I Tried Purple Carrot’s Food and Recipes: Here Are My Thoughts

Purple Carrot Review

Purple Carrot is a unique meal kit delivery service focusing on vegan cuisine. Considering there is no meat and all recipes are 100% vegan, you may be hesitant to pay for a week’s worth of meals (which is three meals). To help put your concerns at rest, I tried a few of Purple Carrot’s dishes so that you could see for yourself if they’re worth the cost.

One thing to note is that you cannot choose your meals with the Purple Carrot. Instead, you will find out what they are sending you via your online account when the week’s meals are ready for approval. You can then choose to skip or accept that week, but there’s no substitutes.

I received two recipes from Purple Carrot to try:

  1. Brown Rice Spaghetti with Miso Walnut Sauce and Crisp Green Beans
  2. Sweet Potato Mushroom Tacos with Mango Chile Salsa
  3. Rigatoni Arrabbiata with Pepperoncini and Chickpea “Meatballs”
  4. Asparagus and Caramelized Onion Flatbread with White Bean Puree
  5. Summer Squash Tagine with Golden Raisins and Moroccan Couscous

Let’s see how things went, shall we?


1. Brown Rice Spaghetti with Miso Walnut Sauce and Crisp Green Beans

purple-carrot-miso-recipe

This recipe is gluten-free and vegan. The brown rice noodles team up with a chickpea miso (instead of the traditional soybean miso) and a crunch of walnuts to bring you a well-rounded dish.

Preparation

purple-carrot-brown-rice-spaghetti-ingredients

There wasn’t a lot to do prep-wise with this dish. I basically just had to prepare the green beans (which took all of five minutes).

Cooking
The Purple Carrot Brown Rice Recipe Instructions

Boiling water took the longest in this recipe. But, once everything was boiling, it all came together nicely.

One thing I didn’t like was that they tell you to reserve a ½ cup of cooking water, but then you only use 4 tablespoons of it to create your sauce. If you don’t read the card carefully, you could miss that and accidentally pour all of the water into the sauce – watering it down significantly. This is rather poor writing on their part.

Taste and Final Product

purple-carrot-brown-rice-spaghetti-final

The dish looked just like it did in the picture.

When it came to taste, something was off. First, the brown rice noodles were gummy and chewy – just like rice when you cook it in too much water. The green beans were just too overwhelming in the dish. Also, the ginger was extremely powerful – all I could taste was ginger. You definitely needed squirts of the lemon (which was provided) in order to cut through that ginger and miso sauce and help freshen up the green beans.

Would I Eat It Again?

Probably not. Considering the price tag and the simplicity of this dish – along with the weird flavor – I wouldn’t pay for it to eat it again nor would I remake it here at home. I split this dish with three adults and two children, and everyone agreed it wasn’t worth a second round.

2. Sweet Potato Mushroom Tacos with Mango Chile Salsa

purple-carrot-taco-recipe-front

Two of my favorite things are present here: sweet potatoes and fruit salsas. More specifically, a mango salsa. In the summer, I tend to crave tacos and fruit salsas. This dish is also vegan and gluten-free. If you’re on the Paleo diet, this recipe would work for you too – there's just no meat.

Preparation

Purple Carrot Sweet Potato Taco Ingredients

You do have some prep to do with this recipe. It took me a little over 10 minutes, because you had to chop the mango (which they don’t tell you how to do by the way), prepare cilantro, etc.

Cooking

purple-carrot-sweet-potato-taco-recipe-back

In this dish, the sweet potatoes are roasted in the oven and the mushrooms sauteed on the stovetop. Timing on the recipe card is key with this – especially when they have you utilizing two methods (baking and sauteing). Luckily, it all worked out and everything finished up right on time. The only time that was off was the taco shells. I heated them for five minutes and that was definitely not enough time to warm them through.

Taste and Final

purple-carrot-sweet-potato-final

The final product turned out just like the picture. But, there was tons of mango salsa. It was a waste of an entire mango and the proportions for that salsa were way off. There was way too much onion, cilantro and jalapeno compared to the mango and tomato – making it very onion-ish. If you ate the salsa on its own, it was just way too much. I think it would have been a lot better if they reduced the onion, only used half a mango, etc. Because when everything was done, I had to just toss the salsa – because it was too gross to repeat on its own later. And, I hate wasting food.

When everything was tasted together, it was fine – though sometimes you would be overpowered by the red onion in the salsa. It was definitely flavorful and you didn’t miss the meat.

Would I Eat It Again?

Yes, but I would definitely change up the salsa somehow. I would make this again at home and change up the salsa or order it again and not use all of the onion like they suggest.

3. Rigatoni Arrabbiata with Pepperoncini and Chickpea “Meatballs”

purple-carrot-rigatoni-recipe-front

This dish uses chickpeas to create hearty meatballs and keep it still 100% vegan. Because it is a vegan dish, there’s no parmesan or mozzarella. But, I was definitely interested in seeing how a vegan pasta with “meatballs” turned out.

Preparation

purple-carrot-rigatoni-ingredients

This dish comes together really quick. The hardest part was just creating the “meatballs” and mashing up the chickpeas. You really need your chickpeas smooth – otherwise you’ll have meatballs that fall apart. So, this takes a little longer than expected and then they still need to bake for 20 minutes.

