MSA is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read the full disclosure.

Purple Carrot vs. Green Chef: Which Subscription is Better for Me?

Purple Carrot vs. Green Chef

Two Meal Kit Subscriptions that Cater to Special Diets

Have you had a chance to check out our list of the best meal kit delivery services? If so, you know that there are a lot of different meal kits out there to choose from. How do you figure out which one’s a good fit for you? Which one accommodates your dietary restrictions? Whose menu will make your tastebuds cry out for more?

Today, I’m going to compare two health-conscious meal kit delivery services that cater well to diners who follow special diets: Purple Carrot and Green Chef. Both boxes offer a number of different meal plans, and each subscription delivers chef-designed recipes and all the pre-portioned, fresh ingredients you’ll need to make them at home in your own kitchen. Both of these subscriptions have a lot to offer, but some key differences set them apart. In this article, I’ll stack them up side-by-side to help you decide which one is the best meal delivery subscription for you. Read on to find out more about the food, recipes, packaging, cooking process, and more!

by Lindsey Morse, Taste-Tester Extraordinaire
November 13, 2020| Leave a comment

Purple Carrot vs. Green Chef

To help break down exactly what sets these boxes apart, I’m going to look at how they compare in the following ways: flavors, recipes, ingredients, accommodations for special diets, packaging, price, overall convenience, and more. If you’ve like to skip forward to a specific section, you can use the Table of Contents on the left to navigate. If you want the full play-by-play, keep on reading.

Here’s what I’ve found to be the most notable differences (and similarities) between these two meal kit services:

The Food

When you’re trying to decide between two meal kit delivery services, it makes sense to look at the food first. What are the recipes like? Are the meals tasty? Are the flavors inspired by global cuisine or grandma’s kitchen? Well, I’m happy to report that both boxes consistently send mouth-wateringly good meals. That said, the food from each subscription has a very distinct vibe.

Purple Carrot Food Example

Image from our review.

Purple Carrot specializes in plant-based, vegan meals that would be right at home on the menu of a hip vegetarian restaurant. If you’re looking for vegan or vegetarian meals, every single dish on the menu is designed with you in mind. The recipes are creative and satisfying, and I find it easy to forget that they are veggie-centric and don’t contain meat. Expect to see global-inspired, comforting meals like Mediterranean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Crispy Chickpeas & Cashew Cheese and Thai Chickpea Curry with Cashews & Zucchini Noodles. It might be obvious, but it’s worth calling out that if you tend to be most satisfied when your meals contain meat, seafood, or dairy, this meal delivery service might not be right for you. Since all of the recipes are vegan, you won’t find any of those things on the menu here. Personally, I try to limit how often I eat animal products, but I’m not a strict vegan or vegetarian. The meals from Purple Carrot are so tasty that I don’t miss the meat.

Green Chef Salmon Dish Prepared

Image from our review.

Boxes from Green Chef can be customized to suit a number of different diets, and the dishes feel like what you might find on the menu at a cozy neighborhood cafe. For me, the recipes are often familiar, and yet surprising at the same time. Kinda like home cooking, but with the volume turned up. If you’re a vegetarian, following a keto or paleo diet, or trying to eat balanced meals, Green Chef has an entire menu each week with choices that should work for you. Recipe-wise, you can expect to see things like Crispy Southern Chicken with Creole Dijonaise served up alongside Quinoa Tacos with Cashew Crema. There’s a lot of variety to be had here, and if meat-free meals are a dealbreaker for you, Green Chef might suit your lifestyle a bit better than Purple Carrot.

 

What about portion sizes?

In my experience, both companies send entrees that are large enough to satisfy. Appetites can vary, of course, but on average I’ve found that both companies send meals that are large enough to leave me (and my often-hungrier husband) feeling full. In some cases, I’ve even found that I have enough for leftovers.

The Menu

Both Purple Carrot and Green Chef offer rotating menus that change weekly and feature seasonal ingredients. In both cases, you can view upcoming menus in advance and choose which recipes you’d like to receive. When it comes to variety, however, one might fit a little better than the other. It really depends on what you’re after.

