If I’m being honest, I’ve never been a fan of meal delivery kits. As someone who doesn't like to cook—but is very good at eating out—the thought of being forced into preparing a meal that comes in a box terrifies me. But living life on lockdown has changed our everyday, comfortable routines. No more eating out at my favorite vegan restaurant. Desperately avoid the grocery store to mitigate coronavirus contraction...or possibly unknowingly spreading it. So, I decided it was finally time to try what I have been avoiding all these years. Within four days of ordering, my Purple Carrot—one of the most popular plant-based meal delivery services I decided to try—arrived on my doorstep.

As I ran my box cutter over the top of the large package, I held my breath imagining I’d find a dump of vegetables and ingredients mashed together that I’d be forced to sort like that addicting jigsaw puzzle I’ve been working on for the last week. But, I was pleasantly surprised by what I found: A neatly packaged set of meals with ingredients all clearly labeled and packaged into the perfectly packaged for easy use. It even told me which meal to make first. Plus, it included a mini-magazine cookbook with clear instructions and pretty pictures... just in case you are a visual learner. I saved it!

The first meal was Beet Burgers with Smoky Tomato Aioli and Potato Wedges. Eleven ingredients total. With everything pre-measure and tidily separated and labeled, what I thought would be a daunting task was hardly that. About 35 minutes later breezing through the easy instructions, my meal for two was complete. I trepidly plated. One for myself and one for my meat-eating husband who I’m always eager to impress with vegan meals; and, his standards are very high when it comes to meatless burgers. We bite in. Silence. “Wow,” he exclaims. Enough said. I concur.

Throughout the week I made Creamy Tahini Noodles with Black Lentils & Crispy Shiitakes and Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Spicy Cashew Sauce & Kraut, the other meals in the box. Both delicious.

Here is the key thing I learned through my Purple Carrot experience: cooking a gourmet-tasting meal in 30 minutes is possible, less daunting and much more enjoyable when you don’t have to purchase all the random ingredients, and sort/measure yourself! And, I never thought I’d say this, but I might actually prefer Purple Carrot meals to the takeout food I’ve been ordering in.

Purple Carrot fast figures:

      • Cost: Starts at $8.99 per meal.
      • Serving/size options: Two or four servings; order in sets of three or four meals.
      • Meals available: Dinner, lunch, breakfast (and packaged snacks as add ons).
      • Pros: Gourmet-tasting meals, easy instructions, select your meals and easy sorting by time to make and calorie count.
      • Cons: Heavy plastic use (since everything is presorted/packaged, which is also technically a pro).

Final verdict: Recommended for novices and pros alike.

Bottom Line: As you continue life on lock-down, now is the perfect time to give Purple Carrot a whirl. Especially if you are new to plant-based eating or cooking, it’s a perfect introduction to learning how to cook and create balanced, plant-centric meals. Quarantine or not, Purple Carrot reminds us that with a little help, at-home cooking can be relatively easy, affordable and even win over to plant-based eating the meat-lovers in your life.

Try out Purple Carrot for yourself by clicking the link below: