I’ve been using Purple Carrot vegan meal planning/prep service on and off for about a year. While I like it, I don’t exactly love it. The cons are: tons of trash/recycling, expensive ($69.00 for 3 meals x 2 people OR 2 meals x 4 people), produce can be iffy upon arrival, produce doesn’t last long after delivery, some recipes are missing steps, instructions, ingredients or seasoning, there are lots of Asian & Thai flavors, and some meals seem suuuuuper cheap for what I pay for the box (like this one I’m profiling). The pros are: convenient, pre-measured, tasty and fun recipes I might not have otherwise tried, all the prep is done for you but the chopping (even in most cases the washing), lots of Asian & Thai flavors (yeah I listed that as a con too -but for me, I love these flavors), and finally, great customer support. Every single time I’ve emailed them, ranted on Twitter or tried to get a jab in on Instagram upset about a crappy piece of produce they have refunded me at minimum $20.00 and responded very promptly.
This last part is why I stick around: service. While it is not a perfect produce science. The service is friendly, prompt and honest. I’ve always been a big fan of a sincere apology, so I will take Thanksgiving off – they did a cool box donation to Feeding America, I fell for that noise and donated my meals to a charity this week and I’ll come back after the holiday in the hopes of more delicious Asian & Thai foods to combat my Thanksgiving sides hangover. Speaking of hangovers, food or otherwise, one of the recipes that I made this week struck me as being an excellent hangover cure: Italian Cannellini Bean Stew.
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 6 ounces carrot, diced
- 3 ounces escarole, deveined & chopped
- 1 can Cannellini beans, rinsed
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3 T veggie broth powder
- 3/4-1 tsp smoked paprika (I prefer Penzeys – especially because they are social justice badasses)
- Fresh basil, chiffonade
- 1/4 – 1/3 C vegan Parmesan
- Olive oil (EVOO)
Mince & dice: rinse & dry produce. Mince the peeled garlic and shallot. Peel and dice the carrots into uniform pieces.
Chop & rinse: rinse the escarole and basil. Separate the leaves from the thick/tough stems and discard the stems to both greens. Separately, stack the leaves of each green up, roll them and roughly chop them into ribbons (chiffonade). Drain and rinse the cannellini beans, set aside.
Start stewing: add 1 T EVOO to a stock pot and heat over medium high heat until hot. Add shallot, carrot, red pepper flakes and a bit of salt. Cook for about a minute stirring – careful not to burn the shallot. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant – 30 seconds to 1 minute – do not burn the garlic. Repeat: do not burn the garlic.
Finish stewing: add 4 C water, the veg powder and paprika to the pot. Scrape the bottom of the pot to dislodge any nummy bits from the bottom then add the beans. Bring the stew (stoup really) to a boil and reduce heat to low, simmer 10 minutes or until the carrots are tender (not mush). Add the escarole leaves to the pot, let wilt x about 2 minutes. Remove the pot from heat.
Garnish: season the stew with salt and pepper. Ladle into shallow bowls. Garnish with basil ribbons and vegan Parm.