Friday, September 5, 2014

Blue Apron Review

If you read any popular mom/food/healthy living blogs, I'm sure you've heard about Blue Apron. I think I've read half a dozen posts about the food delivery company this summer. And I really only read a small handful of bloggers. I was intrigued, and decided to check out their site for myself. I told Ant about the service and that I had a coupon code for 2 free meals (courtesy of one of those blog reviews). He thought it'd be fun to try, so we signed up.

So, what exactly is Blue Apron? As I mentioned, it's a meal delivery service. They provide you with fresh ingredients to make 3 meals each week. Everything you need (minus salt, pepper, and oil) is delivered to your door. The food is packaged in an insulated box with a dozen or so ice packs so it will stay cold and fresh, even if it has to sit at your doorstep all day.

Each week Blue Apron has 6 different meal options. We actually signed up in July but skipped a few weeks until a week popped up with meals we liked.  Here are the recipes from the week we got our delivery.

Unfortunately you can't pick any 3 meals you want. Though there are a few ways to customize your delivery. If you're choose the vegetarian option, you'll automatically get the 3 recipes on the bottom row. And you can select what meats you do or don't eat. If you choose the regular option, you'll get 2 recipes from the top row, and 1 vegetarian recipe. We marked no seafood, so we knew we'd be getting Beef Patty Melts and Chicken Gumbo. Our surprise vegetarian option was the Roadside Noodles. Ant and I were both a tad disappointed; we were really hoping to try the Zucchini Fritters (Blue Apron has all their recipes on their website so we could still make them sometime).

Here's a breakdown of how the food turned out!

Beef Patty Melts

First impression: I'm fairly certain this will be the first time I ever cook beef. We rarely eat red meat but made an exception for this meal. We received blue lake beans instead of green and yellow wax beans. All in all I think this will be my favorite meal!

This was the first meal we made. From fridge to table, it took just about an hour. The recipe card was very easy to follow and it was nice not having to measure out all my ingredients! As far as the taste... freaking delicious! The green bean salad (which included the whole grain mustard, shallot and red wine vinegar) was incredible. Tangy with a little kick. Something I would definitely make again. I was a bit skeptical about the patty melts. I'm picky when it comes to onions and was worried that they'd over power the other elements of the sandwich. They didn't at all! The onion flavor was there, but the onions themselves seemed to just melt in to the meat and were hardly noticeable- in a good way.

Ant loved everything about the meal, too. It was a great introduction to Blue Apron!

Chicken Gumbo

First impression: Okra kind of scares me. I've never tried it before. We got chicken sausage instead of regular, which I'm happy about. 

Our second dish took a bit longer to prepare, about an hour and 15 minutes. Chopping all the veggies while trying to keep a toddler out of the kitchen was the most tedious step. Again, the recipe wasn't hard to follow but my gumbo didn't look exactly like the picture. It was more red-colored and soupy than I anticipated. I went back and reread the directions a couple times to see if I missed a step and I hadn't.

Even though it looked different, the gumbo still tasted just fine. Not as good as the patty melts, but still very tasty. I don't like things to be very spicy, so there was just enough heat for me, but I saw on Instagram some people complained it was too bland. And both Ant and I were surprised to learn okra doesn't really taste like anything. I was anticipating it to have a strong flavor. I think some extra rice would have helped thicken it up a bit.

Even with little rice, the recipe yielded a ton of gumbo. 4 servings easily. Great for lunch the next day!

Roadside Noodles

First impression: I've never had broccoli rabe, but it kind of looks like spinach, so maybe it tastes similar? I've also never had lemongrass. Lemongrass soap always smells amazing, though.

Dish number 3. Another recipe with lots of chopping. But cooking went quickly, and the entire thing was ready in about an hour. The lemongrass, ginger and garlic simmering filled our house with the most amazing smell! And it didn't hurt that the noodles tasted delicious as well. The broccoli rabe didn't taste like anything, and blended in with the other flavors nicely. The roadside noodles were our second favorite out of the three, behind the patty melts and beans.

Like the gumbo there was a ton leftover for lunch the next day.

Some final thoughts on our Blue Apron meals.

Did we like Blue Apron? Absolutely! All the food was good, and I got to try some new things along the way. I'd never blanched beans before, and I ate okra, broccoli rabe and lemongrass for the first time.

Would we do it again? Yes. Blue Apron isn't cheap, but the leftovers we had brought down the price per meal, which was a welcome surprise. It's still $60 a box (regular price), so we definitely won't be doing it every week.

Also, we haven't loved all the choices offered. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post we signed up, and then skipped a few weeks before a group of recipes we liked were offered. I also really wish customers could choose all 3 meals, I'm not one for surprises like that. It seems like a lot of customers are asking to select all their meals, so hopefully Blue Apron listens and will change their policy soon.

All in all it was a fun week in the kitchen!

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Blue Apron. I purchased the service with a coupon code found on a popular blog. All opinions are 100% my own.

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