Over the last couple of years, the food world has seen a trend for meal kits and plant-based eating. Whether it’s that you’ve adopted a vegan lifestyle for health or environmental reasons, you’re trying to cut back on red meat a few days a week, or you want to learn new ways to cook with your favorite produce, Purple Carrot hopes to be here for you.
This meal kit, which launched in the wake of larger rival service Blue Apron, has been 100% plant-based from the start. The company ships meat-free, egg-free and dairy-free meals to customers around the country each week. The great part about the service is that the meals are not just for vegans. Each recipe is designed to maximize flavor, incorporate new and interesting ingredients, and offer a well-rounded nutritional profile to keep even the hungriest meat-eaters satisfied.
Cook-in-yourself and heat-and-eat options
Plans for 2 or 6 servings
Gluten-free and soy-free options
Vegan pantry add-ons
Easy to skip weeks
Select your own meals
Most packaging is recyclable
Meals under 600 calories
Some meals take less than 25 minutes
The quality and flavor of Purple Carrot come at a higher price point than competitors. So we had to see if it’s worth shelling out a few extra dollars per serving for a Purple Carrot subscription. We tested a box of three meals. In particular, we looked at how easy (or difficult) the meals were to prepare and how they tasted, plus the website and delivery experience. If you’re considering a subscription to a meal kit such as Purple Carrot, here’s what you should know before signing up. For more options, check out our tried and tested guide to the best meal delivery service.
Purple Carrot review: Fees and delivery
Purple Carrot offers most of its meals in two- and four-person serving sizes. You can also select whether you want three or four dinners a week. For the smallest box, with three meals that feed four, you’ll pay $79.50, or $13.25 per serving. For the largest option, with four meals that feed four each week, you’ll pay $88, or $11 per serving. This is more expensive than other meal kit options. First-time orders have a $25 one-time discount.
For the heat-and-eat meals, you can select six, eight, or 10 meals a week, at about $12.99 per serving.
The food arrives in a large cardboard box stocked with ice packs and a liner to keep everything cool. Because there is no dairy or raw produce in this vegan meal kit, the ingredients tend to stay fresher for longer than other non-vegan meal kits. So there’s no big rush to eat a meal if you happen to go out one night, for example.
Purple Carrot review: Using the meal delivery service
Purple Carrot has fewer menu options than other meal delivery services. While this may sound like a drawback, it makes using the service easier, and there’s no lack of delicious, interesting and possibly new-to-you meals each week.
You can view the menu up to four weeks in advance and fill your planned boxes, or skip a week if necessary online. You can also add additional menu items, such as lunches, dinners, or pantry items.
Depending on where you live, the box will arrive on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. You cannot select your own delivery date with Purple Carrot.
The meal ingredients arrive in individual plastic bags with everything pre-measured in small bottles and jars. You will need to chop most of the veggies and make most sauces from scratch with Purple Carrot, which makes it great for cooks looking to hone their culinary skills.
You’ll receive a beautiful recipe booklet with all of the meals for the week (including the dishes you didn’t order), so you can always get your own ingredients if another recipe catches your eye.
The booklet has easy-to-follow step-by-step recipe instructions – with photos of each step. However, the photos are not next to the steps in the booklet and are small, which is worth noting if you’re a visual learner. You can also find all of the Purple Carrot recipes with photos online.
Purple Carrot review: Taste and nutrition
When it comes to flavor, Purple Carrot meal kit dinners are among the best we’ve tried. The menu always includes interesting ingredients and techniques from around the world, such as Sumac Tofu Fattoush and Korean Bibimbap with Gochujang Roasted Beets and Crispy Seeded Rice.
We received three meals in our box and first made the Potato Malai Kofta with Sauteed Spinach and Tomato Chutney. This was a 30-minute meal, as the recipe promised. However, it was hands-on the entire time. We had to peel and cook potatoes, grate a carrot, mince garlic and ginger, then mash the potatoes, make a curried coconut-based sauce, cook the patties, puree the sauce, and put everything together.
By dinner time, we’d used two pots, a bowl, a grater, a peeler, and a blender. So needless to say, there was some cleanup involved. However, the meal itself was quite tasty. The potato and veggie patties held together well and crisped up nicely, and the tomato-curry sauce was delicious. There wasn’t quite enough spinach to add much to the dish, we could have used more, since it cooks down so much. This was a filling meal (we had patties leftover), probably because of the rich sauce, but had a reasonable nutritional profile of 480 calories, 16 grams of fat 75 grams of carbohydrates, and 13 grams of protein per serving.
Next, we tried the Pan-Roasted Asparagus with Seared Avocado & Crispy Shallot-Almond Sizzle. It also had French lentils as a base, which added 24 grams of protein. This meal was springy, fresh, and satisfying. It took about 30 minutes, and just two pots. There were several components to the dish, but the recipe instructions made it easy to prepare and assemble, and each item complemented the others well. We would make this dish again.
Finally, we made the Loaded Cauliflower steaks with Coconut Bacon & Chives. Another 30-minute meal, this one came together largely in the oven. The star was the smoky, sweet coconut bacon topping. There was also a lovely, refreshing salad made from zucchini ribbons and romaine lettuce on the side. The dish had 500 calories, 31 grams of fat, 52 grams of carbohydrates, and 15 grams of protein per serving. It was enough food, and everything got eaten, but not an overly heavy meal. Our caulflower was also quite small.
Purple Carrot review: Customer reviews
Purple Carrot scores four out of five stars on Trustpilot. The most excited Purple Carrot customers are those who can get their non-vegan family members to fall in love with the meals for their taste and quality. As one customer puts it, “I love cooking Purple Carrot recipes. The meals are exciting but easy enough to make them on a busy weeknight. Plus the food is delicious, even to my very-much-a-meat-eater husband.”
Negative reviews tend to cite the lack of variety in the meals. One customer wrote: “Would like more variety as a lot of the meals are Indian based. Maybe add some Mexican or Italian or vegan patty based meals. Also I would like to be able to order less than 6 meals as sometimes I don’t end up eating them all. 3 or 4 meals would be a good option.”
Should you use Purple Carrot?
If you follow a fully plant-based or vegetarian diet, or you’re just trying to incorporate more meat-free meals into your rotation, Purple Carrot is a fantastic solution. You won’t miss the animal products in the gourmet recipes. However, if you would like fish or meat options, or want a meal delivery service with more variety, you may be better off elsewhere.
If this product isn’t for you
f you prefer a meal kit that may take a bit more time but teaches you more about the culinary arts, consider Marley Spoon. You won’t find any pre-mixed ingredients in this kit, but everything comes portioned with easy step-by-step instructions that will help build your cooking skills.
Or, if you want to make dinner even faster and skip all prep work, Freshly meals come ready to heat and include options for all dietary needs.