Purple Carrot Meal Kit Review

Purple Carrot Meal Kit Review

Dave Beaulieu October 17th, 2018

Review Summary

Purple Carrot was founded in 2014 and is one of the meal kit providers fully focused on offering plant based meals for their subscribers. The Boston based company was founded by Andy Levitt, who spent the greater part of his career in the pharmaceutical industry. At the age of 40, after being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, and getting exposed to the world of vegan eating, Andy found his true calling in plant based meals.

While I'm am a dedicated omnivore, I fully acknowledge the health benefits of eating more plants. And even more importantly (to me at least), know that excluding meat doesn't mean excluded incredible flavors. So I was excited to give Purple Carrot a try.

The box I ordered from Purple Carrot contained three recipes:

  • Tempeh tikka masala tacos
  • Skillet fettuccine
  • Fall vegetable ramen

Those three meals fell into the Chef's Choice meal plan. Purple Carrot offers two other "core" plan options, the Quick & Easy plan (designed for those new to the world of plant based meals), and the High Protein meal plan, for those looking to maximize protein, while still eating plant based meals. Their fourth meal plan option is the TB12 - meals based on NFL quarterback Tom Brady's diet.

All the plans cost $12 per serving, and each comes with three recipes serving 2 people each.

Ordering the meals was simple and as I'd expect from any good online shopping experience. After choosing which plan you'd like, you register (either directly or with your facebook account), and ensure that you're within Purple Carrots delivery area - which is likely, as they deliver to the continental US.

Once registered, you'll be defaulted into meal selections, which you can change/customize if you'd like - there are six to choose from. You can also set up future shipments and skip a week if needed.

Of course, the big question is, are the meals any good?

All the ingredients that came in my box looked, and tasted fresh, and I was completely happy with how everything was packaged. The ingredients for each recipe were bagged together, and it made sorting the recipes simpl. Getting them ready to cook them was a snap.

The box arrived with a detailed recipe book that contained not just the recipes I ordered, but descriptions for all the recipes offered that week for the plan I choose. While I wasn't cooking them all, I actually liked looking at the other options, thinking about whether I'd order them in the future or not.

The directions for the recipes were well written and clear, with enough detail for even novice cooks. Also included, were some tips & tricks, and nutrition info reach recipe.

Cooking the recipes took between 30 - 40 minutes (of course i was filming them), which is just a bit over what the recipe card said they should take. And there wasn't anything I found too hard or confusing.

Of the three recipes I tried, I really liked 2 of them. The Fall Vegetable Ramen and the Skillet Fettuccine. Both dishes had good flavors, textures, and made sense as a complete meal. The Tempeh Tacos, had nice flavor (from the sauce), and the vegetables had a great crunch/texture. But I discovered that I'm not a big fan of Tempeh. While it's not "offensive" in any way, it just didn't add much, and I don't think it's a great substitute for chicken. That said, I'm sure anyone used to (or who likes) tempeh would very much enjoy the tacos.

Overall I liked the meals I got from Purple Carrot, and the process was simple and clear. Now, as a avid omnivore, I don't plan to give up meat any time soon, but do fully appreciate the value of getting more plants into my diet and could see working these meals into my rotation.

I personally would probably focus on the meals that don't leverage meat substitutes like tempeh or seitan, as meat eaters are likely going to find them poor substitutes. The flavors where all really nice, clean and fresh. The ingredients where high quality, and I'm sure the non-meat eaters would love just about everything on the menu.

