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Thistle Review 2023: Plant-Powered Plans!

Our Top Choice For 2023
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Author Jessica White
Jessica White
Updated on Nov 22nd, 2023
Fact checked by Deborah Leigh


If you're looking for a meal delivery that caters to your plant-based protein needs, Thistle may be the answer. Thistle is a unique meal delivery service that offers all plant-based protein meals with the option to add meat protein for an additional cost. All meals are delivered fully prepared and ready to eat.

It uses locally sourced fruits, veggies, nuts, and organic ingredients whenever possible. Its meals are low-carb, high-protein, and designed to provide you with the necessary nutrients to fuel your body. This means fewer worries about planning and cooking healthy dinners, it’s all sorted for you by Thistle.

However, the question remains, of whether living on prepared meals is sustainable. In this review, I've researched Thistle to find out everything you need to know to help you decide if it's the right meal delivery service for you.



Healthy, prepared meals

Limited menu

Sustainable ingredients

Not all produce is organic

Plant-based and meat protein options

Limited delivery areas

Current deal – Enjoy 9 free meals with $100 off over 4 weeks!

What’s on the Thistle Menu

With Thistle, there’s a difference in meal options depending on your location. If you’re located in a delivery area, you can freely choose anything from the menu. If you’re located further away in a shipping area, you’ll have to choose a prefixed plan. You’ll still get to choose from the menu, but you’re restricted by the plan you choose.

If you’re offered a prefixed plan, you can choose from 4 different options. You can pick the Cold-Pressed Juice Box, Lite Bites Box, Essentials Box, or the Enhanced Box. So, for example, the Essentials Box contains 6 meals including 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners. You can pick your meals from the full menu.

Meal Options

I like the idea of having a plant-focused delivery service that has the option to add meat as an alternative protein. You can also opt for a mix of plant and meat protein. If you do decide to add meat, you’ll have to pay an extra cost.

The menu rotates on a weekly basis, so there’s always something new to try. As the menu is all gluten-free, it tends to focus on quinoa and rice as carbohydrate options. If you aren’t gluten intolerant, you might find this a little repetitive.

Thistle's Menu screenshot

I like the interesting mix of options on the Thistle menu

Every meal has a plant or meat protein option, making it a great choice for flexitarians. If you like to switch things up a bit, you can go for the omnivore option where you can have a bit of both in different dishes.

Thistle also delivers juice, soups, and salad. There are 12 oz bottles of cold-pressed juices as well as 2 oz fruit shots. The sides include soups and salads and are a good idea if you want to make a more substantial meal or as an alternative lunch option.

Thistle's soups and salads screenshot

Look at those hearty soups!

I like that Thistle is committed to sustainability with its ingredients. Organic ingredients are denoted with an asterisk on the nutrition and ingredient list available for every dish.

Thistle's sustainable sourcing screenshot

It's great to know Thistle is transparent about its practices

Lunches and dinners contain between 450 to 650 calories. This makes it a suitable option if you’re looking for a calorie-conscious meal delivery company. There’s also at least 20 g of protein in every meal, so you know it's a healthy option.

I like that each dish contains nutrient-dense booster foods like turmeric, chia seeds, and spirulina. This is a unique feature that sets Thistle apart from similar plant-based delivery services such as Purple Carrot.

It’s good to see that Thistle offers discounts for certain groups of people. These include:

  • Healthcare workers

  • Military

  • Education providers

  • First responders

  • Students

The Thistle menu is rather limited in choice. There’s a daily menu including a breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a side for Monday through Saturday. This means you probably aren’t going to be able to rely on Thistle for all your meals.

Cuisine choices are varied, and there are plenty of interesting-looking dishes on the menu. I like the look of the Miso-Glazed Summer Squash dinner and the Cuban Ropa Vieja with Plantains. There’s definitely something different to try every week.


Is Thistle Good For This Diet?


