If you didn’t get a chance to read my other meal service reviews, you can find them at these links: Blue Apron, Plated, Hello Fresh, Home Chef, Green Chef, Sun Basket and Peach Dish.
Now for my Purple Carrot review!
Ordering: Big lesson learned (x2) this week- when you order 10 different meal service subscription boxes and try to have them all set to skip you will eventually mess up and have extra food delivered! Not good! I had Home Chef delivered to my home while I was in Santa Fe and now I have Purple Carrot coming again to Santa Fe while I'll be at home! So if you are ordering from a couple of different services I recommend only doing 2-3 at a time so you can keep track of the deliveries.
That issue aside, the ordering process is more simple than other meal services but has fewer options for modifying based on preferences. There are 3 plan options:
"1-2 person plan" with 3 preselected meals for $68
"3-4 person plan" with 2 of the meals from the 1-2 person plan for $74
"Performance Meals" plan with 3 preselected higher protein options for $78
I ordered the standard 1-2 person plan. All of the meal options are very interesting and have a nice balance with protein sources and lots of veggies. It can actually be kind of nice to not have as many options because it keeps it simpler.
Website: The website is well designed, aesthetically pleasing (I happen to be very partial to the color purple) and easy to navigate and make your selections. You can order online using this link for $25 off your first order. In addition to meal delivery, there’s a information on their partnership with Tom Brady and his experience with using Purple Carrot as well as more information on plant based diets (all meals are plant based).
App: No app
Packaging: Very similar to other meal services with Nordic Ice ice packs which are reusable, nontoxic and water soluble. Meals were separated in packaging except a few outliers that didn't fit in the main bags (flat breads, seitan and arugula packaged separately).
Seitan Massamn Curry with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes & Brown Basmati Rice: This was the first time I made seitan before and I really liked it! It was a little salty so I didn't add extra salt to the dish. I loved the combination of cherry tomatoes, haricot verts, garlic and onion in the dish. I would definitely make this meal again but as with some other meal services, they included a massaman curry paste so I wouldn't be able to replicate the meal exactly. In this case, another high quality curry paste at the grocery store would probably be just as good. This was my favorite meal of the three.
Portobello Steaks with Vegetable Orzo Salad & Chimichurri: this came out very tasty and I especially loved the orzo which is not something I would normally think to buy. The chimichurri sauce added a nice flavor but I'm started to get tired of chimichurri sauce (apparently it's trending because I think I've seen it in just about every meal service). This was my least favorite meal of the three.
Eggplant Parmesan Flatbread with Shaved Zucchini and Arugula Salad: I added arugula to the flatbread and really enjoyed it. My favorite part of this meal was the roasted garlic used as a base and the sundried tomatoes added. I would have added more vegan cheese and diced the eggplant instead of sliced so it's easier to eat by hand. I would definitely make the flatbread again and play around with different combinations. The salad was good but nothing spectacular. The chopped hazelnuts were the best part of it and it could have used some tomatoes or dried fruit to add a more complex flavor.
Nutrition: Each meal just had the macronutrient content and calories listed. There were tons of micronutrient packed veggies. The eggplant parmesan would have been better with more vegan cheese to increase the protein content (came in at only 8%). Portobello steaks and curry both came in between 10 and 35% protein and were lower in fat. As with other meal services, the fat content is on the high side (38-48% versus the recommended 20-35%) but all of the fat sources were primarily unsaturated healthy fats. It would still be advisable to add some fruit or other addition to increase the carbohydrate content and lower the fat. I also didn't add all of the olive oil (2-4 tbsp. for 2 servings) suggested and instead used cooking spray. There were a good amount of veggies, meat and grains making for pretty balanced meals.
The good: I do not believe any one way of eating is 'the only way' and I don't eat only plant based meals, but these meals were very well planned and delicious. Ingredient sources were included outside of the box (mostly California and Mexico). The recipe cards were very easy to follow and the meals came in close to the time listed.
The bad: There were a few ingredients missing from the instructions but it was clear . I was disappointed that there was no way to contact Purple Carrot via phone which made it especially frustrating when I saw that the meals for the following week were not set to skip. Some of the meal services send you clear reminder emails with deadlines but this one doesn't do that.
Next up for review, Marley Spoon then changing it up a bit and doing Green Blender which is a smoothie meal service delivery kit.