Image via Purple Carrot.

If you’re a vegan, you won’t find a box with more variety than Purple Carrot. Every single one of their 8 weekly recipes is vegan-friendly. There’s no filtering or sorting necessary, you can order anything you see. (I’ve found this is a welcome thing for vegans who often have few options available in the subscription meal kit space.) You’ll also have the option to add-on a la carte vegan breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. There really isn’t another mainstream meal delivery service that stacks up to Purple Carrot when it comes to meat and dairy-free menu options. The flip-side of this is that carnivores and omnivores might be left wanting; if you don’t want to eat every night like it’s meat-free Monday, you might find Purple Carrot comes up a little short.

Image via Green Chef.

There’s no denying that Green Chef offers more overall variety in the menu department. There are three different meal plans to choose from: Keto + Paleo, Plant-Powered, and Balanced Living. Each menu offers around 8 or 9 choices that refresh every week, and you’re welcome to switch-up your plan every time you order. You can opt for the Keto + Paleo menu one week and the Plant-Powered menu the next. (Worth noting, however, is that you can not pick and choose recipes from different menus in the same order.) This is a great option for those who are keto, paleo, gluten-free, or vegetarian. While Purple Carrot might be the bee’s knees for vegans, those following a keto diet, avoiding carbs, or looking for vegetarian cuisine are likely to be pleased with the number of options available each week on the various Green Chef meal plans.

The Recipes

Both companies provide recipes that are clear and easy to follow, and I’ve been pleased with how they lead me step-by-step from start to finish. I’m pretty confident in the kitchen, but even if you’re a cooking novice I think you’ll be successful following these recipes.

First things first: both Purple Carrot and Green Chef send large, full-color recipes that guide you through every step of the cooking process. (Pro tip: we love saving these cards in a binder to help recreate hit meals later on.) Recipes from both companies have an average cook time of 30 minutes. If you have half an hour in the evening to cook dinner, most of the recipes from Purple Carrot and Green Chef will work for you.

Purple Carrot sends a two-sided recipe card to accompany each recipe. In addition to guiding you through the meal preparation, the cards also provide nutrition & allergy information, alert you to any tools or items you’ll need to provide from your own pantry, list ingredients, and outline contact information. (If you run into any issues while you’re making dinner, they encourage you to give them a call for help!)

You’ll also receive two-sided, full-color recipe cards with your order from Green Chef. And similarly, each card provides nutrition information, estimated prep time, allergen warnings, items you’ll need to prepare the dish, and easy to follow instructions. Green Chef also provides a number you can call for help if you get stuck. It’s important to note that not all meal subscriptions offer this perk, and it’s great that this support is available if you need it.

When it comes to the recipes, I think that both of these subscriptions knock it out of the park. Here’s a breakdown of what I love about them both:

  • Two-sided recipe cards.
  • Full-color photos that accompany every step.
  • Easy to follow instructions.
  • Clearly outlined nutrition & allergy information.
  • Stumped? Reach out to the support line for help!

FYI: regardless of which box you choose and how comfortable you are in the kitchen, I think it’s always a good idea to take a peek at the full recipe before adding a meal to your box.

Dietary Restrictions

Here’s where things get a little tricky. Both Purple Carrot and Green Chef can work for special diets, but it really does depend on what diet you follow or which foods you’re looking to avoid. Let’s break this down:

Special Diets

Are you a vegan? I can’t recommend Purple Carrot enough. You won’t find another box that’s so specifically designed with your dietary needs in mind. Of course, this box is also a great fit for vegetarians (as long as you’re okay skipping dairy) and omnivores (if meat-free meals won’t leave you feeling like you missed out). But the menu isn’t just designed with vegans in mind. You can also adjust your account preferences to automatically choose recipes that are gluten-free, high in protein, or quick & easy.

