Looking to eat more plant-based meals but unsure of where to start? Ready-to-eat meal service Soulara offers nutrient-dense, plant-based meals delivered to your door. But how does Soulara stack up against other vegan ready-made meal services? I’ve done the work, so you don’t have to!
|The Not So Good:
|Excellent protein content
|Additives and preservatives
|Good value for money
|Lack of menu seasonality
How does Soulara work?
Soulara offers convenient and nourishing ready-to-eat meals that follow their four guiding principles – plant power, ingredients you can trust, sustainability and seasonality. Created by their in-house dietitian, each meal is designed to ensure you are getting the vitamins, minerals and plant protein you need to thrive. Check out the wide range of Soulara’s product offerings here.
I chose the 18-meal plan, which equates to $9.55 per meal. If you purchase fewer meals, the price increases, with the most expensive plan being the 7-day meal plan at $12.30 per meal. This is still very good value when compared to vegan ready-made meal service Garden of Vegan, whose meals start from $14.95. Soulara’s menu was very easy to navigate – the menu is split into four categories; ‘Breakfast’, ‘High Protein’, ‘Calorie Controlled’ and ‘Main Meals’. Soulara’s ‘Calorie controlled’ meals were created in collaboration with chefs and dietitians, to provide lower-calorie meals that don’t sacrifice flavour. The ‘High Protein’ meals have at least 20g of protein per serve and contain complete protein combinations in each meal (all nine essential amino acids). I was immediately impressed by the high protein content.
There were around 40 meals to choose from on the menu, slightly less than what is offered by Garden of Vegan and about the same as Herbidoor. There was nothing I didn’t want to choose! Even the names of the meals were enticing such as ‘Mindful Moussaka’ – they evoked a feeling of ‘health and wellness’. I selected a range of meals from across the menu, including one breakfast option.
Soulara gives you the ability to exclude items on the menu by ‘tree nuts’, ‘sesame’, ‘soy’, ‘alcohol’, ‘gluten’, ‘peanut’ ‘chili’, ‘garlic’ and ‘onion’. Whilst Garden of Vegan and Herbidoor offer similar menu filters, the option to exclude alcohol was something I have not seen before, and I think it is a great idea. Like Garden of Vegan and Herbidoor, each menu item had the total calories, protein and carbohydrates listed, which was very helpful to see when selecting meals. You can check out our Nutritionist reviews of Garden of Vegan and Hebidoor on our blog here.
Once I had chosen my 18 meals, I was notified that they were being prepared and awaited my delivery on the following Wednesday.
My Soulara Experience
The 18 meals I selected were:
- Abundance Broth with Salt and Pepper Tofu
- Mandala Massaman
- Mediterranean Pesto with Harvest Balls
- Oasis Blooms Aloo Gobi
- Mindful Moussaka
- Mushroom Korma & Mash
- Deva Dahl Makhani
- Sadhana Masala
- Falafel with Ruby Hummus
- Roots Unearthed Red Curry
- The Sunkissed Protein Pesto
- Chickpea Shakshuka
- Spiced ‘Butter’ Chickpeas
- Chickpea Moqueca
- Soulful Char Siu
- Luminous Laksa
- Mushroom Bourguignon & Garlic Mash
- Ruby Sunrise Chia Pudding
The meals arrived in a large, well packaged box and were kept cool with two large ice packs. Each meal looked delicious however, they were not labeled very well. I found myself looking closely for the names of each meal and found it hard to identify which were the ‘High Protein’ and ‘Calorie controlled’ options. The ‘High Protein’ meals were only discernible by a black label, which was not very clear. The ingredient list, allergens and nutritional information panel were on the front of each meal in small print. Herbidoor’s ready-to-eat meals were labeled more clearly in comparison. The best before date was clear, with all meals lasting up to 10 days from the day of delivery. This is a good use by date considering the meals are made fresh and not frozen.
At first glance, the ingredient lists were longer than I was expecting, and some ingredients contained preservatives and additives. In comparison, Garden of Vegan had shorter ingredient lists and are made using real whole foods, with zero preservatives and additives. On the sides of the tray were the instructions for heating and recycling. The meals are suitable to heat in the microwave and on the stove top.
