Healthy, vegan meals
Fresh ingredients with good flavor twists
Great online interface
Meal kits require a lot of cooking
No customizations allowed
If you're looking for vegan meals with interesting flavors and recipes, Purple Carrot offers a variety of both meal kits and premade meals.
Purple Carrot is one of a handful of plant-based meal delivery companies in the United States. Since the service was founded in 2014, it's clearly ironed out a lot of the kinks of meal delivery. The website is streamlined and easy to use to both order and change meals and the food we ordered was delivered in good condition and right on time.
Purple Carrot has even partnered with folks such as NFL quarterback Tom Brady to design meal plans and recipes for a plant-based lifestyle. We tried out Purple Carrot to see if the service matched our expectations.
We spent months researching, ordering, testing, eating, and writing about 40 different meal delivery services. Our testers wrote in-depth reviews and filled out detailed surveys about each company, which we used to assign an overall score to each one.
Learn More: Read Our Full Methodology
How It Works: Easy Setup, but Few Options
We found the onboarding for Purple Carrot to be about as easy as it gets. Simply choose the number of meals you want each week and whether you want two or four servings. This is a little inflexible if you have kids. Ideally, there would be a three-serving option or smaller portions for families, so if you have a family of three, you might find yourself with leftovers for each meal.
Your price is then set based on the number of meals and the first week’s meals are recommended to you. If you would like, you can change the meals and choose from a list of options. We found the recommended meals to be interesting, but it is nice to look through the available options.
Choosing Meals: Enough Options
Purple Carrot always has a few basic meals that it recommends to you each week. We aren’t sure if this is based on previous orders or if they recommend the same meals to each customer. It is easy enough to change those meals by selecting other options that are available each week, some of which will be regularly rotating choices and some new meals.
There are meal kits that require prep and cooking and heat-and-eat meals that only need to be reheated. We selected items from both the list of meal kits and prepared meals.
What We Made
Sesame orange tofu with roasted green beans and sticky rice
Curry roasted cauliflower with masala chickpeas & ginger cucumber salsa
Rajas tacos with avocado & roasted corn salsa
Peanut noodles with gingered edamame & braised tofu
Creamy mac 'n cheese with pesto peas & sun dried tomatoes
Spelt risotto with summer vegetable caponata
Chilled curried chickpea salad with dates & quinoa red pepper pilaf
Tofu palak paneer with carrot biryani
Support Materials: Easy Access
Purple Carrot's weekly box comes with a weekly recipe booklet that contains all the dinner, lunch, and breakfast recipes with easy to follow instructions and access as you're cooking.
The company also offers full recipe instructions on its website and you can access them at any point, even if you have canceled your account. It’s not very easy to cook alongside a laptop though, and the recipes were hard to read on a phone, so we found that printing the recipes, if you don't have the booklet from the box, was best.
Packaging: A Good Mix
The Purple Carrot meal kits box had a lot of produce in it, and for the most part, it was packaged smartly in recyclable plastic or just in the box with no packaging. Luckily, each meal was wrapped in a large, recyclable plastic bag, so it made it easy to know which ingredients are for what recipe since there were so many different ingredients in the box. It would’ve been hard to sort it out if they weren’t grouped.
In total, we counted 42 separate pieces of packaging. Of these, the cardboard inserts and one plastic container were eligible for curbside recycling; 29 pieces (all plastics) could be recycled, albeit at a special facility. There were a few small containers for sauces and oils that would be reusable if you were so inclined, but we just tossed those in the trash.
The prepared meals had considerably less packaging, with only 27 total pieces of packaging. As these were heat-and-eat meals, the packaging consisted of a recyclable plastic tray, a piece of film, and a cardboard sleeve. Only nine pieces required a special facility to be recycled; the remainder had to go in the trash.
The Cooking Process: Put on Your Chef’s Hat
For obvious reasons, the meal kits required more prep work than the prepared meals. Recipes required a good deal of washing and chopping, though we did find that we were easily able to prepare these in the suggested amount of time.
The prepared meals were a snap, requiring only two to three minutes in the microwave; one dish was meant to be served cold, so our efforts were restricted to peeling off the plastic film and plating it.
Flavor, Freshness, and Quality: Nailed It
Minus a tomatillo that was a bit past its prime, almost all the ingredients sent to us in the box were very fresh and ready to cook or store for a few days in the fridge without worry. It was nice to not feel like we had to make the recipes immediately before the ingredients start to lose freshness.
The meals we ordered were plant-based, so there was no meat or dairy to be concerned with. The vegan cheese and sour cream were just fine and the boxed black beans were great—and a nice upgrade from just a can of black beans. Overall, the freshness of Purple Carrot was excellent.
Nutritional Value: Check the Website
Purple Carrot doesn’t include nutritional information in the delivery, but it does give fairly thorough nutritional info at the time of meal selection, or you can check back on the individual recipe page at any point.
Purple Carrot Is Good For
A plant-based household with at least one person who is a skilled home cook and has time to cook and clean would appreciate Purple Carrot. And because of the heat-and-eat options available, plant-based eaters who don't cook would also likely enjoy this service.
Add-ons: Some Basics
Purple Carrot does have add-ons that you can place on your meal delivery each week. These include some breakfast and dessert items like overnight oats, vegan cookies, and brownies. There are also a few items on a rotating basis from what Purple Carrot calls its Plantry, things like almond milk chocolate bars and vegan marshmallows.
Customer Service: Excellent Chat Service
Purple Carrot offers a few different customer service options. We contacted them via an online chat regarding some of the steps in the black bean bowls and the customer service representative was very quick to give a courteous, helpful reply. You can also contact Purple Carrot via email and phone.
Making Changes and Canceling: No Problems
As long as you hit the deadlines each week for skipping or changing the meal plans, Purple Carrot has an incredibly easy and streamlined account setup online. It's actually one of the better ones we’ve tested. Changing meals each week is no problem and you can skip as many weeks as you would like. Canceling your account is easy as well. If you choose to come back, Purple Carrot saves your information so you can reactivate your account and start where you left off.
If you are eating a plant-based diet and have plenty of time to cook your own dinners, Purple Carrot will deliver fresh ingredients for its recipes. It can be a great option if you are in a recipe rut and want to switch up your meals, especially because you can skip weeks or cancel entirely. However, due to the work involved with each recipe, the meal kits may not be a good fit for time-crunched families.
Our testers ordered from, cooked, and rated 40 different meal delivery services. We carefully scored each one based on meal selection, nutritional information, sustainability, and customer service, as well as the flavor, freshness, and quality of each meal and ingredient. Our Spruce Eats tester panel includes dietitians, chefs, and longtime food writers. The one thing they all have in common is their love and knowledge of food.
- Product Name Purple Carrot
- Starting Price $11 per serving
- Delivery Area 48 states
- Products Arrive Prepared meals are frozen; kits are fresh
- Customers Can Choose Delivery Date? No
- Free Shipping? Yes