Green Chef has three specially-designed diet-specific meal plans: Keto + Paleo, Plant-Powered, and Balanced Living. In practice, I’ve found that these plans can work for those counting calories, avoiding carbs, and following a ketogenic, paleo, or vegetarian diet; however, since Green Chef doesn’t allow you to pick and choose meals from different menus, those with other dietary restrictions might struggle to find suitable options. Pescatarians, for example, might not always have enough non-meat, seafood options to fill out their box.

Food Allergies

If you are gluten-free or dairy-free, Purple Carrot will likely work for you. Their recipes are all dairy-free and you can adjust your preferences to avoid recipes that contain gluten. That said, their food is processed in a facility that handles wheat, gluten, nuts, and nut products, so if you have severe allergies it’s probably best to exercise caution.

Green Chef is one of the only meal kit delivery services to receive a Gluten-Free Certification from the Gluten Intolerance Group’s Gluten-Free Food Service program. If you’d like to learn more about this certification and what it means, you can visit Green Chef’s FAQ page for additional information. Despite this, it’s still important to be realistic about the risks of cross-contamination. Green Chef is very transparent about their packaging process. They warn that ingredients are processed and packaged in the same facility and that they therefore can not guarantee meals are free from major food allergens.

Both services do disclose ingredients and nutrition information so that you can avoid any off-limit ingredients when placing your weekly order. Even so, I always recommend you read through the recipes thoroughly and use your best discretion, especially if your allergies are severe!

The Ingredients

Sourcing

Green Chef Ingredients

Image from our review.

As a matter of principle, Green Chef includes USDA certified organic ingredients whenever possible, and everything in their kits is certified organic unless labeled otherwise. According to their website, they’re committed to buying local and supporting family farms. There’s an emphasis on “high quality” ingredients and “high-integrity” foods, but I can’t find a ton of additional detail to expand on these claims.

Purple Carrot Ingredients

Image from our review.

Purple Carrot states on their website that they aim to provide “a consistent experience in each box,” and they will include non-GMO and organic items whenever they’re able to do so. Comparing the two, it seems that Purple Carrot is perhaps just a tad bit less stringent when it comes to sourcing organic ingredients than Green Chef. To be fair, they do seem to realize how important this issue is to subscribers, and they appear to be working to make strides in this area.

Use-By Dates 

According to the Green Chef, they’re able to get “ingredients into your home in less time than a grocery store could.” That’s a bold and impressive claim! Still, organic produce can have a shorter shelf life than its non-organic relatives, so it’s important not to wait too long to cook up your meals. The suggested cook time for most dishes is within 5 days, though Green Chef recommends prioritizing seafood dishes and cooking them in the first 3.

Since Purple Carrot is a vegan meal kit delivery service, you won’t need to worry about quickly using up meat and seafood. The ingredients can stay fresh for up to a week, but for optimum freshness, it’s recommended you aim to cook everything in the first 3-5 days.

The Packaging

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that meal kit delivery kits also deliver a fair amount of packaging. Items have to be packed in a way that protects them in transit, boxes have to be insulated, and cool packs must be included. Boxes can get an (arguably) bad rap when it comes to excess packaging, but I’ve been impressed with the efforts of Purple Carrot and Green Chef to limit environmental impact. In both cases, I think that, overall, ingredients arrive in good condition and are packed in environmentally friendly packaging.

purple carrot unboxing

Image from our review.

Purple Carrot deliveries are packed in an insulated box and kept cool with a non-toxic ice pack. Ingredients are individually packed in plastic and bound by recipe. The cardboard shipping box can be recycled. Box lining and packing materials can be recycled or composted (TemperPack Climacell), recycled (#1, #4, #5, #6, and #7 plastics), and reused (ice packs). Post-consumer recycled fiber box liner goes in the trash. There’s a page on the website that outlines how best to dispose of packaging materials, and there are even a quick few tips on composting and up-cycling. Overall, I’ve felt pretty good about being able to recycle a majority of the packaging used to keep my meals safe during delivery.

Image from our review.

