Even for a serious carnivore like myself, I have to admit that Purple Carrot makes a compelling argument for plant-based meals. If you’re looking to spice up your dinner, here’s how Purple Carrot can help.
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Let’s be honest, the idea of a plant-based diet doesn’t exactly thrill me to the core. I’m the kind of person who’ll enjoy a good steak, a hearty hamburger, and definitely a slice (or three) of pizza. In the words of John Pinette, “Salad’s not food. It’s a promissory note that food will follow.” So, you can appreciate my skepticism when I heard about Purple Carrot, the all plant-based meal kit delivery service.
But believe it or not, I decided to try it out anyway. Why? Well, according to a lot of research, eating too much meat is the cause of some serious health conditions like heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes, cancer, obesity, and more. A plant-based diet, on the other hand, decreases blood pressure, reduces risks of heart disease, and lowers your risk of getting diabetes. In fact, it can even improve or reverse the effects of certain chronic diseases.
I’m not sure I’m totally sold on swearing off burgers forever, but it piqued my curiosity enough to try it for a little while. Here’s what I discovered by going Purple Carrot for two weeks.
Purple Carrot is easy to sign up for. You put in your email and password, and you’re already a member. Then you can choose which plan you want, give your payment and shipping info, and you’re done. Purple Carrot ships kits every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to the 48 contiguous states.
When it arrives, here’s what comes in your Purple Carrot box:
- Recipe cards: To begin with, Purple Carrot sends a whole packet of recipes (not just the ones you ordered). This is a bit confusing at first, but you figure it out really fast. Then you have a lot of other plant-y recipes to try if the mood strikes you. The recipe cards were fairly easy to read and follow, even for someone like me who isn’t so handy around the kitchen (a bowl of cereal is my piece de resistance). One complaint is that there were a lot of steps to follow.
- All the ingredients you need to create your masterpiece meals: Here’s the best part of the package. All the ingredients are exactly measured out to how much you’ll need for each recipe and serving. So, you don’t have to bother with any measuring spoons.
Cooking time varies for each recipe, but the breakfast and lunches are supposed to be ready in just five minutes.
Did you know that there are over 20,000 edible plants in the world? Me neither, but I’m pretty sure the folks at Purple Carrot figured out how to incorporate almost every one of them into these meals. I was impressed with how many varieties and how much flavor these meals had considering they’re just…well…plants. Purple Carrot does a great job of adding punch and flavor to each recipe, so you feel like you’re eating real food, not just a plate of greens.
Here were a few of the meals I tested out:
- Chickpea massaman curry with farro and baby bok choy: Just reading the name made me feel a little fuller, and I didn’t even know what half the things were!
- Yakisoba noodles: Not gonna lie. I was secretly hoping I’d acquire some sick martial arts skills after eating this dish. It didn’t happen, but I was pleasantly surprised with how tasty this pasta dish turned out to be. The yakisoba noodles were decorated with gai lan and wild mushrooms, and it was absolutely delicious.
- Early spring pad thai with swiss chard and snap peas: I’m a big pad thai fan, so this was an obvious choice. I liked the flavors on this one very much, a tad of sharp with a twist of lime.
You can also enjoy a few classics like Tuscan style zucchini with herb sausage and lemon quinoa, Mediterranean flatbreads with apricot and scallion cashew cheese, and crunchy Thai vegetable salad with mango and coriander tofu.
The extras Purple Carrot talks a lot about are supposed to be breakfast and lunch additions. Honestly, these are pretty much just like a normal diet plan would offer only a little tastier (i.e., you don’t feel like you’re only eating plants with these meals). So, you can add a bowl of overnight oats with fresh peach and Ceylon cinnamon crunch if you’re feeling peckish in the morning, or a lunch of brown rice banh mi bowls with tofu and pickled jalapenos.
If you are gluten-free, you can also take advantage of Purple Carrot’s TB12 Performance Meals. Good for people trying to cut gluten from their diet, the TB12 plan is also a great choice if you are a serious athlete or gym freak. These meals are jam-packed with protein and plant-based dishes that are ideal for highly active individuals who need that burst of protein in their diet to maintain peak performance. Some of the options on this plan include crunchy Thai vegetable salad with mango and coriander tofu, cauliflower steaks with pepita romesco sauce and crispy butter beans, and Cuban-style black bean tacos with pickled onions and guacamole.
