Vegan Foods

CookUnity: A meal prep hack for foodies with good taste and no time

I’m tired of cooking. Not so long ago, I liked it. Cooking was a welcome way for me to decompress from my workday and slip into my evening.

But the lockdown changed things. Working from home meant that my home kitchen became less of a retreat and more of a prison, chaining me to the strenuous drudgery of meal prepping, cooking, washing up, rinsing, rehearsing. I was already using do-it-yourself meal delivery kits. But the rut and work of them got frustrating so they rotted in my fridge as I preferred takeout or whatever was just handy and easier. It was in the hunger for something other that I found CookUnity, a gourmet meal delivery service that got me more than DoorDash ever could.

What is CookUnity?

Quinoa and Vegetable Enchiladas
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Forget meal planning kits that send you ingredients and recipes. This is the next step in recovering your meal. CookUnity allows subscribers to choose from an extensive menu of meals, which are then delivered once a week (you choose the day) and arrive ready to reheat. Most meals only require a stove or microwave and take a few minutes (between 8 and 20) to be ready to serve.

The name “CookUnity” underscores the chef-centric focus of this particular prepared meal service. Local chefs design the meal menu in small batches with sustainably sourced ingredients, and each package includes their names and photos. So you can start to get an idea of ​​which recipes really speak to you.

Founded in 2016, CookUnity is a self-proclaimed “collective of leaders” who considers himself the “first head-to-consumer platform.” Currently, there are over 60 on CookUnity’s roster, including up-and-coming chefs, established restaurateurs and kitchen innovators like Akhtar Nawab, Larry & Marc Forgione, Esther Choi, Jose Garces and Leah Cohen. To perfect and prepare their meals, CookUnity provides its chefs with state-of-the-art kitchens in Miami, Austin, Los Angeles, Seattle, Atlanta, Chicago and New York. Available nationwide, this service allows subscribers to support their local chefs while enjoying great, stress-free meals at home.

CookUnity means variety

K-BBQ Skirt Steak Salad

K-BBQ Skirt Steak Salad
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When I got fed up with the Hello Apron, I researched a bunch of convenience food delivery services. I wanted something that gives me the variety of takeout, but without the cost or the daily need to place an order. While many of these services offer variety on a bowl of cereal over and over again, CookUnity does that and more. There are salads, pasta, meat and potatoes, vegan cuisine and soups. Right now in the app I have 170 dishes to choose from for my next delivery. 170!

If these many options seem overwhelming, fear not. The easy-to-use CookUnity app lets you sort the menu by dietary categories, including: gluten-free, low-carb, low-calorie, keto, vegan, vegetarian, paleo, Mediterranean, and pescatarian. Plus, there are featured selections each month, which include seasonal recipes, holiday-inspired selections, and chef’s specials — all of which come with a bit of a price tag.

How much does CookUnity cost?

Braised Lamb Sabzi

Braised Lamb Sabzi
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Meals start at $10.49 per meal, but adjust based on subscription plan. Subscribers can choose between four, six, eight, 12 or 16 meals/week. If you choose a meal with a fancier item, there will be an additional charge notice, ranging from $1.99 to $7.99.

For me, the standard meals were terrific enough that I was rarely tempted to go for the excitement with the Chef Specials. However, sometimes you just want something special, like cedar-planked trout with pumpkin seed pesto. And I can tell you from experience that that extra money is worth it.

How does CookUnity work?

Falafel split pea bowl

Falafel split pea bowl
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Choose a package. Download the app and you can start choosing your meals. Thanks to the design of the app, it’s incredibly easy to do. Each meal has an image, and you can click to get details about each dish, including its ingredients, calorie count, and reviews from other users. If you like a meal, click the heart to favorite it, and you now have an extra category to help you choose from this plethora of menu options the following week. Choose your delivery day, confirm your order and your meals will be on their way. You can even receive notifications to know when they will be delivered, with tracking information.

Personally, our delivery man never rings the doorbell. But it’s not necessary, because the alert on my phone tells me that my food has arrived.

CookUnity means less mess.

CookUnity Packaging

CookUnity packaging is recyclable and compostable
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Forget all those take-out bins and piles of dishes. Each CookUnity meal comes in an oven- and microwave-safe container. So if you don’t want to put it on a plate after it’s cooked, you really don’t need it. Containers are recyclable, but check your local recycling restrictions to make sure your center will handle it. Plus, the insulated cooler and ice pack your meals arrive in can be prepared for collection on the day of your next delivery, so they can be used again!

Another advantage of the microwave-safe container is that if you don’t finish the portion of a meal (some are quite generous!), it’s easy to put the thin cardboard lid back on your leftovers and stick it in the fridge. . I don’t know if that’s CookUnity’s goal with the packaging, but it worked great for me and even stopped dirty Tupperware from overrunning my kitchen sink!

Why I made CookUnity a habit

Tacos Al Pastor

Tacos Al Pastor
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CookUnity has made meal prep one less thing I need to stress over on a daily basis. I can make my decisions on my phone, while watching TV or on the way to work. The photos, chef profiles, and variety of dishes make meal prep a chore I look forward to. This is fun to choose meals for me and my partner. And once I’ve confirmed my choices, I know my fridge will be full of easy, delicious, and even healthy options for lunch and dinner.

Forty different cuisines are offered through CookUnity, which invites subscribers to explore flavors and foods they may not be familiar with. But also, being able to choose individual meals means you and your family don’t have to be in the same food mood to be satisfied. Every night my partner can go with the Al Pastor Pork Tacos (a big favorite here) while I can go with the Baked Catfish with Collard Greens. It’s like ordering from multiple amazing restaurants without the hassle.

CookUnity has made eating something I enjoy again, instead of dreading. It turned my fridge into a treasure trove, reliably stocked with fresh, delicious food. I’m no longer doomed to the rut of routine, whether in the kitchen or in the kitchen or stacks of damn plates. And it’s easier to eat better because I have at my fingertips not only a bunch of options but also the nutritional information needed to make informed choices.

I’ve relied on it for months and haven’t looked back. My pans collect dust, and that’s fine with me.