I’m sure by now you’ve heard of the new trend of meal box delivery services. Blue Apron is one of them, but there are at least a dozen companies by now that will ship you everything you need to cook a few meals.
I’ve subscribed for a few weeks now and I’ll review our most recent box. The meals for our week were:
Blue Apron is $59.94 for 3 meals that serve 2 people. You can also choose a family plan of 2 meals for $69.92 or 4 meals for $139.84. This works out to just under $10 per meal, per person which is a little on the expensive side for a home cooked meal. However, everything that you need to make a meal (except for olive oil and salt/pepper) is included in the box. For instance, you don’t need to go out and buy a $10 bottle of yuzu in order to make 1 recipe.
One thing I dislike is that you’re immediately put on a “Columbia House subscription”, which you have to proactively DECLINE if you do not wish to receive the box. I would prefer to be on an opt-in model.
You can choose to exclude beef, poultry, fish, lamb, pork or shellfish.
Each week there are 6 recipes available and you can somewhat customize your box, but not all combinations are available. I’m not sure why this is. Perhaps it is a cost issue?
Blue Apron Unboxing
The meals come packed in a cardboard box about 15 lbs in weight. As you open the box up, you’re greeted with the beautiful recipe cards. All the ingredients are packed in a thermobag with big blocks of ice packed inside. Proteins are packed way at the bottom of the box between 2 blocks of ice. When the box arrived at my doorstep, the ice was still rock solid.
Here’s everything inside the box:
Ingredients are labeled with what each one is, but they aren’t labeled according to which recipe they correspond to. There were 3 little paper bags with “knick knacks” for each recipe. Inside were the spices and any sauces/marinades that are used.
One common complaint I’ve read in other reviews is the amount of packaging that is used. I would agree with this. I felt a little guilty about the fact that the meals come with a fairly large carbon footprint. I know things can be recycled, but it would be great if they could work on reducing the number of plastic bags and containers used.
Blue Apron Cooking
The recipes come on beautiful full color, step by step illustrated cards. I thought that the recipes were fairly easy and accurate to follow. I don’t know if its because I’m an inexperienced home cook, but each recipe took more than the prescribed time to prep and cook. In most cases, it took me about 50-60 min for each recipe, when the card says I should be doing it in 30-40 min.
I found that each meal’s portion was quite small. In general, the protein sizes were on the small side and there was generally not enough starch either (potato, noodles, plantain). After dinner, I was still a bit on the hungry side so I ended up eating desserts.
I really liked all 3 recipes included in this box. Even though I had signed up for the free trial awhile ago, I had skipped a few weeks because 1 or 2 of the meals in the box did not sound particularly great to me.
I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the different tastes presented because these aren’t the typical things I cook at home. I did skip over some of the steps (e.g. I omitted green onions because I dislike them, I omitted the ginger peanut sauce because I am not a huge fan of both those ingredients). However, I have never had collard greens before and I liked them. I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy kale (I’ve only had it a few times), but it was delicious in the recipe provided.
Reading some of the comments ahead of cooking would have been helpful too. While I really liked the soba noodle sauce, it was on the salty side and had I read the comments, I would have known to use a little less than what was provided in the bottle.
I really enjoyed trying out Blue Apron for a few weeks. It got me to try out a bunch of new recipes, ingredients and tastes. I loved that the instructions were clear and showed step by step what to do. It was very convenient not to have to go buy a big bottle of 1 item, just to use 2 tbsp of it!
I’ve subscribed for a few weeks now, so I do like the service. I don’t always think every box sounds appetizing (or like something my family would enjoy), but I’ll keep subscribing for now.
I received a free trial of Blue Apron via a friend, but this review is not sponsored by Blue Apron.