Purple Carrot has pricing plans comparable with the other organic, health-based meal kit delivery services. Where you’ll get savings, though, is in the shipping. Most other companies make you pay shipping on top of the plan pricing, but Purple Carrot throws it in for free. You’ll also get a $20 discount on your first order. Here are the three plans you can choose from:
|Two Servings Plan||Six Servings Plan||TB12 Performance Meals Plan|
|Price per serving||$11.99||$7.99||$12.99|
|Price per week||$71.94||$95.88||$77.94|
If a meal consisting of just plant life doesn’t sound like it’ll fill you up till you’re ready to burst, don’t worry. Purple Carrot lets you add extras to your plan to supplement your appetite. Breakfast extras come in packs of four, and they cost $6 per serving, while lunch extras come with two servings and cost $12 per serving. As you can see, the price comes down considerably when you order the bulk plan. So, while the two-serving plan puts Purple Carrot around the mid-range for pricing in this industry, the bulk plan definitely makes it one of the cheaper options. Besides, the six-serving plan is kind of like a family plan. That means this menu is even kid and family-friendly–another perk.
Purple Carrot also sells gift cards that you can give to friends who might be curious about a plant-based diet too. An unusual gift, but whatever floats your boat.
Purple Carrot has a lot going for it, but there are also some things that it could work on. Here’s what I liked and what I didn’t:
- Only plant-based menu: If you are vegan, vegetarian, or just trying to add more plants to your diet, Purple Carrot will make life much easier. While there are only about a dozen options to choose from each week, the menu changes every week. So, you keep getting something fresh and new to enjoy.
- All ingredients come pre-measured and portioned: A major plus for busy people or anyone who just hates that part of cooking (read: everyone). Purple Carrot preps just about everything. But you do have to cut up vegetables sometimes.
- Easy to follow recipe cards: The cards have clear instructions and steps to follow for fast and easy cooking.
- Better for the environment: Plant production is infinitely better for the world than other types of food. For example, a pound of veggies takes about 39 gallons of water to produce. That same pound of beef takes 1,850 gallons!
- Fun tricks and tips for better cooking: Anything that’ll make cooking easier and more enjoyable is great. And if you’re a foodie, this is a really big perk.
- Some meals are ready in five minutes: The breakfasts and lunches are super fast and easy to have ready to eat in minutes.
- Easily change plans or skip anytime: Another big perk for busy people (or anyone who just hates getting the runaround), with Purple Carrot you can easily skip a week, change plans, or even cancel your subscription. The options are right there on your account settings, so you don’t even have to talk to a service rep.
- Gluten-free options: Purple Carrot has a gluten-free meal plan for those who can’t or don’t want to eat gluten.
- Add extras to your plans: If you’re looking for more than just dinner, Purple Carrot accommodates you as well by providing appetizing breakfasts, lunches, and snack options.
- Plenty of flavor: Finally, the most important part. Any diet won’t last long if the meals are bland. Purple Carrot works extra hard to provide customers with healthy, nutritious, and tasty meals. What’s more, the recipes are a blend of eclectic flavors, not your traditional meals. So, you can get a taste of different cultures, spices, and combinations that you would never have access to otherwise.
- Only plant-based menu: While this is generally a perk for anyone looking into these types of services, it’s worth mentioning for anyone who doesn’t want to cut out things like eggs, cheese, fish, and meat.
- A little limited on the plans: While Purple Carrot has gluten-free, high protein, low carb, nut free, and soy free options, the actual meal plans are limited. You can only order two or six-person plans. What if I have three people to feed? Or four?
- A lot of steps to the recipes: Recipes are easy to follow, but don’t think this is going to be a quick process. There are several steps, and preparing these meals takes time.
- Vegans, vegetarians: This service was MADE for YOU!
- Anyone who wants to add more vegetables and plant-based meals to their diet: Even if you don’t feel like quitting meat cold turkey, Purple Carrot is a great option if your doctor, mother, or girlfriend is making you feel guilty about too much bacon in your diet. These meals are a good way of beefing…er…up your vegetable intake without feeling like you’re betraying your steak and burgers.
- Adventurous diners: Looking for burst of flavor? This is the place to be.
On the other hand, Purple Carrot is clearly not for everyone. For example, here are a few people who wouldn’t know what to do with one of these kits:
- Carnivores: If you have to have your meat at every meal, skip Purple Carrot. It’s a waste of your time.
- Diehard dairy fans: Same goes for the dairy fanatics. A plant-based lifestyle doesn’t accommodate dairy products, so if you have to have your yogurts, cheesy pizzas, and other pastas smothered in cream sauce, this is not the meal kit delivery service for you.
- Picky eaters: If you like your regular run of the mill food, look elsewhere.
Once again, I’m not going to make this plant-only diet a way of life because frankly, I like my beef just too much. But even for a serious carnivore like myself, I have to admit that Purple Carrot made a compelling argument for plant-based meals. And I might even decide to sprinkle them into my diet here and there. (I could easily go for one of those overnight oatmeal’s any morning!)
It was pleasantly surprising to see how appetizing Purple Carrot was able to make meals that were entirely plant-based. I came into this experiment expecting bland, boring, and blah foods. What I got was a flavorful feast of fun and colorful alternatives that had my taste buds humming a happy tune.Topics: Green Living • Reviews • Smart Spending