A Full Rundown Of Purple Carrot + Every Meal I Tried, From A Registered Dietitian
Curating a delicious, balanced, and satisfying plant-based meal can feel daunting, but it’s a feat that truly pays off. Including more plants in your diet benefits cardiovascular health, the gut microbiome1, and metabolic health2. Thankfully, there are a number of vegan meal delivery services focused on helping people add more plants to their diet with convenient, easy-to-prepare recipes. I’ve put a lot of them to the test, and I’m sharing my full Purple Carrot review below.
As a registered dietitian, I am always looking for tasty ways to increase my vegetable intake. I do cook vegetarian (and even vegan-friendly!) dishes sometimes, but I tend to rely on animal protein more often than not. After testing a few animal-protein-heavy meal kit delivery services, I was excited to try Purple Carrot, a service designed specifically to expand your plant palate.
Keep reading to learn more about this meal kit delivery service, a full rundown of the meals I tried, and whether or not Purple Carrot is worth it.
What is Purple Carrot?
Available in the United States and Japan, Purple Carrot is a plant-based meal kit delivery service that provides a variety of vegan recipes and the ingredients to make the meal at home. The company was founded in 2014 with the goal to encourage people to eat more plants for their own health and the health of the planet—that’s something we can certainly get behind.
Each week, you can choose from eight rotating dinner recipes as well as a handful of lunch, breakfast, and snack options, with new recipes added each week. If meal kits aren’t your thing, Purple Carrot recently added prepared meals to its menu. These single-serve dinners just need to be heated in the microwave and you’ll have a chef-curated vegan meal within minutes.
While Purple Carrot is a weekly subscription service, you’ll only pay per box and you can pause or cancel your subscription at any time.
How much does Purple Carrot cost?
The cost of Purple Carrot depends on the number of meals per week, servings per meal, and whether you opt for the Meal Kit or Prepared Meals subscription. Typically, meals range from $11 to $14, with no additional charge for shipping.
With the Meal Kit option, you can choose either three or four meals per week, at two to four servings per meal. Here’s the cost breakdown:
- 4 recipes of 2 servings each: $106 per box, $424 per month, $13.25 per serving
- 3 recipes of 2 servings each: $79.50 per box, $318 per month, $13.25 per serving
- 3 recipes of 4 servings each: $132 per box, $528 per month, $11 per serving
- 2 recipes of 4 servings each: $88 per box, $352 per month, $11 per serving
Adding on a Purple Carrot breakfast recipe costs about $4.50 per serving and lunch costs around $9 per serving.
If you select the Prepared Meals option you can opt for six, eight, or ten single-serve meals per week, all priced at $13 per serving. Here’s what your weekly and monthly totals would be:
- 6 meals a week: $78 per box, $312 per month
- 8 meals a week: $104 per box, $416 per month
- 10 meals a week: $130 per box, 520 per month
The meal selection process.
Solidifying the type and quantity of meals you want each week is the first step in setting up your Purple Carrot account. The Meal Kit option, which is what I chose, allows you to select a category preference for recipes. Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to customize your order each week and will have access to the week’s complete recipe list. Below are the meal preferences:
- High Protein: These meals will have at least 20 grams of protein per serving.
- Less Prep: These meals streamline the food prep process and use fewer pots and pans.
- Gluten Free: These recipes only use gluten-free ingredients.
- No Preference: If you’re unsure of what to do at this stage, you can select “No Preference” and update your profile when you’re ready.
Once your plan and preference are in place, you’ll be prompted to select the meals you want for your box, with the option to add extras such as breakfast and lunch recipes, or Plantry™ items—plant-based pantry staples.
Boxes are scheduled to arrive weekly, but again, you can skip or cancel at any time. To do so, head to the “Upcoming Delivers” page and click the green skip toggle next to the date you’d like to skip. You won’t be charged for any skips—but do keep in mind the skip deadline, which is stated next to each toggle.
How the meals arrived:
My Purple Carrot box arrived on a Monday. Although it was delivered when I was out, the ice packs kept everything properly chilled. The box contained ingredients for each recipe, packaged together and well-labeled. Compared to other meal kits I’ve tried (most recently: Hello Fresh and Green Chef), Purple Carrot used the least amount of packaging for the actual food. Produce such as tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic were not individually wrapped, and instead were grouped in the ingredient bag. A recipe booklet was tucked into the box, outlining information for each meal.
I was immediately impressed by how fresh the produce was; everything was in pristine condition (no bruises) and kept well in the refrigerator for several days before I could whip the recipes up.
My thoughts on the meals I tried:
Okay, onto the good stuff. Here’s a full review of each Purple Carrot meal I tried. Note: The serving sizes were appropriate for me, but may not be satiating enough for someone with higher energy needs.
Tofu Peanut Stir-Fry with Charred Broccoli + Midnight Grains (Less Prep) (540 calories, 16 g fat, 63 g carbohydrate, 36 g protein per serving)
I don't often cook with tofu, and I always appreciate recipes that bring me outside my habitual cooking routine. This “Less Prep” Tofu Peanut Stir-Fry did just that.
The crispy tofu was surprisingly easy to whip up, as was the charred broccoli. I was most surprised by how much I enjoyed the Midnight Grains blend—especially because I was initially taken aback by the blend’s dark hue. The grains added a great contrasting flavor to the tofu and brought a delicious texture to the dish. Immediately after tasting it, I found myself searching for a copycat blend online.
