In the beginning, there was. Since then, a great many have emerged alongside it attempting to entice every single type of home chef with all their many diet and taste preferences, allergy requirements and budgets. That includes a litany of vegan and vegetarian meal kits to provide herbivores with a bit of help and inspiration in the kitchen. While Purple Carrot remains the only fully dedicated plant-based meal kit service — no animal products or byproducts used in any of its recipes — most other meal kit services have integrated vegetarian options into weekly menus as well.
Green Chef, for instance, offers as many as nine vegan or vegetarian meal kit recipes per week in addition to its lineup of meals that do have meat. HelloFresh has roughly six per week and Sunbasket offers three or four plant-based meals along with a full market of vegan-friendly grocery items and snacks you can add to your weekly shipment.
So you may be wondering, with all these players in the game, which is the very best meal kit for vegans and vegetarians? The answer varies a bit depending on what you’re looking for, and each meal kit service takes a slightly different approach. For example, some vegetarian meal kit companies use plant-based foods likethat imitate meat, while others emphasize whole foods in lunch and dinner recipes. There are also vegetarian meal kits that specialize in organic ingredients and produce, in case that’s important to you, while others aren’t organic but are able to offer more budget-friendly meal plans. Some meal kits are also more complicated to execute, aimed at chefs with cooking experience looking to hone their skills, while others are quick to prepare and help you get a healthy, no-fuss dinner on the table sometimes in as little as 20 minutes.
Having tested as many of the plant-based meal kits as I could get my oven mitts on, I’ve settled on these five as the absolute best meal kit services for vegans and vegetarians in 2021.
Purple Carrot is the first, and to my knowledge, the only 100% percent vegan and vegetarian meal kit delivery service. It takes its plant-based recipes seriously too. Purple Carrot’s underlying culinary philosophy is not to imitate other foods using plant-based alternatives, but simply to create tasty and nourishing dinners the old-fashioned way, using fresh vegetables, grains, legumes and other whole foods.
You won’t find many of the newfangled lab-made alternative meats like Beyond Beef or Impossible Burger in Purple Carrot’s recipes but you will find lots of lentils, mushrooms, ancient grains and nutritious produce. I tested a week’s worth of Purple Carrot meal kits — which you can read about here — and really enjoyed everything I made.
Out of all the vegan meal kits I’ve tried, Purple Carrot’s provided me with the best knowledge of and practice for cooking vegan cuisine and its ingredient mainstays like lentils and grains. Purple Carrot also introduced me to some really interesting sauces and condiments like cashew cream and other nut-based “dairy” products.
Vegan meal kit options per week: 8
Sample menu: Lemon-braised chickpeas with rosemary and cashew cheese; green curry lentils with brown rice and vegetables; broccoli and cheddar soup with miso garlic croutons.
Pricing: Purple Carrot meals are $9 to $12 a serving, depending on how many servings per meal you order. A box of three meals per week for two people will cost about $72.
Pound for pound, HelloFresh has the most vegetarian meals that will appeal to larger groups — in my opinion. Because HelloFresh isn’t confined by vegan rules, you’ll find plenty of plant-based “cheat meals” like cheesy bean enchiladas, hot honey brussels sprouts and ricotta flatbread and pasta dishes galore.
HelloFresh also has a ton of very crave-worthy meal kits that aren’t vegetarian, so if you still want the occasional steak with peppercorn sauce or Thai coconut chicken curry, this is a great choice.
I tried out HelloFresh myself and found it to be one of the most affordable, flexible and consistent meal kit services on the market. HelloFresh’s vegetarian meal kits were also some of the easiest to prepare, with many taking less than 25 minutes from start to finish. You can check out my full review of HelloFresh for more.
Vegetarian meal kit options per week: 6
Sample menu: Apricot, almond and chickpea tagine; cheesy portobello mushroom cups over spaghetti.
Pricing: HelloFresh breaks down to $9 per serving for two people or $7.50 if you’re ordering for four, plus $8 for shipping per box. For a family of four to receive three nights’ worth of meals would be just under $100 per week.
Sunbasket is my hands-down pick if you’re looking for vegan and vegetarian meal kits but not all vegan and vegetarian meal kits. Sunbasket has about three or four plant-based options per week, which is significantly fewer than Purple Carrot, Green Chef or HelloFresh. That said, Sunbasket’s meal kits, in general, are of a higher quality than any others I tried, and that includes its vegetarian options.
Sunbasket also has a great market of add-ons like fresh fish, cheese, prepared foods, snacks, bread and breakfast foods so you can essentially tack on an entire grocery list to your meal kit delivery if you choose. it’s a great feature, especially during these pandemic days. See just how much I liked Sunbasket’s healthy and creative meals in my full Sunbasket review here.
Vegan meal kit options per week: 3-4
Sample menu: Spicy Sichuan mapo tofu with kale and jasmine rice; triple-mushroom quinoa with watercress, scallions and peas.
Pricing: Sunbasket meals start at $11 per serving when you order four meals per week. If you choose fewer meals or servings per meal, the price increases to $12 or $13 per serving.
Green Chef has billed itself as one of the healthiest meal kit companies, with a majority of organic produce, and features nine plant-based meal kits per week, making it a solid choice if you’re looking to eat less meat or go completely meatless in 2021.
I tried out this service for a week and you can read my full Green Chef review here. While it wasn’t my favorite meal kit experience overall, the results were still solid and it is certainly one of the healthiest meal kit options whether you’re eating vegetarian or not. Green Chef actually offers more vegetarian meal kits per week than Purple Carrot, making it a clear contender for the best vegetarian meal kit service, especially if you want variety and eating organic is important to you. Green Chef’s veggie meals are also very hearty, with lots of chickpeas, cauliflower and lentils.
Vegetarian options per week: 9
Sample menu: Creamy mushroom penne with peas, sun-dried tomatoes and cashew cheese crostini; butternut squash chili; maple cauliflower power bowls.
Pricing: Green Chef’s Plant-Powered meal plan comes out to $12 per serving, plus a $7 flat-rate shipping fee for each box. It’s one of the more expensive meal kits on the market but with all that organic food that’s not totally surprising.
To be clear, Veestro is a fully prepared meal delivery service and not meal kits, so all you’ve got to do is heat and eat. I found the 100% vegan food to be consistently fresh and tasty, and Veestro has a huge menu of ready-to-eat plant-based meals to choose from each week.
Veestro meals arrive frozen in shipments of 10, 20 or 30, so you can pop them into the fridge to defrost or into the freezer to keep for the days and weeks ahead. Having a few Veestro meals on hand is a good way to hold yourself to any plant-based nutrition goals you may have set in 2021 since you’re far more likely to eat healthy vegan food you have on hand than go out of your way to track it down in the throes of hunger.
Veestro makes use of some of alternative meat substitutes so you’ll see a lot of meals that try to make you forget you’re eating vegan food. Some meals are more successful than others, but out of the 10 or so that I tried, most were solid. You also have a whopping 44 dinners to pick from each week and eight breakfast options to build your shipment from.
Vegan options per week: 44 dinners and eight breakfasts
Sample menu: BBQ chick’n pizza; carrot osso bucco; lentil meatloaf.
Pricing: You must order a minimum of 10 meals but are not bound to a subscription. For 10 meals the cost is $11.70 per meal; 20 meals per week cost $10.80 per meal and an order of 30 meals breaks down to $9.90 per meal.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.