the popular subscription service.
Updated Oct. 18, 2023 5:17 a.m. PT
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David WatskySenior Editor / Home and Kitchen
David lives in Brooklyn where he's logged more than a decade writing about all things edible, including meal kits and meal delivery subscriptions, cooking, kitchen gear and commerce. Since earning a BA in English from Northeastern in Boston, he's toiled in nearly every aspect of the eats business from slicing and dicing as a sous-chef in Rhode Island to leading complex marketing campaigns for major food brands in Manhattan. These days, he's likely somewhere trying the latest this or tasting the latest that - and reporting back, of course. Anything with sesame is his all-time favorite food this week.
ExpertiseKitchen tech, cookware, small appliances, food innovation, meal delivery and meal kits.
Tons of options for healthy smoothies, soups and bowls
Ordering is easy and intuitive
Some of the meals I tried were bland and boring
Expensive, especially for smoothies and soup
Some portions are on the small side
Fruit smoothies were often too sweet for me
Taking backing time during your busy week can come in many forms. The more time-saving tactics you cobble together, the more time you'll have for movies, board games, music or whatever else you'd rather be doing. A breakfast, lunch or dinner cheat code is one of my favorite ways to make a long day feel less so and Splendid Spoon, a popular plant-based meal delivery service, sends superfood-packed meals and snacks for you to stock the fridge with for those times when cooking just isn't the vibe.
While some meal delivery is suited for dinner, this meal delivery subscription feels more tailored to breakfast and lunch. To see how Splendid Spoon stacks up in a crowded field with dozens of healthy prepared meal delivery operations, I tried two weeks' worth of Splendid meals including the brand's signature superfood smoothies, juices, grain and noodle bowls, soups and snacks.
While Splendid Spoon proves a little pricey for what you get and isn't my top pick in the healthy meal delivery category, I found most of the food good or better. I can see why many have come to rely on this subscription service as a no-fuss way to keep nourished and think Splendid Spoon is worth a try, especially if you take advantage of the deep discount for new customers.
Here's how Splendid Spoon works and what I thought of the healthy, vegan meal delivery service.
How does Splendid Spoon work?
As with most of the meal delivery services available in 2023, Splendid Spoon is a subscription service, so deliveries will keep coming every week unless you pause or cancel, which you can do at any time. To get started, you'll pick a meal plan menu of either seven, 14 or 21 meals per week. The more meals you choose per week, the cheaper they'll be, with the 21-meal plan costing about $10.80 a meal (not including the introductory discount) and the seven-meal plan costing more like $14 per meal, plus $13 for shipping. The two larger plans include free shipping.
After you select your plan you'll pick your meals, choosing smoothies, grain bowls, soups and noodle dishes depending on what your subscription includes. Meals are delivered to you chilled -- not frozen -- on either Wednesday or Friday of each week. For Wednesday deliveries, you must place your order by 1 p.m. PT on Thursday. For Friday deliveries, the cutoff is 1 p.m. PT on Sunday. As of now, Splendid Spoon delivers only to the lower 48 states in the US.
On any given week's menu, you'll have about 65 meals to choose from, including more than 20 smoothies, with sweeter options like blueberry coconut and more savory blends like carrot ginger and power greens. There are also a dozen or so grain and rice bowls and around 20 soups, along with heartier rice and noodle bowls.
What are Splendid Spoon meals like?
All the food is 100% vegan (no meat, dairy or animal byproducts) and gluten-free. The recipes are made with lots of healthy fruits, vegetables and superfoods like kale, spinach, beans and whole grains. The website says about 95% of the food is organic and that it's 100% GMO-free.
Much of the food is what I'd categorize as healthy food with a good deal of global culinary influence. Think brown rice taco bowl with beans and tomato salsa, or cauliflower tikka masala soup. You won't find many soy-based meat substitutes; these are mostly whole ingredients. Portions aren't huge but they aren't skimpy either, in keeping with the idea of healthy, balanced eating.
Before choosing any item, you can see the full ingredient list and nutritional information. You can also filter for more specific dietary needs, such as high-fiber, low-carb and high-protein foods.
What I tried and how I liked it
I'll preface my critique of Splendid Spoon's smoothies by saying I make a lot of smoothies at home and so can be particular. Because Splendid Spoon smoothies are preblended, they're a bit more like juices to drink and don't have that creamy, frozen texture I'm used to. Beyond the main ingredients, each one is fortified with healthy superfoods like chia seeds, hemp seeds and pea protein. These additions don't alter the flavor dramatically but deliver dense nutrients and antioxidants.
Strawberry and goji berry with cashew butter: This was just OK. A bit sour for my taste.
Carrot and ginger with mango and dates: An excellent smoothie, with savory and sweet elements in perfect harmony.
Power greens: This green juice smoothie is loaded with good stuff, including organic hemp seeds, chia seeds, spirulina, pea protein and kale. The banana and coconut balanced all the vegetable components with just enough sweetness.
Banana, flax and almonds: I make a nut butter and banana smoothie most mornings. This was different, and the lemon gave it a bright zing, but I still prefer my freshly blended version.
