Eating kosher has its own challenges and if you’re determined to stick to a strict kosher diet, finding a restaurant that abides by those restrictions and creates something worth eating can verge on the impossible. Although there isn’t an abundance of kosher meal kit delivery companies out there, those that do provide kosher home delivery meals do so with a combination of certified kosher ingredients and a surprising amount of flavor.
A kosher diet doesn’t have to revolve around a staple diet of hummus and couscous, in fact, the Jewish diet has influences from all over the world. Sephardic cooking centers around salads and stuffed vegetables, while the Ashkenazi cuisine focuses more on potatoes, pastries, and bread. The best kosher meal delivery services incorporate a wide variety of different foods and influences into their dishes so you can enjoy an orthodox diet without sacrificing either flavor or variety.
What is Kosher?
The rules that apply to people who keep kosher come from the Torah and Talmud and relate to foods that are concerned “kasher” or fit for eating. Different rules apply to different types of food and the basic laws are:
Certain animals, like rabbits, pigs, shellfish, and reptiles are forbidden and only those with cloven hooves that chew their cud are permitted. These animals, which include cows, goats, sheep, and deer, must be slaughtered in a specific manner called shechita, during which the animal should not experience any pain. One the animal is dead, forbidden parts, including veins, certain fats, are removed.
Different rules apply to poultry and other birds and forbidden species include the eagle, pelican, vulture, and swan. Chicken, duck, turkey, and goose are among the main approved species but must also be slaughtered in accordance with the laws of shechita.
Acceptable dairy products include milk from kosher animals as long as that milk separates easily into milk and cream. Dairy products may not be eaten with meat nor even served at the same time and utensils are usually divided into those used for meat and those used for dairy. If you’ve eaten meat, you need to wait between one and six hours before consuming any dairy product.
People keeping kosher may eat the eggs of kosher birds as long as they don’t contain any blood.
Shellfish is not permitted in a kosher diet, but fish with fins and scales are considered acceptable.
Vegetables and Grains
Most plant products are kosher although hybridized species are considered impure.
Best Kosher Meal Delivery Service
#1 Home Chef
While not an exclusively kosher meal kit delivery service, Home Chef offers such a wide range of varied dishes each week that, if you’re not overly concerned about eating non-certified foods, you’ll be able to create a delicious and kosher meal plan from their selection.
With 16 different meals available each week and the option to customize some dishes to suit your kosher requirements, you’ll be surprised by how much variety Home Chef has to offer. Obviously, not being a strictly kosher meal kit delivery service means that you may choose to avoid their meat-based dishes but even then, you’ll have around four different vegetarian and seafood meals to choose from. While this means you probably won’t want to eat Home Chef meals every day of the week, it still takes a lot of the effort out of meal planning and grocery shopping.
As one of the biggest meal prep delivery companies in the US at present, Home Chef delivers to 98% of the country, making it ideal for those living in an area where kosher grocery stores are on the more limited side. If you’ve opted for a kosher diet for health reasons rather than spiritual ones, then a service like Home Chef can help you create delicious feasts without compromising your principles.
Convenient and affordable, Home Chef is a great option for those who struggle with meal plans or have limited kosher grocery options nearby. Although you may to mix and match a little to create kosher home delivery meals with Home Chef, you’ll still have a nice variety of different dishes and flavors to experiment with. Furthermore, with prices starting at $9.95 per serving, Home Chef offers a cheaper alternative to more expensive dedicated kosher meal delivery services.
Read our complete Home Chef review.
JChef offers a very similar meal delivery service to Home Chef with the exception of being completely kosher. Unsurprisingly, the range of meals available for selection each week is somewhat limited compared to Home Chef’s, with just five meals on offer in each plan. Like many other meal delivery services, JChef offers meal plans rather than just the freedom to choose whatever meals you feel like eating. These plans are flexible, however, and particularly handy if you’ve got a family feed and a lifestyle that’s so jam-packed that running around town looking for good quality kosher ingredients simply isn’t an option.
Another benefit of the best kosher meal delivery services is that you don’t have to spend hours trying to think up new and interesting meals or trawling the internet in search of recipes. If you have a favorite dish, however, JChef promises to do its utmost to incorporate it into one of its kosher meal plan delivery options.
A typical weekly meal plan from JChef includes a variety of meat-based dishes and usually one or two seafood options. If you’re wanting to adhere to a vegetarian kosher diet, you may find JChef’s kosher meal delivery kits a little limited, although they do have the occasional vegetarian dish on the menu. If it’s just kosher that you’re after, however, JChef offers a great service that includes good quality fresh produce and creative meals. What it doesn’t offer is a budget option and JChef’s kosher home delivery meals start at $18 per serving, nearly double that of Home Chef. Having said that, the servings are generous and the classic plan can feed a couple and two small children, making it much more affordable.