The peanut sauce arrived already prepared and ready to pour over the finished plates, cutting the prep time down significantly and earning this dish its “Less-Prep” sticker. It also packed a hefty punch of flavorful plant-based protein. My only note on this meal is that the tofu and the broccoli could have used more seasoning to supplement and further enhance the flavor of the peanut sauce—but this is something that can easily be remedied at home by digging into your own spice rack.
Romesco Chickpea Sandwiches (720 calories, 26 g fat, 93 g carbohydrates, 27 g protein per serving)
The Romesco Chickpea Sandwiches was another simple, low-prep meal. The veggies only needed a quick roast in the oven, during which I was able to mash the chickpeas with the provided vegan mayo and ready-made Romesco sauce.
I’m a big fan of sandwiches when they’re prepared well, and this sandwich truly held its own as a main dish. Pro tip: Instead of using the arugula for a side salad as intended, I added it to the sandwich—and its peppery bitterness balanced the sweetness from the tomatoes and onions well.
While I’m not one to shy away from carbohydrates, the carb content of this meal was quite high compared to what I typically eat.
What dietary patterns does Purple Carrot support?
Purple Carrot is tailored to those following a plant-based, vegetarian, or vegan diet. Meals may help support weight maintenance, or even weight loss. Many recipes range between 500 to 800 calories. The high-plant, and therefore high fiber content of Purple Carrot meals can also support healthy cholesterol levels3. The brand’s website cites that its meals have been clinically proven to help people lose weight and lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) in just four weeks.
That said, Purple Carrot is not the best meal kit option for those following a low-carb, keto, or paleo diet. And while it does offer gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free options, you are unable to omit specific allergens from plans, and those meals are processed and distributed in the same facilities as gluten, nut, and soy-containing meals. For anyone with severe allergies or intolerances to these ingredients, Purple Carrot is not the best option.
Sustainability and quality of Purple Carrot Meals
I was impressed with the quality of the ingredients I received from Purple Carrot. Not only was the produce fresh, but I appreciated that I only received the exact amount of an ingredient that I needed. It helped food prep run smoothly, and I think it helped reduce the amount of food waste (which I had none of after these meals).
Purple Carrot does provide some organic ingredients, but not everything in a Purple Carrot box is necessarily organic. The website specifies that most of its non-produce items (like chickpeas and tofu) are organic, but produce may be variable.
Meal kits still don’t have the best reputation in terms of eco-friendliness, but according to the Purple Carrot website, each meal kit results in 72% less carbon being released into the atmosphere compared to the standard American meal. In addition, much of the packaging is recyclable, you may just have to check with your provider whether certain materials are eligible for curbside recycling. We've even included the brand in our picks for the most sustainable meal delivery services.
Is Purple Carrot worth it?
Purple Carrot is worth it for people who want a convenient way to eat more plant-based, vegan meals at a pretty reasonable cost (especially compared to restaurants or takeout) of $11 to just over $13 per serving. The recipes are unique, globally inspired, and offer enough variety of protein, produce, grains and sauces, that you’re not likely to be bored. If you have no dietary restrictions, you’ll have eight vegan recipes to choose from, which is likely a more robust offering than the vegan plan options from other services. However, options may be more limited if you follow a gluten, soy, or nut-free eating pattern.
Purple Carrot may not be for you if you have certain allergies or dietary patterns (e.g. low-carb, keto, or paleo diet). If you're not a well-seasoned home chef, some of the ingredients Purple Carrot recipes use may be intimidating at first glance, but the easy-to-follow instructions help break it down for you. The recipes are also not always a great option for those who are following a lower carbohydrate diet.
What’s the difference between Purple Carrot and Green Chef?
Both Purple Carrot and Green Chef are meal kit delivery services. Purple Carrot specializes in plant-based recipes whereas Green Chef is a certified organic company that promotes sustainable living. Green Chef also offers vegan and vegetarian plans and plans that suit other basic dietary preferences.
What is the difference between Purple Carrot and Sun Basket?
Both companies provide meal kit subscriptions as well as single-serve prepared meals. Sun Basket’s recipes utilize organic produce and offer plans that fit a variety of eating patterns and Purple Carrot specializes in vegan cuisine. You can also order up to five meals per week with Sun Basket, which is more than what Purple Carrot offers.
Is Purple Carrot vegan?
Yes, Purple Carrot is vegan and avoids the use of all animal products in its meals and snacks. Purple Carrot is a great option for people following a vegan, vegetarian, or plant-based diet.
What’s the difference between Purple Carrot and Hungryroot?
Purple Carrot is a vegan meal kit delivery service, and Hungryroot combines meal kit delivery with an online grocer. Hungryroot’s subscription comes with recipes, ingredients, and pantry staples, while Purple Carrot has a more limited selection of add-ons.
Our final thoughts.
At the end of the day, I thoroughly enjoyed both Purple Carrot meals I tested—and it's definitely worth a try if your goals for 2023 include eating more plants, getting more fiber in your diet, or even lowering your cholesterol levels. . After all, there's a reason we've included Purple Carrot on so many of our meal delivery roundups. The recipes are simple, yet creative, and introduced me to dishes that I wouldn’t have curated on my own. It's a convenient and tasty option for plant-based eaters (and meat-eaters like myself!), and offers one of the largest selections of vegan entrees.
Molly Knudsen, M.S., RDN is a Registered Dietician Nutritionist and mindbodygreen's supplements editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Texas Christian University and a master’s in nutrition interventions, communication, and behavior change from Tufts University. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts and enjoys connecting people to the food they eat and how it influences health and wellbeing.