Review: Purple Carrot

A review of Purple Carrot with meal commentary.

Review: Purple Carrot
Sadly, strawberry pie was not one of the meal kit selections.

I'm working through a few meal services to find one or two that help us get variety in our diet AND are easy enough for Ryan to cook when I'm not feeling good and when my health declines.

Ryan's an amazing cook and very good at a few dishes + chocolate chip cookies.

The first on the docket is Purple Carrot - a vegetarian, leaning Vegan, meal service with both fresh prepared meals and meal kits.

Purple Carrot (referral link)

We both need to get more vegetables in our diet and the meals looked different from what I normally cook. I figured it would be a fun first experiment.

I purchased 3 boxes during December 2023 – January 2024.

Administration and Delivery

Sign up was easy. Put in your information and select the first box.

Box selection ends one week before delivery. This is standard with these services.

There is a 6-week lead time where you can select meals for multiple weeks.

Pausing one week is a toggle and a one question questionnaire as to why you are pausing that week. You need to pause before the box selection deadline.

Cancellation was just as easy. Go to your account and account settings. Choose Cancel. They will ask why (of course), but it's pretty straightforward. You will still get (and pay for) the last box if you miss the selection deadline and haven't toggled the pause.

You have options to pause for an extended period or cancel and it appears that I can reactivate the service with one click, even after cancellation.

I didn't have to engage with customer service.

Since I started the service during the holidays, the first couple boxes were a bit late - as warned. They send tracking information through email.

The first box was in transit a day longer than expected. Everything was still in good shape, but the dry ice packs were done.

Save for the plastic containing the dry ice packs, everything was recyclable.


Food Summary: Fresh, tasty, creative vegetarian cuisine. Interesting recipes and techniques. Select carefully if you are on a specific diet beyond "vegetarian."

Cook level: Intermediate. You need to know how to determine which steps can happen in parallel. Preparing your ingredients prior to starting helps a lot. I also would have preferred the steps in outline format. That's just my preference.

Recipes and ingredient kit: The recipes were fun, and we both enjoyed the meals (details below). Many of the recipes can be recreated without challenging ingredient sourcing if you have access to a good Asian market and you are not trying to be strictly vegan.

The vegan specific ingredients, particularly the vegan mayo and vegan butter were both delicious and I need to go hunt these down. Sadly, they came in portioned containers without any further information. I don't know whether these were made in-house or sourced.

Meal Kit Time Accuracy: It appears they accommodate ingredient prep when they estimate the prep time. However, if you follow the instructions literally, it will take you much longer to cook. Steps can be done in parallel if you are comfortable in the kitchen.

Other comments: Higher sodium, especially in the prepared food. The meal kits with fewer special ingredients (such as the vegan mayo, vegan butter, gochujang, canned beans etc.) provide more control over the sodium levels. We found that the meals required no additional salt.

Prepared Meals: Only 8 prepared meal options are available as of this writing. The prepared meals are fresh. The two I froze thawed well with limited impact on flavor or texture. I think they are planning more prepared meals in the future.

Specific Meals

Delivery 1 - Prepared Meals

Cauli Shakshuka with Tofu Ricotta and Mint-Lemon Rice. Single serving prepared meal.

Cauliflower. A few black lentils. Some peppers.  Despite the sodium (960mg – about 42% of the daily serving) – I found this bland. I wanted stronger mint and lemon flavor. The texture was fine, for cauliflower. I’m not particularly fond of cauliflower. This dish didn’t change my mind.

Burrito Power Bowl. Single serving prepared meal.

Lower sodium (24% of daily allowance), lower calorie (390). Has some spice and tomato sweetness. Nice balance of textures. Not a craver, but a serviceable meal.

Elote-style Creamed Corn and Potatoes. Single serving prepared meal.

Great balance of sweetness, texture, and savoriness. Ryan liked this – but found it spicy.  When I tried it, I found it had the same spice level as the Burrito Power Bowl, so he may find that one spicy too. So far, best of the lot. I can easily see this as a craver. Higher calorie. 35% sodium allowance.

Thai Red Curry. Single serving prepared meal.

Tastes “off.” I'm thinking they subbed canned baby corn and canned green beans in the dish (wish I took a picture of this one to show the difference). It's also not as salty as expected, but this is one of the lower sodium offerings. Edible, but I wouldn’t reorder. I’d rather make our own curry minus the canned goods.

Pesto Nourish Bowl. Single serving prepared meal.

Lower sodium, higher calorie. Delicious one-dish meal heavy on the pesto flavor. Must like quinoa. Will happily reorder.

Peanut Noodles. Single serving prepared meal.

Ryan ate this one and I wasn't around to get a taste. Deemed it a repeat with good flavor.

Falafel and Harissa Carrots. Single serving prepared meal.

Froze this and reheated. Worked great. Falafels, good. Orzo, buttery.  Carrots – a bit fibrous. I also don’t like cooked carrots much, or zucchini, and it had a lot of both.  Not as much harissa flavor.  Liked half, disliked the other half. Will give the next one I receive to Ryan. He likes cooked carrots and zucchini more than I do.

General Tsos Protein. Single serving prepared meal.

Strange “beef” like stringy texture. Slightly peanut-buttery.  I enjoyed the flavors. Edible, but I found the texture disconcerting. I think I would have preferred this if it was just straight tofu.

I purchased two of these and gave Ryan the second one. He loved this. “Lots of flavor, but NOT General Tsos.”

Delivery 2 – Prepared Meals and Meal Kits

Tofu Marsala with Mashed Potatoes and Mustard Roasted Green Beans. Meal kit.

