Purple Carrot vs. Green Chef: How These Healthy Meal Delivery Services Compare
If you've ever experienced decision fatigue around planning dinner, you're likely familiar with the temptation to toss out your grocery list and opt for takeout. Meal kit delivery services combine the best of both worlds, offering a healthier solution for people who want to enjoy homemade meals but don't want to spend all day planning, shopping, and prepping. As a registered dietitian who's tried a number of the healthiest meal delivery services, I'm here to tell you everything you need to know about two of the most popular options: Purple Carrot and Green Chef.
Purple Carrot and Green Chef both provide meal kits and recipes with pre-portioned ingredients that make whipping up a home-cooked meal so much easier than it used to be. I tested out a week's worth of meals from both services; keep reading for my honest review of every meal I tried and how Purple Carrot and Green Chef compare.
Quick facts on each:
- Organic produce and eggs
- Meal plans suitable for a range of dietary preferences
- Pre-measured and prepped ingredients and sauces
- Proteins aren’t necessarily organic
- Higher cost per serving than other meal kids
What Customers Say:
Customers appreciate the different dietary preferences you can select with Green Chef. One Trustpilot reviewer wrote “My spouse and I love Green Chef! It has become an important part of our evening together to choose one of the recipes, cook together and then enjoy an amazing meal. The food is delicious, and we truly look forward to getting our box of food each week. We also love how much less food we waste”
- Non-produce items are organic
- Variety of vegan options
- Limited dietary preferences
- Some meals high in carbs
What Customers Say:
Purple Carrot’s creative and easy meals. One Trustpilot reviewer said, “The food is truly delicious and the portions are satisfying. The instructions are easy to follow, and I love that I am learning how to create plant-based, nutritious flavorful meals that surprise my finicky family every time.”
How does Purple Carrot work?
Purple Carrot is a plant-based meal kit delivery service offering weekly vegan recipes and pre-portioned ingredients that are shipped directly to your door. While other companies like Green Chef offer vegan menus, Purple Carrot is one of only a handful of options that excludes animal products altogether.
With a Purple Carrot subscription, you'll select the number of recipes per week and servings per recipe you want to receive, with the ability to input preferences including high-protein, less prep, or gluten-free. There's also an option for prepared, single-serve meals. The best part? With enough notice, you can skip weeks and cancel your subscription for no extra cost.
Once you sign up, you're prompted to select recipes for your first delivery. Even if you added a dietary preference, you will have access to choose from the brand's full menu, with optional lunch or breakfast add-ons, as well as vegan pantry ("plantry") items.
Your food arrives in boxes with proper insulation and ice packs. Ingredients for each meal are packaged together within the box, along with a recipe booklet.
When I tried Purple Carrot, the ingredients in my box were fresh, and the produce was ripe and had no bruises. The bulk of the brand's non-produce ingredients (tofu, chickpeas, etc.) are organic, but not all produce is. Most meals take about 20 to 40 minutes to prepare, with easy-to-follow directions and very minimal cleanup. Since I was cooking only for myself, I did have leftovers, which kept well in the refrigerator for two to three days.
Read our full Purple Carrot review here.
How does Green Chef work?
Green Chef is a certified-organic meal kit delivery service (and one of our favorites, at that). The process of signing up and choosing meals and the flexible subscription is very similar to Purple Carrot, including the ability to skip or cancel at any time.
At sign-up, you can choose from a variety of dietary preferences, which will automatically cater your suggested recipes to your liking. These options include:
- Fast & Fit
- Gluten Free
- Protein Packed
Next, you'll need to specify the number of recipes per week and servings per recipe. Each week, you'll have the option to add recipes for breakfast or lunch, snacks, or extra proteins, such as wild-caught sockeye salmon filets or pork tenderloin. Unlike Purple Carrot, Green Chef does not have a plan for prepared meals.
Green Chef meals arrive similarly, in insulated boxes with recipe ingredients packaged together. Instead of receiving a recipe booklet, the brand sends recipe cards for each meal you've chosen.
The ingredients in my box arrived fresh and lasted for the advised two to five days in the refrigerator. Most produce came pre-measured and prepped, and the sauces and spice blends were premade. With all this prep work done for you, Green Chef recipes can typically be whipped up in 30 minutes or less.
