What’s in the box from Prepd, one of the recipe-kit delivery services taking over Toronto’s home kitchens

What’s in the box from Prepd, one of the recipe-kit delivery services taking over Toronto’s home kitchens

You can’t fire up a podcast these days without hearing a spot for Blue Apron, the recipe-kit startup that—so much for those promo codes—does not operate here. But Toronto has its own services that will drop boxes of ready-to-prep ingredients right at your doorstep. We’re cooking our way through them to find out how they work and, most importantly, taste.

Prepd

eatprepd.com

What comes in each Prepd box, and how much does it cost?

Prepd’s standard omnivore and vegetarian options include three meals for two people. At $60—an even $10 per serving—it’s the least expensive meal-kit delivery option we’ve tested. (Boxes can be scaled up to feed four people, for $120, or scaled down for solo diners, for $40.) Just as we wondered what accounted for the high price tag of the most expensive service in this series (HelloFresh, at $79.99), we’ll explore what might contribute to Prepd’s more wallet-friendly ways.

How is everything packaged?

Aesethetically speaking, Prepd doesn’t make the best first impression. Where every other meal-kit service we’ve tried delivers an insulated box or cooler bag, Prepd arrives in a plain cardboard box sealed with painter’s tape. And while competitors packages each recipe in its own sealed container, Prepd’s come in clear, unsealed plastic bags of individually portioned ingredients. But everything was still appropriately chilled when we opened the box, including the meat, which was sandwiched between two large freezer packs and tightly bubble-wrapped. One nice touch: Prepd delivers on Sunday, and will call your phone—multiple times, even—when they’re about to drop off the box.

This box contained three recipes:

• Baingan Bharta Eggplant Curry (above)
• Rosemary-Rubbed Steak
• Smoky Aztec Stew

Prepd’s packaging isn’t much to look at, but the instruction sheet included with each recipe is pretty close to what you’d expect to receive from a more expensive service.

And now, let’s get cooking!

We’re going meatless today and making the baingan bharta eggplant curry, with spinach and chickpeas over brown basmati rice. The base of the dish is a huge roasted eggplant, ideally cooked over a hot, hot fire. (We’ll be sticking with the oven for today.)

First, we’re going to slice open the eggplant, drizzle it with olive oil and toss it in the oven to get all nice and browned:

 

While that’s going on, we’ll prep the basmati rice on the stovetop and dice the vegetables, like this jalapeño that will give the curry some flavour and heat:

 

We’ll put some colour on the onions and then season them with a spice blend of garam masala, cumin seeds, coriander and ground curry leaves, along with some fresh ginger:

 

By this point, we’ve added chickpeas, tomatoes and the roasted eggplant to the onions, along with some yogurt, and we’ve cooked it down for a bit to thicken it. The last things to add are the chopped jalapeños and the spinach:

 

And just like that, it’s curry time. It’s plated here with the basmati rice, the remaining yogurt, and the fresh mint, which your humble recipe tester didn’t do a very good job of finely chopping. The recipe is timed at 35 minutes, which is just about accurate.

How was it?

While it could have used a bit more of the spice blend, it hit most of the important curry notes. And it was copious: the portion produced by this meal kit was enough for two full servings, and decent-sized lunch portion the next day. (And curry is one of those foods that’s always better the next day.)

Final impressions

Prepd isn’t the flashiest of meal-kit services. But for a local operation—its delivery radius stretches east-west from Victoria Park to the 427, and north-south from the 407 to the lake—its recipes stand up against tough competition, and for a weekly savings that would amount to more than $250 per year compared to the average cost for these boxes.

Order this box if

You think you might be interested in a meal-kit subscription, but aren’t sure it’s worth it. Not only is Prepd the most affordable option out there, but it offers a trial option that will deliver a one-off box that won’t automatically lock you in to a weekly delivery schedule before you’ve even had a chance to try the first recipe.