Over the past few years, there has been a trend in the food world towards meal kits and plant-based meals. Whether you’ve adopted a vegan lifestyle for health or environmental reasons, are trying to cut back on red meat a few days a week, or want to learn new ways to cook with your favorite produce, Purple Carrot hopes to be here for you.
This meal kit launched after the larger competitive service Blue apron, is 100% plant-based from the start. The company delivers meat-free, egg-free and dairy-free meals to customers across the country every week. The great part about the service is that the dishes are not just for vegans. Each recipe is designed to maximize flavor, incorporate new and interesting ingredients, and offer a well-rounded nutritional profile to satisfy even the hungriest carnivore.
Self-catering and heat-and-eat options
2 or 6 serving plans
Gluten-free and soy-free options
Vegan pantry supplements
Easy to skip weeks
Choose your own meals
Most packaging can be recycled
Meals under 600 calories
High protein options
Some meals take less than 25 minutes
The quality and taste of Purple Carrot comes at a higher price than the competition. So we had to see if it was worth shelling out a few extra bucks per serving for a Purple Carrot subscription. We tested a box with three dishes. In particular, we looked at how easy (or difficult) the dishes were to prepare and how they tasted, plus the website and delivery experience. If you’re considering a meal kit subscription like Purple Carrot, here’s what you need to know before you sign up.
Purple Carrot Review: Fees & Shipping
Purple Carrot offers most of its dishes in portions for two and four people. You can also choose whether you want three or four nights a week. For the smallest box, with three meals that feed four, you’ll pay $79.50, or $13.25 per serving. For the largest option, with four meals that feed four each week, you’ll pay $88, or $11 per serving. It is more expensive than other meal kit options. First-time orders have a $25 one-time discount.
For heat-and-eat meals, you can choose six, eight or 10 meals per week, at about $12.99 per serving.
The food arrives in a large cardboard box, complete with ice packs and a pad to keep everything cool. Because there are no dairy or raw products in this vegan meal kit, the ingredients tend to stay fresher for longer than other non-vegan meal kits. So there’s no big rush to eat if you happen to be out one night, for example.
Review of Purple Carrot: Using the food delivery service
Purple Carrot has fewer menu options than other food delivery services. While this may sound like a downside, it makes the service easy to use and there is no shortage of delicious, interesting and possibly new-to-you dishes every week.
You can view the menu up to four weeks in advance and fill in your planned boxes or skip a week if needed online. You can also add additional menu items, such as lunch, dinner, or pantry.
Depending on where you live, the box will arrive on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. You cannot choose your own delivery date with Purple Carrot.
Food ingredients arrive in individual plastic bags with everything pre-measured into small bottles and jars. You’ll need to chop most vegetables and make most sauces from scratch with Purple Carrot, making it great for chefs looking to brush up on their culinary skills.
You’ll get a beautiful recipe booklet with all the meals for the week (including the meals you didn’t order), so you can always get your own ingredients if another recipe catches your eye.
The booklet contains easy-to-follow step-by-step recipe instructions – with photos at each step. However, the pictures are not up to the steps in the booklet and are small, which is worth noting if you are a visual learner. You can also find all purple carrot recipes with pictures online.
Purple Carrot Review: Taste and Nutritional Value
When it comes to taste, Purple Carrot meal kits are among the best we’ve tried. The menu always features interesting ingredients and techniques from around the world, such as Sumac Tofu Fattoush and Korean Bibimbap with Roasted Gochujang Beetroot and Crispy Seeded Rice.
We got three dishes in our box and first we made the Potato Malay Kofta with Sautéed Spinach and Tomato Lutenica. It was a 30 minute meal just as the recipe promised. However, it was practically all the time. We had to peel and cook potatoes, grate a carrot, mince garlic and ginger, then mash the potatoes, make a coconut curry sauce, cook the patties, puree the sauce and put it all together.
By dinner we had used two pots, a bowl, a grater, a peeler and a blender. So needless to say, there was some cleaning involved. However, the dish itself was quite tasty. The potato and vegetable patties held up well and got a nice crispiness and the tomato curry sauce was delicious. There wasn’t enough spinach to add much to the dish, we could have used more as there is so much cooking. It was a filling meal (we had leftover patties), probably due to the rich sauce, but it had a reasonable nutritional profile of 480 calories, 16 grams of fat, 75 grams of carbs, and 13 grams of protein per serving.
Next we tried the pan-roasted asparagus with fried avocado and crispy onions and almonds. It also had French lentils as a base, which added 24 grams of protein. This dish was springy, fresh and filling. It took about 30 minutes and only two pots. There were several components to the dish, but the recipe instructions made it easy to prepare and assemble, and each element complemented the others well. We would make this dish again.
Finally, we made the loaded cauliflower steaks with coconut bacon and chives. Another 30 minute meal, this came together pretty much in the oven. The star was the smoky, sweet coconut bacon topping. There was also a wonderful, refreshing courgette and lettuce salad on the side. The dish contains 500 calories, 31 grams of fat, 52 grams of carbohydrates and 15 grams of protein per serving. It was enough food and everything was eaten, but not too heavy food. Our cauliflower was also quite small.
Purple Carrot Review: Customer Reviews
Purple Carrot scores four out of five stars on Trustpilot. Purple Carrot’s most excited customers are those who can get their non-vegan family members to fall in love with the dishes because of their taste and quality. As one customer says, “I love making recipes with purple carrots. The dishes are exciting yet easy enough to whip up on a busy weeknight. Also, the food is delicious even for my husband who eats a lot of meat.”
Negative reviews tend to cite the lack of variety in the dishes. One customer wrote: “Would like more variety as many of the dishes are Indian based. Maybe add some Mexican or Italian or vegan patty-based dishes. I also wish I could order less than 6 dishes as sometimes I don’t manage to eat them all. 3 or 4 meals would be a good option.
Should You Use Purple Carrot?
If you’re on a plant-based or vegetarian diet, or just trying to incorporate more meat-free dishes into your rotation, Purple Carrot is a fantastic solution. You won’t miss animal products in gourmet recipes. However, if you want fish or meat options, or want a food delivery service with more variety, you may be better off elsewhere.
If this product is not for you
if you prefer a meal kit that may take a little more time but teaches you more about the culinary arts, consider Marley Spoon. You won’t find any pre-mixed ingredients in this kit, but everything comes laid out with easy step-by-step instructions to help you develop your cooking skills.
Or, if you want to make dinner even faster and skip all the prep work, Fresh meals come ready to heat and include options for all dietary needs.