Plated Review: Vietnamese Beef Meatballs over Rice with Chile-Lime Dressing

Vietnamese Beef Meatballs

This photo comes from Plated.

A few weeks ago, I discovered that Safeway delivery sold Plated meal kits.  I had always been curious about these kits, but had never bought them because they seemed too expensive for what they were and I was afraid the portions were too small.  Plus, if I’m going to go through the trouble of cooking, I want to have leftovers for the next day!

Still, I was curious so I bought one that sounded good and it ended up being delicious, far better than I expected.  The portion was *just right*, though, as I suspected, I started feeling hungry later in the evening (this has happened with all the kit meals I’ve made, and it may be my fault for staying awake until so late).

The meal was fairly easy to make, though this particular one necessitated lots of chopping of different ingredients.  Fortunately, I discovered that I could save myself from washing lots of little bowls by using a sectional serving tray for the chopped produce.    After that, it’s just a matter of following the very detailed instructions.  The kit includes a card with photos and step by step instructions on how to make the meal.  You can also find the recipe at the Plated website.

The ingredients all seemed to be very good quality and, as I mentioned, the results were delicious.

I feel conflicted, however, about the packaging of the meal.  The Safeway version comes in a large plastic box with everything you need.  It would be hard to fit more than one or two in the fridge, however.  Still, it was super convenient to just take it out and have everything ready.  Most of the ingredients come wrapped in plastic, however, so there seems to be a lot of plastic waste.  The box itself is recyclable in theory, but apparently plastic recycling is no longer happening much in the US – low oil prices means it’s cheaper to make new plastic -, so a lot of it ends up in landfills.  So there is a pretty high environmental cost at getting these kits at Safeway (I don’t know how their packaging is for their subscription).

At Safeway, this kit was about $20 for a kit serving 2 people, and because it came as part of my Safeway order, “shipping” was free.  My Safeway delivery offers 3-5 Plated kits per week, and they vary in cost from approx $17 to $23, depending on the ingredients.  If you subscribe to Plated, their two-person kits cost $24 plus an additional $8 shipping if you buy only 2 kits at the time – shipping is free if you order more.  Kits for 3 and 4 people cost $30-$40 respectively with free shipping.  While the kits are generally cheaper at Safeway, they have much less variety – only 3 to 5 kits per week.

This particular recipe  didn’t have any strange ingredients, so it should be fairly easy to hack and do at home.


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