Blueberry and coconut with acai and cinnamon: Another very good smoothie. The cinnamon and vanilla made it sing.
Blue Majik smoothie with banana, dates, vanilla and cinnamon: A bit sweeter than the smoothies I'm used to, but still extremely tasty and satisfying.
Noodle and rice bowls
Fried tofu korma with peas: Reheated cooked tofu is often chewy and tough. Unfortunately, Splendid Spoon hasn't solved the puzzle.
Kale-pesto noodles with roasted tomatoes and vegan meatballs: A flavorful vegan pesto over al dente noodles. One of the better noodle bowls I tried.
Dan dan noodles with bok choy and peppercorn: This noodle dish was packed with Sichuan flavors and had nice heat. The noodles were chewy and not mushy, just the way I like them.
Creamy mushroom and spinach noodles: This rich noodle dish was 100% dairy-free but still satisfied my craving for a creamy alfredo.
Coconut tikka soup: I really liked this one. Light but full of warm Indian spice.
Spiced lentil and chickpea soup:Solid, but not terribly flavorful for a soup that is billed as "spiced."
Fennel consommé with dill: The bright fennel was overpowering and the only thing I could taste. I didn't enjoy this one very much.
Wellness shots, various: My order came with five free wellness shots. I especially liked the watermelon, beet and ginger "recovery" shot, but all of them were tasty and went down smoothly.
How to prepare Splendid Spoon meals
The drinks come completely ready to drink. They're also good to pop into the freezer if you need more time to get through them. The soups and bowls can be microwaved, but I suggest reheating them gently in a saucepan or nonstick skillet. This method always produces more even heating and reduces the chance that you'll overcook the food.
Who is Splendid Spoon good for?
Because the food is truly ready to eat, Splendid Spoon is perfect for anyone looking to cut cooking -- or even blending -- completely out of the equation for a few meals per week.
The food is all gluten-free and vegan, so it's a good choice for anyone adhering to those diets. The portions aren't huge, so if you're trying to cut total calories per week, this meal delivery service might help. Splendid Spoon is also very Whole30-friendly if you're looking to eat less processed food and meals with more natural ingredients.
This is also a good option for habitual smoothie and juice drinkers looking to mix up their recipes and flavors, but who don't feel like shopping for all the ingredients needed to make them.
Who is Splendid Spoon not as good for?
If you have a smoothie routine that you have down to a science, the Splendid Spoon smoothies might feel like a slight downgrade. Yes, you'll taste new recipes and interesting flavor combinations, but they're more like juices in texture.
Since the food is all vegan, this isn't a good pick for anyone who craves meat for breakfast and lunch or other protein-dense foods such as eggs. Since a lot of the smoothies contain fruit (sugar) and the bowls have grains, beans and noodles, this isn't the ideal meal delivery for someone keeping to a low-carb or keto plan, either.
How much does Splendid Spoon cost?
For plans with 14 or 21 meals per week, the price per meal nets out to about $11 or $12 per serving. That seems like an OK deal for the rice and noodle bowls, but a bit steep for a smoothie or one serving of soup. If you choose just seven meals per week, you'll pay a whopping $14 per meal and another $13 for shipping -- definitely not a good value.
Splendid Spoon pricing is on par with plant-based competitors like Daily Harvest. My favorite plant-based meal delivery service, Mosaic Foods, is a few bucks cheaper at about $9 per meal.
Packaging and eco-friendliness
The drinks, soups and bowls are all packaged in recyclable plastic. Splendid Spoon also uses dry ice instead of ice packs, which are rarely fully recyclable. The cooler box is also made from recyclable materials. Pound for pound this is one of the most eco-friendly meal delivery services I've tested. The bowl containers are also very reusable, with tight-fitting lids and sturdy plastic. They might not survive a hot dishwasher, but they're certainly good for a few hand washes.
Should you try Splendid Spoon? My final verdict
In my second go-round with Splendid Spoon, my feelings about the healthy subscription service remain largely unchanged (hey, there's something to be said for consistency). Splendid Spoon smoothies, soups and meals are solid and mostly good but rarely great, made from healthy ingredients and largely free of allergens. There are enough recipe options to keep things interesting, but with plenty of flavor combos for both adventurous and safe eaters alike. At $11 to $14 per meal, Splendid Spoon feels pricey for a single smoothie or soup and the better value can had by ordering more full meals such as the vegan, gluten-free noodles and rice bowls.
If you don't mind a few minutes of smoothie prep, I might recommend Daily Harvest, which sends all the ingredients diced, frozen and ready to be blended with milk. If it's just the soups and bowls you're after, Splendid Spoon has a host of pleasant lunches or light dinners to choose from each week. They arrive fresh and ready to be eaten or popped in the freezer, saving you precious time during the morning and afternoon.
Mosiac Foods vs. Splendid Spoon
For bigger eaters looking for full meals that are more dinner-friendly, there are better plant-based services out there. Mosaic Foods is my No. 1 pick, featuring more interesting food for a slightly lower price per meal (and even cheaper if you choose family meals). Mosaic Foods recipes were more interesting and the food was very filling and well-prepared.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.