Purple Carrot makes it easy to incorporate more vegetables into your meals - I'm a pescatarian and didn't miss seafood at all when I tried a week-long plan

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  • I'm a casual pescatarian, but decided to only eat vegetarian meals for a week with Purple Carrot.
  • I was surprised that Purple Carrot's 100% plant-based meal kit didn't sacrifice taste. The ingredients arrived fresh and the recipes were creative despite being entirely vegetarian.
  • There are meal plans that serve between two and six people, with prices starting at $71.94 per box.
  • The dishes were so creative and delicious that I didn't even miss seafood during my week-long experiment.

I am a pescatarian, but by name only.

I generally try to avoid meat and certainly prefer seafood to most other forms of protein. But given my desire to try all the food the world has to offer and my paralyzing fear of missing out on a delicious meal as a result of a self-imposed label, I'm by no means the strictest pescatarian.

So naturally, the idea of becoming a full-on vegetarian is frightening to me. After all, how much variation could there really be in a meal made exclusively of vegetables? And would I be depriving myself of a symphony of flavors by further limiting my diet?

After trying out plant-based meal kit plan Purple Carrot for a week, the answer to those questions are "a lot" and "absolutely not," respectively.

What makes Purple Carrot unique

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While there are a ton of meal kit services, few of them cater specifically toward non-meat eaters; most just have vegetarian options within a larger menu. But that's why Purple Carrot is so unique. The 100% plant-based meal kit company offers delicious and creative recipes that takes full advantage of vegetables, grains, and more.

And if you ever thought that vegetables were bland, Purple Carrot is here to prove that you couldn't be more wrong - by sending along grains, curry powders, chutneys, and fresh herbs that you'll fry, blend, microwave, and more.

I'll be the first to admit that I was quite worried about cutting all animal protein out of my diet. The last time I tried to do that, I was still a teenager and ended up somewhat anemic, so my doctor instructed me to start eating meat again. But whether it's the wisdom that comes along with age or Purple Carrot's well-rounded meals with all the necessary macronutrients, I didn't have any similar issues here. As always, before you start a new diet or lifestyle, definitely talk to your doctor or a nutritionist to make sure it's right for you.

Read more: What it's like to use Purple Carrot, the vegan meal delivery startup that has changed the way I eat

What to expect in the box

Receiving a Purple Carrot box is much like receiving any other meal kit with pre-portioned ingredients in individually labeled bags, and recipe cards, though you'll instantly notice the brand's commitment to sustainability even in its packaging. The brand has an entire website that shows you how to recycle the box and various packing materials.

I was consistently impressed by the freshness of the vegetables I received too. Whereas other meal kits sometimes send greens that seems to have seen slightly better days, the large packet of both spinach and arugula I received from Purple Carrot looked fresh, and better still, actually stayed that way for a few days until I was able to cook them.

And while you may think that a vegetarian meal kit might skimp on portion sizes, I've actually thought that I received a lot more ingredients than expected. My portions always seemed larger than normal, but hey, not complaining.

Cons to consider

That said, if I have a complaint about Purple Carrot, it's one of the same complaints I have about almost all meal kit services.

Despite the convenience that comes with having ingredients delivered in pre-packaged and pre-portioned containers, the sheer amount of waste that comes with such a delivery model is a bit overwhelming, particularly because of Purple Carrot's large serving sizes and frequent deliveries.

My meals for one week took up just about every inch of refrigerator space I had. From bags of tortillas and pitas to packages of zucchini and tofu, there were suddenly so many packets of food in my fridge. Sure, they ultimately went away as I cooked through the meals, but it was definitely somewhat overwhelming at the outset.

Read more: We tried meal kits from both Blue Apron and Plated to see which one makes the best meals

Favorite meals

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One of my favorite recipes was the Chickpea Samosa Tostadas.

I've always been a samosa lover, but had always imagined the recipe to be too complex to cook in my own kitchen. But as it turns out, making samosa filling is kind of easy and fun.

Purple Carrot sent ingredients like curry powder, mango chutney, garlic, corn tortillas, and more, while you're responsible for providing the olive oil, salt, and pepper. After a quick boil and an even quicker sauté in curry powder (and my own addition of some cayenne pepper), the samosa filling was ready to sit on top of warm tortillas with a spinach and sautéed vegetable mix. I'd certainly never married Indian and Mexican cuisine in my kitchen before, though now that I have, I'm in constant search of new ways to fuse the two.

Though there were a few meals that I felt could've benefited from being made pescatarian (I would have loved the green goddess bowls with a nice piece of cod), because each meal was satisfying, I never actually missed seafood, which was a welcome surprise.

Additional meal options

If you're looking for something other than dinner, Purple Carrot also offers lunch options that are faster to prepare but just as tasty, like the Quinoa Power Bowls comes with microwaveable quinoa, lemon vinaigrette, fresh dill, dried cherries, and brown rice stuffed grape leaves. You could even add a breakfast to your plan, like the Zucchini Cacao Smoothies. I appreciate that Purple Carrot covers every meal and not just dinner.

The brand also has a six-serving plan for families or those looking to do week-long meal prep, starting at $7.99 per serving.

Each week, you'll receive two dinner recipes that serve up to six people as well as the option to add an extra lunch or breakfast item. And to make sure that things are kept interesting, Purple Carrot has developed really creative recipes for these larger portions.

Two of my favorites were the Tamarind Cauliflower with Gingered Fried Rice & Cashews, which involves roasting cauliflower and coating it in a beautiful tamarind sauce with some cashews, and the Crispy Sheet Pan Tofu with Beluga Lentils & Miso Power Dressing, which makes use of interesting ingredients like white miso and hemp seeds. See what I mean about not missing seafood?

After using Purple Carrot

I found that using Purple Carrot for the week actually significantly reduced the amount of time I had to spend on meal prep - not only in terms of actual meal preparation, but also in terms of thinking about what recipe I would prepare for the day or the week.

Serving portions are surprisingly generous, and as such, I often was able to make something for dinner that then became the next day's lunch.

But the real win for me was knowing that I didn't have to expend extra energy considering what groceries I needed or what dish I was going to make to impress (and nourish) myself. Everything was taken care of for me and in a satisfying way that didn't make me miss seafood.

Buy a Purple Carrot meal plan starting at $71.94 per box

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Picks team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at insiderpicks@businessinsider.com.

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