I took a couple of years off from teaching so this was my first summer off in a while. Combine that with exploring the gustatory offerings of our new city and you get a recipe for weight gain. Going back to school requires us to plan our meals better since our downtime is limited. To get a jump start on eating better, I signed up for Purple Carrot for a couple of weeks. Why Purple Carrot? I have had a love-hate relationship with meat for my entire life. As a kid, I didn’t really enjoy it. In fact, I don’t think I really enjoyed eating until my 20s. The past few years I have discovered I love BBQ, a good steak, lamb chops, and of course burgers. I do have an ethical problem with the way our food is raised though, and I try to take that into account with my meat purchases. I also think my meat intake should be limited for health reasons. I have tried to incorporate more plant based meals into my life, and I thought Purple Carrot could help me learn more about plant based cooking and meal planning.
I had seen some pictures on Facebook of Purple Carrot meals, and so when I saw a coupon online for my first shipment, I didn’t hesitate. The first week greatly appealed to my sense of adventure with a Vietnamese tofu dish, a take on Cioppino, and Malai chickpea dumplings. When I travel, the best part of the trips is the local food. I love to wander around foreign grocery stores and to research the local foods that I try to seek out in places.
That first week I was introduced to vegan mayonnaise in a saffron aioli and made a caramel sauce for the tofu. The second week I was most excited to try the corn and “crab” dumplings because I wasn’t familiar with hearts of palm, and the quinoa burgers because of my love for all things burgery.
I learned quite a bit during these two weeks of Purple Carrot. First, not all vegan substitutes are vile. I have had bad past experiences with mock hot dogs and some particularly disgusting mac and not cheese. The products that Purple Carrot use for their vegan mayo, cream cheese, and cheese are good. Did they taste exactly like their animal product counterparts? No, but they tasted good and were something I will willingly purchase and consume again.
Secondly, I have some portion distortion issues. Past attempts at vegetarian or vegan eating have not been particularly satisfying. All I could think while I was making the first meal, the Cioppino, was that it would not be enough for us. I was wrong. All the meals were filling, and in a couple of cases, we had leftovers.
So, what did I think overall?
The experience was easy. For the most part, the ingredients for each dish are packaged together. The recipes include pictures and detailed instructions. A novice cook might be intimidated at first by the techniques, but if you can follow directions, you will be fine.
The ingredients were of good quality and often looked better than what I might get at the grocery store. I received all ingredients that I was supposed to. I know this is sometimes a problem for meal delivery services. The only problem I had was with some pickles I received. Three pickle slices (why not 4? 3 isn’t divisible by 2, Purple Carrot) were packed into a little jar with some pickle juice, but the lid wasn’t screwed all the way on so the juice leaked into the box. Unfortunately, I needed the juice for a recipe. Luckily, I had a jar of pickles in the fridge.
The food is good. Really good. And creative. It is also expensive. It is hard for me to justify $72/week for three meals, and trust me I have tried because the meals are that good.While I cannot justify the expense of a weekly delivery, I think I will splurge once a month or so.
Did I lose weight? I have lost a few pounds. I probably cannot attribute that all to the food though. I am not a teacher that sits at her desk all day. I constantly walk around my classroom, and that has probably helped.
I learned some new ingredients, and that I want to continue learning about vegan cooking.
Do you eat a vegetarian or vegan diet? What is your favorite recipe or ingredient? Please share!