Yes, all options


Yes, all options


Yes, but not certified gluten-free


Yes, meat proteins can be added

Low Calorie

Yes, lunches and dinners under 650 calories


Sort of, some organic ingredients are used




When you sign up to Thistle, you have the option to customize your plan by protein choice. You can opt for the standard plant-based protein or choose to add meat protein for an additional cost. If you’re flexitarian, you can go for the mixed plan, which gives you half plant and half meat.

Thistle's 'select your protein' screenshot

Thistle is a great choice if you are looking to add more protein variety to your menu

If you’re dairy or gluten intolerant, Thistle is a good choice. All of the meals are dairy and gluten free. If you’re allergic to gluten, or particularly sensitive, I’d recommend Green Chef instead, as Thistle is yet to be certified officially gluten free.

You can also adapt your plan if you have allergies. Currently, these are the allergens identified by Thistle: soy, peanuts, tree nuts, seafood, coconut, pork, and shellfish. I like that it will either omit the ingredient from your recipe or remove the meal choice.

If you’re located in a shipping area, you’re unable to customize your menu for allergens or substitutions, so if you’re looking for a vegan delivery service that can accommodate your dietary needs, check out Purple Carrot as a good alternative.

The prefixed plan options from Thistle

There's currently no option for allergy sufferers to modify their plan

The prefixed plans are only available in shipping areas, not local delivery areas. This is to make it more cost effective and environmentally friendly for longer distance shipments.

You can still choose from every option on the Thursday and Friday menu, but it must meet the specifications of the box. For example, the Essentials Box requires you to select 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners.

Thistle is great for vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores. However, there are no specific dietary plans available such as diabetic, keto, or weight loss. That said, meals are generally low in calories, so they could be used to support your weight loss goals.

Every recipe can be made with or without meat, so there's the same number of choices for meat eaters and veggies alike. This is something I was pleased about as usually, vegetarian options are more limited than meat options.


Meals arrive in insulated reusable bags that can be returned with your next delivery. Ice packs are used to keep the meals cold and you’ll need to put everything in the refrigerator to store it until you eat. Meals are single portions in plastic containers and sauces are packed separately.

Thistle's packaging

Lots of plastic in the delivery, but the bags are sent back to be used again.

It’s recommended to eat meals within 2 days, but check the dates on packs to make sure. You can also freeze some of the items, but this isn’t recommended for salads. Frozen lettuce isn’t very appetizing.

The large 64 oz ice packs are collected to be used for future deliveries. The smaller ice packs can be collected, or you can dispose of them yourself at home. There are detailed instructions on the Thistle website for this.

The plastic containers can be recycled but this isn’t the best in terms of sustainability. Thistle is looking into more eco-friendly options. But until then, if you can’t think of a creative way to reuse the containers, you can recycle them with your curbside pickup.

Cooking with Thistle

The great thing about Thistle is that there’s next to no prep involved. In fact, all of Thistle's options are ready to eat. If you want to heat some of the dishes – perhaps a pasta-based dish or the soups – it’s as simple as gently heating through in a skillet with a little olive oil.

Shortlist of My Favorite Meals

Thistle's Crispy Chickpea Mediterranean Salad

I'd enjoy this creative salad for my lunch!

This looks like a colorful lunch option. It’s packed with crispy chickpeas, crunchy veg, and served with a creamy tahini dressing. The meat option is served with chicken which takes the protein from 18 g to 34 g.

Thistle's Blue Wildflower Smoothie

Just look at the blue in this breakfast dish!

The Blue Wildflower Smoothie is a breakfast option that really caught my eye. Tagged as a customer favorite, it’s full of tropical flavors including mango and passionfruit along with a wildflower-based tea. It's definitely a different looking breakfast that’s sure to wake you up in the morning!

Thistle's Aloo Gobi with Cilantro Tamarind Sauce

This Indian-inspired dish is packed with healthy veggies

The Aloo Gobi with Cilantro Tamarind Sauce is an Indian-inspired dish on the dinner menu. It’s a boldly spiced dish containing cauliflower and potatoes. The meat protein option is curry ground chicken. It’s a warm and comforting option with added spice.


