This title may sound a bit like a new chapter in the Harry Potter Series, but I simply wanted to draw attention to this Meal Delivery Service. In a category that is fast becoming crowded, i have recently been playing with some of the recipes from The Purple Carrot. In a nutshell, I’m a fan!. I have tried others such as Blue Apron and Hello Fresh and frankly have not much to do in terms of originality, ease of cooking and, as important, introducing new and exciting flavors and ingredients.
In my cooking and coaching classes, lots of my clients say that they have trouble coming with new recipes and get tired of cooking the same old, same old dishes. I can agree with that wholeheartedly and I’m a chef!. Enter The Purple Carrot and exit Moaning Myrtle. If you are looking for ways to bring more fruits, vegetables and whole grains into your everyday meals (and as a bonus you want to actually be doing something great and sustainable for the planet to boot!) look no further. It doesn’t matter whether you are omnivorous, vegetarian, vegan or vegetable-forward (whatever this latest term means! pft!) this one is for muggles and magicians alike.
This service has the steady direction of no other than Mark Bittman, originally from the New York Times, a prolific cookbook author in its own right and a deft hand to learn from. As I followed along the recipes, I pictured him (Expecto Patronus!) standing next to me a little bit more like Harry Potter’s Potion’s Master’s Professor Severus Snape with the incredible voice from he-who-must-be-named Alan Rickman, R.I.P. and helping me turn food into some seriously magical concoctions, exploring lots of different spices and learning about cuisines from all over the world and some rather cheeky sorcerer techniques. Some are great and some may need a bit more work. As much as i love them, flour tortillas will never become crepes no matter what spells are incanted, as one recipe with caramelized mushrooms -heroically- tried to do. Or when an otherwise delightful pozole soup offered soggy popcorn as a replacement for hominy corn. Hey, but still i’m all for trying!
As part of the repertoire i received in my subscription, I was delighted to make some spicy mushroom and miso meatballs with rice and carrot noodles, then aim for a pineapple and puffed rice Chaat salad with baked spicy and garlicky tofu fries. The quality of the ingredients are very good, with a pleasant surprise to find my favorite tofu noodles (yuba) that i had discovered at a farmer’s market in San Francisco on a trip there and that are not that easy to find in NYC. They were fantastic in a Vietnamese soup with pineapple and shallots. Some of the ingredients are organic, from reputable brands without strange to pronounce ingredients and even some items like canned tomatoes that were low in sodium. More importantly, the larger share of ingredients are whole, unprocessed foods!
Now i guess you’d be wondering if these are healthy? Well, compared to what? as i like to say to my clients. You will be way better off than ordering a greasy delivery or eating out and you will definitely get your fill of vegetables, fruits, nuts or seeds and whole grains. You may not be left wondering, as I often do, with the dubious provenance of fowl, meat, dairy or seafood from other services. And while their calorie content varies from over 500 calories (great!) to close to 900 sometimes (not so great, Reducio!), I always like to stress that a calorie is not a calorie, and when these come from whole foods, you are already better off.
Can you do something else to make them better! Absolutely! I recommend adding more veggies to the recipe.For example, with a lovely Winter Nicoise Salad i had with a Cashew-Split Pea Spread, I made sure to add grilled asparagus and snow peas on top of the potatoes, green beans, fennel, blood orange and lettuce that the recipe called for. Thus, you lower the calorie content per serving and at best you just end up having leftovers for your lunch on the next day! You could also opt to cut down on the oil required in (many) of the recipes or leave it out altogether. For the most part, these dishes speak for themselves and are great as they are, like the wonderful jackfruit enfrijoladas with a chayote slaw and coconut sour “crema”. Yes, please!
Go ahead, I summon you (Accio!) to give The Purple Carrot a try and discover your inner magician to create great tasting, nutrient dense food for your friends and family. Esculentus!