I’ve been subscribing to the Purple Carrot vegan meal delivery service for 14 months! I sometimes wonder if anyone’s been doing it as long as I have. Here’s my review of the pros and cons and how it works. If you’ve already decided to try it and are looking for a discount, please sign up using my referral code here for $25 off your first order, and I’ll get a discount too.
What is Purple Carrot?
Purple Carrot is a plant-based meal delivery service. They delivery different vegan recipes and pre-measured ingredients to your door each week. If you’re familiar with Blue Apron, it’s like that, but vegan. It launched in 2014 in the northeast United States. I first took notice in late 2015 when they brought Mark Bittman, the best-selling cookbook author, on board. I remembered always liking the Bittman recipes that my dad made.
How does Purple Carrot vegan meal delivery work?
Purple Carrot is available in the lower 48 United States. They offer three different subscription options and you pay by the week.
- $68 – 3 vegan meals, each feed 2 (or 1) people. ($11.33/meal/person)
- $74 – 2 vegan meals, each feed 4 (or 3) people. ($9.25/meal/person)
- $78 – TB12 plan – 3 vegan “high performance” meals, each feed 2 (or 1) people. Developed with Tom Brady. ($13/meal/person)
You can pause, cancel, or switch between the three plans if you give a week’s notice. Shipping and tax are included in the price. My husband and I have been using the $68 plan for over a year.
What do you get?
Every Tuesday (or Wednesday if it’s a holiday weekend) you receive a cardboard box with ingredients for two or three recipes depending on your subscription plan. The box comes with ice packs to keep the ingredients fresh. Also in the box are recipe cards with full-color photos, step-by-step instructions, estimated time, tools needed, and nutritional info printed on standard-size paper, perfect for keeping in a binder. The ingredients come in plastic bags and plastic containers, many of which you can reuse, and all of which are recyclable. I stuff all the ingredients into the refrigerator when the box arrives.
Some of my favorite Purple Carrot recipes have been Creamy leak polenta with spinach pear salad, BBQ jackfruit with loaded potato salad, Cauliflower l’orange with beets and fresh herbs, Koshari with zucchini, lentils, and brown rice, and Blackened tempeh chopped salad with creamy ranch & crispy tortillas.
Time and Tools Needed
Besides the cost of the subscription, you’ll need a few things to make the recipes.
- Time: the recipe cards each generally estimate 35-45 minutes, but when I started out I was new to cooking, and recipes sometimes took me over an hour. I’m a lot faster now, usually finishing in 45 minutes. I think the time really depends on your speed at tedious tasks like chopping, washing and drying produce, and peeling. I’m pretty slow with that stuff.
- Standard kitchen equipment: stovetop, oven, blender or food processor, pots and pans of varying sizes, mixing bowls, baking sheet, spatula, wooden spoon, peeler, grater, whisk. They usually suggest an alternative when a more specialized tool is called for.
- There’s only one tool that has given me trouble and it’s only come up twice in over a year: an oven-safe skillet that fits in your broiler. I interrupted cooking to research whether any of my skillets were oven-safe. I was just barely able to fit our smallest pan in our broiler, but I’m still not sure if it is officially “oven-safe.”
Here’s some of the stuff I or my husband cooked. I’m not a professional photographer. Or chef!
Pros of Purple Carrot vegan meal delivery
- Customer service: One of my favorite things about Purple Carrot is how responsive they are to customer feedback. The few times I’ve written to them, once because I didn’t like a recipe layout change, and once to suggest that they label the produce in a clearer way, the very next week the delivery was inline with my (and possibly other customers’) requests! They also have a weekly survey on their website where you can give specific feedback for each recipe relating to the taste, the cooking process, and suggestions for what you want to cook in the future. And once one of the ingredients in my order burst and they immediately credited me for a reasonable portion of the order.
