Tonight for dinner, you could be having a black bean burger with spiced sweet potato fries — that is, if you were signed up for The Purple Carrot, a meal-delivery service that specializes in vegan food.
Launched last year, the service is similar to Blue Apron, HelloFresh, and Plated, but you won’t find any meatballs or yogurt sauce here. Founder Andrew Levitt started the company after being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and then seeing the documentary Forks Over Knives, and when she then discovered that finding plant-based recipes wasn’t all that easy.
For $68 a week, users get three two-serving meals delivered with all the ingredients to make saag paneer with basmati rice, or whatever happens to be on the menu that week. The new thrice-weekly strategy (previously only the $74 two-meal option for families was available) is the same as the omnivorous competition and fits in well with new partner and chief innovation officer Mark Bittman’s part-time veganism. The former New York Times op-ed columnist left the paper to join the start-up. “We’re not suggesting anyone become vegan,” he tells Eater. “We’re never going to say that. We’re never going to think that. What we are suggesting is that most people know that it would be healthier for them and healthier for the planet if we ate more plant-based meals.
Bittman will help create recipes, though he’s reluctant to speculate on exactly how long they’ll take to prepare — whether people will be able to cook everything in under 45 minutes or if it will take closer to an hour. The watchword for these meal-delivery kits has been convenience, so he knows there has to be a balance.
Along with bringing on Bittman, Purple Carrot is also announcing its expansion to the West Coast, saying that it now serves over 70 percent of the U.S. Whether the majority of the country is ready to ditch meat three times a week remains to be seen.