Purple Carrot’s vision is “a world where plant-based eating is a mainstream choice to improve health, our environment, and animal welfare.” They’re a convenient meal delivery kit for the lifelong vegan and the casual foodie, alike. When you sign up for their service, you can choose from 3 options: Quick & Easy, High Protein, or Chef’s Choice. Each comes with free delivery and the option to cancel or skip a week anytime.
I chose the Chef’s Choice option, having no real experience with vegan cooking, and went with the recipes recommended. Unfortunately, the day before delivery, I got a notification that one of my three choices (the Japanese Gnocchi) ran out and would be replaced with the Winter Chowder.
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Recipe #1: Chinese New Year Dumplings
I love dumplings. I love edamame. Figured this one would be a no-brainer.
First of all, folding dumplings requires both skill and talent—and I possess neither. I felt like Jessica Huang on a recent episode of Fresh Off the Boat. She made dumplings using a “technique” she called the “clump and dump”, which may have turned out been better than my terrible attempts at pinching and folding. Still, the dumplings came out all right—at least in appearance.
The recipe called for edamame pods, but I was sent shelled edamame. I happened to have a bag of frozen edamame pods, so I substituted those in to get the full effect. They could have used more salt, but were fine, overall.
The dumplings, on the other hand, won’t be a repeat recipe for me. They were filled with something called “vegetable protein” (which had to be rehydrated with water), chopped walnuts, kale, and some spices. It was a weird, unappealing combination that didn’t satisfy my taste buds, which are used to pork-filled dumplings.
Recipe #2: Avocado Chickpea Burgers
Avocados? Check. Spicy mayo? Check. I was sold off those two ingredients. This recipe looked easy enough, based solely on the photos.
So my one regret is not knowing I needed a food processor beforehand. I tried to substitute with my Magic Bullet blender, but it didn’t do the trick, so I ended up mashing everything together with a fork.
Sadly, the avocado wasn’t ripe enough, so it didn’t contribute much flavor to the dish.
Aside from the technical difficulty and unripe avocado, these were goooooood. I didn’t feel like the dish needed meat whatsoever, and the combination of the chipotle peppers, chickpeas, and quinoa really hit the spot. But it wasn’t nearly filling enough for dinner, and I found myself snacking not 30 minutes later.
Verdict: 4/5 (-.5 for the small, not filling serving, -.5 for the unripe avocado)
Recipe #3: Winter Chowder
To be honest, I wasn’t super excited about this recipe, considering it was a replacement for the one I’d originally had my eyes on. I saved it for last for that reason and invited a friend over to hold me accountable for actually cooking it—rather than letting the ingredients sit in my fridge.
Learning from the lack of food processor in the previous recipe, I checked ahead before getting started and bought myself an immersion blender to make things easier on myself. It would also cut down a step since I wouldn’t have to remove any of the contents from the pan to blend them together.
Super easy prep, considering the root vegetables were already cubed and the cauliflower was in small pieces to begin with. The immersion blender proved to be a winner, turning the simmered vegetables and broth into a creamy chowder in seconds.
I cheated the recipe twice: 1) I doubled the garlic, putting two cloves in the soup and two cloves on the bread; and 2) I spread some real butter onto the toast after removing it from the oven.
Honestly, I’m so glad for the inventory shortage or whatever happened so that I should end up with the chowder over the gnocchi. On a chilly, rainy day in Los Angeles (rare and unpleasant around here), this soup was exactly what I needed. Light, yet hearty, and so delicious.