Cooking

purple-carrot-rigatoni-back

Everything comes together well. When you have to crush the whole tomatoes, it becomes problematic. They don’t necessarily crush easily and I found it extremely messy. It would have been better if they just included crushed tomatoes instead of whole tomatoes in a can – makes more sense in my opinion.

My meatballs took about 22 minutes and were smooth on the inside and crunchy on the outside. You have to carefully mix them into the pasta though – because they break apart really easy.

Taste and Final Product

purple-carrot-rigatoni-final

Considering there is no cheese, this pasta was surprisingly flavorful and good. The meatballs have great flavor and they’re very hearty. In fact, the dish was very filling. I split it between two adults and we had tons of leftovers. The basil was good, but the sauce tasted as though it was missing something. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there was definitely a seasoning or flavor missing.

Would I Eat It Again?

Surprisingly, yes, I would. While it was missing the cheese and meat, this dish was satisfying and a fun twist on meatless meals. If I was a vegan, I probably would have enjoyed it even more. I like the idea of using chickpeas for the meatballs because they are filling and have excellent flavor.

4. Asparagus and Caramelized Onion Flatbread with White Bean Puree

purple-carrot-flatbread-recipe-front

I was impressed with this recipe because you were making your own flatbread from scratch! Instead of a tomato sauce, you are using a white bean puree. Also, they are highlighting the freshness of summer by using all of the ingredients raw – and they even make sure none of the produce goes to waste.

Preparation

Most of the prep consisted of trimming and thinly slicing ingredients – like the asparagus and onion. But, instead of doing it all on Step 1, they have you prep as you go.

Cooking

purple-carrot-flatbread-recipe-back

I was impressed at how you make the flatbread from scratch. You will need a food processor though – so if you don’t have one, it would be hard to make this recipe. The flat bread used wheat, white and tapioca flours – giving it a less gummy texture.

Taste and Final Product

Overall, the final product was just like the photo – though I had some extra browning on the edges of my flatbread before it cooked in the center. The lemon was definitely needed in this recipe – otherwise it was way too heavy. This is probably because there wasn't any egg binding it together.

While it tasted good, I didn’t feel this was really a dinner. Instead, it was something I’d eat for lunch. It wasn’t as filling as I figured it would be and after awhile, you got quickly bored of the bean puree.

Would I Eat It Again?

No, definitely not. While it was awesome it was made from scratch, I felt this recipe was just too simple, lacking flavor and lacking fulfillment to be ordered or even made here again.

5. Summer Squash Tagine with Golden Raisins and Moroccan Couscous

purple-carrot-tagine-recipe-front

I love couscous. My kids aren’t a fan, but that is because it can be hard to scoop up. I, however, love this stuff. It’s fluffy, takes flavors well, and is a nice change from the usual side dishes. I was definitely interested in trying this one out because it had summer squash and Moroccan flavors. The one thing I was worried about, however, was the tagine. They call it a “tagine,” but you aren’t really using a tagine in this dish. A tagine is a meal cooked in an earthenware pot and features North African and Middle Eastern flavors. While this had the flavors – it didn’t exactly have you use the pot.

Preparation

There was a few things to trim and chop before you could cook – such as the squash, carrots, onion, and bell pepper. But, it only took about 10 minutes to get it all right. I do wish they tell you how big to chop some of the ingredients – the picture doesn’t tell you how thick you’re supposed to cut these.

Cooking

purple-carrot-tagine-recipe-back

The dish comes together rather quickly – starting with toasting the almonds. You cook all the vegetables together with the spices, then fluff the couscous and serve them up.

Taste and Final Product

The Moroccan spices were spot on. I love Moroccan flavors and this one had them all – including cinnamon, turmeric, curry, cumin, cayenne and the fruits. It was spicy, zesty and sweet all in the same bite. I think it still could have used the infusion of the Earthenware to get that true tagine flavor, but the taste was still on.

The raisins and dried apricots were a tad too much – in my opinion. Had it all cooked together for a long time (like the traditional recipe), then the fruits would have taken on more of the spices. But, because it all came together quickly, it just feel like it was missing something.

Would I Eat It Again?
Probably not. While the flavors were great, it just didn’t have that same tagine-like flavor and richness I expected.

Final Results: 2 out of 5 Recipes Approved

Overall, The Purple Carrot had a lot of disappointing recipes. From a vegan's standpoint, they may find that some of the flavors are just too far out there or the recipes are too complex.

Read our full review of The Purple Carrot to see how they measure up against the competition.

Don't forget to check out all of our reviews for meal kit delivery services available in your area!



Shailynn is a word slinger, chef, Pinterest addict and adult coloring book collector. As our Operations Manager and Senior Researcher/Editor, you will find Shailynn busy finding new companies and topics to research, but also handling the crazy day-to-day on the backend – and by crazy…we mean all of us. She attended the International Culinary Institute, where she studied pastry arts and she worked as an executive pastry chef before hanging up her chef’s hat and decided to work from home as a writer. She is a fanatic for a great cup of coffee or wonderful glass of wine! Shailynn is a mother of three and married to a handsome firefighter.

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