Me – I’d cook this again. 

Ryan – “This is more Wendy-food” He’s not as fond of mushrooms and tofu as I am. He did, however, LOVE the mashed potatoes.


  • Green salt for salting green beans.
  • Not enough mustard in provided packet – supplemented with Grey Poupon I had in the house.
  • No salt in potato water + kept peels on
  • Pinch of black truffle salt in potatoes when mashing

Next time

  • Replace the vegetable broth concentrate in the kit with the mushroom bouillon I have in the house (either Knorr's or Better than Bouillon).  Marsala sauce didn’t have much flavor.
  • More mushrooms, less tofu.

Cavatappi Ragu. Single serving prepared meal.

Ryan really liked this one. Called it a repeat.  His comments “Great flavor and I love butternut squash. You can get more of these.”

Miso Coconut Ramen with Charred Broccolini and Lemon. Meal kit.

Me – I’d cook this again. Doesn’t match the curry ramen I had the other night, but it was good.

Ryan – “I like this a lot. Definite repeat. The noodles have a nice texture.”


  • They didn’t pack the spinach called for in the recipe into the kit. I added a 10oz block of whole leaf frozen spinach to the broth as it boiled.
  • I incinerated (purposefully) the broccolini.  Made it much crispier. Plus, I don't like broccolini much (sense a theme?).
  • Held out 2 of the 6 Tamari packets they provided. I didn't think they were necessary.
  • Did not salt pasta water.

Next time

  • Only use 2 Tamari packets vs. 4.
  • Halve the coconut milk.

Delivery #3 – Meal Kits

Vegan Chik’n and Dumplings. Meal kit.

Me – Decent flavor. Took less time than the 40-50 minutes they stated.  Apparently, they calculated the ingredient prep time in their estimates. I appreciate that.   The recipe they provided does not require special sourcing. I would make this again and further reduce the use of broth concentrates.

Ryan liked the flavor but would have preferred less sodium. “If I close my eyes, this would be stuffing. Really juicy stuffing.”


  • I added ½ of a mushroom bouillon cube.
  • Used none of the salt they recommended.
  • Added pepper to the dumplings – accidental, but it worked.

Next time

  • No need to flour the mushrooms. I suspect they used the flour in the mushrooms to thicken the sauce.
  • I would just use the ½ mushroom bouillon cube. I wouldn’t add any of Purple Carrot’s vegetable broth concentrate. The Purple Carrot concentrate is saltier than the Knorr's mushroom bouillon cubes I'm using.

Spicy Gochujang Flatbreads. Meal Kit.

Me – It’s good. Nice balance of flavors and textures. Incinerating the kale and scallions was a good idea. They gave the dish an added crispiness that I loved.

Ryan – "It’s spicy. Good. A repeat." (Spoken between bites of food.)


  • Since we needed to preheat the oven to 450 degrees anyways, I decided to roast the scallions, kale, and sesame seeds all at once. Tastes better, less work. I could throw the flatbreads in the oven for the last 5 minutes.
  • Did not add any salt except for a pinch of chipotle salt on the scallion/kale roast. Pepper replaced with Aleppo pepper on scallion/kale roast.
  • Left out requested salt from the gochuchang cream cheese. The dish was more than salty enough with the ingredients provided.
  • Left out the maple syrup from the gochujang cream cheese. Didn’t need the sweetness.
  • Used our own sesame oil – easier to measure and store than the multiple packets they provided.

Next time - This can be replicated with items we can get at the local Asian market. I think I'm going to recreate this on my own.

Lemon Pepper Tofu with Zatar White Beans and Caper Dressing. Meal kit.

Me – I had low expectations. This was easily the most prototypical "vegetarian" recipe of everything I selected. I'm also not a huge fan of white beans. Much to my surprise, this dish was delicious and, with minor modifications, easy to make.  The baked tofu was genius.

Ryan – “We can totally make this again. This was amazing!”


  • Roasted the tomatoes with the tofu. Original recipe had me mix them as part of the caper dressing.
  • I did not measure the lemon juice from squeezing the lemon. Too lazy. I used Minute Maid Lemon Juice instead, which worked just fine.
  • Used some dried lemon peel I had in my spice cabinet vs. zesting the lemon. Again, too lazy. Another possible substitution for another attempt at this dish – Penzey’s Florida Seasoning (lemon peel and ground black pepper).
  • Instead of fighting with hot ingredients in a blender and the grief around cleaning said blender, I warmed the beans, garlic, lemon and olive oil in a pot and used an immersion blender. I then added the Zatar seasoning after everything was warm and the right consistency. Thank goodness for immersion blenders.

Next time – no change. I will use the same substitutions. Another recipe that I can replicate with ingredients I can get locally.

Peanut Pad Thai. Meal kit.

Me – It’s OK. I would rather use fish sauce than the weird Worcestershire Sauce powder.  This is a vegetable heavy dish and the substitutions for the usual proteins worked brilliantly.

Ryan – “I liked this. We can do this again.”


  • Added some sweet peppers that I had in my fridge that needed to be used.

Next time – I prefer this from my local Thai restaurants. If I didn’t have access to amazing Thai food, I’d make this again. Since I can get this via delivery for the same price as the ingredients I need to make this myself, or for the kit from Purple Carrot, I’m not going to bother.

Overall: I think once we finish our testing, we are going to start Purple Carrot back up for 3 meals a week from the meal kits.

It won't be appropriate for when I get sick again, but for where I'm at today - it's a great service. I'm looking forward to seeing what they have for spring.

February's project: Sunbasket. Not vegetarian. I've heard great things about this service. Should be fun.