As an adult, I finally realize why my mom got so annoyed when I complained about having leftovers for three nights in a row. Figuring out what to cook for dinner every night can be hard.
That’s why meal delivery services took off when they first hit the market. Of course people love the idea of having everything they need to cook a meal delivered right to their door.
So I decided to hop on the bandwagon and try a popular meal delivery service, Purple Carrot. They focus on veggie-centric meals, which was perfect for me since I’m mostly vegetarian.
Purple Carrot is veggie-centric – delivering plant-based vegan meals every week. The meals don’t include meat or dairy products but still strive for a balance of proteins, starches, and veggies. Their portions are generous, and the recipes are easy to follow.
- Healthy options that are filling and delicious
- Veggie-centric meals
- Step-by-step recipes
- Pricier than other meal options
- Not much price transparency
- Limited customization for food allergies
What is Purple Carrot?
With the new popularity of meal delivery services, some companies are finding niches to distinguish themselves. Purple Carrot, as you might have guessed from the name, is veggie-centric – delivering plant-based vegan meals every week. The meals don’t include meat or dairy products but still strive for a balance of proteins, starches, and veggies.
As a mostly-vegetarian who never cooks meat, I was delighted to find an all-veggie meal service. And with evidence showing plant-based diets are good for the planet. Purple Carrot is a positive addition to the meal services out there.
How does Purple Carrot work?
Choose either a two-serving plan or a six-serving plan
The two-serving plan lets you choose three meals a week with two servings each. Purple Carrot gives you eight meal options per week, and you pick your top three. Since I don’t have any dietary restrictions other than meatlessness, I let Purple Carrot choose for me.
The six-serving plan sends you two meals a week with six servings each. Purple Carrot picks the meals for this plan.
You tack on extras if you want
For an additional cost, Purple Carrot will send you smaller bonus recipes like breakfast foods and snacks. I didn’t go for this option, though everything looked delicious. You can opt-in or out of extras at any time.
The box shows up and you get cooking.
My delivery came on a Wednesday packed in plenty of ice. There was no worry in my mind that the food had been properly kept fresh.
You keep going with your meal plan – or change, pause, or cancel
At any point, you can switch from a two-serving plan to a six-serving one or vice versa, hit “pause” on your orders for a month, or cancel your order entirely.
Payment is per week, so you won’t have to pay for anything you don’t receive.
I really appreciated this flexibility because if you just don’t want or need meals delivered one week – it’s easy to cancel.
The two-serving plan is priced at $11.99 per serving. With three dinners arriving weekly, this added up to $71.94 a week.
The four-serving plan is priced at $9.99 per serving. With two dinners arriving weekly, this adds up to around $73 a week (slightly more expensive).
Breakfast extras are $5.99 per serving, and lunch extras are $11.99 per serving.
Shipping is included for free, which is a nice perk.
I have to admit that I’ve shared with a bunch of friends this very point – that Purple carrot’s shipping is free.
Purple Carrot has super generous portions
I was kinda shocked by how much food there was!
Keep in mind the meals, particularly the dinners, can stretch beyond the Purple Carrot serving size depending on your dietary needs. I was able to make most two-serving meals last for three servings (sometimes with the help of rice, tofu, arugula, or other groceries I had on hand).
So just saying – the cost may not be as steep as it appears per meal.
Purple Carrot features
Each box comes with a fancy booklet including pictures, step-by-step cooking instructions, and lists of the ingredients you should receive. The booklet wasn’t in my first box for some reason, but I found the recipes on Purple Carrot’s website and followed the instructions with no problem.
One perk of the recipe booklets is that they include ALL Purple Carrot’s eight weekly recipes and extras, not just the two or three recipes you receive. I enjoyed these no-cost additions to my recipe collection in case I get store-bought ingredients and try my hand at them later.
Share a box
Active users can pass a free box along to a friend. Of course, Purple Carrot hopes your friend will sign up afterward, but if not, they’ll enjoy the free food.
You can add additional breakfast, lunch, or snack foods to your order for an extra cost. Add up to three extras to a two-serving plan and one extra to a six-serving plan.
You’ll get four “extra” options a week designed for quick prep (under five minutes).
Who is Purple Carrot best for?
If you’re like me and you’re interested in healthy wholesome food – Purple Carrot is going to be an excellent choice for you.
Vegetarians and vegans
Meals included vegan versions of dairy staples, like cashew cream cheese and cashew yogurt, which tasted pretty good! I have since learned that cashews are one of the magic nuts for making vegan cheese.
As someone who is super protein-conscious – I commend Purple Carrot for making sure that every meal includes a protein source. This is especially important for herbivores who want more protein in their diets.
Brand new vegetarians and vegans
A dietary change can be less stressful when the meal planning is done for you already. And the meals are super simple to cook.
Plus the recipe card includes great pics to guide you along.
