Purple Carrot: A Review

This review is not sponsored or anything at all.  #2 has just been nagging me to do it since everybody else is doing blue apron [which #2 still doesn’t really understand] and we’ve been doing this one instead.  We get no money from this post.

Purple Carrot is like Blue Apron except it’s vegan [#2 understands this a little better because she imagines if you’ve grown up in a meat-eaters culture, it’s harder to come up with tasty new vegetarian recipes all the time].  Each week we get a box with 3 meals (for 2 people) in it.  The servings are frequently on the small side, though.  Currently our plan is that my partner cooks on Wednesdays and Sundays, and I cook on Fridays.  (The rest of the time we fend for ourselves.)  Neither one of us is actually a vegan, but we couldn’t find good vegetarian options for my partner (he’s ovo-lacto veggie) because most other services had one dumb vegetarian option each week (pasta and a salad, we already know that, duh!).  A nice side effect of it being vegan is that I never worry whether the food is staying cold enough in the cold box while waiting outside our door for me to open it when I get home from work: no meat, no dairy, mostly stuff that won’t give you food poisoning at a picnic if it gets a little warm.  It does stay cold in that box, though.  Even though I eat meat, I’m not sure I want raw meat in a box that sits.

We have been using Purple Carrot since June 2016.  The fact that we’re still using it almost a year later is a review in itself, I guess.  Like any meal service, you can pause your subscription or skip weeks if you’re going to be out of town or just don’t like the upcoming menu.  Unlike other services, you don’t get to pick the food– you can either get all the food that week or none.  That’s it.  We’re doing it this way in order to eat more vegetables and try to have at least some healthy food.  Also to avoid decisions — all we have is go/no-go and not “what do we pick?”

Some recipes we both end up not liking (rare).  Sometimes one of us likes it more than the other.  Sometimes we agree that the food is just a bit… odd, though not bad.  And sometimes we have a BIG hit that’s delicious, nutritious, and that we didn’t have to think up ourselves (or shop for, or decide among millions of recipes, resulting in paralysis).

For us, it’s worth the cost 3x/wk, at least for now.  We might stop at some point in order to save money, or if it stops being worth it for us.  Below I’ll put a few of our favorite recipes that we loved.

https://www.purplecarrot.com/plant-based-recipes/mustard-glazed-tempeh-with-red-kraut-and-smashed-beets (it helps if you like German food, which I do and my partner doesn’t)

https://www.purplecarrot.com/plant-based-recipes/drunken-noodles (easily modifiable with other veg you have lying around)

https://www.purplecarrot.com/plant-based-recipes/miso-glazed-peaches-and-eggplant-with-rice-noodles-and-minted-spinach (one of the highlights of all time)

https://www.purplecarrot.com/plant-based-recipes/pumpkin-fettuccine-alfredo-with-crispy-sage-and-broccoli-rabe (surprisingly delicious, though it would be better with cream)

https://www.purplecarrot.com/plant-based-recipes/creamy-leek-polenta-with-summer-vegetables (eat this every day)

https://www.purplecarrot.com/plant-based-recipes/meyer-lemon-forbidden-rice-risotto-with-sweet-peas (not actually a risotto but very tasty)

https://www.purplecarrot.com/plant-based-recipes/spring-radish-fattoush-with-sumac-vinaigrette-minted-basmati-rice (#2 tried this with CSA veggies replacing sumac with lemon zest and liked it too.  Add some feta and you’ll increase the joy.  Noms!)

Grumpeteers, has anyone tried Hello Fresh though?  I’m thinking of trying that one day.  Other thoughts?  Who likes to eat veggies?  How do you get veggies into your life?

20 Responses to “Purple Carrot: A Review”

  1. Taylor Lee @ Yuppie Millennial Says:

    I’ve tried a lot of the subscription boxes including Hello Fresh (but the Classic Plan, not Veggie). Meals tended to be a grain, a veggie side, and a big old slab of meat. Prep was super easy compared to other kits and food was generally good.

    I’ve been watching Mind Over Munch a lot on YouTube recently and doing batch cooking of vegetables in the beginning of the week. I’ve found I’m way more likely to eat veggies if they’re already roasted or in a pre-made soup.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      #2 notes that book (note to self: write down title when I get home) also suggests going to the farmer’s market on Saturday and spending the rest of the day roasting veggies for the week. We get our CSA on Thursday and it seems like a good idea to just roast them all at once, maybe on Saturday. (So far we haven’t really been doing that, though I have been a lot better about getting my beets roasted before they start shrinking. I love beets so much.) DC2 has been appreciating being able to have roasted sweet potato as a lunch component when we’ve had them just sitting in the fridge.

  2. chacha1 Says:

    I learned a lot about vegetables during the year I was getting Farm Fresh boxes. The commitment got to me, though – there is so much prep involved with farm-fresh vegetables, and I eventually began to suspect that we would eat more veg, and waste less, if I just spent the extra $ to get semi-prepped veg at the supermarket. And so it has proven.

