Food nanny, meal kits, dinner club, whatever you want to call it: I am a huge fan. Having someone else do the meal planning and cooking for a few nights sounds luxurious. It sure beats trying to decide where to order in or cleaning up my own kitchen any day. If this sounds appealing to you, hop on to Piato Catering’s website and take a look at their organic food nanny service.

Piato lets you order from a huge selection of meals including kids and gluten-free options and frozen food items. As a long-time vegetarian, I appreciate that Piato had a large assortment of entrees that suited my needs.

This week, I tried out three main dishes and a sweet treat. With delivery Tuesday afternoon, I enjoyed fresh dinners for three days and a lot of servings of coffee cake. As the weather gets warmer, Piato requires you to leave a cooler with some ice on your porch for delivery.

I had ordered two of each main dish which came in large plastic dishes. I appreciated the consolidated packaging. You are encouraged to return your reusable containers, and they’ll even pick them up when they deposit next week’s meals which is a great way to eliminate extra waste of take-out containers.


A plate of two vegetarian chicken fajitas made from soy curls and bell peppers served on corn tortillas. Next to the fajitas is a serving of black beans and a square of cheesy, jalapeno and white rice casserole. The round white plate is shown on a wood table background. Photo by Sara Ressing. Photo by Sara Ressing.

My first meal of "chicken" fajitas with cheesy chile rice and cumin black beans ($15) was beautiful. With bright orange bell peppers and all the sides, this meal had visual appeal. The plentiful "chicken" made from soy curls, a meat alternative made from whole soybeans and dehydrated, had a great flavor and texture. Served with two corn tortillas, I had enough fajita ingredients for leftovers.

The smoky, smooth tomato salsa was the perfect topping. I enjoy beans, but they can often be a bland afterthought at most restaurants. Piato's cumin black beans, on the other hand, could have been the star of the meal. To top off all the excellent components, the chile rice casserole was full of cheesy perfection. Kind of like a jalapeño popper, the white rice base was full of green chiles and several kinds of cheese. I could have consumed half of a pan of these and will be looking for the recipe for my home cooking.

A view of a Piato meal on a round white plate on a light wood table. On the plate is a triangular slice of smoky white bean and spinach tart, with caramelized onions crisscrossing the top.  On the lower right is a pile of bright green beans and to the lower left is a serving of mashed potateos. Photo by Sara Ressing.Photo by Sara Ressing.

Next, I tried the smoky white bean, spinach, and sundried tomato tart with mashed potatoes and green beans ($12). Sadly, like most restaurants, Piato's chefs seriously underestimated the impressive volume of mashed potatoes that I can eat. These were second-helping worthy: fluffy, buttery, and perfectly seasoned. The green beans tasted very fresh and were perfectly cooked even after being warmed up in the microwave. The tart probably would have done better rewarming in the oven. It turned out a bit soft, but the flavors were good and the overall texture was really enjoyable. I am not usually a fan of smoky tasting food, but the white bean base held that flavor well and was complemented by the sundried tomatoes.

Photo shows two servings of a Piato meal in a black reusable take out container. A light brown table is visible in the upper portion of the picture. On the right side is a mixture of roasted vegetables including half moons of zucchini, green spears of asparagus and sliced orange bell peppers. To the left is a large portion of spaghetti topped with a bright red bean chili and covered in melted cheese. Photo by Sara Ressing. Photo by Sara Ressing.

Finally, I tried Piato's Cincinnati "chili" over spaghetti with roasted veggies ($10). I am not from the Midwest, so chili with pasta confused me when I first moved to Illinois. My first taste of chili mac was a delicious revelation. I still make the recipe my friend shared with me. Then I moved near Cincinnati and was suspicious of chili on spaghetti. I actually never tried it (vegetarian chili was hard to find at restaurants), so this was my first taste of Cincinnati-style chili.

It was great. How can one go wrong when eating two servings of cheese over pasta? The “meat” and beans chili was predominantly flavored with allspice and heavily topped with shredded cheese. Compared to the other two meals, where I thought each component was perfectly matched, I was not sure if the roasted vegetables on the side worked. They did taste great, however, and were beautiful and fresh. Overall, it made for a very healthy and enjoyable meal.

 A view of Piato's half-pan of Bailey's coffee cake. THe half-moon cake is shrink wrapped on a white cardboard cake round and delivered in a brown box. The photo shows the top of the coffee cake, which is covered in a brown-sugar crumble topping. Photo by Sara RessingPhoto by Sara Ressing

I also ordered half of something called a Bailey's coffee cake ($10) envisioning something that would pair well with the occasional morning Irish coffee. Don't judge me; there is still a pandemic going on.

A side view of  a slice of Bailey's coffee cake on a white plate. The coffee cake has a brown topping over a yellow cake base. There are crumbs of cake and topping on the plate. Light is reflected on the plate and brown table background. Photo by Sara Ressing. Photo by Sara Ressing.

The Bailey's flavor came through in the cake nicely. The crumb topping was sweet, crunchy, and exactly what you want on your coffee cake. The cake itself was a bit dry but worked well with coffee (extra Bailey's or not).

Piato’s Organic Food Nanny is worth a try. Each meal is fully thought out, fresh, and flavorful. 

Piato Cafe
804 E Main St
Urbana
M-F 8 a.m to 4 p.m

Top image by Sara Ressing.