Have you ever considered trying Blue Apron? Read about our experience and review of Blue Apron meals to see if Blue Apron is right for you.
The sign up was easy, and just required your name, address, and a credit card. They also let you choose the days that you want your box delivered, depending on where in the country you live.
You also get to choose some dietary preferences such as if you are a vegetarian. You can also opt out of certain meats such as pork, shellfish, red meat and fish.
Plans and Pricing
There are two main types of plans; the two person plan and a family plan.
The 2-person plan is for three recipes for two people, so six portions of food in total. This plan works out to be $9.99 per person per meal, so $59.94 per week.
The Family plan is for a family of four and you have the option of either two or four recipes per week. The price per person for the family plan is $8.74 per person per meal. If you wanted to get two recipes per week it would cost $69.92 per week and for four recipes it would cost $139.84 owe week.
There are usually great discounts when signing up on your first box, so make sure you utilize one of their discounts. They have a great deal going on now that gives you 2 free meals on you first Blue Apron order.
Picking Your Meal Preferences
For the 2-person plan you are given 6 options: 3 vegetarian and 3 meat dishes.
Many of the options looked appealing and we were happily making our selections until we hit a small snag. Apparently when you make certain meal selections it automatically makes you ineligible to pick other recipes, the reasoning behind this is slightly confusing, and apparently it is due to only having a limited number of combinations available.
Once we made our recipe selections we weren’t 100% thrilled that we could not pick the exact 3 recipes out of 6 shown, but nonetheless were satisfied with the three meals we had chosen.
We also really liked the fact that you are able to pick out your meals for the next four weeks all at once, so you do not have to remember to do it every week.
Nutritional Breakdown For Each Recipe
What is really nice is that you are able to view the calorie content for a portion size for each recipe while you are making your meal selections. Admittedly it was difficult if not impossible to find a recipe that was under 500 calories per portion. Some self restraint would be needed to only eat what would be a correct portion for your body type based on age, gender, and activity level and nutrition requirements. My guess is they make portions based on their hungriest customer’s requirements and figure that if you do not eat all of your portion you can put it in the fridge for leftovers.
However, you are out of luck if you are looking for a full nutritional breakdown for each recipe including not just calories but fat, carbohydrates, sodium, fiber, protein etc.
The box arrived in a good condition. We opened it up and it
was covered in insulated material and ice packs to keep the contents cold. The vegetables were placed on top to avoid them being crushed by the contents of the package. The bottom compartment is where all the raw meat was stored and unfortunately the ground beef that was in there split open and there was beef blood in the bottom compartment. Kyle was not too impressed as he has very high standards in food safety. Luckily enough there was only chicken which was still sealed in a vacuum packed bag left in the bottom container so we had to throw the beef away and wash the blood off the chicken. We later called up Blue Apron to explain what happened and they were very helpful and gave us two free meals from our next delivery.
In The Box
All the ingredients were labeled and included allergy information. From an environmentalist’s point of view there was quite a lot of packaging, and some of it seemed wasteful, even if we was recyclable. For example we had a bag of spice that had two tablespoons of spice mix in it but the bag was big enough for 20 times that amount.
We agreed to take turns, and decided that we would each cook a dish on our own so we could present a viewpoint on flavour and ease of preparation from a professional chef (Kyle aka Mr. Nutritionist) and an amateur (Maggie (Mrs Nutritionist). The third and final meal we would cook together.
Day 1- Fresh Fettuccine Pasta: Mr Nutritionist up first.
I was up first and decided to cook the mushroom pasta dish using the fresh pasta provided. I have used and made my own fresh pasta in the past and from first glance it looked very appetizing. For a vegetarian dish, I found the lack of vegetables quite surprising. Specifically there was a lack of mushrooms in this dish. Blue Apron only allowed 1.5oz of fresh mushroom per person.
The prep was possibly the hardest thing about this dish because the fresh made pasta was clumping together and took time to separate it out. After I had finished all the prep the cooking was fairly simply and straightforward, and the aroma of the dish was amazing.
