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Gobble review: Gourmet meals made at home in under 20 minutes. Can it be so?

Gobble attempts to walk a fine line between fast and fancy. Find out how well it succeeds.

Some meal kit services put an emphasis on elegant recipes and unique culinary creations -- Sunbasket  and Blue Apron just to name a couple. Others meal kit operations are more about utility, prioritizing convenience, speed and ease of execution in its weekly menus. Gobble's proposition in a crowded field of competitors is to walk along the line between the two and deliver tasty, gourmet meal kits that take as little time and effort as the quicker operations. 

You know that old Chinese proverb "what's earned with hard labor is eaten with pleasure"? Well, Gobble doesn't fully subscribe to it. The meal kit service's trump cheat card is prepping your meal kit ingredients one step more than other services so you can get down to the business of dining on your pesto salmon or chimichurri steak and spend less time mincing garlic or peeling potatoes. 

Tasty, interesting and freshly made food in just 20 minutes or so? Sounds good, in theory, but the proof is always in the pudding. I'm not one to take a meal delivery service's word for it, so I cooked me up a week's worth of Gobble meals to see if this fast-yet-fancy meal kit service could deliver on promises made.

7.8

Gobble

Like

  • Ingredients are mostly prepped
  • Lots of seafood options
  • Big flavors that you can adjust to taste
  • Can view menus four weeks in advance

Don't Like

  • On the expensive side
  • Recipes were hit or miss
  • Minimum order of three meals a week
  • Some ingredients weren't super fresh

How Gobble works

Gobble works much like most others in the category. There are three plans to choose from -- Classic, Vegetarian and Lean & Clean -- but you can choose meals from other plans and the price will be the same, so don't labor over this decision for long. The only other choices you have to make are whether you'd like meals for two or four people, and how many recipes per week, three or four. It's worth noting that some other meal services allow you to order only two recipes per week.

Your box filled with everything you need to make your chosen recipes (except for cooking oil and salt and pepper) is delivered once a week -- unless you cancel or skip a week, which is easy to do. You'll also choose either a Wednesday or Thursday delivery. it should arrive between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. 

thai-shrimp-before

Thai shrimp with coconut rice is set out ready to roll.

David Watsky/CNET

Gobble pricing

Recipes per week Meals for two Meals for four
3 72 per week $144 per week
4 $96 per week $192 per week

What Gobble meals are like

Most of Gobble's meals are healthy with a protein, vegetable or salad and a starch of some sort. There are several pasta dishes, burgers and other comfort recipes if calorie counting isn't your thing or you want to splurge on occasion. Most of the dishes borrow inspiration from some global cuisine with a lot of Thai-inspired recipes but also Japanese, South and Central American and Italian fare.

On any given week there are about 23 recipes. Of those, 13 are main dinner recipes included with your meal kit plan, and the rest are a combination of breakfast, appetizers, soups, snacks and desserts, which can be added on at an additional cost. There are about four vegetarian meals per week and as many as five seafood options, which is more than most services. 

Most meals are customizable which means you can swap equal proteins for free as in shrimp for chicken or upgrade to a premium protein as in from chicken to a cobia filet or prime steak. You can also go from non-organic meat to organic. These upgrades cost a few dollars and vary depending on the exact swap you're making.

tofu-pad-thai-before

My ingredients to make the vegan noodles with peanut sauce. Scroll down to see the finished product.

David Watsky/CNET

How easy are Gobble meals to prepare

These meal kits are extremely easy to prepare. While some can take as long as 30 minutes, most are around 20-25 minutes from start to finish and don't require any laborious prep, which is always nice on a busy night. Whenever Gobble can take a step out of the equation such as dicing carrots or shredding cabbage, it does. Of all the services I've tried, Gobble's meal kits were easily some of the easiest and fastest, overall.

pesto-salmon

My cilantro and pesto salmon had flavor for days.

