I'm actually a foodetarian, I don't believe in vilifying foods or omitting food groups completely, I do believe in a diet with a wide variety of foods, and I believe in moderation. By foodetarian I mean real food, food that rots! Not processed, artificial ingredients, filler crap, but food, real food! I also recognize that eating more whole food, plant based foods can have a significant positive impact on our health, but I didn't want to stick to salads and rice. Even Carnivores can add more plant based foods to their diet! In my search for healthy, filling, whole food plant based recipes I found a few really great sources:
The Minimalist Baker - Simple, easy to make, and good.
The Thug Kitchen - Be aware they swear a lot, I mean a lot and the F-bomb is common, but it is hilarious, a bit of reality, and yummy.
The Hairy Bikers - website has meet, but they did a Hairy Bikers go Veggie book and they make hearty, man's man vegetarian meals!
and of course - Purple Carrot. Purple Carrot is a 100% plant based meal delivery service.
We decided to give Purple Carrot a try, It gave us the ingredients we needed, new recipes and cooking styles, and experience stepping out beyond the basics of fruits and vegetables. Here is how it is going: an overall review and review per recipe.
Cost - $72 a week for 2 people/3 meals which comes out to $12 a meal. Not Bad.
Would I be able to buy these things for less? Probably, but one of our problems we have is produce we let go bad before we can eat, which then ups our cost through waste. Plus, they provide the exact amounts which is helpful with items I would not normally buy.
Taste - So far these dishes have been delicious, even my meat and cheese loving man has made delicious yummy noises and with great incredulity declared them to be "really good". Because we were unfamiliar with eating some of the items, like tofu, each meal has been a bit of an adventure, but a fun and delicious one.
Environment - My husband is an Environmental Geologist and Consultant and we are Shaklee distributors, both of which mean the impact we make on the environment and landfills is important to us. We believe we are meant to be good stewards of our earth. That said, my biggest complaint is probably the amount of waste in each box.
Per Purple Carrot "We strive to find and implement the most eco-friendly insulation and liners possible for our meal kits!During the summer months, you may see a few variations of liners, one of which is made from recycled denim. To recycle, separate the plastic casing from the inner lining. The non-woven, enhanced cotton insulation material can be recycled at any facility that accepts cotton fiber, and the outer film can be recycled as a #4 plastic".
Some of this depends on your municipality. For people in the greensboro area I recommend the app GSO Collects. To learn more email Tori Carle, Waste Reduction Supervisor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Side note; we republish Tori's awesome blog filled with environmentally friendly tips and ideas. It can be found in the Forum, under The Environment, check it out.
Each item comes in a small plastic/cellophane bag, and there are several small plastic containers, which appear to be recyclable. I have been cleaning them to reuse them. There is a large plastic bag, ice pack, the padding insulation, and a cardboard box. I realize that all meal services struggle with this issue, but it is likely to be a deal killer for us.
PS - Plug for Pampered Chef, the Food Chopper, Salad Chopper, and the Simple Slicer get used every recipe!
Ease - The recipes vary in difficulty level, but are pretty simple. I love to cook and cook some very complicated dishes, but discovered that some things I've avoided are pretty easy like pickling items.
Other - Pay attention to the notes, some items are packaged in one bag, but are for two or more recipes, which is great from a landfill perspective, but you have to make sure to split the amount between recipes.
We had one avocado that was nowhere near ripe, nor was it ripe a week later, so we made our dish without it. We also had one recipe left out the garlic, but I had some on hand. These are pretty minor issues, and likely to happen with any service.
Summary - We have truly enjoyed this experience, the recipes, the ease, the reduced trips to the grocery store and the flavors. Our only concern is the amount of waste. We will give this a few more weeks to see, but I'm afraid the waste will cause us to stop using Purple Carrot. They are aware and working on it too, which helps. We have learned to try new foods, new cooking methods, and have discovered we can be satiated and delighted without meat. If you are considering increasing the amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes I recommend giving Purple Carrot a try. It is a great choice for Vegans and Vegetarians, but also a great way for carnivours to get a few more whole food, plant based foods into their diet.
We will still eat meat, but we are now down to red meat and chicken only one day a week each, fish 2 days and the rest vegetarian and vegan, and crazy thing....we like it! 2 Carnivores can do vegan! - At least part of the time.
Dishes we have tried so far:
Vietnamese Tofu Bowl - This was very good and filling, I admit, this was the recipe I expect my husband to balk at and I made seared tuna as a back up. But, he loved it and we saved the tuna for another meal.
It was easy to use and the way the tofu was cooked took care of my isssue, which is the feel of tofu in my mouth. This almost felt meaty in my mouth. This will be a repeat!
Kimchi Quesadillas - I wasn't too sure about this dish. Kimchi is something that can be a little overwhelming and I was afraid it would rule the dish. It didn't, the black beans worked nicely with it giving this dish a nice overall flavor. It can be tempting to leave out parts you think you may not like, but encourage you to resist the temptation. The flavors blend well together and each dish should be made with all components.
To call this dish a quesadilla is a stretch, if not an outright misnomer. The ingredients include a tiny packet of soy cheese that is to be split between the "quesadillas". I mean tiny! The recipe says 1/4 cup, but I think that is a generous description. Because I'm easing my husband into the vegan and vegetarian foods Used actual cheese and 1/4 cup for one quesadilla just for him. I was able to make 3 quesadillas with the ingredients and used some extra tortillas I had on hand to make this work. I have to give him his props, he tired the vegan one first and really liked it! So, quesadilly...meh...bean & kimchi burrito? Maybe. Good - YES!
Superfood Bowl - I really like this dish, but it is a different palate of flavors, more umami or a blend of salty and umami with touches of sweet. It is packed with protein and very filling. I encourage you to give this a try and be open minded.
Tortilla Soup - This was the first dish we tried and I was skeptical. I was tempted to use chicken broth, but I was steadfast to my goal and wanted to have the full Purple Carrot and WFPB experience, so I resisted. Verdict - OMG, this is soooooo goood!!! We will have this often! It was easy to use, but you will need a blender or stick blender. This was the recipe that had the hardest avocado I've ever seen and I was a little disappointed to eat the soup without it, but even so -YUUMMMM!
Socca Pizza - Remember I said to give things a chance? This is one of those times. This recipe is an interesting blend of ingredients and flavors and has a wonderful taste when combined. The sweet pear balance the savory crust and toppings very well. It was a very happy meal and yet again husband approved!