If you've ever explored meal kit services that feature plant-based eating, you've likely come across Purple Carrot. This vegan meal delivery service sets you up with your choice of meal kits -- letting you prep meals in your own kitchen in a snap -- or fresh, prepared meals that heat up within minutes: The choice is yours.
I got ahold of a promotional meal kit box with three, two-serving meals: sesame-chickpea udon noodle soup; tofu marsala; and a classic mac and cheese.
In this review
- What is Purple Carrot?
- Meal kit pros and cons
- Purple Carrot meal options
- Plans and pricing
- Purple Carrot and dietary limitations
- Customer reviews
- Our final verdict
- Related content
I'll break down the basics of Purple Carrot, including what to expect while building your first meal plan, plus prices weekly recipe selections. I'll also dive into my personal experience with Purple Carrot, from unboxing my ingredients to the cooking process.
What is Purple Carrot?
Purple Carrot is a meal delivery service that promotes a healthy diet by serving up plant-based recipes to customers. Like many other meal delivery services, Purple Carrot gives you a few options: meal kits that come with prepackaged ingredients and cooking instructions for you to prepare yourself, or prepared meals that are ready within minutes.
Purple Carrot meals feature an array of plant-based meals featuring nutrient-dense ingredients such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The benefits of a plant-based diet include things like reduced risk of heart disease or diabetes. This makes Purple Carrot a compelling choice for anyone looking for an easy way to switch up their diet.
Meal kit pros and cons
Overall, my Purple Carrot experience was a good one. Ingredients arrived, fresh and well packed, right on time. The first meal I cooked up was a mac and cheese dish with thyme roasted mushrooms and tomato cream. The listed 40-minute cook time took my closer to an hour, but the home chef within me enjoyed the process.
Here is my complete breakdown of the pros and cons for Purple Carrot:
- Weekly menu offers up a number of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options.
- Plant-based meals may help with a healthier lifestyle f you stick with the meal kit company for several weeks or longer, but ask your doctor for more info.
- Meal kit recipes are straightforward, thanks to easy cooking instructions. Yet the meal s are challenging enough for the moderate home chef (you'll likely be slicing, dicing, sautéing, and blending).
- Seasonal ingredients keep meal options fresh and enticing year round.
- Limited organic options. Some meals include conventional produce.
- A number of meals are relatively high in sodium and total carbs -- always double check that nutritional label.
- Cooking instructions come with a booklet containing your recipes. If you prefer the recipe cards of other meal kits, this can be a (minor) inconvenience as you flip through looking for the right recipe.
- Deliveries come with a lot of plastic, including bags, jars and bottles. Thankfully, most of Purple Carrot's packaging materials can be recycled.
Purple Carrot meal options
Purple Carrot offers a dozen or so dinner recipes per week, as well as options for breakfast and lunch. There are typically one or more meals labeled as gluten-free, nut-free or soy-free, for those with dietary restrictions or preferences.
Some examples of what you can expect from Purple Carrot's weekly menu include Moroccan chickpea soup with orzo and cilantro gremolata; tagine-style fried rice with lemon tahini drizzle and pistachios; and falafel-spiced chickpea sandwiches with tzatziki and sesame carrot fries.
Meals typically take somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes to cook, which is right in the sweet spot between quick and easy prep times and meal kits that require a bit more experience in the kitchen (such as Blue Apron). You also have a choice of two or four servings when making your selections -- par for the course when it comes to meal kits.
In addition to dinner recipes, you can also tack on a variety of other things to your orders. That could include tasty breakfast items like matcha chia parfait, peanut butter mango toasts, or my personal favorite (that I wish I sampled during my review): blueberry-orange pancakes with vanilla yogurt. There are also lunch items like rice bowls and vegetable wraps, as well as an assortment of pantry items (cheekily nicknamed "plantry" items).
How much for a Purple Carrot box?
Purple Carrot dinners start at $11 per serving, so depending on your plan, you could pay between $80 to $130 per box.
The breakdown comes when you select the number of servings (two or four) and dinners (two, three, or four) you want shipped to your doorstep. Additions like breakfast items (starting at $4.50 per serving) or lunches ($9 per serving) will also add to your final total. Pantry items are priced a la carte: examples include vanilla glazed donuts ($4), bagels ($7), and various juice drinks ($5 each).
If you're less interested in preparing meals yourself, Purple Carrot's prepared dinner options start at $13 per serving. One great thing about Purple Carrot prices is that there is no separate shipping charge -- these costs are simply folded into the serving prices.
Another thing worth noting is that, like many meal kit competitors, Purple Carrot typically offers additional savings for first-time subscribers. At the time of this writing, you can save $100 on your first four boxes once you start building your plan.
Purple Carrot and dietary limitations
While Purple Carrot excels at laying out a variety of vegan and plant-based meals, the meal kit company doesn't have the robust selection of meal plans that other meal kits offer. Depending on your dietary restrictions, you might want to check out other kits first -- such as HelloFresh for Mediterranean or pescatarian diets, or Blue Apron for paleo or diabetes-friendly fare.
Purple Carrot does serve up several high-protein, low calorie, gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free recipes with its weekly selections, so we're not saying that Purple Carrot is the wrong choice for people with limited diets. But there might be other options worth considering, depending on your dietary needs.
What are customers saying in the reviews?
Reviews seem mostly positive when it comes to Purple Carrot and its selection of plant-based meals. Some reviewers took points off for limited customization options and long-ish cook times. After personally reviewing Blue Apron and HelloFresh meal kits, I found that Purple Carrot meals generally came with a comparable time commitment.
Other reviews noted the price difference between Purple Carrot and other meal delivery services. While it's true that the price per serving is a bit higher (Sunbasket starts at $10 per serving and HelloFresh at $8), there's one factor to keep in mind: shipping fees. Purple Carrot offers free shipping in exchange for slightly higher-than-average serving prices.
What unifies most reviewers (myself included) is the company's focus on healthy, plant-based meals. Fresh ingredients that add a bit of variety to meals make Purple Carrot a winner.
Plant-based Purple Carrot: Yay or nay? Our final verdict
If all you needed was one last push to switch to a more plant-based diet, consider this review just that. I found Purple Carrot's meal selections to be just varied enough to keep a home cook coming back for more week after week.
The meal kits themselves are ideal if you enjoy spending a bit of time prepping and cooking dishes yourself. If that's not really your style, then there are fully prepared meals to check out as well.
Ingredients such as seasonal fruits and vegetables and intriguing spices can really spruce up dinnertime throughout the week.
One thing I'll addL If your main concerns include eating organic or finding a large selection of meals that cater to certain dietary restrictions (paleo, keto, and low-fat weekly options are limited), you may want to check out otherfirst.
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