David Watsky/CNET

The recipes I cooked and how they went

Cilantro pesto salmon with cauliflower couscous: This was tasty and quick to make. The pesto had great flavor although the sides needed a good hit of salt and pepper. The salmon was fresh both in smell and taste. 

Sweet chili shrimp with coconut rice and Thai slaw: I wanted to love this one and it wasn't terrible but the sauce was heavy with way too much mayo. I wish I hadn't used the whole package of sauce. But I did, and there was really no going back.

Vegetarian tofu noodle bowl with peanut sauce: A tasty meal and one I threw together in under 20 minutes. The tofu was super tender and the flavors all worked wonderfully. A nice easy Thai takeout-style dinner.

pad-thai

I totally nailed the 20-minute tofu pad Thai and it was a huge hit.

David Watsky/CNET

What makes Gobble different from other meal kit services?

Gobble meals are easy to execute and many can be done in as little as 20 minutes. Hardly and of them take longer than 30 minutes, in my experience. But just because they're fast doesn't mean they're basic: They can include interesting global dishes like pad Thai, Peruvian steak with Aji Verde and Japanese bento bowls.

Who is Gobble good for?

If you want speedy meals that don't taste like they were quick-fire, then this is a good service. Many of Gobble's meals take just 20 minutes to prepare but don't taste like it. Because you can customize a lot of the meal kits it's also a solid choice for picky eaters or folks with kids. Gobble also has a lot of seafood options -- as many as five per week -- which is great for someone trying to introduce more healthy fish recipes in their dinner routine. 

shrimp

Thai curry shrimp with coconut rice. I wasn't in love with the sauce.

David Watsky/CNET

Who is Gobble not so good for?

Because you have to choose at least three meals a week, this is not a good meal kit option for someone who can't commit to cooking most nights. There are also just three plant-based offerings per week so I wouldn't recommend this service for vegans or vegetarians (see here for better options). It's on the expensive side so this is also not a great meal service for people on a budget (see here for the best cheap meal kits).

Read moreThe best vegetarian and vegan meal delivery for 2021

Gobble support materials 

The recipes were all clear and concise with glossy images of both the finished product and some of the keys step along the way. There was also a clear list of what cookware and tools to have handy as well as detailed nutritional information for each recipe. 

recipe

Recipe cards help get the job done.

David Watsky/CNET

How much does Gobble cost?

This one is simple. Meals are $12 a serving no matter how many or few you order. So, three dinner kits for two people each (six meals), will be $71.94 per week, plus $6.99 for shipping. For the record, this puts Gobble squarely in the expensive meal kit category. 

Changing, skipping or canceling your meal kits

Between the website interface and a mobile app, Gobble spoon makes it very easy to skip weeks, change out recipes or pause your subscription. The deadline to skip or customize your Gobble box is Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. the week before your meals are scheduled to arrive.

gobble-change-order.png
Gobble

The final word on Gobble 

I love what Gobble is trying to do. Boring and basic food is exactly that, boring and basic, but many of us don't have hours to spend planning and prepping for an "interesting" dinner every night. The idea of cutting out most of the work for a gourmet-style meal is a good one, and most of my Gobble recipes were successful in doing just that. As someone trying to eat more fish but without a good fish market nearby, I also loved how many seafood recipes and seafood swap options there were on Gobble's menu. 

I will say that for certain recipes, all those prepped ingredients do lose something in the way of freshness, especially if it's one of the meal kits you cook last. My slaw, for instance, was pre-shredded and because I waited a few days to make it the cabbage had lost a little snap. I also thought one of my recipes was tainted by a mayo-heavy sauce. 

At this high-end of the meal kit pricing spectrum ($12 per serving), I'd give the nod to Sunbasket or Martha Stewart and Marley Spoon over Gobble. But it's worth noting, most recipes from those two meal delivery services will take more time and attention than Gobble. If you want to try your hand at some fancier fare but don't want to commit much time to do it, I say give Gobble a try. To sweeten the deal, Gobble offers a rock-bottom new subscriber deal -- the first six meals for $36 -- so you really don't have much to lose.