Day 1 Evaluation: Mr and Mrs Nutritionist
Our biggest complaint about this dish from a nutritional point of view was the lack of vegetables. Since it was a vegetarian course we thought there would be more vegetables. However, they had seemed to replace the vegetables with carbohydrates. Flavor wise it could have done with another level of flavor, for instance the introduction of fresh herbs such as a bayleaf would have been great. Some greenery on the plate would have made the dish look less red. Overall it was dish that we still enjoyed and would make again with some amendments.
Fresh Fettuccine Pasta:
Flavor Score. 6/10
Nutrition Score 5/10
Day 2: Nepalese Chicken Curry: Mrs Nutritionist’s turn to cook.
Admittedly I am not a confident cook, especially when trying new recipes, I find that no matter how thoroughly I read the recipe I still end up doing something wrong. Also, I tend to be rather slow about everything; chopping, peeling, rinsing, you name it, especially compared to my husband. This recipe took me much longer than the recommended 10 minute prep, in total it took me about 15 minutes.
Although I will say that besides the occasional cooking term that I had to look up, the directions were fairly simple and straightforward to follow. I found that having all the ingredients pre measured made things much quicker and easier for me. Blue Apron guesstimates that it should take someone 25-35 minutes to cook this recipe, in actuality it took me an eye watering 45 mins for cooking alone. I believe what slowed me done the most was the meat, the pieces of chicken were very thick and took 2-3 times longer to cook than Blue Apron guessed.
Overall I would say that having the recipe card and pre measured
out ingredients did make cooking less anxiety inducing. My overall experience was positive, and I would be up for cooking on my own with Blue Apron again.
Day 2 Evaluation: Mr and Mrs Nutritionist
As for the finished product, it was a recipe that brought us outside our comfort zone, but we have to say that we were pleasantly surprised, and the food was very appetizing. As far as the nutrition is concerned, again, we feel like more vegetables could have been included. Yes, there was vegetables in the sauce as well spinach in the rice, but the vegetables were more of a garnish and not a main part of the meal.
For many people dinner is the most opportune meal to eat a few portions of vegetables, and for some people are the only vegetables consumed all day. Having a vegetable be a staple in the meal would have increased the nutrition score. I would have also liked to see less rice. When all the rice was cooked up and divided into 2, there was a ton of rice! As someone who does not like to consume many starchy carbohydrates at night, there was just too many carbohydrates.
Nepalese Chicken Curry:
Flavor Score: 7/10
Nutrition Score: 6/10
Day 3 Meatball Ragout: Mr and Mrs Nutritionist
We were both looking forward to cooking together on this last dish. We divvied up the tasks and decided that Mrs Nutritionist was on peeling duty and Mr Nutritionist would chop the vegetables. However, what was surprising was that even with both of us doing the prep work it still took us longer than the 15 minutes recommended time for prep. Since the ground beef that was supplied split in delivery, we had to buy some ground beef. It was rolling the beef that took the longest. The preparing of the food was the hardest thing about this dish. Once everything was prepared, it was just a simple case of adding the vegetables to the pan gradually. We have a meat probe which we used to tell if the insides of the meatballs were fully cooked.
Day 3 Evaluation: Mr and Mrs Nutritionist.
Finally, this dish provided enough vegetables, but ironically was very stingy on the starch- potatoes. However we were disappointed by the taste and found that this dish tasted more like tomatoes than beef, which gave the dish a single flavor rather than layered flavors. Some optional red wine would have gone down really well or more beef demi glaze. This was the only dish out of the three that we walked away feeling disappointed and unsatisfied.
These meals were quick to cook. They required very little utensils and cookware; either the use of a sole frying pan or saucepan, and therefore it made cleanup fairly quick. The ingredients are portioned out and the recipes are easy to follow. The down side to Blue Apron we found was that the prep time usually took longer than stated and the dishes tended to be lacking in vegetables.
Overall, we would definitely try Blue Apron again, but probably only for a single week every month or so to experiment and to try a few new dishes.
Who Should Try Blue Apron?
- Busy Professionals who do not have time to spend a long time cooking
- Anyone who is stuck in a food rut, and wants to try new recipes.
- Anyone trying to substitute takeout meals for a healthier alternative.
- Cooking newbies looking for easy recipes to try.
- Those who hate grocery shopping for ingredients.