    I like to make a big bowl of salad once a week or so. It lasts 2-3 days. I pre-dress it because neither of us likes dry raw greens. (Only recently realized how laughably easy it is to make my own salad dressing.) This will typically be two kinds of greens, sliced cherry tomatoes, maybe mushrooms, or maybe the “all American” salad mix with shredded cabbage, carrots, radish, etc. And I always add cheese, usually feta or gorgonzola. Salad is a side dish when we’re eating together, I’ll have it by itself if the man is working late and I’m eating alone.

    Tomato & mozzarella salad is a regular. Mini bell peppers with creamy goat cheese (raw or roasted): also becoming a regular. When it’s cooler, a big pot of vegetable soup is also on the menu (lasts several days and prep is a snap when you cheat like I do). At least 3x a year this is made with my own smoked-turkey stock, and the rest of the time I use beef stock from the supermarket, so it’s not vegetarian. Always includes canned charred tomatoes, canned or frozen corn, onion, some garlic, frozen peas & carrots; I also like to add cannellini beans or baby lima beans.

    Our markets provide (not always, but often) cleaned, chopped root veg mixes that are easily roasted in my convection toaster oven (dump mix into cake pan, drizzle with olive oil, dust with spices, put in hot oven and wait for timer). We can also get zucchini noodles or other prepped squash, the usual sliced mushrooms, diced bell peppers and onions, and a variety of prepped veg side dishes ready to cook.

    I’d say we eat a primarily-vegetable dinner much more often than we eat a starchy one. Potatoes, bread and rice are uncommon on our evening table. This is part of my strategy for staying in size 8 pants as I age. :-)

  3. CG Says:

    We did Blue Apron for a while and liked many of the meals, many of which are Asian fusion-y. But it’s expensive and a lot of the meals take longer to prepare than my standard week-night repertoire. Our strategy for eating more veggies is to do a local CSA in the summer. We split it with a neighbor so it’s not too overwhelming. We look forward to it every spring and are relieved when it’s over every fall. :) In the winter we’ve discovered that we (and our kids) like a lot of vegetables roasted that we’re not otherwise that fond of, especially brussels sprouts. We also eat a lot of kale, especially the NY Times kale salad, which keeps with dressing on it for several days.

  4. Linda Says:

    I love veggies. I try to work them into every single meal I make at home. Since I telecommute most of the time, it’s not that hard for me to cook/prep almost all my meals at home, either. My favorite breakfasts include eggs with veggies. If I’m being lazy I’ll just chop and saute stuff like zucchini, mushrooms, or asparagus and then add scrambled eggs. If I’m feeling up to it, I’ll saute some greens (like kale, spinach, or one of those braising mixes) and then make my eggs sunny side up so I can eat them on the base of greens. A drizzle of toasted sesame oil or a sprinkle of Parmesan makes this dish super delicious. (And no need for toast since the egg is

    Since the first full week of January I’ve been using SunBasket for my meal kits and really liking them. Just looking at the menus, there are some pretty good looking vegetarian options every week like veggie tacos, falafel, interesting salads, and egg dishes. I usually stick to the “paleo” dishes because I’m trying to keep my starches down to a minimum these days. I add extra veggies most of the time. Not so much because the meals are small, but if I add extra veggies I can sometimes stretch them to provide three meals from a recipe instead of just two, which gives me a better value, of course.

  5. gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

    For the past two years I’ve been eating a box of raw vegetables as my lunch each weekday. This usually contains an apple, two carrots, a dozen prunes, a bell pepper or half a cucumber, a couple of celery stalks, and maybe a couple of red cabbage wedges. I clean and cut the vegetables the night before into finger food (except the apple, which I leave whole).

    This gets me about a pound of vegetables a day, and I only need to shop for the vegetables once a week, usually at the Westside New Leaf (a small chain supermarket that was originally locally owned, a mile from our house).

    In addition, my wife usually includes one or two cooked vegetables in our evening meal. She prefers to shop more frequently (3-4 times a week), and nearly always goes to the Wednesday afternoon farmer’s market. Other vegetables come from either the downtown New Leaf or the Food Bin (a tiny convenience store a quarter mile from our house that has good produce). She generally cooks 6 times a week for the two of us. We eat out one evening a week, and all lunches and breakfasts are prepared by whoever is eating them. When our son is home, she sometimes prepares lunch for him (if he is up early enough), to get him to eat more.

  6. accm Says:

    I just had to try that miso-glazed eggplant dish (well, ok, with a couple of small variations and additions, but I maintained the spirit of the recipe) and, yes, yum! Thanks for the links!

  7. Obnoxious whine: I’m tired of the food options in my town | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] I like (picking out food) and keep the time consuming parts (chopping).  And, with the exception of purple carrot, the recipes seem pretty pedestrian.  Plus there’s all that plastic.  And the per-person […]

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