My friend Rebecca raved about Blue Apron’s meal delivery service so when I saw a $20 off coupon featured on Gilt City, I decided to try it out. Blue Apron is a meal delivery service that delivers pre-portioned ingredients with a recipe to follow that features wholesome ingredients. Apparently this is a hot new niche. Competitor Plated and Blue Apron are quickly expanding to cover more cities in the US. The meals are about 500-750 calories per serving so they are hearty portions. You can choose between vegetarian or omnivore dinners (Plated allows you to exclude allergens like gluten, soy or dairy and specific meats). Each delivery comes with 3 meals for either 2, 4 or 6 people. The menu is released about two weeks prior to delivery. If you don’t like it, you can opt out. You also get to select what day of the week the meals are delivered. Blue Apron drops off the box that is VERY well insulated and will keep cold for a long time if you are not home.
For my first delivery, I was sent pork chops, tilapia and ground chicken. I was shocked at how large the box was to be honest and felt bad there was so much packaging, a lot of plastic bags and containers. The food was kept very cold even hours after the package was delivered on a Thursday night. On Sunday night, I finally got around to make one of the meals.
My first attempt was the Center Cut Pork Chops with Caramelized Onions and Blue Cheese Grits. The recipe list was long, but I had everything already measured out thanks to BA. All I had to do was wash and chop, which took me a while to do.
I had never made grits before so I was nervous about this one. It ended up taking me about an hour with help from roomie. It was fun to make dinner together and tackle a new recipe without worrying about having the ingredients on hand. We both really liked this dish but had way too much leftovers from the grits. I wish there were more veggies.
On Monday, I made the Chicken Potstickers with Baby Tatsoi. I had never tried making potstickers before and was nervous at the challenge.
They didn’t come out pretty but these tasted so good! I would order these in a restaurant any day of the week. Again, it took me about an hour to make and I wished there was more of the baby tatsoi. I could have eaten the entire serving of veggies they gave to us but was nice and shared with roomie. We had leftover potstickers and were stuffed. The sauce was amazing and I’m definitely keeping this recipe card for future use.
I also made the Kumquat-Lime Glazed Tilapia with Brussels Sprouts and Almond Freekah but forgot to take a picture. I wished there were more Brussels Sprouts, and realized I do not like kumquats but other than that it was great and fun to make freekah for the first time.
I did not realize I would automatically be shipped another week so by default, I got another shipment, full price this time but at $10 a serving, cheaper than any take out near my apartment. On Friday night, together we made the Short Rib Burgers on Pretzel Buns. I am not a burger person and I rarely eat them on a full bun (usually open faced). The recipe was far from anything I would ever make but I ate it and loved it.
The cheese sauce was fun to make, something I would not have done on my own. It was made with milk, cheddar, hops flowers and a few other ingredients. Dinner was a team effort and a fun activity instead of spending money going out to eat on a weekend night. We had a few sweet potato chips left over and again I wished there were more veggies.
One meal I was really looking forward to was the Latin Spiced Shrimp in Butter Lettuce Cups with Red Quinoa & Poblano, Jicama and Orange Salad. It was good but lacked the spice I was expecting. The salad was used to top the lettuce wraps and small in portion and we had at least one full serving of quinoa left over.
We also made a Turkey Cutlets with roasted broccoli over mashed potatoes which was my least favorite since it was boring except the sauce on top that was very tasty.
Here are the pros and cons to Blue Apron in my opinion consolidated:
- Convenient, ingredients sent to you, no shopping required
- Adventurous and Educational, try new foods like kumquats and try making new foods like potstickers
- Reasonably priced, $10 per serving is cheaper than any city restaurant for the large portions
- Fun activity to do with a partner, and money saver for weekend dinner plans
- Wholesome food, not the lightest in calories but everything felt “clean”
- Lack of food waste, you use what you get
- Meals will keep for at least a week – some more in case you don’t have time to make them!
- Time consuming, the recipes are said to take 35 minutes on average, but each one took me an hour. Not practical for the work week.
- Not exactly “green” with lots of packaging to throw out
- No option to choose specific meals, the menu is set
- Reoccuring payments if you are not careful to skip a delivery
- Not enough veggies in the meals
- Reasonably priced when compared to dinners out, but expensive for a home cooked meal
I will continue to use Blue Apron when I like the menu, but if you hate to cook it is not for you. I have skipped the next two weeks because they do not sound very good to me. They did just introduce an option to restrict what meats you are sent. I personally wish I could do some veggie and the rest fish but my favorite meals I must admit were not the fish entrees, they were the chicken and beef. Roomie loves Blue Apron. I haven’t made a side dish that was not made from brown rice, quinoa or sweet potatoes in a long time. It was fun to switch things up. I love making the recipes but they are time consuming.
Have you tried out Blue Apron yet or one of their competitors like Plated, HelloFresh or PeachDish? They have discounts going on all the time, just follow them on Twitter and Facebook. This post is NOT sponsored.