The meal trays are recyclable however the film is not. The silver bags all your meals come in can be recycled in a soft plastics bin. The gel in the ice packs is non-toxic and water-soluble, so you can safely pour this down the sink or into a garden. The plastic part of the ice packs can be recycled with your normal plastic recycling and the cardboard box is 100% recyclable. Overall, Soulara’s packaging is reasonably sustainable, however Garden of Vegan is superior as all of their packaging is recyclable and they do not use any virgin plastics in the production of their meal trays.
The meals were easy to heat in the microwave and were all excellent! I really loved that some of the meal trays had two compartments so that certain parts of the meal didn’t become soggy such as the mashed potato. They tasted authentic, wholesome, and were vibrant in flavour thanks to the adequate use of herbs and spices. In my opinion, Soulara’s meals had more flavour than Garden of Vegan and Herbidoor. There was also an abundance of vegetables and legumes which was great to see. My favourite meals were Mediterranean Pesto with Harvest Balls and The Sunkissed Protein Pesto.
The portion sizes ranged from 350g – 400g, except for the chia pudding which was 200g. These portion sizes are similar to what is offered by Garden of Vegan and is more than what is offered by Herbidoor. I was satisfied after each meal.
Read our Nutritionist reviews of Garden of Vegan and Hebidoor on our blog here.
Soulara Nutritionist Review
Soulara’s ready-to-eat meals contain a wide variety of whole food ingredients such as lentils, legumes, whole grains and vegetables with the addition of herbs and spices, which is a standout feature. The preservatives and additives were found in the secondary ingredients such as soy sauce. Whilst they are in small amounts, as a Nutritionist I do not recommend consuming foods that contain preservatives and additives every day. If comparing Soulara based on the quality of ingredients alone, Garden of Vegan is superior due to their use of organic, real, whole foods only and no added preservatives or additives.
Soulara uses olive oil in the majority of their meals, which is a good source of monounsaturated fats (heart healthy fats!), as well as some vegetable oils including sunflower and canola oil. In comparison, Garden of Vegan is 100% oil free, which may be of benefit to those who are looking to lose weight.
Overall, the protein content was excellent! The meal with the lowest amount of protein was the Mushroom Bourguignon & Garlic Mash at 7g, with majority of the meals ranging between 20g – 30g protein per serve. This protein content is comparable to Garden of Vegan and is superior to Herbidoor. Unlike Garden of Vegan however, who use real, whole food ingredients to provide their protein source, Soulara uses textured soy protein (TVP) to bulk up the content of some meals. TVP is a processed food, however it does provide a good source of protein. Soulara’s TVP is also minimal in ingredients and is therefore not seen as a mark against quality.
As mentioned, Soulara’s meals have an abundance of vegetables, lentils, herbs and spices which are a standout feature. The vegetables were clearly visible in the meals, and they were vibrant in colour. Compared to Garden of Vegan and Herbidoor, Soulara contains significantly more vegetables, averaging at one serving with each ready-to-eat meal.
Whilst the flavours were delicious, it is currently summer, and I found that a lot of the meals were more suited to a cooler climate. Many were a curry style or stew based which is not always appealing on a hot day. It would be great to see more seasonal appropriate meals available on the menu such as stir fry’s which are often ‘lighter’.
Soulara’s plant-based ready-to-eat meals are well-priced, convenient and of good quality. The protein content is excellent, similar to Garden of Vegan, and the flavours of the meals are delicious.
Soulara Ready-to-eat Meals
Soulara’s plant-based ready-to-eat meals are well-priced, convenient and of good quality. The protein content is excellent and the flavours of the meals are delicious.
Soulara’s ready-to-eat meals are made with plant-based ingredients and contain an abundance of
vegetables, lentils, herbs and spices. They also contain an excellent amount of protein. Whilst they
are a healthier alternative to other convenience foods, the meals do contain preservatives and
additives, which are not recommended to be consumed in large amounts daily.
Soulara is cheaper than Garden of Vegan and comparable to some of the meals offered by
Herbidoor. Given the overall quality, flavours and high protein content, the meals are good value for
No, Soulara is a more affordable option compared to premium service Garden of Vegan who offers
meals that are all 100% organic, oil, preservative and additive free.
Yes, Garden of Vegan and Herbidoor offer plant-based ready-to-eat meals delivered to your door.
Garden of Vegan’s meals are all organic, oil and preservative free, whilst Herbidoor’s meals are
Vegan Australia Certified. Herbidoor is the most similar in terms of the types of meals offered,
however, the quality of Soulara’s meals outweighs Herbidoor’s.