The term “frozen food” has had an unfair reputation for years. A frozen dinner was thought of as cheap, low on flavor, and something you ate while watching TV (i.e. "TV dinners"). But that just isn’t true anymore.
In recent years the frozen food industry has made major leaps and advancements in quality and flavor. There are many higher-end frozen or prepared meal delivery services that have only gotten more and more popular. One in particular that has been getting a lot of attention is Mosaic Foods, mainly because all of its meals are plant-based–which is very difficult to find in a frozen food meal delivery service.
What is Mosaic Foods?
Mosaic is a plant-based, frozen food meal delivery service (as in, vegetarian and vegan options). It’s subscription-based, but you can pause or cancel at any time, so you’re not locked in. You can choose from six, 12 or 18 items per box, and it’s free shipping if you choose the 12 or 18 plan. Each item is a la carte, and varies in price but averages around $10 per single meal serving.
You can choose from seven different categories: veggie bowls, pizza, smoothies, Mosaic+ meals, soups, oat bowls and family meals.
- Culturally diverse, global cuisines that you can rarely find in frozen foods.
- Incredible flavor that beats any other frozen food brand on the market.
- Most meals are ready in five minutes, only a few options require an oven.
- All meals are plant-based and packed with nutrient-rich ingredients.
- Frozen meals have a very long shelf life, so there’s no risk of wasting food
- Emphasis on sustainability; all the food trays are recyclable.
- Higher-end meals and flavors = higher-ish prices.
- Fewer options if you want no-carb meals.
- All meals are plant-based (vegan or vegetarian), but could have a few more non-vegan options for those who aren’t dairy-free.
How much does Mosaic Foods cost?
Mosaic meals start at $9.99 for veggie bowls, $11.99 for Mosiac+ meals, $11.99 for pizzas, $7.99 for smoothies, $8.99 for soups, $5.99 for oat bowls, and $19.95 for oven-ready meals that serve a family of four.
What makes Mosaic Foods different from other meal delivery services?
Before I get into the items I tasted and reviewed, first a general overview of what makes Mosaic different from other meal delivery services. For one, it’s entirely plant-based, which is much less common in the frozen food industry. But for me, what really makes Mosaic stand out is that the recipes are so much more diverse, inventive, and gourmet than what you’ll typically find. So many meal delivery kits are a variation on your standard “American fare.” But Mosaic branches out in flavor more than any other meal service I’ve tried and includes many global cuisines. One of my biggest complaints about other meal delivery services is that they’re just different takes on standard American chicken, beef or vegetarian dinners but rarely explore the flavors of other cultures.
The Mosaic meals I reviewed:
I chose eight items from the pizza, veggie bowl, oat bowl and Mosaic+ categories. The Mosaic+ meals, as you might have guessed by the plus sign, are slightly more expensive, but that’s because they’re more involved recipes developed by famous, renowned chefs. I didn’t try the liquid options (the soups or smoothies). And the “family meals,” which I also didn’t try, are separate because they’re meant for a family of four and are more of your traditional casserole-type meals that have to be prepared in the oven. One of the things I love about Mosaic is that they have an extensive and revolving list of items they offer, so naturally I wasn’t able to try everything.
Also, a note on pictures. When it comes to frozen food, they just aren’t going to look exactly like the picture on the box; that’s because those are taken with professional lighting in a studio. But I did include images I took of some of the dishes when they were heated up and after I plated them. And all things considered, they looked very close to the professional pics. But when it comes to frozen meals, a reminder that it’s much more about flavor than it being “picture perfect.” Okay, now on to the reviews of every item I tried!
1. Roasted Grape & Butternut Squash Pizza
Most meal delivery services don’t have a dedicated pizza category, so I love that Mosaic has one. I chose the Middle Eastern-inspired roasted grape and butternut squash pizza, but if that isn’t up your alley they also have more traditional options like four cheese, or "sausage" and pepper. Out of every Mosaic meal I tried, this one was absolutely my favorite. The sweetness of the roasted grapes mixed with the savory butternut squash and fontina cheese was five stars-worthy. I feel like this is a type of artisanal pizza you only see at expensive restaurants. My expectations were high, but I was blown away when it tasted even more gourmet than I expected. I couldn’t believe it was a frozen pizza. Also the crust is cauliflower (which IMO can sometimes lack flavor), but you never would have known; it tasted just as good as a flour crust.