Green Chef takes a similar approach to packaging, ensuring whenever possible that recyclable, reusable, and/or compostable materials are used. (Sometimes this isn’t possible due to food safety.) Deliveries are packed inside an insulated brown box, and ingredients for each recipe are packaged together in a brown paper bag. Basic recycling information is printed right on the box, and you can find more detailed information on the website. Expect to see packing materials like reusable plastic jars (#5 plastic- Polypropylene) and recyclable paperboard boxes, paper bags, plastic bags (#4 plastic film), and plastic clamshells (#1 plastic). Again, I’ve found the packaging isn’t overly excessive, and I appreciate the recycling guidance provided.

Plans & Pricing

When it comes to pricing, Purple Carrot and Green Chef are fairly similar. Green Chef meals are $11.99-$12.99 per serving, whereas Purple Carrot meals are in the $9.99-11.99 range. Of course, Purple Carrot meals omit meat, so it makes sense that their per-serving price would be a bit lower. It’s also worth noting that Purple Carrot boxes ship for free, whereas Green Chef charges a flat shipping cost of $8.99 for every delivery, regardless of how many meals you order. With all that said, you’ll pay less when you factor in the free delivery from Purple Carrot, but since the meals are vegetarian, I think both companies are on par when it comes to value for money. 

Currently, Purple Carrot ships to the contiguous United States. Green Chef ships to the contiguous United States except for some parts of Louisiana. Neither company ships to Hawaii or Alaska. Each subscription has different plans available, so whether you’re looking for a two-person plan or feeding your whole family, you’ll likely find a plan that works for you. 

Here’s a full outline of all the available plans with pricing:

Purple Carrot Plans & Pricing

Image via Purple Carrot.

  • 2 Person Plan:
    • 3 meals per week, 2 servings each, for $71.94 + FREE shipping
    • 4 meals per week, 2 servings each, for $95.92 + FREE shipping
  • 4 Person Family Plans:
    • 2 meals per week, 4 servings each, for $79.92 + FREE shipping
    • 3 meals per week, 4 servings each, for $119.88 + FREE shipping

Purple Carrot COUPON: Use code CARROT30 to get $30 off your first box!

Green Chef Plans & Pricing

Image via Green Chef.

  • 2 Person Plans:
    • 3 meals per week, 2 servings each:
      • $77.94 + $8.99 shipping (Keto + Paleo)
      • $71.94 + $8.99 shipping (Plant-Powered & Balanced Living)
    • 4 meals per week, 2 servings each:
      • $103.92 + $8.99 shipping (Keto + Paleo)
      • $95.92 + $8.99 shipping (Plant-Powered & Balanced Living)
  • 4 Person Family Plans:
    • 2 meals per week, 4 servings each:
      • $103.92 + $8.99 shipping (Keto + Paleo)
      • $95.92 + $8.99 shipping (Plant-Powered & Balanced Living)

Green Chef COUPON: Expiring Soon! Save $90 off your first five Green Chef boxes! $40 Off including Free Shipping on 1st box + $20 off 2nd + $10 off 3rd, 4th & 5th Boxes ($90 Total). No coupon needed - just use this link.

Modifications & Cancellations

Can you skip a box or cancel your subscription? The easy answer is yes! I’m happy to report that it’s easy to adjust your delivery schedule or stop your subscription with both of these services. Both meal kits can be canceled online if needed and can be easily reactivated in the future, too. Websites for both companies are user-friendly, and the user portals are simple to navigate and easy to use.

Deadlines for Order Changes:

Changed your mind about which menu options you want to receive? Both subscriptions allow for order changes up until the week before delivery. You can also pause or skip upcoming deliveries by signing into your account. Here are the specific cutoff deadlines for making changes to your upcoming deliveries:

Green Chef allows you to skip or modify your weekly orders up to several weeks in advance. You have until 7 days before your scheduled delivery date to make your desired changes.

Similarly, Purple Carrot allows you to pause your subscription for up to 10 weeks, and you have up until the Tuesday before your next shipment to select your meals or skip.