This is a guide to prices per order in a local delivery area:

Starting From

Meals per order


$14.50 per portion

3 meals (lunch or dinner)


$14.00 per portion

6 meals (lunch or dinner)


$13.25 per portion

9 meals (lunch or dinner)


$12.00 per portion

13 meals (lunch or dinner)


$11.50 per portion

16 meals (lunch or dinner)


Be aware that Thistle’s prices vary a lot depending on your zip code, so use the table above as a basic guide. Enter your location on the website to confirm the exact costs. Prices can also vary depending on which type of meals you order. I’ve listed prices that are displayed when ordering either lunches or dinners when I used zip codes on the East and West Coast.

If you order breakfasts, the prices for these meals can vary, too. I found that costs for 1 serving of breakfast ranges from $9.50 to $12.50. Again, I recommend checking costs per serving when you enter your delivery details and choose your ideal menu.

The prefixed orders in Thistle’s shipping areas are:


Box Type



Juice and juice shots (6 juices, 3 shots)



Lite Bites (2 snacks, 4 soups, 4 jar salads)



Vegan Essentials (6 meals)



Essentials Meat (6 meals)



Vegan Enhanced (6 meals + 2 snacks)



Enhanced Meat (6 meals + 2 snacks)


Shipping is free on the prefixed plans. If you’re located in a delivery area, there’s a flat fee of $4.95 per delivery.

Shipping & Delivery

Thistle offers local delivery or shipping depending on your location. Meals can be shipped to California and parts of Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. If you’re on the East Coast, check your zip code to see if it delivers to your location.

Thistle's delivery and shipping areas screenshot

Hopefully Thistle will expand to more areas as options are quite limited

If you need to change your delivery date, it’s easy to reschedule online. Simply log into your account and click on Change next to your Delivery Details. Then you can edit the delivery address or date.

Thistle's account editing screenshot

I like how easy it is to edit orders in your online account

Deliveries are made up to twice a week if you’re in the delivery area. The prefixed plans in shipping areas are delivered on a Monday and/or Thursday depending on your location.

How Thistle Works

Depending on your location, you can sign up for a delivery plan or a prefixed plan. If you’re in the delivery zone, you can choose whatever you want from the menu. This includes breakfast, lunch, dinners, sides, and snacks (sides, and juices).

The prefixed plan is available in shipping areas, and there are currently 4 pre-set options: Cold-Pressed Juice Box, Lite Bites Box, Essentials Box, or the Enhanced Box. The boxes are available as meat or vegan.

How to Sign Up

  1. Enter your zip code and email to get started.

Thistle's "get started" page screenshot

You can also use your Google account to sign up if you prefer

  1. Choose what type and how many meals you want to order if you’re in the local delivery area.

Thistle's meal type and quality screen

A minimum order is 3 meals, but there's no maximum

  1. Decide which prefixed meal plan if you’re not in the local delivery area. The Juice Box and the Lite Bites Box are the most affordable options.

Thistle's Juice Box and Lite-Bites Box contents

The juice box delivery is a unique option from Thistle

  1. Decide on your favorite protein choice. If you’re making a shipping order, choose a plant-based, or meat protein box.

Thistle's protein choice screen

Plant-based meals are standard with Thistle, it costs more for meat or mixed proteins

  1. Select any allergens. This option isn’t available for shipping orders.

Thistle's allergen screen

Allergen selections are only available if you are in a local delivery area

  1. Complete your delivery information and choose your preferred delivery date and time. You can also add additional information to help your delivery driver locate your home. Days and times vary depending on your location.

Thistle's delivery day selection screen

Your choice of delivery days and times varies depending on your location

  1. Enter your card payment details. This will commit you to a weekly delivery subscription unless you pause or cancel your account.

Thistle's checkout screen

Enter your details and get excited about your delivery!

Shipping costs for each delivery, so if you decide to have 2 deliveries per week, you’ll have to pay double shipping.

