Meal Kits Delivered

When the quarantine started I decided to sign up for two mail order meal kits. My grocery store was often empty of produce and had security problems due to people wearing masks.  I thought it would be safer for me to avoid other people at the grocery store by having my groceries delivered. I signed up for Purple Carrot which is a vegan meal kit and Marley Spoon which is Martha Stewart's brand. I used Purple Carrot five years ago and wrote a review here. While I enjoyed it I didn't stick with it because I found it expensive verses buying the same ingredients from the grocery store. But during quarantine, I found the boxes a huge help. I had so much food I couldn't order take out. I also highly recommend them if you're in a rut for what to cook. I swear some of the recipes are things I would never have done on my own but were very innovative and tasty. Getting two boxes a week, delivered on different days,  is enough food for the whole week. My credit card categories these boxes as groceries so I got 3x points on these purchases. 

$62.93 a week for 3 meals that serve 2 (but I stretch it out to 3 servings)

Note this review is written by someone who only ordered the vegetarian meals. When you get your box from Marley Spoon, it comes with 8x10 color print outs of the recipes. They don't send you all the ingredients, they assume you have milk, eggs, flour, sugar and vinegar at home. Recipes often call for one of these ingredients that I didn't have so I finally went out and bought some flour to stick in the freezer and some white wine vinegar which was hard to find. I also bought some milk and made ice cubes out of it so I will always have it on hand since I don't drink it. As a vegetarian, every week there was a ravioli, cheese tortellini with a can of tomatoes, or a flavorless gnocchi option which started to get old. Asian noodles was an option every other week and it never was as good as expected. Other options include enchiladas, fried rice, quesadillas, pizza, risotto, and occasionally a tofu dish.

What I loved was the smoothies! You could add 2 smoothies, for the same price as a meal, to your order for an additional cost. You were sent different recipes with spinach, fruit, or some other interesting combo that you mix with coconut water. But the smoothies went in waves, they'd have them for a month, then it would disappear for a month, then come back. My boxes came a day late on 3 occasions. The green produce was often old, the spinach would be wet and smell, the broccoli turning light green and the green beans full of mold. I often had to substitute something else out my fridge. On two occasions I got the wrong box, someone else's order which is problematic when you're a vegetarian and can't just eat something else. Whenever I would email Marley Spoon to complain their response time was very slow because they said they had an influx of business due to the pandemic. They would give me credits off my next box which was nice, but it was frustrating to consistently receive produce that wasn't fresh. 

$71.94 a week for 3 meals that serve 2 (but I stretch it out to 3 servings)

I love this company! Their Instagram feed is very active with stories of what to expect in your weekly box. As a vegetarian, I have few choices with other companies, but Purple Carrot gives me 8 options to choose from each week! Plus the option of adding on breakfast which is usually a fancy overnight oats, chia seed pudding, matcha pancakes or scrambled tofu. I've unfortunately never tried the breakfast as it's always sold out but also expensive at $17 for 4 servings of overnight oats without the milk. When you get your box, it comes with a booklet of all the recipes for the week. The recipes are labeled as either high protein, under 600 calories, gluten-free, or quick and easy. I've made meals I never would have made on my own that I liked such as Walnut Crusted Artichokes, Tahini Cauliflower Steaks, Tempeh BLTS, Beet burgers, Red Pepper Shakshuka, Warm Japanese Yam & Shiitake Bowl. And every month are different taco recipes so I bought a taco holder. There's been Smoky Portobello Tacos, Summer Squash Tacos, Plantain Tacos, Black bean and Sweet Potato tacos. Their meals use different types of starches like black rice, bulgar wheat, farro, quinoa, and couscous. There's lots of Asian inspired meals, tofu options every week and they use vegan cheese, sour cream and yogurts. Their produce stays fresh for the week that it sits in my fridge because I have to eat the Marley Spoon meals first. The beans always come in boxes instead of cans which is supposed to be healthier for you. Their customer service is very responsive. This is a great meal kit for someone who loves unique food and loves cooking. They pick your delivery date for you based on where you are located in relation to their distribution center. I did get one box a day late so just be aware that can happen. 

As I'm getting bored with Marley Spoon always have the same old on the menu. I'm experimenting with skipping one week and ordering 6 meals from Purple Carrot. I don't know if I can go without eating cheese, but I want a fresh healthy variety of food. Purple Carrot does have pasta options, I've just never ordered it since I get it from Marley Spoon.  At this point the only redeeming quality about Marley Spoon is their smoothies and now that my local farmers market is open, I think I should just go buy my weekly smoothie ingredients from there. In the summertime I like to make a large batch of the Glowing Green Smoothie every week which holds up in the fridge for 3 days. 

I will say that Purple Carrot has made me excited about healthy meals and has me cooking meals outside of my usual formula with no guesswork about what I should eat this week. The meals are interesting, full of flavor and very filling. Below are a few of my Purple Carrot meals: 

Harissa Tempeh with Pistachio Pilaf & Zucchini

Takeout-Style Noodles with 
Asparagus & Sesame Ginger Sauce

Warm Japanese Yam & Shiitake Salad
with Orange & Spicy Peanut Dressing

Roasted Red Pepper Shakshuka
with Za'atar Tofu & Crispy Shallots

Asparagus Tofu Scramble
with Patatas Bravas & Paprika Aioli

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