If you’re looking for a great way to celebrate Shabbat with all the members of your extended family, the JChef Shabbat Plan can take much of the hassle out of the planning and preparation, giving you more time to enjoy with your relatives. A Shabbat Plan for 12 people can actually feed up to 18 including children and will only take around half an hour to prepare, making its price tag of over $200 actually quite cost-effective.
For those wanting to observe a strict kosher lifestyle, KosherBox is an ideal solution. Unlike most meal prep delivery services, KosherBox will deliver anywhere in the world so, if you’re a frequent flier who wants to make sure a wholesome kosher meal is waiting for them at their destination, KosherBox is the answer! KosherBox offers monthly snack boxes as well as individual meals, Purim gift boxes and Shabbat boxes which contain everything you need for a traditional Sabbath celebration.
Rather than offering a different selection of meals each week like Home Chef, KosherBox sticks to the same staple meals which mean they could get more than a little repetitive if you want to enjoy kosher home delivery meals every week. If, however, you just need a service that can deliver a kosher meal to your hotel in Timbuctoo, or even in Timbuktu, then KosherBox is a great choice.
Admittedly, the meals posted on KosherBox don’t look quite as appetizing as those listed on Home Chef’s website but then again, making stuffed cabbage look nice is quite challenging, but making it taste nice isn’t so hard. While some of KosherBox’s kosher home delivery meals are a little bland, others, like the Beef Cholent with Kishka and Kugel are mouth-wateringly good.
KosherBox ensures you have everything you need to enjoy your meals and each delivering includes biodegradable cutlery so you don’t have to stress about taking along kosher utensils. Obviously, you’re still going to have to warm up your meal but this can be done quite easily. An unkosher stove top can be burnt at a high temperature for 10 minutes to make it usable while a non-kosher microwave can be used as long as it’s clean and the food placed on a heavy plate.
While KosherBox might not be the best choice for a kosher meal delivery service you can use week in, week out, it is great for those special occasions and for people who travel frequently but stick to a strict kosher diet.
Going Kosher Down in South Dakota (And Everywhere Else)
A kosher diet is appealing to more and more people, of which only a small percentage are Jewish. Recent news reports indicate that the international kosher food market is expanding at a rapid rate of knots and is expected to grow over 10% within the next eight years. This will take it from a market value of around $24 billion to nearly $40 billion.
People who are lactose or gluten intolerant often find a kosher diet fulfills their needs more effectively than a non-kosher menu while increasing numbers of vegetarians are also opting for the kosher route. Surprisingly enough, only around 8% of kosher consumers are actually religious Jews, with the rest opting for a kosher diet for health and food safety reasons.
There are currently over 10 million Americans eating kosher and the demand for kosher meals on the rise. What this means for you is that you should see an increase in the range of kosher choices you have, from kosher meal delivery services and restaurants to dedicated kosher grocery stores and delis. As the competition hots up, prices are liable to become increasingly affordable.
In the meantime, making the most of those services, like JChef, who has struck out into the kosher meal kit delivery market, will see you enjoying popular kosher meals every night without the inconvenience of shopping or meal planning.
Why Opt for a Kosher Meal Delivery Service?
As we mentioned above, people are turning kosher for a variety of reasons and a meal delivery service that guarantees the use of kosher certified ingredients appeals to a range of people for the following reasons:
Research indicates that many Americans are turning to kosher food because they’re concerned about health and safety in the increasingly industrialized food production process. Foods with a kosher certification are seen as being of better quality than the non-kosher equivalent and this is why over half of the Americans opting for kosher have chosen this route. Food analysis, John McMillan, notes that “people equate kosher with quality” even though the reality is that kosher foods are not safer, purer nor particularly healthier than non-kosher foods.
With somewhere in the region of two million celiac disease sufferers in the US alone, the demand for a gluten-free diet is huge. Food designed for Passover is ideal for those wanting to avoid gluten as no leavening products are used in their preparation. Although not all kosher Passover foods are gluten-free, because they avoid chametz grains, there is a big overlap, making it an appealing option for many.
Lactose intolerance is an even bigger problem than gluten intolerance with somewhere between 30 and 50 million sufferers in America alone. Because the rules of kosher forbid the combination of meat and dairy products, many kosher products and kosher home delivery meals are 100% dairy-free.
Although a kosher lifestyle is usually associated with the Jewish religion, more people are keeping kosher for health reasons than for spiritual ones. With kosher certification providing what many believe to be a standard of quality assurance, keeping kosher is often the result of health and safety concerns rather than ethical or religious ones. With kosher minimizes both lactose and gluten, the best kosher meal delivery services are giving people with food intolerances a new lease of life.
If you’ve been considered a new eating regime because you’re sick of feeling bloated and tired, a kosher meal delivery service is definitely worth a try. A service like JChef is ideal for those wanting to stick to mainly meat-based dishes, while those happy to embrace a pareve or vegetarian diet, can take advantage of the cheaper alternative offered by Home Chef.
As with any meal delivery service, the best kosher meal delivery services can help to save you both time and money while ensuring you enjoy a diverse variety of flavors and the best quality ingredients.