Easy To Be Vegan with Purple Carrot
I really wanted to love Mark Bittman’s venture into food boxes. I’m a huge fan of his books and was a faithful reader of his column in the New York Times. Plenty of his super simple recipes are staples in my house, and our copy of How to Cook Everything is well past dog-eared. These days, Mark wants to turn us into a world of vegans. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind an all-veg meal and I did like his approach with his last book (VB6 or Vegan Before 6). His proposed eating plan of no meat before dinner is an easy way to add more green to your diet.
When the box of Purple Carrot arrived, the contents appeared fresh and appetizing. And then I looked at the recipes. So many steps, so many ingredients! Happy that I didn’t have to do all the grocery shopping at least, I plunged into meal prep for Brazilian Black Beans and Beets with Coconut Rice and Tropical Salsa. Despite flavorful ingredients like garlic, banana, coconut milk, even smoked paprika, this complex dish lacked robust flavor. In a word, it was bland. My husband thought it would be better served alongside a grilled rib-eye.
The next night seemed more promising: Broccoli Pasta with Crisp Butter Beans. I knew I could win my meat-loving husband over with this one. He likes nothing better than a big bowl of pasta. And the recipe looked super simple and impossible to mess up with only seven ingredients. The technique of crisping the butter beans in olive oil sounded delish and I hoped would provide texture to the finished dish. Sadly, no. My beans did not look anything like the photo, all crispy and toasted. My beans were mush. I forged ahead, unsure whether I had cut the broccoli florets thin enough. They’re meant to caramelize in 15 or 20 minutes, but mine seemed to be burning. I couldn’t believe I could screw up such a simple dish, but screw up I did, and we had another night of boring, bland food. I gave up on Mark at that point and didn’t even attempt the Pa Jun with Quick Kimchi, knowing full well that a recipe with 19 ingredients was going to be anything but quick. It’s hard to believe that his “box” wouldn’t be the best one out there. Maybe Mark just had a bad week? My foray into veganism behind me, I cancelled the subscription.
Good to know: Read through the entire recipe and chop everything ahead. You’ll learn some new techniques and gain confidence with this one, Mark is a good teacher. If you’re as horrified about all the packaging as we were (every ingredient is separated into it’s own little plastic bag or box), it’s good to know that at least it’s mostly reusable, recyclable, biodegradable, compostable, and toxin free.
Dinner for two, three times per week is $68, dinner for four 2 times per week is $74. There is currently a special for $20 off with code NEWCARROT.
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