Managing Your Subscription

After you’ve made your 1st purchase, you can make changes and edit your deliveries in your Thistle online account. You can use the toggle buttons to adjust the quantities of each meal, so if you set the value to 0, you won’t receive it in your next delivery.

You can easily cancel or pause your Thistle delivery online, and you won’t have to provide a reason. Just make sure you do this by the preceding Thursday.

Customer Service

I was disappointed in the lack of customer contact options. There’s no online chat facility, and I couldn’t even locate a phone number or email. There’s an online contact form for you to submit a request, so it’s not great in terms of customer support.

Thistle's customer support request online form

I wasn't happy with the limited customer support options

I used the form to inquire about menu options on the East and West Coasts, as there appeared to be a different menu for each delivery area. My email was responded to within 2 hours, and the reply was friendly and helpful.

email response from Thistle customer service agent

I didn't have to wait too long for a reply to my request

I would’ve liked to see more contact options available. Especially if there was an issue with my online account, as I wouldn’t have the option to call for support.

How Thistle Compares to Other Meal Delivery Services

Thistle vs Factor 

Thistle and Factor both offer convenient, pre-made meals for their customers. Thistle offers exclusively plant-based protein meals with the option to add meat protein, while Factor offers a wider variety of meals, including options for high protein, keto, and other specific dietary needs.

Thistle sources their ingredients locally and uses organic ingredients whenever possible, while Factor focuses on high-quality, chef-prepared meals that use antibiotic and hormone-free proteins and organic produce when available. There’s more variety of meal plans available with Factor, so it’s recommended for keto or high protein diets.

Thistle vs Green Chef

Both offer healthy meals, but they differ in several ways. Green Chef offers a range of meals including keto, gluten free, and other dietary options. Green Chef also offers a Plant Based meal plan and all meals are certified organic.

Thistle provides fully prepared ready-to-eat meals, while Green Chef provides meal kits with pre-portioned ingredients and recipes for customers to cook at home. In terms of pricing, Thistle is generally more expensive than Green Chef due to its focus on locally sourced, organic ingredients and fully-prepared meals.

Thistle vs Blue Apron 

Thistle offers fully prepared, ready-to-eat meals, while Blue Apron provides meal kits that require some preparation and cooking. With Blue Apron, you receive a box of ingredients and recipes to cook your meals from scratch, which is great for boosting your kitchen skills.

Blue Apron offers a wider range of meals that include meat, fish, and vegetarian options. Thistle provides plant-based protein meals with the option to add meat protein. There’s much more choice on the Blue Apron weekly menu, as well as some prepared meals, too.

The Bottom Line: Is Thistle Worth It?

If you’re trying to eat healthily Thistle can help you stay on track for some of your meals. You know you will be getting a nutritious and balanced meal with no prep needed. Especially if you live in a local area like Los Angeles where you can have a more flexible subscription plan.

But the cost and the lack of menu options can be a problem for some. For more variety of meals or additional dietary requirements, I recommend Factor as an alternative. It’s more affordable and meals are just as easy to heat and eat.


What is Thistle?

Thistle is a meal delivery service that provides fully prepared, ready-to-eat meals that are designed to be healthy, delicious, and convenient. Thistle focuses on plant-based protein meals, with the option to add meat protein at an additional cost. It uses locally sourced fruits, veggies, nuts, and organic ingredients whenever possible.

How long do Thistle meals last?

Thistle meals are designed to be fresh and should be consumed within 2 days. It's important to store Thistle meals in the refrigerator as soon as possible upon delivery to ensure they stay fresh and safe to eat. Some Thistle meals can be frozen to extend their shelf life. It's recommended to freeze them on the day of delivery and to consume them within 3 months.

Are Thistle meals healthy?

Thistle meals are designed to be healthy and nutritious. Its meals are primarily plant-based and are designed to be high in protein, low in carbohydrates, and packed with essential nutrients. It uses locally sourced fruits, veggies, nuts, and organic ingredients whenever possible, and its meals are free from artificial flavors, preservatives, and colors.

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