This week’s meal delivery service is Purple Carrot. Purple Carrot specializes in “Plant-driven,” vegan menus. They have three meal plans you can choose from 1-2 person ($68), 3-4 person ($74), and TB Performance Meals ($78). For the 1-2 person and TB Performance plans, you receive the ingredients for three dishes, and for the 3-4 person plan, you receive the ingredients for two meals. The TB Performance Meals were developed in partnership with Tom Brady and are high protein, limited in soy, and gluten free. They are also $10 more expensive than the regular 1-2 person plan. You also cannot customize your menu at all, aside from choosing the meal plan. You get the meals that were created for your meal plan and that’s it.
Dish 1: Miso-Chili Meatballs
Saturday, May 13, 2017 – The first meal that I made was Miso-Chili Meatballs. These vegan meatballs were made with mushrooms and oats, and were absolutely scrumptious. The nice thing about the meatballs was that they didn’t try to taste like meat. They had a nice umami flavor, but they still tasted like mushrooms. The texture was a little mushy, but I think that could be solved with a little less time in the food processor and an extra tablespoon or two of oats. The rest of the meal was beautifully well-rounded. It had some greens, eggplant, and the fresh notes of uncooked red-pepper and scallion. It was paired with wheat berries instead of rice which added a whole grain. Overall, I was impressed with the variety of proteins in the dish; mushrooms, eggplant, oats, and wheat berries all came together to create a meal with 19 grams of protein. More than any other meal delivery service, this meal felt like a full meal designed specifically for vegans, but at the same time, I didn’t miss the meat. It was just a really good meal, and I look forward to making it again.
The amount packaging was fairly average. There were a lot of ingredients, so there were a lot of little zip top bags. Unfortunately, most of the bags were too small to reuse. The little containers for the miso and chili were recyclable, at least.
Dish 2: Zucchini Lasagna
Sunday, May 14, 2017 – My second meal from Purple Carrot was Zucchini Lasagna. The lasagna was made with a quick red sauce, zucchini, tofu ricotta, and a bread crumb crust. It took right around 45-50 minutes to make. The tofu ricotta was a blended mixture of extra firm tofu, spinach, oregano, and lemon juice. Overall, the meal was pretty good when all of the components of the dish were combined into a perfectly balanced bite, but since there was a lot of bland tofu ricotta, much of the dish fell flat. The tofu just needed something to help it sing. One interesting thing was that the bread crumb crust – made with the zest of a lemon, panko, and nutritional yeast – emulated the flavor and texture of parmesan cheese quite well, but I’m wondering if the nutritional yeast would have been better utilized in the tofu ricotta. It would have made the tofu a little cheesier and helped to enhance the flavor of the dish as a whole. I also think the ricotta needed a touch more lemon juice.
In short, this was a perfectly serviceable dish that could be bumped up to great with a few tweaks.
Dish 3: Persian Stuffed Peppers
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 – I made my final dish from Purple Carrot, Persian Stuffed Peppers, on Tuesday. The stuffing was basmati rice flavored with cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, and dried sour cherries. It was served on a bed of red lentils. The dish was garnished with parsley and chopped pistachios (unless you mistakenly cooked them into the rice after toasting them… oops). The meal was simple to make, but it had a delightfully complex flavor. I’m not entirely sure that I cooked my lentils properly. I think I either put in too much water or didn’t cook them long enough, so they were a little wet and grainy, but it really didn’t detract from the enjoyment of the dish once they were mixed in with the creamy rice. I liked this dish so much, that I picked up some cardamom so I can make it again soon. I want to try it with brown rice next time.
Purple Carrot Summary
Ease/clarity of recipes: 8/10
How many recipes would I make again? 3/3
Overall, I loved Purple Carrot. The food was amazing, flavorful, and diverse, and I was happy to incorporate some new vegan dishes into my cooking repertoire. It was a little bit more expensive than the other meal services, but all of the meals were so good that I didn’t mind. Like Sun Basket, it really felt like these meals were being created by vegans; they felt like complete meals and not just oversized side dishes, and they were all high in protein.
I’ll happily make any one of these meals again, and even went through some of their past/future menus to get inspiration for future meals.
Overall rating: A
This week I’m getting a box from Peach Dish, but that will probably be my last subscription box review, unless I find another one to try. There are a few that don’t deliver to my area (Gobble, Freshly), so I may be able to try some new ones after I move.