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Pros of Purple Carrot

  • Get 25% off your first order
  • 100% plant based meals
  • Fast cooking times - generally less than 30 minutes

Cons of Purple Carrot

  • A bit expensive at $12 per serving
  • Meat eaters may not like meat substitutes like tempeh
  • Meat eaters may not like meat "substitutes" like tempeh

Purple Carrot's Cost

Quick & EasyHigh ProteinChef's ChoiceTB12
Cost Per Serving$12.00$12.00$12.00$13.00

How Purple Carrot works

Purple Carrot's 100% meal plans come in three different core meal plans plus one special one (more on that in a minute). The different plans are designed to cater to folks just starting with plant based meals all they way to committed vegetarians who are those looking to expand their horizons. They include:

  • Quick & Easy, are meals designed to be cooked in less than 30 minutes for people on the go and short on time. This plan is designed for those who are starting to explore the work of plant based cooking.
  • High Protein meals are protein packed and built to energize. Plant based diets don’t need to be low in protein, and these meals leverage high protein plants in every meal.
  • Chef’s Choice plan is all about expanding one’s culinary horizons as they continue their journey into the world of plant-based eating.

Each of these plans are priced at $12 per serving, and each box comes with 3 recipes to serve 2 people each.

Purple Carrot offers one more plan designed with input from Tom Brady himself - the TB12 Plan. This plan is priced at $13 per serving, and the meals are based on Tom's criteria of gluten-free, high protein, low soy and of course 100% plant based.

While the meals do vary across the plans, the following is a sample of the kinds of meals available:

  • Tempeh tikka masala tacos with yogurt cucumbers & mango chutney
  • Skillet fettuccine with chickpeas & tomato butter
  • Black bean rice bake with scallion cashew cheese & avocado
  • Fall vegetable ramen with brussels sprouts & butternut squash
  • Take-out style seitan with cauliflower rice & bok choy
  • Scallion creamed corn with vibrant quinoa & fennel chips

Registering & Ordering

You can browse through plan options & recipes on the Purple Carrot website, but to order you need to register, either directly, or using your Facebook account. The plan that you choose, determines which recipes are going to be available for you.

You are defaulted into meal choices, and depending on the day, and your preferred delivery window, you're probably going to be 1 - 2 weeks away from your first shipment. You've got the freedom to review and modify your current (and future) menu choices, up until a few days before the box ships.

The box will arrive on your door step, and you do not need to be there to sign for it. Ingredients are packaged on ice packs and insulated, so they are ok to stay outside until you get home. Ingredients for recipes are bagged together, making sorting simple. And each box comes with a recipe card that details how to cook the recipes.

If you need to change you order or skip a week you can do so on the website after logging in. You can also cancel anytime, but they make you send a separate email to do so, which is kind of a drag.

Where does Purple Carrot Delivery?

Like many other meal kit providers, Purple Carrot delivers to the continental US.

Is Purple Carrot Organic?

While Purple Carrot is 100% plant based, I wasn't able to find anything on their website about being organic or GMO free. 

Purple Carrot's Quality

I typically look at quality in two ways. First, the quality of the ingredients - is everything fresh, clean, and tasting the way it should. And second, the quality of the recipes - do the ingredients work together, provide a full balanced meal, that makes sense.

The box from Purple Carrot had ingredients for three recipes, that included pantry items (canned goods and sauces), fresh vegetables, and the plant based meat substitute, tempeh.

I was happy with the quality of the ingredients. All the pantry items were good quality, and there was plenty of each. Many, like the vegan butter, tomato paste, and mango chutney came in small containers, individually package and pre-portioned in the amounts I needed.

The vegetables seemed fresh, and while the brussel sprouts had a few blemishes, they were only cosmetic defects. They all tasted fresh and were at least as good as I'd be able to pick out in most grocery stores.

I'll admit, I'm not a good judge of the tempeh, as I don't think, I've never eaten it. It may have been the best or worst in the world, and without any comparison point I'd never really know. That said, I'm pretty sure it was fine, the flavor was very neutral. I suspect meat eaters, who will compare it chicken, won't like it; but vegetarians will.

Aside from the ingredients, I also was happy with how the meals came together. The Tikki masala tacos, was the only meal I had that seemed like the meat substitute (the tempeh) was "forced"; trying to replace what would normally be chicken. It's not chicken and that was very noticeable. That said, the flavors were quite good.