The Final Verdict

Both of these boxes have a lot to offer, and hopefully, this article has helped you see which one might fit well into your lifestyle. But just in case you’re still on the fence, let’s take one final look at the boxes side-by-side:

Price? Both boxes are in the same ballpark, price-wise. You may end up paying a bit more for food than you would in the grocery store, but I think the convenience makes it worth it. Purple Carrot is a bit more affordable (especially when you consider shipping is free), but if you’re not a vegan or vegetarian, you might be happy to pay a bit more for meat and seafood offerings. When you consider this, I think these boxes are pretty much tied when it comes to value for money. 

Taste? Both boxes know how to serve up consistently tasty grub, but each has a slightly different vibe. For vegans, Purple Carrot is a match made in heaven. The food is delicious and satisfying, and you won’t find another box that offers the same variety of vegan meal kit offerings. I also think this box is a great fit for those looking to limit their weeknight meat intake, as well as conscientious diners who might choose to avoid meat for ethical reasons. Green Chef’s flavorful (and more traditional) offerings are probably a better fit for families, picky eaters, and those who prefer simple, comfort foods. You really can’t go wrong with either when you’re talking about flavor, but personal taste might make one a better fit over the other. Want to see what’s on the menu in the coming weeks? You can preview and compare upcoming menus for these (and many more) meal kit delivery services by checking out my weekly menu roundup.

Recipes? When it comes to recipes, these boxes are truly neck and neck. In both cases, I’ve found the recipes clear to understand and easy to follow. Meals from both Purple Carrot and Green Chef’include color, two-sided recipe cards with step-by-step instructions, nutrition and allergen information, and even a phone number you can call if you get stumped and need some help. When it comes to recipes, you really can’t go wrong with either. Both of these boxes set you up for success.

Ingredients? Purple Carrot and Green Chef are both committed to sending organic and non-GMO ingredients whenever possible, but I get the impression that Green Chef is just a bit more serious in their approach, which I think gives them a slight edge.

Special Diet? This is a tricky one. Both boxes cater to special diets, so it really depends on your specific requirements. Vegetarians will probably find plenty of meal options on both menus, but Purple Carrot is a win for vegans, and those following a ketogenic or paleo diet will likely be happier with Green Chef, where high-protein, low-carb options are featured more prominently.

Convenience? Again, it’s hard to pick a winner here. Both boxes offer pre-portioned ingredients that are grouped by meal, easy to follow recipes, and user-friendly online portals. I’m calling it a tie.

 

Final Thoughts: Both of these boxes have a lot to offer, and I’m a fan of them both. I love recommending Green Chef to my ingredient-conscious friends looking for a food delivery subscription that sends tasty meals that fit their special diet. (It’s my go-to recommendation for those who eat keto or paleo!) But if you’re a vegan or simply looking to limit your meat and dairy intake, there’s no beating Purple Carrot!


Ready to give one of these boxes a try? Make sure to sign up using one of these coupons!

Purple Carrot COUPON: Use code CARROT30 to get $30 off your first box!

Green Chef COUPON: Expiring Soon! Save $90 off your first five Green Chef boxes! $40 Off including Free Shipping on 1st box + $20 off 2nd + $10 off 3rd, 4th & 5th Boxes ($90 Total). No coupon needed - just use this link.


Looking for more options? Check out our roundup of meal kit delivery services recommended by MSA readers like you!

Have you tried one (or both) of these meal kits? Which is your favorite? Share your experience in the comments!

Written by Lindsey Morse

Lindsey Morse

Lindsey is a professional baker, cold brew coffee addict, and rosé aficionado who loves writing about food and wine. When she’s not sharing her love of subscription boxes with the world, you’ll find her in the podcasting studio, perfecting her cake decorating techniques, or cursing her way through the New York Times daily crossword puzzle.

Please do not enter your email address in the Name field or in the comment content!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Remember to post with kindness and respect. Comments with offensive language, cruelness to others, etc will not be approved. See our full comment policy here.