- Horizons Broadened: The variety in Purple Carrot’s recipes is amazing, and educational. I used to alternate between a few go-to recipes like pasta and stir-fry. But, in fourteen months of subscribing to Purple Carrot, I’ve cooked more recipes from more cuisines than I had in my entire life prior! I’ve learned how to make vegan ranch dressing and ricotta. This whole time there’s only been one repeat recipe and it happened to be the one that kind of blew my mind: Koshari (Egyptian pilaf). I had never heard of Koshari. The combination of different pastas and grains seemed totally strange to me while I was making it, but when we sat down to eat, my husband and I were both in awe of the rich flavor and textures. I can only assume that Purple Carrot got so much positive feedback that they knew they had to run it again.
- Health: I always feel good after I eat a Purple Carrot meal. The recipes are delicious and nutritionally balanced. The portions are on the small side, but not so small or even light that they feel like diet food. Usually when I think it’s not enough food, I wait a few minutes for all of it to reach my stomach and then I feel full. I never feel gross or over-stuffed. I am a petite woman who rarely works out. My husband is 6’4″ and has an intense daily workout routine. Usually the Purple Carrot meals are enough for him, but on occasion he has a snack later on.
- Convenience: Purple Carrot ingredients come right to your door and save you some time from grocery shopping. The website provides a convenient portal where you can manage your deliveries. I like that the cut-off date for skipping a delivery is right on the website under “orders.”
- Recycled and Recyclable Packaging: I’ve watched Purple Carrot experiment with different packaging over the last year. They use post-consumer waste for all their packaging, and they recently switched to a smaller box that’s easier to carry. You can also recycle the plastic produce bags.
- Cooking Skills: I have a much better grasp of the basics of cooking now. Purple Carrot has also taught me some special skills like how to supreme an orange or work with fennel.
- Price: For us, Purple Carrot is worth the money. The recipes use high-quality ingredients and take some time to make. We live in an expensive city where if we were to order an equivalent dish at a restaurant it would probably cost between $15 and $25, far more than the $11.33 we pay with Purple Carrot.
- Referral program: Purple Carrot has a great referral program. If you get someone else to sign up, you both get $25 off your order, and it’s easy to pause or cancel your subscription from their website. If you are considering signing up, please use my referral code to get $25 off your first order! Click here for the discount.
Cons of Purple Carrot vegan meal delivery
- Time: Purple Carrot recipe time estimates generally range from 35-45 minutes but on occasion have taken me over an hour. That happened more when I was starting out, maybe because I didn’t have much cooking experience. Sometimes I imagine they get their estimates from timing a professional with superhuman chopping skills. I think if you leave an hour for cooking when you’re starting out, you’ll be safe.
- Complexity: Purple Carrot recipes always involve several steps and processes. There’s not a lot of down time. For me, it’s impossible to listen to talk radio or a podcast while following the instructions. Music works for me though.
- Clean up: The mess varies, but Purple Carrot can involve a food processor, baking sheet, large pan, and a bunch of other stuff all in one recipe. So, yeah, sometimes there’s a lot to clean up, sometimes there’s not.
- Price: If you live in an inexpensive area or on a limited budget, $11.33/meal/person might not save you money.
Is Purple Carrot vegan meal delivery for you? It might be if you …
- want to expand your culinary repertoire with new recipes.
- want to know you’ll eat at least a few healthy meals per week.
- want to reduce your consumption of animal products, whether for health, the environment, or to reduce animal suffering.
- want to save time on grocery shopping and meal planning.
- want to improve and expand your cooking skills.
- spend too much time deciding on what recipes to make.
- are vegan or follow a plant-based diet.
- can afford the subscription price or might even save money depending on how much you usually spend on meals.
So, there you have it. I haven’t tried any other vegan meal delivery service, or any non-vegan one for that matter, so I don’t have anything to compare Purple Carrot to. But I’ve liked it enough to keep going this long. Whenever I think of pausing a week or canceling, I actually get FOMO – what if they use fingerling potatoes next week or a vegan ranch?? Please tell me about any other vegan meal delivery service you like.
By the way, you can find contact info for other meal delivery services on our customer service number page, to request vegan options.