I heard about Purple Carrot, the vegan meal prep kit, when Mark Bittman left the New York Times to work for them.
I kept my eye on their recipes, but I generally found that I was only interested in *maybe* one recipe a week. But my interest in Purple Carrot rose when it was announced that they were partnering with Whole Foods in Massachusetts for meal prep kits available in stores. It was rolled out in Dedham first (I think… or was it Danvers?) which was nowhere near me. Then last week, a few more stores were announced including the Whole Foods at Alewife/Cambridge. Finally! A location that I could get to a little more easily.
So I went on Sunday. My choices were:
- a cauliflower/beets/green beans with orange sauce
- a pesto pasta with brussels sprouts
- a tofu dish that I would have gotten if I weren’t mildly allergic to soy (sadly, I don’t remember which tofu recipe it was exactly)
I decided on the cauliflower/beets/green beans recipe because it wasn’t something that I’d normally picked from a cookbook.
In hindsight, I wish I had picked the pesto pasta.
Now, some quick disclaimers:
- I am specifically commenting on the in-store pick up kit. I have no experience with the online, full-service meal kits.
- I was not paid to do this. I paid for this out of pocket because I was really curious.
- I am not vegan. However, I think one can never had enough vegetable recipes in their repertoire. (Maybe because I know it’s something I need to work on?)
Got it? Good.
The cost was $20 for the kit (which like many kits is only 2 servings). This seemed a little high to me since there are no at-home delivery costs. My only consolation was that there was a $2 Whole Foods coupon on the box to encourage the sale of a new product.
The kit I picked up had a moldy beet in it. ONE MISERABLE MOLDY BEET. The actual recipe on the website says 6oz of beets, and I’m pretty confident that one moldy beet (which was smaller than my fist) was not 6oz. I tossed it.
Luckily, I had my own beets…
… which I proceeded to not even use out of laziness more than anything.
Then to add insult to injury, the mildly cheap looking instruction card mentioned parsley in the recipe. There was no parsley in my kit, just a ton of thyme. Said instruction card also did not have an ingredient list. I was just smart enough to google it (which I will link to at the bottom on this post).
Overall impression of the recipe? Tasty but required too much equipment for a meal prep kit. Technically, it needed a pan to roast the cauliflower, a pot to boil the beets, and a pan to cook the beans. Oh, and a small pot for the sauce.
I liked the sauce better than I want to admit. The sauce was just orange juice, water, cornstarch, brown sugar, and ketchup. I think that it’s the addition of ketchup rubs me the wrong way. At any rate, I have more sauce than I need for the cauliflower and the green beans so I’m going to serve with with some baked pieces of chicken.
I am aware that adding chicken will void the vegan-ness of the meal.
Maybe I’ll even throw in the beets by then.
Will I try this again? Well, I’ll be open minded about it but it’s not the only game in town.**
Oh! And, fair warning, you might want to measure the ingredients against the original published recipes. The meal kit gave me almost twice the amount of apple cider vinegar than I needed.
** = hint, hint… I have another meal prep kit post coming. Maybe as soon as tomorrow.