People trying to eat more veggies
If you’re struggling to find time to shop or to come up with veggie-centric recipes, Purple Carrot has you covered.
Since the deliveries come weekly you can use the produce fairly quickly without worrying it will go bad.
Who shouldn’t use Purple Carrot?
People who need meat or dairy in their diets
If you’re anemic or otherwise need animal-based protein, or if that’s simply the diet you prefer, another meal delivery service might be more up your alley.
Extremely busy people
The recipes don’t take a ton of prep time – about 30 minutes each. But since they’re so produce-centric they need to be prepared pretty soon after you receive them.
Highly budget-conscious grocery shoppers
Purple Carrot is a tad steep in terms of price, especially over an extended period of time. This is partially due to the nature of the ingredients. Meat and dairy substitutes like tempeh and vegan cheese sometimes come at a higher price point.
But you’re still spending more than you might if you bought larger portions at a store.
Plus, and this is so important: the portions are HUGE so each meal will likely cover part of another meal too. So your dollar is stretched in that sense!
Pros & cons
- Healthy options — Their food choices are delicious and filling at the same time.
- Veggie-centric — Purple Carrot adds veggies to every meal and centers vegan protein sources; good for both you and the planet.
- Simple — There are step-by-step recipes make cooking easy.
- Pricey — The cost is a little more than most meal plans, but the portions are quite large….
- Not much price transparency — It’s hard to find a breakdown of how much everything adds up, including extras, on the website – until you get to the final bill.
- Limited customization for special needs — You can choose your meals with the two-serving plan, and common allergens like soy and wheat are marked clearly in the condiments, but there aren’t many options to customize for food allergies.
My experience using Purple Carrot
Food quality is excellent
Almost everything arrived fresh and stayed fresh until I cooked it. Some of the salad leaves were wilted by the time I opened the box, but that’s probably because I left the box out too long (pro tip: refrigerate veggies ASAP in the summertime). I was impressed, though, by how fresh the dairy substitutes and condiments remained.
Portions are super big
Portions were pretty large for some dinners, meaning leftovers and more for the money. The Charred Eggplant Pad Thai lasted for four meals and was just as delicious as leftovers that 4th time!
Some lighter meals like the Green Goddess Chickpea Sandwiches came out to about two portions. But still – the fact that the portions were generous I appreciated because good food is great to eat again as leftovers.
Taste and flavor
Great – I love vegan food so I wasn’t missing the meat, but the real test was that my omnivore, bacon-loving boyfriend also gave the food a stellar review.
So that’s a win-win review for Purple Carrot – the food is THAT good!
All the necessary spices (except salt and pepper) were included. If you like a lot of spice you can always augment the meals from your own spice rack. And you may end up having a lot of extra garlic; Purple Carrot sends you a whole head of garlic when a recipe needs a few cloves.
For me in particular, it was fun discovering new ways to cook vegetables. Their garlic roasted carrot fries might be my new go-to potato substitute when I’m in a healthy mood.
I also am now a huge fan of the Spicy Barbacoa Tempeh over rice with avocado on the side and Pesto Stuffed Peppers with quinoa – both delicious and pretty simple to make.
Delivery and packaging
As with most delivery services, these days – the box is recyclable. Yay!
But I was bummed to see that everything is packaged with so much plastic.
I was glad to see Purple Carrot is using small condiment containers that can be recycled, though. And I was able to reuse some of the plastic bags so that’s good.
Ingredients are clearly labeled so you have no trouble figuring out what’s what.
At $11.99 per serving or even $9.99 for the six-serving plan, Purple Carrot costs a lot more than I typically budget for a night cooking at home.
Still – given that given everything came delivered to my front door in exactly the right quantities and the fact that I had leftovers, the price point ends up being lowered.
Purple Carrot compared
At the end of the day, I will say that Purple Carrot is one of many meal-delivery options. To give you a sense of how it compares to some other popular companies, there’s a helpful table below and also check out our meal delivery kits comparison article.
|EveryPlate||HelloFresh||Blue Apron||Home Chef||Sunbasket|
|Cost||$4.99 per serving (plus more for premium meals)||$7.49 – $9.99 per serving||$7.49 – $9.99 per serving||$9.95 per serving||Starting at $9.99 per serving|
|Meal Options||No special dietary options, but 11 rotating recipes each week||Meat, vegetarian, low calorie, and family friendly options||Meat, fish, and vegetarian options||Meat, fish, and vegetarian options||18 different dietary options|
|Best For||Couples and small families who are looking for low-cost meals||People who want to learn how to cook||Foodies and wine lovers (Blue Apron has a wine subscription)||People looking for the cheapest food service||Organic food lovers|
Purple Carrot is a fantastic way to get a variety of vegan and veggie-centric recipes into your diet. And the fact that my meat-eating boyfriend also liked the food is a huge win.
Whether you’ve been thinking about adding more plant-based meals or you’ve been vegetarian for years, this service is worth a try.