The produce and eggs from Green Chef are certified organic, whereas the meat and other animal proteins are sourced from farmers that meet the company's animal welfare standards (however, I couldn't track down what those standards are).
Read our detailed Green Chef review here.
Cost of Purple Carrot vs. Green Chef.
The cost of each meal delivery service depends on the number of recipes you choose and the number of servings per recipe. In general, the more recipes and servings you order, the lower the cost per serving.
Ultimately, the brands are priced similarly. Per serving, Purple Carrot nets out between $11 and $14, while Green Chef lands around $12 to $14 per serving. Here's a breakdown of the cost of specific plans from each:
- 3 recipes of 2 servings each: $79.50 per box, $318 per month, $13.25 per serving
- 2 recipes of 4 servings each: $88 per box, $352 per month, $11 per serving
- $13 per prepared meal
- 3 recipes of 2 servings each: ~$80 per box; ~$324 per month; $13.49 per serving
- 4 recipes of 2 servings each: ~$104 per box; ~$415 per month; $12.99 per serving
- 4 recipes of 6 servings each: ~$288 per box; ~ $1,151 per month; $11.99 per serving
With Green Chef, you'll have to pay a flat shipping fee of $10 per box. Purple Chef stands out in this arena, with the shipping cost already factored into the meal price. Neither plan has a cancellation fee.
These are not the most affordable meal delivery services—and depending on what your typical grocery bill costs, they may not save you much money.
Every meal I tried.
Green Chef and Purple Carrot each have a rotating menu, meaning there's a new batch of recipes to choose from each week (don't worry: some beloved fan-favorites stay the same). Green Chef offers a more robust menu of 30 recipes per week, whereas Purple Carrot has around eight dinner options and two lunch options each week. That said, Green Chef's vegan lineup only consists of five recipes per week, while Purple Carrot's menu is entirely vegan.
I tried a one-week subscription from each service. With Green Chef, that meant three dinner recipes and one breakfast. For Purple Carrot that was two dinner recipes. To set the stage, I'm a pretty adventurous eater but a habitual chef. I have no food allergies or intolerances, nor do I follow a specific eating pattern. Rather, I aim to eat a balanced plate filled with veggies, lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs.
Here's a rundown of everything I tried.
Green Chef meals
- Cauliflower & Couscous Bowls: Kale, carrots, tomatoes, dates, almonds, miso-tahini sauce
- Sunny Southwest Beef Patties: Veggie hash, fried egg, Cheddar cheese, crema, Cholula
- Roasted Chicken with Lemon Crema: Butternut squash & Brussels sprouts with Parmesan hazelnuts
- Keto Cinnamon Ricotta Pancakes: Toasted pecans, creme fraiche
Purple Carrot meals
- Tofu Peanut Stir-Fry with Charred Broccoli + Midnight Grains (Less Prep)
- Romesco Chickpea Sandwiches
While I did try one vegan recipe from Green Chef (the Cauliflower & Couscous Bowls), the meals could not have been more different. The three other Green Chef meals were either keto recipes or very low carb (15 to 17 net grams of carbs per serving) and often contained multiple animal products (eggs, meat, dairy)—a stark contrast to Purple Carrot's vegan meals.
My key takeaways from the meals:
- Green Chef's premade sauces shined: The premade lemon crema and the miso tahini sauce were delicious and added so much flavor and depth to the meals. I would buy those in bulk if I could. The premade peanut sauce from Purple Carrot's stir-fry was also tasty, but it didn't stand out as much.
- Purple Carrot makes meal prep very simple: The prep required to get Purple Carrot's meals on the table felt more streamlined. The Green Chef recipes often require multiple pots and pans, with various meal components cooking in separate pans at the same time. While it wasn't intensive work, coordinating the timing could be overwhelming for novice home chefs.
- Both Purple Carrot and Green Chef prioritize vegetables: Meals from both services were loaded with vegetables (save for the breakfast recipe). At least half my plate for each dinner recipe was composed of vegetables, which meets my typical standards for when I cook on my own.