The other two meals I tried, the ramen, and the fettuccine, had rich flavor, good contrast in textures, and the fact that they were plant based, was an after thought. As an omnivore, that's probably the biggest compliment I can give.

Aside from the food itself, the shipping material/process met all my expectations. And the recipe card was well written. All the directions where clear, and the beautiful pictures helped me get the cooking done quickly and well.

Purple Carrot's Variety

Unfortunately, I was not overly impressed with the variety of options that Purple Carrot offers. There are choices, just not a ton.

In the "chef's plan", which is the one I tried, there are 6 available recipes every week, and you need to choose three. Obviously, if more than 3 don't tickle your fancy you're out of luck. The other core plans work the same way.

However, the TB12 plan, has just three options, and you're "choosing" 3. So really no choice at all. That said, if you're going to start throwing the ball like Tom Brady, maybe that's worth it!! ;-)

Purple Carrot's Simplicity

While some of the other Purple Carrot reviews I read, sighted a good amount of work going into the Purple Carrot recipes, I didn't find any of the three I made overly complex.

The directions for each indicated a total cooking time of about 30 minutes, and all of them took just about that amount of time. I didn't find any of the techniques super complicated, and think most people will be able to handle the cooking techniques involved.

Is Purple Carrot Kid Friendly?

So, when I think about kid friendly, I always immediately think about my own kids. And the reality is, for my kids, many of these meals are going to be a very tough sell.

They did not like the tempeh at all. And the ramen had way to many vegetables staring up at them, for them to enthusiastically dig in.

However, they did devour the skillet fettuccine with gusto.

I don't think Purple Carrot is going to be an easy choice for most family with kids.

Overall

I don't believe I'm ever going to be a vegan, or even vegetarian. I enthusiastically call from the roof, that I love meat to much to do so.

That said, I fully recognize it's really easy for us to to eat way to much meat. And I fully recognize the value of eating more plants. However, it's often difficult for traditional meat eaters to think of and conceptualize plant based meals...and to realize they can be super tasty, with the lack of meat an after thought.

For meat eaters, bridging that gap is perhaps Purple Carrots greatest benefit. The meals I made (and researched on the PC site) are complete meals, with a variety of flavors & textures. Two of the three, had no notion, and no need, of any meat "substitute" and I'd like stick to those, working them into a regular rotation.

For those already committed to meatless meals, I think you'll likely find just about every Purple Carrots meal interesting, exciting and well put together.

I'd suggest you give it a try, and if you do, please let me know how it goes.

About Purple Carrot

Purple Carrot was founded in 2014 and is one of the meal kit providers fully focused on offering plant based meals for their subscribers. The Boston based company was founded by Andy Levitt, who spent the greater part of his career in the pharmaceutical industry. At the age of 40, after being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, and getting exposed to the world of vegan eating, Andy found his true calling in plant based meals.

Purple Carrot provides 100% plant based meals with the philosophy that when prepared right, plants can do anything meat can do, but better. Meals are chef driven, and developed with ingredients that come pre-portioned, with recipes cards for easy to make recipes, that include a broad variety of seasonal ingredients.

The quality of company’s meals, as well as being Boston based, attracted the attention of Boston’s most famous athlete, Tom Brady, who, along with Purple Carrot has created his own Purple Carrot meals – the TB12 Performance Plan. TB12 meals are designed to be gluten-free, low soy and high in protein. In addition to the TB12 plan, Purple Carrot offers three subscription options:

Quick & Easy, are meals designed to be cooked in less than 30 minutes for people on the go and short on time. This plan is designed for those who are starting to explore the work of plant based cooking.

High Protein meals are protein packed and built to energize. Plant based diets don’t need to be low in protein, and these meals leverage high protein plants in every meal.

Chef’s Choice plan is all about expanding one’s culinary horizons as they continue their journey into the world of plant-based eating.

All of Purple Carrot’s meals cost $12 per serving.

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