by Kylina Matteoli
With every post to this blog, I take you all over the world to a new city where I show you the delicious vegan food available as well as a few sights. Hopefully, after seeing how easy it is to eat vegan while travelling, you are willing to try some of the vegan dishes I’ve shared with you. If you are willing to give a shot at a vegan diet, then I have something that might help you with this dietary transition to plant-based foods. What if I tell you that you can eat vegan all from the comfort of your home? This week, I am going to share with you three ways in which eating vegan can be super easy and readily accessible to you.
I will break down my recommendations into three different types of service; the first one is a home delivery service with pre-made vegan meals; the second is a meal delivery service that provides you all the ingredients to cook a vegan meal; and, the last option is an online grocery store to help you find and purchase vegan options such as meat and cheese substitutes. So, if you find it is difficult to find vegan meals at your local restaurants or difficult to find vegan options for sale in your local grocery store, then keep reading to discover how to get delicious vegan eats delivered right to your door.
For my first recommendation, I want to introduce you to Veestro, a vegan meal delivery company. You order your meals online by selecting a 5, 7, or 14-day meal plan or by ordering a la carte (individual meals). I did the latter option since I wanted to try a couple of Veestro’s meals and see if I liked them before committing to such a big plan. Each dinner entrée ranges between $10-$14 on the a la carte menu; however, if you order the bigger meal plans then each meal reduces to $7-$10.
I ordered the “cheesy” enchilada, chicken fried steak with mash potatoes and veggies, and the Southwest lasagna. I was completely surprised to taste how good they were. They were delivered in a huge box carefully filled with dry-ice and all I had to do was take the plastic container and pop it into the microwave. But, if you can wait for about twenty minutes, then you can take the meal out of its plastic container and put it on a cookie sheet to heat up in the oven. I found that this was the tastiest way to heat them up, but you are free to choose whichever method works best for you. Even if you don’t make these meals yourselves, you can really tell they are home-made. I felt like my mom had made these and froze them for me to heat up later. And if I’m comparing Veestro to my mom’s home cooking then you know they are good. I will admit, at first, I was hesitant to taste the “cheesy” enchilada and the Southwest lasagna because in the past I’ve found that I didn’t really like non-dairy cheese substitutes because they always fell short of my expectations of how cheese should taste. But, Veestro has found some magical way to make vegan cheese taste like the real thing. In fact, it’s scary good how similar it tastes to actual cheese. It even fooled my non-vegan husband into thinking it was real cheese. And because of that, I will definitely buy more Veestro meals in the future.
- Great for small households (1-2 people)
- Easy to heat up and enjoy
- Great for on-the-go lifestyle
- Offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, juices/detox juices, and dessert options
- Offers gluten-free menu
- All dishes are organic and hand-made in their kitchen in Southern California
- Lots of coupons/discounts with a quick google search: “Veestro Coupons.” It saved me $20 off my order using one of these.
- Can be pricey if trying to feed a larger household (3-4+ people)
- Can be pricey if you opt for a la carte meals versus buying a meal plan
- Takes up to 10 days to deliver to your house after ordering
- If you are used to bigger serving portions, these meals might be small for you.
For my second pick, I recommend Purple Carrot. This company is a plant-based meal delivery service that provides all the ingredients you need to make the perfect vegan meal right at home. They give you exact measurements of each needed ingredient, which is super helpful when it comes to the spices. Whenever I’ve looked up vegan recipes, a lot of the time I had to find a random or obscure spice that requires me to buy a whole bottle of it just to use 2 tablespoons of it in the recipe. Then, I ended up never needing or using that ingredient again and it ended up being thrown away. So, Purple Carrot offers a great alternative if you are just curious about trying to eat vegan (even if it is only a couple times a week) by giving you the exact amount you need – no more, no less. I believe that thoughtful packaging like this saved me money and time since everything I needed was there.
I had the opportunity to cook these dishes when my mom was in town. She loved how Purple Carrot also included recipe cards not only because they were easy to use when cooking, but afterwards, if she really enjoyed the meal she had the recipe that showed her what’s in it as well as instructions on how to make it. She took home all the recipe cards that came in our box, that way she can recreate these dishes in her kitchen in Florida. From a cook’s perspective, my mother enjoyed cooking these vegan versions of her favorite non-vegan meals. It challenged her to be creative because using only plant-based ingredients was different from how she normally cooks. But she enjoyed it and loved learning these new cooking techniques. We made the “beef” stroganoff dish which was rich, creamy, and delicious, the Mediterranean falafel plate, and, lastly, we made an Indian-style potato and pea curry. The nice thing about this service is everything is ready to assemble, making prep time virtually nothing and each meal takes approximately 30-40 minutes to make, depending on what you ordered.
When I ordered online, I picked the 3-4 people household which made enough for four people to have one serving each. You can order more (5-6 household) or less (1-2 household) and you can even specify allergies, dislikes, and dietary restrictions. Purple Carrot adjusts your dietary/allergy restrictions with the household size and picks out the meals which would best fit you. So, you don’t get to pick out exactly what you want. However, I found this to be a pleasant surprise since it was fun to see what we were going to cook for dinner. And, because it delivers two/three meals a week, you can still have other options for dinner like eating out, or cooking one of your go-to meals. Overall, Purple Carrot is a great meal delivery service that is more affordable for a large family than other competitors with each person averagely dining for $4-$6 per meal.
Purple Carrot Pro’s:
- Affordable for large/larger families at $4-$6 per person
- Easy to follow cooking instructions
- Fast cooking time: approximately 30-40 minutes per meal
- Lots of coupons/discounts with a quick google search: “Purple Carrot Coupons.” It saved me 10% off my order using one of these.
Purple Carrot Con’s:
- Takes two weeks to initially begin delivery; afterwards, it’s a weekly delivery service.
- It is a continuous service; delivers once a week; if you only want one week then you have to cancel, otherwise they will charge your card and deliver your next shipment.
- It only provides a couple meals a week, which won’t be enough to replace regular grocery shopping.
- The meals are exact portions, so if you are used to bigger portions (2-3 servings) then this might seem small.
- Only offers cooking ingredients for dinner entrees.
My last recommendation is Thrive Market. This is an online grocery service that cuts out the middleman (your local grocery store) to cut down the prices and ship directly to you. Everywhere on the site you can see the price comparison of what the grocery store charges and what Thrive is able to offer. So, if you find it is hard to find vegan substitutes at your local grocery store, then Thrive can offer you cheaper healthy vegan eats. To buy products from this site, you do need to buy a yearly membership of $60. It’s like buying a membership at Costco or Sam’s Club. However, what is truly great about buying a membership is that when you do, you also buy a Thrive membership for an underprivileged family to have access to healthy food since low-income families tend to have difficulty in having access to healthy food. So, not only are you able to provide affordable, marked-down healthy food for you and your family, but you are also able to provide that for a family in need. How great is that? Can’t go wrong with something that awesome.
Thrive Market Pro’s:
- Can easily search and find products
- All products are non-gmo, and most are organic and they offer gluten-free options
- Constantly has free shipping for purchases over $50
- Ships all over U.S. and Canada
Thrive Market Con’s:
- Offers non-vegan as well as vegan products; make sure to read product info carefully
- Does require membership; however, your membership offers a family in need a membership as well
Photos courtesy of Kylina Matteoli, Veestro, Purple Carrot, and Thrive Market