Blue Apron Weekly Meal-Plan Delivery: Review

Chopped Chicken & Brussels Sprouts Salad

Chopped Chicken & Brussels Sprouts Salad with Currants & Fried Shallots

A couple of months ago my husband heard of the Blue Apron home delivery food service on a podcast he regularly listens to (Rooster Teeth) and learned of a promo code they were offering for some free meals.  We love to cook, so we decided to give it a go – and if all failed, we would just cancel the service.  Since day one we’ve become huge fans of Blue Apron! We’ve been subscribed for over three months now and have only skipped only 2 weeks of deliveries over that time.

blue apronBlue Apron is a service which is based out of SoHo, NY.  We’re probably their perfect target demographic… Cooking for two, very busy, only have time to cook at home max 3 nights a week, open to try anything and everything, love variety, enjoy the activity of cooking together, like to try new services, etc.

Both of us love the variety and the interesting/inventive fusion dishes. We also love being exposed to new ingredients (sun-chokes (Jerusalem Artichokes), farrow and barley are pretty damn amazing!) and learning how to combine interesting cuisines from around the world into new and interesting dishes.

Ingredient snapshotOne of the coolest things about Blue Apron is that you can have Thai noodles one night then have chicken schnitzel with sauerkraut and beet salad the next. No ingredients in common. It keeps the variety in check and you don’t get bored very easily with these packages.

At first price scared us.  $59.99 a week for groceries?  When you say that at first it seems a little frivolous and scary.  However, the price is actually very thrifty.  At $10/plate its cheaper than almost anywhere we could eat out in Bay City for dinner (anywhere healthy or tasty that isn’t fast-food anyway). You could eat cheaper by buying food at the store but your quality and variety definitely go down.  You would be stuck to the same ingredients for a weeks worth of dishes doing it the conventional way. Trying to eat with the variety Blue Apron provides but by shopping at the store, you would likely pay more since you can’t just buy one meal’s worth of chives, grainy mustard, sherry vinegar, etc. Also, not having to plan out meals in advance, is a bonus.

As with anything, I can see how Blue Apron might not be for everyone. If you’re Macadamia Crusted Cod with Black Rice and Yellow Beetscooking for one, you would have to save half and eat it for lunch the next day each time. If you’re cooking for three it also probably won’t work. If you don’t like certain foods or interesting combinations/flavors you probably won’t like it because the recipes are extremely diverse. So far Blue Apron has given me 7 free weeks worth of food to send to friends and family and several of my friends that I have offered the deal to are too picky to accept my offer.  Cooking time for us tends to be 30-60 minutes which isn’t bad, and we love the activity of cooking together.

20141225_193007The only drawback I see personally is delivery and packaging.  First, getting the box delivered might be a hassle. However, shipping is pretty reliable in my area and you are able to select your delivery date, so as long as you have somewhat of a stable schedule on the weekends you should do just fine receiving your deliveries.  We live in a highly suburban area where it is cold a majority of the year.  Delivery to our doorstep in the winter months and leaving it sitting there isn’t much of a problem as far as temperature or theft go.  However, this may vary if you live in an urban location or in the heart of any busy city.  Also, If you are cooking at home more than 3 nights a week it also loses some appeal since then you will still need to be shopping for ok additional groceries.  My only real gripe is the packaging.  The external box and internal cooling agents are massive (although reusable) but what gets me feeling like a giant eco-hater is all of the plastic packaging that is used to portion out ingredients.  With convenience comes waste, I suppose.

A couple of highlights to mention that I didn’t cover above:
– Perfectly portioned ingredients for two people under 700 calories
– Creative menu options: italian, Asian, noodles, sandwiches
– Balance of proteins, carbs, veggies
– Meals at $10 is less expensive than ordering takeout or going out
– Recipe cards are bright, attractive, well put together, reusable and easy to read

A couple of gaps that I’ve noticed that I haven’t mentioned above:
– At times too heavy on refined carbs like noodles, pasta, bread, etc.
– Asian options included in rotation every week. Too much sodium and noodles and rice. Not ideal if you don’t like that type of cuisine all the time.
– In the omnivore boxes I would love some health options / more veggies.

Overall it’s pretty awesome. I highly recommend Blue Apron.