Old kitchen, meet something new.
Purple Carrot changed the meal-kit game by providing fully plant-based recipes, delivered in more eco-friendly packaging. Then they switched the script again by putting their kits right into grocery stores, allowing consumers to decide on the fly if they’d like to try the service without committing to a subscription. While this retail model is just in its pilot stage, we wouldn't be surprised to see these meal kits start popping at Whole Foods across the country.
Given all of the hype around Purple Carrot these days, it seemed like high time I give it a try.
For background, you should know that I consider myself as a bit of an aspiring culinarian who has fallen off the wagon. I love cooking, but have difficulty finding the time to round up all of the ingredients and savor the process. So I had high hopes when I (quite literally) stumbled over the big box containing all of the ingredients for my Purple Carrot experiment. Perhaps by streamlining the process, this could be my culinary salvation!
To make sure I was giving these recipes an accurate evaluation, I took on the challenge the way I imagine most people would: a bit harried, late in the evening after a long day, and with minimal tools in my kitchen.
I prefer to think of this as “scene setting” and not just a typical day in my life.
At this point, you’ve probably already heard a bit about how meal kits work, but I’ll give you a rundown of the basic specs just in case:
Purple Carrot offers two options, the first for two people, three times a week ($68), and the second for four people, twice a week ($74). Or, now, you can just grab a $19.99 kit designed for two straight off the shelf!
After selecting your plan, you’ll receive a box full of recipe packages for the week with all of the veggies, spices, and sauces you might need—other than salt, pepper, and olive oil, so if you’re a true newbie you might have to take a trip to the store. Don’t worry. This is but a small investment in your cooking future, and it will give your mother some peace of mind if she stops by your place.
Bonus: shipping is included and nationwide.
Now back to it.
After a quick glance at the bundles inside my box of goodies, I quickly decided on the first of the three recipes provided: a Sweet Potato Lasagna fit for a fall evening. Apron fastened, I spread out all of the vibrant veggies and spices across my counter, ready to face whatever was in store for me, be it success or failure.
Though the Instagram-worthy dishes looked intimidating at first glance, Purple Carrot provides a beautifully designed recipe sheet that breaks down each step of the process with photos and easy-to-navigate instructions, immediately easing my mind that this seemingly gourmet recipe would be manageable.
I was promised that prep and cooking would take 35 minutes total, so I set my timer, set the oven to broil, and was quickly confronted with my total lack of knife skills. Undeterred and miraculously unbloodied, I was surprised by how fluidly I was able to move through each step. The sauce was simmering, the tofu ricotta was well-spiced, and I was bouncing around the kitchen accompanied by the sounds of Charles Mingus and my growing sense of pride.
And that was the magic of it. That was what transformed some pre-measured ingredients into a true feat of food technology: by changing the way I approached dinner, Purple Carrot returned the joy of cooking and removed the hassle.
This is a tremendous value-add for the modern consumer. I wasn’t just getting a nutritious plant-based meal, I was able to take ownership of the process and acquire new skills, all while producing food that’s better for my own health and the health of the planet.
Thanks for brightening my evenings, Purple Carrot, and for making plant-based cooking accessible to people like me, who had given up on anything that required more than a sprint through the grocery store or a cursory glance inside a barren cabinet.
To try it out for yourself or see if Purple Carrot is available at a grocery store in your area, click here.
And to find out more about how The Good Food Institute supports products and technology that improve our food system, visit our website