I'm not vegan or vegetarian by any definition of either word. Some might argue that makes me a good candidate to review a plant-based meal delivery service, at least for the benefit of others who don't eat strictly a plant-based diet but wish to add more meat-free meals to the rotation. If that's the case, let me not mince words: I sampled Mosaic's plant-based food subscription and it was one of the best meal delivery services I've yet tried -- by any standard, not just for vegetarian and vegan food.
Just a quick note as you dive in: As of now, Mosaic meals are available for delivery to about 80% of the country, including both coasts and most of the Midwest. Before pressing on, you may want toto see if it's available where you live.
- Very flavorful meals
- Interesting and diverse recipes
- Food was cooked well with no mushy vegetables
- Affordable, especially for the quality
- Easy and intuitive website and ordering process
- Some excessive packaging
- Shipping only free on orders over $100
- Almost no carb-free options
What is Mosaic?
Mosaic is a newer entry in the growing field of meal delivery subscriptions, and a welcome addition if you ask me. All of the healthy premade food is vegetarian and much of it is vegan too. Mosaic meals are fully prepared when they arrive and require only heating and eating. There's no prep or cooking.
According to the brand, Mosaic's food is made by chefs, not machines, and the kitchen is helmed by a French Culinary Institute alum. While I can't prove the first part, the food I tried certainly tasted like it was produced by someone with kitchen experience under their belt.
|Mosaic Plus (premium meals)||$11|
How it works
Mosaic functions much like other meal delivery subscription services in that you select recipes from a menu and then set a delivery frequency. You can have the premade, frozen meals show up at your door either weekly, biweekly or once a month in an insulated box. From there, you can pop a few on the counter or in the fridge to defrost or keep them in the freezer until you're ready for them.
With Mosaic, you may choose as many meals as you'd like from a menu of about 28 lunches and dinners, six soups and six oat bowls, but there is a minimum order for any shipment of $70 (about eight meals). That said, since you can have your meals sent every four weeks, it would break down to just a few per week -- a perfect option if you're looking to just try the service out. You'll also get free shipping if you place an order over $100 (about 12 meals will get you there). Again, you can have those 12 meals sent every four weeks to spread them out.
Mosaic is a subscription service, and so the same collection of meals will keep coming if you don't edit your order, pause or cancel, which you can do at any time. I found the meal plans and the ordering process intuitive, clear and easy and the website simple to navigate.
What are Mosaic meals like?
I found the selection of Mosaic meals interesting and and a nice cross-section of a lot of my favorite global cuisines: Indian, Greek, Thai, Mexican, Moroccan, Caribbean and Japanese, among others. The food is all plant-based and mostly healthy but doesn't sound, look or taste like "diet food." There are noodle bowls and spiced curries along with pasta, risottos and even an inventive beet bourguignon. Many dishes are accompanied by rice or another grain.
For those following specialty diets or avoiding dairy, there are lots of vegan and gluten-free meal options along with high-protein recipes to choose from. There are almost no carb-free options, however.
What I ate and how I liked it
I had nine Mosaic meals and there was not one dud among them. The flavors popped and the ingredients were all cooked to a proper doneness, which is often not the case with prepared food services. Most of the meals are made with "whole foods" including meat stand-ins such as jackfruit and cauliflower. There is also some use of tofu and plant-based alt meats such as vegan sausage, but perhaps not as much as you might expect.
Most of my food looked appetizing upon arrival and portions were sufficient for this guy with a famously healthy appetite. Each serving is meant for one. I rarely had leftovers but also never felt particularly hungry after finishing my meals.
Tangy Thai stir-fry: I was impressed with this first Mosaic meal. The noodles were cooked to a proper al dente texture and the sauce was excellent.
Jackfruit chili with brown rice and pepitas: If you haven't had jackfruit prepared in a savory context, it kind of takes on the consistency of pulled pork. This jackfruit was excellent and it was swimming in a tasty, smoky chili. This was my favorite.
Yellow dal curry with butternut squash: A great yellow curry with lentils. The dish had some heat but I never broke a sweat.
Feta, pepper, tomato and olive ragout: Another big winner. I loved the salty Mediterranean flavors and it went perfectly with the buckwheat -- also cooked perfectly. My only complaint was there was very little feta to be found.
Mac and greens: This mac and cheese with leafy greens was a Mosaic Plus (premium) meal but was also the one I liked the least. I found it lacked flavor, although the ingredients were cooked properly.
Sichuan soba noodles with edamame: Edamame beans are perfect because they don't get mushy, and neither were the noodles in this tasty Japanese-inspired bowl.
Veggie sausage and gouda oats: Savory oat bowls for breakfast are becoming a thing. I really liked the flavors here and the sausage was very tender. The dish was a tad watery for some reason but still an overall positive experience.
Harrisa jackfruit bowl: This was another one with excellent jackfruit and nice spice and heat from the harissa.
How I prepared my meals
The instructions on the box generally gave two options, one for the microwave and one not. As with just about anything I make -- prepared or not -- I avoided the microwave and gently heated everything in a pan over the range. I hold that a 10-second rinse of a nonstick skillet is worth it every time for a markedly better result.
How much does Mosaic cost?
Standard veggie bowls are $9 each. There are a few Mosaic Plus premium options for $11 each that are made in partnership with high-end restaurants, including Balaboosta and Olmsted. You can also choose hearty soups for $8 each and breakfast oat bowls for $5.
As mentioned, the minimum order is $70 but that be delivered as infrequently as every four weeks. Shipping is an extra $8 unless you get your cart over $100.
Packaging and environmental friendliness
The food came housed in cardboard containers that theoretically could be recycled, although if cardboard is heavily soiled with grease or oils it can't be. What I found a little strange is that the meal boxes were housed in yet another protective cardboard box. Those were clean and can certainly be recycled but it still seemed like Mosaic could have probably gotten each meal into a single box.
Who is Mosaic good for?
If you're a busy person with a desire to eat better or incorporate more vegetarian food into your diet but don't want to sacrifice taste and quality, this is a great meal delivery pick. There are also plenty of vegan meal options for those avoiding all animal byproducts.
I'd say this service is also a good fit for someone with a moderately adventurous palate since there are a wide array of cuisines and flavors represented.
Who is Mosaic not so good for?
This is probably not the best meal delivery option for families: For one, it would get expensive and the meals aren't particularly kid-friendly, in my opinion. I'd also urge picky eaters to steer clear since the food is inventive with lots of global flavors, spices and sauces. Lastly, with lots of rice, grains and starchy vegetables, this is not a good meal delivery service for eating.
The final verdict on Mosaic
I've gone through a good many of the most popularin 2021 and Mosaic now ranks firmly in my top four. It's also the best 100% I've tried -- although I did also quite like Daily Harvest and Veestro. Of the nine Mosaic meals I tried, none were bad and I enjoyed almost all of them and would gladly eat them again. My favorites were the tender jackfruit chili and the olive, pepper and feta ragout, both of which I plan to try to replicate at home. There were no mushy vegetables either -- a plague in meal delivery -- and the meat stand-ins like jackfruit, tofu and vegan sausage were used in creative ways and cooked extremely well.
Best of all, Mosaic is pretty affordable: Most meals clock in at $9, which isn't bad for what you get, and they'll make for a nice respite on those busy days you don't want to cook but don't want to spend $20 on takeout either. I give Mosaic's vegetarian prepared meals a full endorsement. if you're looking for an easy plant-based meal service, I'd encourage you to give it a try too. If Mosaic doesn't deliver to your area, know the brand is expanding rapidly. Mosaic will even give you $15 off your first box with a promo code that pops up on the website.