And while online grocery shopping has solved the tricky task of maneuvering through a crowded store—rush hour at Trader Joe’s is no joke—they don’t typically make figuring out what’s for dinner any easier. Which is great for the decisive cooks among us! But for the rest of us plant-based folks who struggle to muster the creativity to meal plan, there's Purple Carrot. This vegan meal kit company makes getting dinner on the table fast and easy—and deciding what’s on the menu as easy as pressing a button.
Purple Carrot has a variety of weekly meal kits and pre-prepared meal options to pick from, so you can either make a meal from scratch or heat one up to enjoy a nourishing dish in just a few seconds. I tested the healthy meal delivery service for myself; here’s why I’ll be ordering from them on repeat from here on out.
What is Purple Carrot, and how does it work?
I’ve tried other meal kit companies out in the past, so what really makes Purple Carrot stand out for me is that they’re 100 percent plant-based. Of course, that certainly doesn’t mean you should be vegan or even vegetarian to subscribe. (I follow more of a flexitarian diet, meaning that I consume plant-based foods without fully committing to being vegetarian or vegan 24/7.) That being said, consuming more plant-based foods can significantly benefit one's health and the environment.
According to Andrea Nordby, Purple Carrot’s head of culinary, their plant-based meal kits are crafted with sustainability in mind. "On average, each Purple Carrot meal kit results in 72 percent less carbon being released into the atmosphere as compared to the standard American meal. Our commitment to the planet fuels our brand’s mission, and though we are the first of plant-based meal kits, we welcome every type of diet looking to implement healthier, convenient meals into their routines," Norby says. What's more, registered dietitians agree that there are many longevity-boosting benefits of following a mostly plant-based diet, including eating foods with a diverse array of nutritional benefits, loads of fiber that promote healthy digestion, and increased energy levels, to name a few.
As a trained chef who attended culinary school, I can decidedly say that I was wildly impressed with the quality, simplicity, and ease of making Purple Carrot's meals. Right off the bat, I chose the meal kit delivery option (versus the prepackaged, prepared meals). Though it entails actually cooking your dish from scratch, I find comfort in chopping up vegetables after a long day of work and found that the meals took at most 30 to 40 minutes to make in total. (In reality, a lot of that time was often hands-off, like roasting veggies in the oven.)
Purple Carrot's menu options are broken down into breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and spotlights seasonally-inspired options. You can also choose from an array of pantry staples. (The service has the biggest variety of dinner options, with about eight menu items to pick from; lunch and dinner had about two each.) Depending on how much food you intend to eat or how many people you’re serving, you can choose different meal plans, like two or four servings per meal and three or four meals per week.
So, is Purple Carrot worth the hype? Here’s my honest review
I can only attest to the dinner meal kits (I didn’t try the breakfast or lunch options), but I really enjoyed prepping, cooking, and (most importantly) eating the foods I prepared. I cooked sesame gnocchi with roasted brussels sprouts and ginger pumpkin butter, roasted red pepper shakshuka with za’atar tofu and crispy shallots, and crispy mushroom chick’n sandwiches with sweet potato fries and garlicky ranch.
For starters, the kit came beautifully packaged. Each meal kit was individually-wrapped and labeled with the dish’s name to make pulling out the dinner of the day from the fridge much easier. The box also came equipped with a handy recipe booklet with step-by-step instructions for preparing each meal.
I made the mushroom “chicken” sandwiches the first night, and I was fully shocked by how delicious they were. The best part for me, thought, was learning new techniques for cooking plant-based foods—all of which I can apply to other meals that I make in the future. For example, dredging mushrooms with seasoned flour and then pan-searing them for a delicious, unprocessed, plant-based meat-like alternative (I definitely plan on making this again ASAP).
Next, I tried the red pepper shakshuka and sesame gnocchi. Both were flavorful, easy to make, and a great way to diversify my usual—rather boring—meal prep routine.
My only complaint? Cooking for those with allergies can be tricky. The recipe book only indicates general allergens in the dish and the potential cross-contaminants from processing equipment. However, the ingredients (unless they're a packaged good, like tomato sauce) aren’t labeled with what they actually contain—like the multigrain bread that came with my shakshuka kit. The only way to find the complete ingredient list broken down by each individual ingredient is by heading to the website. Of course, it’s really not too much of a hassle... so long as you remember to do it before you place your order.
All in all, I found that my regularity was at its prime when I ate these meals. They were all packed with digestion-boosting fiber and protein. The shakshuka, for example, had about 37 grams of protein; meanwhile, the sweet potato fries from the crispy mushroom sandwich were filled with fiber.
My favorite part about Purple Carrot, though, was that it helped me add more vegetables into my daily diet. It also inspired me to think outside the box when replacing animal-based foods in other things I cook. What else can you ask for, honestly?
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