I always think of April — a.k.a. the month that ushers in "spring cleaning" as a means to start anew — to be an opportune time to reassess, reset, and reevaluate how my year is going thus far. And though I am a firm non-believer in "New Year's resolutions," I try to think throughout the year about small day-to-day adjustments that could eventually lead to a more well-rounded lifestyle in the long term. As a non-cooking vegetarian who honestly doesn't know much about vegetables (anyone else always Googling menu ingredients at restaurants?), it's a godsend that plant-based meal delivery service Mosaic Foods entered my radar during a time when I was already reconsidering my eating choices.
Mosaic Foods was co-founded by two pals, Matt Davis and Sam McIntire, who sought to launch a food delivery service that offers "more balanced diets — heavy on plants and rich in hearty, whole-food ingredients." Its frozen meals, which you purchase a la carte (there's a minimum order of $50 required), come packaged to be microwaved (or heated on a stovetop) but without any of the sus ingredients (read: artificial preservatives) found in other frozen food brands. All Mosaic meals, offered in either single- and multi-serve options, are entirely plant-based and promise 10 or more grams of protein. Select items are also vegan and wheat-free. And, because the ingredients are fresh and in season, Mosaic Foods offers limited delivery based on where the company's shipment centers are: To find out if you're within delivery range, you can type in your zip code here. For new customers who are lucky enough to be within zone, Mosaic Foods is offering $15 off your first box (the code is automatically applied at checkout).
So, how's the actual food? Let's just say I ate heartily for two blissful weeks. I also had an enlightening time eating vegetables I'd never heard of, like rutabaga. I'd say the most accessible meals (if you're trying to consume a variety of protein-packed ingredients all at once) are the Veggie Bowls — all of which are single-serve. The vegan, Thai-inspired Peanut Tofu Bowl was a tasty blend of farro, broccoli, sweet pepper, tofu, and pineapple drizzled in spicy coconut curry and spices. Ready to eat after a few minutes in the 'wave. What I found most satisfying about these Mosaic meals was getting to add my own flair to taste, whether it was a dash of hot sauce to some pasta, a side of kimchi with a bed of rice noodles, or a generous dollop of Greek yogurt to curry-style stew.
One downside I should mention is that the serving sizes are relatively small — I found myself easily crushing two single-serve bowls at once. I believe these Mosaic meals are meant to be eaten with other sides and snacks, which I often did. For me, the most satisfying meal in terms of what filled me up fast and good was the Penne alla Vodka — pasta smothered in a creamy, cheesy, cashew-blended vodka sauce with garlicky broccolini and grape tomatoes tucked within — which is labeled as a four-serving "Family Meal," but which I ate entirely on my own over the course of a single day. But, combined together with another Mosaic meal — or with your own side dishes — Mosaic is a fabulous food delivery service for folks like me who are trying to eat more veggies on the regular, or for those who are trying to eat a more plant-based diet in general.
With all this talk about eating "plant-based" and being "one with the earth," I'd be remiss if not to mention that I'm touting a food delivery service, one that obviously requires carbon emission and packaging materials (including chunks of dry ice and insulation) to get these foods to my Brooklyn doorstep. At this moment, Mosaic sends all meals in fully recyclable packaging — for instance, the Veggie Bowls are even lined with a leak-proof film that you can peel off after you're done eating so the paper bowl underneath can be thrown in with your paper recyclables — and shipping, as mentioned earlier, is limited to certain areas of the country. And, as for a give-back program, Mosaic donates two pounds of food to food rescue non-profit City Harvest for every box sold (for Earth Month, the brand is doubling its efforts and donating four pounds for every box sold).
There wasn't a single meal I didn't enjoy immensely — which is saying a lot as someone who is kind of picky, if not just ignorant of where many foods come from. I felt incredibly elated by the notion of eating consistently healthy for two weeks, and not feeling absolutely deprived in the process. I love how the oat bowls ($4.99 each) and the vegan soups ($7.99 each) are competitive with, or cheaper than, what you'd be paying at a local, farm-to-table eaterie — but ready to eat right in the comfort of your home. These turned out to be very delightful pick-me-ups for any time of day. And the meal that sent my taste buds spinning was the "Mosaic +" meal ($10.99 each), which are Mosaic dishes specially created by renowned chefs. The 470-calorie Mac & Greens, for example, was a "Mosaic + Greg Baxtrom" production — the man behind the dish, Baxtrom, who is a veteran chef of fancy-schmancy restaurants like Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Per Se, and others. A leafy take on the classic mac & cheese, this Mosiac meal included a medley of rutabaga (the root vegetable I had to Google), broccolini, brussel sprouts, and spinach. Talk about a true, next-level — but still microwaveable — dining experience.
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