- Be mindful of macronutrient breakdown: While I enjoyed every recipe I tried, some Green Chef recipes were lower in carbohydrates than I tend to prefer as a registered dietitian. Alternatively, the Romesco Chickpea Sandwich from Purple Carrot was much higher in carbohydrates than I typically eat. And, although I'm not one to shy away from traditional dairy products, Green Chef's Keto pancakes were far too dense for my liking. Purple Carrot's Tofu Peanut-Stir fry provided a great balance of flavors and met my preferred macronutrient breakdown.
- Both offer healthy meals: Each of these services clearly knows how to curate a healthy plate. Most meals offer lean sources of protein, vegetables, healthy fats, and fun flavor, while some may be considered more indulgent. Keep in mind, a healthy meal looks different from person to person, so check the online recipe cards carefully before selecting your choices for the week.
Green Chef is more suitable for a broad range of dietary preferences, including keto, paleo, Mediterranean, vegetarian, and calorie-conscious in addition to vegan.
Purple Carrot is best for those who follow a strictly vegan diet or are determined to eat more plant-based foods. Whereas if you follow a keto or paleo diet, Green Chef or other meal delivery services with specialized keto and paleo recipes would be a better fit.
While not specifically designed for weight loss, both brands' recipes could support healthy weight loss. Purple Carrot meals tend to range from 500 to 800 calories per serving. Most Green Chef meals are in a similar range, but some exceed 1,000 calories.
Both services specify common allergens in all recipes and follow best practices when it comes to safe food handling in their facilities. While it's possible to pick recipes free of allergens (such soy, nuts, sesame, dairy, etc.), it would take some scrutinizing during the meal selection process. It's important to note that all ingredients are processed in the same facilities, so if you have a severe allergy, you should look for a meal service that more thoroughly accounts for your dietary needs, whether that be gluten-free or something else.
Sustainability and environmental impact.
Green Chef proudly claims that it is the No. 1 Sustainable Meal Kit on its website, as it offsets 100% of its direct carbon emissions and plastic packaging. Purple Carrot promotes not only eating plants for your health but for the planet as well. Its website cites a popular 2019 study1 that found meal kits average lower emissions than grocery meals and are associated with less food waste. However, it's not specified whether Purple Carrot meals were used in this study.
Both companies ship their food in recyclable boxes, with mostly recyclable food packaging, ice packs, and plastic (be sure to check each of the websites to see what's curbside recyclable in your area).
In my case, Purple Carrot ingredients came with less packaging than Green Chef—which could be due to there being fewer meals and Purple Carrot recipes having fewer ingredients overall. Even so, the minimal plastic use by Purple Carrot was impressive, especially since all produce arrived in pristine condition.
Both brands offer organic ingredients, but not everything in a box is necessarily organic. With Green Chef, you can rest assured that all produce and eggs are sourced from certified USDA Organic farms. Other proteins and meat are not necessarily organic, and we couldn't find information on whether pantry ingredients are organic. Purple Carrot states that most of its non-produce items are organic, while its produce sourcing is variable.
Which option should you try?
People who follow a vegan diet or are consciously looking to reduce the number of animal products that they eat would likely enjoy Purple Carrot. However, Purple Carrot's recipes don't support many other eating patterns. Green Chef would be a better choice for people who want a balanced meal with the option for animal proteins. Neither service can guarantee a 100% organic meal.
How long do green chef meals last?
Typically, Green Chef ingredients stay fresh for about five days after the box's arrival. However, it's advised to cook and eat recipes with seafood within three days.
Is Purple Carrot vegan?
Yes, Purple Carrot meals are completely vegan and omit all animal products.
How much does Green Chef cost?
Green Chef meals cost between $12 and $13.25 per serving or between $80 and $288 per box. The cost of Green Chef depends on the number of meals and servings you register for.
Both Purple Carrot and Green Chef provide a delicious and convenient way to cook healthy meals at home. The main difference between the two is that Purple Carrot only provides vegan meals. Green Chef also offers weekly vegan meals and recipes for other dietary preferences like keto, Mediterranean, and vegetarian (both provide gluten-free recipes) and has a much larger menu selection.
Both services are on the pricier side; people who don't mind grocery shopping could likely prepare these meals for a much lower cost.
I truly enjoyed the meals I had through both of these services, and if you're still on the fence between the two, check out the upcoming week's menu and see what recipes speak to you.