Thank you to Blue Apron for sponsoring this post!
Have you guys heard of Blue Apron? It’s a nationwide company that sends a box of fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and accompanying recipes to your door every week. No grocery shopping, no meal planning, no searching for recipes – all you have to do is make it!
You can get the deliveries whenever is convenient for you, and skip a week if you like – there’s no commitment. In terms of portion size, each week you order the ingredients for 3 meals, in either 2, 4, or 6 serving portions. You can also choose between the meat and fish (you can deselect fish or a specific kind of meat you don’t eat) or vegetarian plans; meals range from 500 to 700 calories (noted on the recipe card).
The following week’s menu is posted a week in advance so you can make sure the menu looks good before ordering. For our trial week, we received:
- Blackened Chili-Dusted Chicken with Zucchini rice Pilaf & Corn-Tomato Salsa
- Beef Meatloaf with Roasted Potatoes and Lemon-Horseradish Green Beans
- Furikake-Topped Salmon with Fresh Edamame and Miso-Sesame Black Noodles
Our meals came neatly packaged in a cardboard box lined with ice packs to keep the contents fresh and cold. The packaging is made from post-consumer waste and mostly recyclable material.
In addition to the recipes, we also received an introductory letter with some cooking tips and details about that week’s meals, and a step-by-step color photo recipe card for each meal.
Overall, we really loved Blue Apron and gave it two enthusiastic thumbs up. Some things we especially loved about it:
1) Convenience. Not having to grocery shop is amazing. The only thing they don’t include is olive oil, salt, and pepper! I also really love that you don’t have a ton of random leftover ingredients like you usually do with recipes – you only get exactly what you need.
2) Taste. Each meal was absolutely delicious – it’s hard to pick a favorite, but maybe the salmon since it was so unique. The meatloaf rocked too, though. I kind of <3 meatloaf a lot and had never made it before at home!
3) Creativity/getting out of our cooking comfort zone. I mean, furikake? I’d never even heard of that before this meal! So cool to try some different stuff and branch out a bit. Furikake, in case you are wondering, is apparently a commonplace seasoning in Japan – it’s a mix of seaweed, dried shiso leaf and sesame seeds. Yum!
4) Learning some new tips and cooking skills. One of the things Matt and I both liked about Blue Apron compared to other similar services that we’re tried is that there was a focus on learning new skills. I really liked that Blue Apron added in explanations for why they had you doing certain things, like sautéing the onions and garlic before adding them to the meatloaf. Apparently you do this rather than adding them raw because if they were raw, the water would evaporate inside the meatloaf and steam it, making it fall apart and take longer to cook. Sautéing them first also mellows the garlic and partially caramelizes the onion. Such a good tip!
5) Price. The meals start at $9.99/person/meal, which I thought was a good deal, especially given how much it would cost to buy all these ingredients separately, or to go out to a similar dinner in DC.
There are only two things I’d like to see change about Blue Apron:
1) The recipe cards need to be laminated. Messy chefs (cough, cough, Matt) tend to get them wet, and since they were paper (thick/fancy paper, but still paper) they aren’t in the best shape now. We want to keep them for future reference to re-make our favorites!
2) I would love to see an option to do less than 3 meals per week. I would prefer to get less meals but with extra servings (e.g. 2 meals per week with 4 servings each instead of 3 with only 2 servings each) so that we could enjoy leftovers and not have to cook 3 separate nights. The meals were definitely a bit involved – each of them probably took about an hour to prepare from start to finish, which isn’t always going to be something we want to do 3 nights out of the week. That said, Matt, the real chef of the family, enjoyed feeling like a kitchen wizard. 🙂
Bottom line: would we sign up for/pay for this ourselves? Yes, absolutely, and in fact we already have! I receive their weekly newsletter with the upcoming meals so anytime the meals strike our fancy I’ll go for it. We purchased another round a few weeks ago and it was just as good! We especially loved the salmon dish – and Matt normally isn’t a huge salmon person, either.
Thank you to Blue Apron for the opportunity to check them out! If you’re interested in trying them, the first 50 people to sign up using this affiliate link will get 2 free meals. They ship (for free) to over 85% of the country (here’s a full map of delivery zones). Enjoy!