Tovala is a Chicago-based company that has been on the market since mid-2017. It has gained the attention of the public thanks to its unique smart steam oven that makes cooking as easy as scanning a barcode. However, it is its line of ready-to-cook meals that tickled our interest.
In this Tovala review, we will discover what Tovala meals look like, what makes them unique, how you can order them, and how much they cost.
How Tovala Works
Tovala is a subscription-based meal kit delivery that offers oven-ready meals prepped by a top chef. The meals are made of all-natural ingredients and everything is chopped, sliced, trimmed, mixed, and even partially cooked before it reaches your home. Your only job is to open the containers, combine the meal elements in accordance with the simple instructions, and pop them into the oven.
The company’s menu features 8 new meals per week. Depending on your needs, you can choose to receive 3, 4, 6, 8, 9 or 12 of them in your weekly delivery. All items include a single serving and you can get as many portions of the same meal as you wish.
If you opt for Tovala meal kit delivery, the company assumes that you either want to purchase its smart steam oven along with the meals or you already own its oven and just want to get a meal subscription. If you do not want to purchase the oven, you need to provide information on where you got it, with possible options including purchasing it at a store, getting it from a friend, renting an apartment with a Tovala oven, and so forth.
The subscriptions are perfectly flexible, so you can increase or decrease the number of meals in your orders, skip a delivery or pause or end your subscription whenever you want. In order to make sure that the changes you made apply to your next delivery, you should introduce all the desired modifications by Wednesday at 6 pm CT the week before your delivery is due.
What Makes Tovala Different
As you can see, Tovala takes a whole different approach to meal kit delivery. Not only does it take care of the meal prep for you, so all you need to do is unpack and cook, but it has also created a special appliance that makes cooking completely effortless. In other words, the company aims to revolutionize home cooking and provide a solution that is much simpler than ordering from a regular meal kit service that provides all the ingredients and recipes but leaves you in charge of both the prep and cooking processes.
With Tovala meal kits and smart oven, the effort you invest in making a meal is truly reduced to a minimum. A professional chef who worked at such famous restaurants like Noma and Alinea crafts the recipes and all the prep work is completed in the Tovala kitchen. Thus, when the meals arrive, they are ready to cook. By scanning the meal barcode provided, you are giving the smart oven all the instructions it needs to cook the meal to perfection. There is no slicing and dicing, no guesswork, no time wasted.
It is also important to note that Tovala meals never contain any artificial preservatives and additives. The service only uses fresh, high-quality ingredients, many of them organic, non-GMO, and locally sourced.
Cooking with Tovala certainly has many upsides. However, there is something we do not particularly like. Theoretically, you could cook Tovala meals without its smart oven, but the company treats it as a prerequisite for buying and cooking its meals. Do not get us wrong, this oven a great, innovative appliance, but we believe that the buy-the-oven-or-say-you-own-it system for ordering meals is simply unnecessary.
Meals And Recipes
As mentioned previously in this Tovala review, there are 8 fresh meals on the menu every week. The selection includes omnivore and carnivore meals, as well as at least 2 vegetarian dishes, at least 3 gluten-free dishes, and several high-protein and low-calorie options.
The meals are mostly classics with a modern twist. They are suitable for lunch or dinner. All items are well-balanced, with the right ratio of proteins, carbs, and fats. The average calorie count is between 400 and 800 calories per serving.
You can expect everything from pastas, risottos, and stews to steaks with veg, creative meatballs, healthy fish, veggie, grains, and more. Since a famous chef is in charge of creating recipes and the ingredients are handpicked, you can expect restaurant-grade quality every time.
Every meal you get from Tovala takes up to 20 minutes to cook and the prep takes less than a minute. The meals come in 1 or 2 trays and you get a couple of garnishes in individual packaging as well. The garnishes are conveniently labeled “before” and “after”, so you know when to add them. The service also provides detailed, step-by-step instructions, ensuring that you get everything right.
When you are ready to cook, you simply remove the plastic cover from each tray, add the “before” garnishes, and place the trays in the oven. When the meal is cooked, you plate it, add the “after” garnishes, and you are done. In total, the hands-on time is never longer than a few minutes.
The price you pay per delivery exclusively depends on how many single-serving meals per week you order (3, 4, 6, 8, 9 or 12). Every item on the Tovala menu costs exactly $12. Shipping is always free. Thus, the minimum value of your weekly order is $36 and the maximum value is $144.
