Purple Carrot review: How does this plant-based meal delivery service stack up?
By Sian Babish
Sep 18, 2020 at 1:07 PM
Nutritious meals are foundational to health and wellness. But when you’re juggling a busy schedule, it can be challenging to find time to enjoy a healthy, home-cooked meal, let alone find healthy recipes and shop for the right ingredients.
Purple Carrot claims that its plant-based meal delivery service is the solution that busy, health-conscious people have been looking for.
Purple Carrot delivers full-fledged meal kits that include fresh produce as well as pre-measured spices, seasonings, and grains. According to Purple Carrot, this subscription takes the hard work out of grocery shopping and the guesswork out of preparation. All subscribers have to do is cook and enjoy their meals.
We decided to put Purple Carrot to the test to see whether the service really delivers on flavor and convenience. Here's what we found.
We had busy people with a variety of food preferences and dietary restrictions test Purple Carrot to see whether this subscription service was versatile enough to meet their needs. Among our testers, we included casual cooks and those with with plant-based diets or health-conscious lifestyles.
Purple Carrot has flexible weekly meal delivery plans that are typically delivered early in the week. It claims to offer a wide variety of meals, including dishes that are high-protein, gluten-free, soy-free, or quick and easy. Purple Carrot also has breakfast, lunch, and pre-packed snack kits available.
Purple Carrot cost
Purple Carrot offers two types of subscription plans. The two-serving plan is available for three to four dinners per week at $11.99 per serving. The four-serving plan is available for two to three dinners per week at $9.99 per serving. Both plans include free shipping, and the service offers $20 off the first week for new subscribers to any plan.
We opted to try the two-meal/four-serving plan for $79.99 per week. This breaks down to approximately $10 per dinner, but because we often had enough leftovers for a second meal, the cost was closer to $5-$7 per serving. The plan includes an option to add up to three extra picks from the breakfast, lunch, or snack menus as well.
Ordering from Purple Carrot was a simple, user-friendly experience. Once we created an account, we were able to peruse menus and select meals for the week. For the four-serving plan, there were four meals to choose from each week. It was easy to pick meals, as well as cancel or pause orders. Changes to dishes or deliveries, however, must be finalized a week in advance.
Purple Carrot displays each dish on its site with colorful images, recipes, and nutritional information -- so you can see exactly what you're signing up for as you select the week's meals. The dishes, which are displayed like "cookbook cards" on the site, also list the categories they fall into. Coconut Tofu, for example, is classified as both high-protein and quick and easy. Citrus Beet Bowls are gluten-free and soy-free.
Depending on where you live, deliveries arrive on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays. We received our deliveries early Tuesday evenings, which meant we had enough time to prepare and cook our first meal the night of arrival if we wanted.
Purple Carrot shipped our meal kits with a considerable amount of packaging to preserve the freshness of its ingredients. The food was packaged within a TemperPack ClimaCell and wedged between cooling packs.
It's fairly easy to discern how to recycle or compost the materials given their numbering; however, if you're unsure, Purple Carrot has a page on their site explaining how and where to recycle each piece. The page also includes tips for upcycling and repurposing materials.
We were surprised, however, to find that all food items were individually packaged with single-use plastic. In one of our meal kits, for example, we received two scallions -- both of which were individually wrapped. Spices and seasonings were also packaged in pre-measured plastic bags.
Cooking with Purple Carrot
We foundPurple Carrot meals to be approachable enough for cooks of all levels, including those new to cooking. Each kit came with a recipe card that laid out clear direction and guidance in language that was easy to understand.
Because ingredients aren't pre-chopped or combined, we were required to handle all aspects of preparation. While this kept ingredients fresher for longer, it meant the cooking process was about the same as it would be if we'd bought the ingredients at the grocery store.
We found preparation to be straightforward; however, we were a bit surprised at the number of pots and pans we were using for each meal. With that said, Purple Carrot recipes rarely call for special accessories or appliances outside of kitchen essentials like knives, pots, pans, and cookie sheets.
Purple Carrot meals
Purple Carrot meals were flavor-packed without being overwhelming. Dishes came from a diverse array of cuisines and were full of nutritional ingredients like kimchi, fresh spinach, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and beans.
Purple Carrot often draws inspiration from popular plant-based meals from around the world. Roasted Carrot Hummus Bowls, for example, are flavored with Za'atar, a seasoning popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. We felt Purple Carrot's variety would be appealing to those with adventurous tastes, as well as individuals interested in expanding their palates.
Because seasonings and spices are individually packaged, it's easy to customize flavor level to preference. Kitchen staples, such as oil, salt, and pepper, aren't included with meal kits -- which means they can be added to taste as well. And any time we weren't satisfied with the level of spice in a dish, we simply pulled from our spice rack and added more until it was exactly what we wanted.
Some of us were familiar with some of the dishes we received, though we did not expect certain plant-based substitutions in them. Paneer (a cheese commonly used in Indian cooking), for example, was substituted with tofu. We appreciate, however, that these changes were made to create dishes that were truly plant-based and within certain dietary parameters.
As far as portion size, we were pleased with the amount of food in each dish. Not only were portions surprisingly generous and filling, but there were also often enough leftovers for another meal. This was a stark contrast from other meal delivery services we've tried that often left us less than satiated.
Purple Carrot pros
Overall, we felt Purple Carrot had a lot to offer in terms of dish variety. Many of the meals we enjoyed delivered a restaurant-quality experience with a mix of healthy and wholesome ingredients. Not only were we satisfied with every meal, we were also excited to try upcoming ones.
Purple Carrot does most of the legwork to deliver on convenience. The subscription service is a time-saver that reduces trips to the grocery store and time spent finding nutritious and flavorful plant-based recipes. Meal prep is easy with pre-portioned ingredients and simple, straightforward instructions.
Purple Carrot is plant-based, but their dishes include an ample amount of protein through grains, legumes, soy, and vegetables. For that reason, we felt meals were well-balanced, filling, and nutritious.
Purple Carrot cons
It should be noted that Purple Carrot doesn't intend to take the place of ordering take-out. Given the amount of prep involved, subscribers will not save time on cooking. Purple Carrot's unique dishes may not appeal to everyone, especially picky eaters and those who prefer basic meals.
Purple Carrot is a fun and convenient approach to healthy, plant-based eating. At approximately $10-$12 per serving, it's best characterized as a concierge healthy eating service that's best suited to busy professionals, parents, or couples in search of well-balanced, wholesome meals. It would also be a great introduction for those who are new to plant-based cooking, and the caloric info provided on each recipe would be helpful to anyone monitoring their caloric intake for any reason.
We'd also recommend this as an option for anyone who has trouble getting fresh produce in their area or who prefers to minimize trips out of the house. More than anything, Purple Carrot puts the joy back into nutritious cooking and eating without the hassle of grocery shopping or recipe searching.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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