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Technology has driven services that simplify our lives. And that’s perhaps most apparent in the kitchen. You can get your groceries delivered. Alexa can read you recipes. And meal delivery services like Blue Apron can make cooking a breeze.
All at a cost, of course. Most of Blue Apron’s meals are $10 per serving. That’s not a hefty fee, but it’s comparable to delivery. So is it really worth the extra work it takes to put the meal together yourself? I got my own Blue Apron box to find out.
How does Blue Apron work?
Blue Apron, like other meal delivery services including Home Chef and HelloFresh, ships everything you need to make meals right to your door. They do all the work of meal planning and grocery shopping. When your Blue Apron box arrives, you load the ingredients for your set number of meals into your fridge. Then, whenever you’re ready to whip up one of their delivered recipes, you pull out the ingredients and get started. It makes home cooking simple.
Blue Apron offers four plans:
- Signature Plan for 2: You get to pick two or three weekly recipes that will feed two people. Meals are $10 per serving and everything ships free.
- Signature Plan for 4: You get to pick two, three or four weekly recipes that will feed four people. Meals are $9 per serving and everything ships free.
- WW Freestyle: You get to pick two or three weekly recipes that will feed two people and will all contain 15 or fewer Weight Watchers SmartPoints®. Meals are $10 per serving and everything ships free.
- Vegetarian Plan for 2: You get three weekly recipes that will feed two people. Meals are $10 per serving and everything ships free.
Blue Apron partners with farmers to bring you the freshest, healthiest ingredients. They offer sustainable seafood as recommended by Seafood Watch®, their ingredients are non-GMO and none of their meat suppliers use any growth promoters (e.g. hormones).
Blue Apron is also pretty flexible. You can skip and reschedule deliveries from within your account provided you do so before a set date (basically, before Blue Apron has already started prepping your next shipment). You can also switch plans as needed.
My Blue Apron box
This all sounds pretty good in theory, right? I mean, I hate grocery shopping and am always rushing to put together a meal plan for the week. But is it worth the price tag? I got my own Blue Apron box to take this meal delivery service for a spin. I received three meals. And I will say, the ingredients were definitely fresh. So fresh, in fact, that even though it took me over a week to find the time to prepare all three meals, everything was still in perfect condition.
One thing I will say, right out of the gate, is that I’m not a fan of the way Blue Apron presents their ingredients. Some other meal delivery services I’ve tried put everything you need for each recipe in a convenient package (usually in a single bag). Blue Apron’s ingredients ship loose in their box, for the most part. (Some of the smaller ingredients like spices and sauces come bagged together). Since everything was loose, it took me longer to put away and longer to gather ingredients when I was ready to cook. And — oops — the lemon they sent me got used in a green smoothie. Fortunately, I keep lemons stocked so I was easily able to replace it, but I’ll never know if that Blue Apron lemon would have really transformed the dish.
Now, let’s talk through the meals I received. Quick note: I’m a vegetarian so all of these meals are meat-free.
Meal #1: Spring Pea & Mushroom Ramen
The Blue Apron box had good timing. I was battling a nasty cold and grocery shopping was definitely not something I wanted to do. Plus, I was thrilled to see that one of the meals was a warm, nourishing-looking ramen, perfect for my current condition. So I made the Spring Pea & Mushroom Ramen from my box first.
This meal came together super easily. I was sort of dreading cooking, but my husband’s been working long hours so I was fending for myself. It took me probably 15 minutes start to finish to whip up this dish. Major win! As a serious ramen lover, I was really looking forward to digging in.
And I found myself disappointed. While the ramen was definitely nourishing and the hot broth felt great on my sore throat, I thought the overall dish was a little lacking in flavor.
As I said, though, I’m a big ramen fan, so maybe my standards are too high. It was time for meal two to show me what Blue Apron had to offer.
Meal #2: Spicy Broccoli & Fresh Fusilli Pasta
Next on the docket was Spicy Broccoli & Fresh Fusilli Pasta. My husband has recently decided he likes pasta (thank goodness!), so we were pretty excited to put this one together. I’m obsessed with mascarpone and the included wedge of Grana Padano cheese was a definite perk.
Once created, did it live up to the hype? Sort of. This meal was, again, super easy to cook. But, again, I was a little underwhelmed. It was definitely good, and I would have confidently served it to a friend. But it also tasted pretty simple, even with all the impressive cheese additions. Would I make it again? Sure. Was it worth $10 a plate? Not really.
Meal #3: Chipotle-Roasted
First, let’s straighten this out. While the recipe title denotes that it includes cauliflower, I actually got romesco in my box. Which was totally awesome because I’d never cooked with romesco before! Plus, it’s really pretty. So it was time to make my Chipotle-Roasted Cauliflower, er, Romesco.
They say third time’s the charm. And, wow, that was definitely the case here. The flavors in this dish were varied and notable. The chipotle had a great kick, and the crème fraîche mashed beans and lemon yogurt sauce balanced it beautifully. I think my husband and I both inhaled our dinners in about 30 seconds.
Another thing I loved about this recipe is that it included bright, crisp radishes but I don’t have the rest of the bunch languishing in my produce drawer, fated to almost certain demise. I mean, really, how often do you feel like slicing up a radish for a snack?
With this last meal, I think we finally saw what Blue Apron has to offer. The other two may just have caught us on an off day, or maybe vegetarian meals aren’t their strong suit. But with meal #3, I was wowed.
Try Blue Apron for yourself
Would I recommend Blue Apron? Sure. Would I recommend trying other meal delivery services, too, to find out which you like best? Absolutely.
And if you want to take Blue Apron for a spin, we can save you some money. Get $60 off your first three boxes through Freshome.
Blue Apron definitely makes dinner time a little simpler. And that’s something worth celebrating!