After we had baby Austin, my parents gifted us with a month of Purple Carrot to help take some stress off having to meal plan for a few weeks.  I had never tried a meal delivery service, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. To be honest, I actually thought that the Purple Carrot meals were pre-made, so I was a little surprised when all the ingredients showed up and I had to actually COOK.  Luckily, though, it ended up being such a great experience, that even after our month ran out I continued our membership because we were loving it so much.  Below is an honest review of my Purple Carrot experience so far!

(*Note: This review is for the Purple Carrot menu and not the TB12 Performance menu.  I have heard good things, though, so hopefully I can try the Tom Brady inspired vegan meals and share them sometime in the near future!)

Pros of my Purple Carrot experience thus far:

1. You Can Choose Your Meals

In July Purple Carrot re-vamped their member experience and one of the great new features that they added was that members could now choose 3 of 6 meals every week. Originally there were 3 meals every week and if you weren’t thrilled about the menu you could opt out and skip a week.  This was kind of a bummer, though, because once you start relying on a service like this, going to the grocery store and having to figure out meals on your own kind of sucks! I love that you now have a few options to choose from every week so you are guaranteed to have a good set of meals to look forward to.

2. Easy to Follow

Every week you get all of your ingredients along with a pamphlet of the week’s menu and recipes.  Since everything is pre-portioned, you have exactly what you need and you don’t have to worry about measuring any of the ingredients out.  The pamphlet describes every single instruction in a clear, concise way and even includes photos so you know what your up-coming meal should look like every step of the way.

3. Try New Things and Cooking Confidence

I used to find myself cooking the same/similar things EVERY single week (soups and casseroles basically), so Purple Carrot has really allowed me to step outside of the box and cook things I would never had the confidence to try and make before (like Corn and “Crab” Dumplings)!  I have to say that I have started to enjoy cooking way more than ever before since trying PC. I find myself looking forward to cooking and trying new recipes out now.

4. Easy Clean-up

One of my least favorite parts about cooking is the clean-up. What I love about Purple Carrot is that all of your ingredients for a meal come in one bag, so I dump them all out before I start cooking and then I just toss the scraps and empty containers/baggies in it as I cook. By the time I am done all of my trash is in one place and no clean-up after dinner is required!

5. You Feel Like Martha Stewart

Usually when I follow a recipe online it never looks like it does in the photos.  However, for some (awesome) reason, every Purple Carrot meal I have made looks extremely Instagram worthy!  I think it’s a mixture of a fool-proof recipe, plus a creative culinary team who created them, but regardless, I feel like a freakin badass chef whenever dinner is ready.

6. Extra Recipes Online

If you become a Purple Carrot member you also get access to tons of simple, easy to follow recipes on their website.  A lot of them are recipes from their past menus, so if you had something that you really liked before, you can get the reci

pe and make it again on your own.  Now that I have experienced PC I love this feature because I know their meals are all easy, fairly quick, and always delicious.

A few things to note (a nice way of saying there are just a few cons):

1. Delivered on Mondays

If you are a meal-prep Sunday kind of person, then having all of your things delivered for the week on a Monday is not ideal.  Of course, the whole point is to make simple, easy meals in a short amount of time, but it does require more effort than just micro-waving something you pre-made.  It could be nice if the meals were delivered on Sunday and you were able to make them in advance and refrigerate/freeze them for the week, but I’m sure PC prefers their customers consume their meals right after being made for freshness reasons.

2. Can Take More than 30 Minutes

Most of the meals take about 30 minutes, but there have been certain recipes that have required more time. Like I said above, these meals definitely require a bit time and effort, so if you come home from work starving, know that you will need some time before dinner is actually served. For example, these Corn and “Crab” Potstickers (pictured right) were delicious, but they took me 45 minutes to make and were a bit tedious (btw, picture shown is 2 portions not 1!)

3. Some Meals Are More Filling Than Others

When we first started PC my husband and I were sometimes still hungry after dinner.  I started to have Gardein chicken on hand to toss into some meals that were less hearty to make them more filling.  I do have to say, though, that since they revamped their menus in July the meals seem to be more filling.  However, if you and/or your partner have big appetite, you may want to keep some extra protein sources on hand to add to meals that seem less likely to fill you up.

4. You only get 3 meals

If the meals are just for you, you can definitely get two meals out of each recipe (so 6 meals for the week).  However, if you are sharing, you get three meals per week each, which means that grocery shopping and meal planning for the rest of the week is still required.  It would be nice if the membership let you choose how many meals a week that you would like, especially now that they offer 6 meals a week to choose from.  I would love to have 5 meals a week delivered so that we are set Mon-Fri since we tend to eat out on the weekends anyways.