2. Mac & Greens
This is under the Mosiac+ category, and it’s a recipe developed by chef Greg Baxtrom of Olmsted. It’s one of their more popular items, and I’m not surprised. It’s comfort food that doesn’t feel too heavy and is packed with veggies. It goes way beyond any frozen mac and cheese dish I’ve ever had. It has such a depth of flavor for a frozen dinner (or a non-frozen meal, for that matter). And I loved the roasted garlic broccolini and the sprinkle of crispy onions and toasted panko on top. It definitely had one of the best textures of all the items I sampled.
3. North African Veggies and Couscous
Also under the Mosaic+ category, this dish is from chef Einat Admony of Balaboosta and Taim. Again, this is unlike any other frozen meal I’ve ever had before. You truly cannot get this combination of flavors in a frozen dinner anywhere else. The recipe is restaurant-level and the flavors were a 10/10. I loved the parsnips, sweet potatoes, cauliflower florets, the sauteed Swiss chard, and fluffy couscous. And the crunchy ja’ala (a combo of roasted nuts and seeds) topped it all off.
4. Vegan Penne Vodka Pasta
I was a little skeptical of this one at first, because one of my favorite elements of penne alla vodka is the heavy cream. I mean, let’s be honest, the best sauces are usually cream-based. But this version is vegan, so by definition it’s dairy-free. But I was truly shocked by how rich the flavors were. Honestly, it was difficult to tell that it was vegan–I surprisingly did not miss the heavy cream. I also love that it has escarole and broccolini in it, so it gives you that extra dose of veggies alongside your carbs.
5. Chipotle Mango Burrito Bowl
This chipotle mango burrito bowl was one of the heartier dishes I had, and it’s vegan. I had it for lunch, and it was so filling that I actually had some leftovers that I heated up as a snack later. I’m typically not a burrito bowl girl, but this was one of my favorite dishes I tried. The cilantro-tossed Spanish rice had so much flavor, and it’s packed with veggies like sweet potatoes, roasted red peppers, corn and black beans. And the zesty chipotle mango sauce gives it just the right amount of kick.
6. Butternut Squash & Sage Pasta
This is a pasta dish, but it’s under the “veggie bowl” category, so it’s slightly less expensive than their Mosiac+ meals. I loved the butternut squash sauce, and it was one of the more rich meals of all the ones I tasted. What really made it, though, was the caramelized onions and the sage pesto sauce. It had great flavor, but it did lack a bit of zest and crunch that some of the other meals had.
7. Cauliflower Tikka Masala
Of all the Mosiac+ meals, this was my least favorite—although it still had some nice flavor. Tikka masala is one of my favorite dishes, and it just didn’t quite have that complex flavor of tikka masala that I love. It’s a recipe from chef Kanchan Koya, who has a Ph.D in Biomedicine, and I did love the yogurt-marinated cauliflower and the cashew cream. And I also liked the quinoa, even though I’m typically not a quinoa fan. It was definitely filling and hearty, but it was veering a bit into “mushy territory” and could have benefited from some more texture.
8. Golden Milk & Blackberry Oats
I’m not a breakfast person, but I’m trying to change that and have a heartier meal in the morning so I’m not just running on iced coffee. These oat bowls make it easy, because you just microwave them for three minutes, and voila, you have breakfast. I was shocked by how delicious the golden milk and blackberry flavor was; it reminded me of something you’d get at a fancy cafe in Los Angeles. I do wish the blackberries were fresh, though, since heated-up blackberries lose all their texture. But I loved the crunch of the pistachios and sliced almonds.
I truly would give this plant-based frozen meal delivery service five stars. I love that it extends way beyond standard American fare and have all types of out-of-the-box, inventive recipes. I personally loved that a lot of the meals were pasta and grain-based, and every dish was super filling. But if you’re on a low carb diet, this may not be the meal delivery service for you. Yes, it's pricier than a frozen meal you’d get at the grocery store, but the meals are about ten times more flavorful—and you get the convenience of having them shipped to your door.
And as with any frozen food, you might be sacrificing a bit of crispy texture, but these were undoubtedly the best-tasting microwavable meals I’ve ever had. Bottom line? I would absolutely sign up for this when I knew I was going to have a busy week and wanted to eat healthy, tasty food that takes less than five minutes to make.
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