Meal Kit Monday: A Review Of Purple Carrot

Meal kit services have been around for years, but there are so many options that it can be overwhelming to figure out which one to choose. To help cut through the noise, I tried nine different meal kits that cater to various types of home chefs so you don't have to. I'll be posting an honest review about my experience with a different meal kit every Monday.

If one of your New Year's resolutions is to improve your cooking skills then a meal kit can be a great way to learn – but you may be struggling to find the right one for you. Sure, there's the classics like HelloFresh and Blue Apron, but if you live a plant-based lifestyle, it's hard to find a service with enough options suited to your diet. Enter Purple Carrot. The 100% vegan meal kit service sends ingredients and recipes straight to your door for a weekly cost and you can cancel at any time. I recently tried one week's worth of Purple Carrot's meals; this is what I thought. 

Purple Carrot Details

Purple Carrot is known for its plant-based menu, which means no meat, dairy or eggs. The price starts at $71.94 per week, which includes shipping and three recipes that serve two people. Customers can also opt to receive three or four recipes per week for the two-servings plan. The four-serving option comes with your choice of two or three recipes per week.

Customers choose from a selection of eight dinner recipes per week. Purple Carrot also offers a couple breakfast and lunch options. Plans include high-protein, gluten-free, quick & easy or chef's choice and the service also lets you filter its menus by dietary concerns.

Purple Carrot Experience

Although Purple Carrot's recipe selections are smaller than some competitors, the options are far from boring. They take inspiration from different cuisines with dishes like smoky portobello tacos and crispy cauliflower pakoras, but also offer classic American comfort foods like soups and sandwiches.

After perusing the options, I settled on Mexican socca pizza, portobello mushroom BLTs and spiced chickpea stew.

The box arrived in good condition. It was lightweight and not too big, which made it easy to carry up to my fourth-floor walkup. When I opened the box, the contents weren't very cold because Purple Carrot only sends one ice pack. I'd recommend making sure you're home when it delivers so that nothing spoils.

The ingredients for each recipe came in separate plastic bags that kept everything organized. However, the use of unnecessary plastic was noticeable considering some other kits sent their ingredients in recyclable paper bags.

Instead of individual recipe cards, Purple Carrot sends a booklet with all of the week's recipes. I appreciated this because now I can also make the meals that I didn't end up selecting. The recipe cards have photos of each step in the cooking process but don't provide pictures of what the ingredients look like pre-chopping. This was a little confusing for ingredients that I've never worked with before.

In terms of the actual cooking process, the ease varies depending on the recipe. The mushroom BLTs were very simple to make and had few steps with minimal slicing and dicing. But the Mexican socca pizza was a completely different story.

Instead of receiving a ready-made crust, I had to make the crust from scratch with chickpea flour and use an oven-safe skillet to broil the crust for about 10 minutes. The pizza was topped with onions and sweet potatoes that I also had to bake. Overall, I found this recipe to be too complicated, and it took a lot longer than the listed cook time.

I also noticed that the ingredient proportions were a little off. For the BLTs, the tomatoes were very small and I was left with only one slice to add to the second sandwich. But for the arugula, the situation was the opposite. I was sent two bags of arugula for a small pizza and two sandwiches, which was way too generous.

Despite some of these little idiosyncrasies, the flavor for each recipe was spot on. As a non-vegetarian or vegan, Purple Carrot taught me how to go the extra mile with plant-based ingredients in a way that made them really shine. This meal kit would work well for people interested in living a vegan lifestyle, those wanting to incorporate more meatless dishes into their diet, or for people who are already plant-based but are in a recipe rut.

However, if you're someone on a budget who wants recipe options with meat, Purple Carrot isn't the meal kit for you.

Disclosure: The meal kit was purchased by The Daily Meal for review purposes, and all opinions are honest and belong solely to the reviewer