If you want to get the Tovala smart oven as well, you can get it for $349 with free shipping and no commitments. However, if you like Tovala meals and want to get them on a regular basis, you can make use of the Eat Well, Save $100 discount and get the oven for $249. With this discount, you get $100 off your oven, but you promise to order 100 Tovala meals within a year of purchasing the oven.
The appliance comes with a 1-year warranty and a 180-day trial, so you can return it within 180 days and get your money back if you are not satisfied. The service also allows you to give Tovala oven as a gift, purchase a $25+ gift card or get nice kitchen accessories, like roasting pans, muffin tins, and tea towels.
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The service is available in all 48 continental US states. Currently, it does not deliver to Alaska and Hawaii. The meals are delivered via UDS and FedEx on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, depending on location. They spend 1 to 2 days in transit and come in insulated packaging that keeps them fresh until the end of the delivery day, so you do not have to rush home to put them in the fridge.
Tovala Pros And Cons
To make sure Tovala meets all your standards and expectations, it is important to know its biggest advantages and disadvantages. With a short overview of its pros and cons, you can easily decide if Tovala is the right meal kit service for you.
- Minimum-effort, no-prep-required meal kits
- Natural ingredients with no artificial additives
- 8 new meals on the menu every week
- Vegetarian, gluten-free, low-calorie, and high-protein options
- Order 3, 4, 6, 8, 9 or 12 meals per week
- Skip, pause or cancel at any time
- Single-friendly service
- Free shipping
- Menu could use expanding
- Only single-serving items
- Buying or owning Tovala oven is a prerequisite for ordering meals
If you subscribe to Tovala, you can easily prepare culinary masterpieces using only the ingredients and recipes found in your meal kit box. You may not be a pro chef just yet, but with Tovala, you can easily make restaurant-grade meals. You don’t have to take our word for it – check out the images below to get a better idea of the types of dishes you can enjoy with Tovala.
If you are a fan of innovations and effortless cooking, Tovala is definitely a must-try service. Its meals are fun and quick to cook, they taste great, the pricing is ok, and whether you are cooking for 1 or 12 people, the service can accommodate your needs. Plus, although there are just 8 items on the menu per week, there is always something for carnivores, omnivores, and vegetarians, as well as individuals on low-calorie, gluten-free, and high-protein diets. In the future, the company could enhance its offer by adding more meals to its menu, offering multi-serving meals, and making ownership of Tovala oven optional in relation to ordering meals.
Prices are quite reasonable. People who don’t read the fine print shouldn’t blame Tavola. Oven set-up is easy. Menu is varied. Ordering is simple. Delivery is on time. Meals take seconds to be oven ready. Food is delicious. I’ve been doing this for about 6 months and haven’t had a meal that wasn’t delicious. I couldn’t ask for more!
I ordered the Tovala oven and meal service a while ago, but have since suspended the meal service due to lack of all organic produce and pastured/grass fed/wild caught meats and fish. I really liked the meals and the convenience otherwise. I wish they would offer truly clean ingredients like they advertise. Right now I am ordering from Sunbasket and The Green Chef and enjoying their truly clean ingredients.
I got Tovala oven and meals from my daughter for my 60th birthday and I was skeptical at first but I really like it now that I got a hang of it. It’s been 5 years since my dear wife passed away and I’m not much of a cook, so ordering from them really helps me eat right.
Ok, so I’m known for ordering stuff online at night and regretting it in the morning. This is not a 100% regret but still. Getting the $100 discount is a default setting and I didn’t read the fine print I was just like, $100 off, great, I’ll take it. It turns out I have to buy 100 meals this year, which I didn’t know, I wish I’d read this review before buying it. The oven works well and the meals are good, but I don’t need 100 meals, I cook all the time and I don’t want to spend that kind of money on prepared meals. Anyway, just wanted to warn everyone to read carefully and not miss this information unless they are fine with buying 100 meals or paying for them even if they don’t buy them.
The oven is possibly the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in a kitchen and the meals are awesome. I am a bit of a bit of a tech nerd so when I saw it I wanted to try it so badly, it seemed like a robot from the future who cooks my meals while I chill out. And guess what, it is 😀 I’ve been ordering for weeks now and I’m still excited when it’s time to cook 😀 By the way, hats off to the chefs, they make kale taste good 😀