Disclaimer: This is a completely unbiased and unsponsored review of Blue Apron. I was not compensated in any way for my review of this product. All views and opinions are my own.
With all of the sparkly new appliances in our kitchen, you can imagine how excited I am to get cooking. So when I was offered a free trial of Blue Apron (not an affiliate link!) food delivery from a friend, I jumped at the chance. I consider myself a competent cook, but I have been intrigued by these types of services since they became popular.
For anyone who doesn’t know, Blue Apron delivers fresh ingredients to your door along with detailed recipe cards that allow you to cook a gourmet meal any night of the week. The food is shipped in freezer boxes so everything stays fresh, and you have your choice of delivery days so you can pick what works best for your schedule. You can also indicate family size (2 or 4) and food allergies/aversions.
I scheduled our delivery for the day after I returned from a work trip to Europe. I figured I would still be recovering from all of the travel and the time changes, and it was the perfect timing.
Our box consisted of ingredients and recipes for apreas de carne molida, chicken piccata, and three cheese calzones. All of the ingredients were measured out and ready to go. The recipe cards were easy to follow and the directions seemed relatively straightforward. I was excited to get started!
I immediately noticed was how fresh and high-quality the ingredients were. I was also pleased that there were some items that I wouldn’t normally have on hand in my kitchen, but was happy to have on the ingredient list (like capers — have never cooked with ‘em, but love ‘em). The recipes were also very balanced in terms of meat vs veggies vs carbs, and every dish had something fresh and green in it.
The biggest difference with cooking a Blue Apron recipe versus any other recipe I’ve attempted is that the mis en place, or set up, is done for you or instructed early on in the recipe. The first step of all three recipes was “prepare the ingredients” by washing, chopping, slicing, etc. While many of the ingredients were already measured out in little baggies, the fresh ingredients required a little more preparation.
The mis en place element honestly completely made me reevaluate the way I cook, and the way I will prepare any recipe going forward. I’m generally a “measure as you go” type of chef, but things move so much more efficiently if you can just toss in a pre-measured amount and not have to worry that the chicken is burning while you scramble to find your measuring spoon.
Not only were the recipes easy to follow, but the end result was delicious. Very rarely do I try three new recipes and all of them turn out to be home runs. Troy agreed that the meals that came out of the Blue Apron box were all ones that we should have in our rotation.
Now for the bad news.
Although we loved our Blue Apron delivery, we won’t be continuing the subscription service, and the number one reason is the price. $59.94 gets you three meals per week for two people, which works out to be $9.99 per person per meal — granted, that is less than if you were to go out for a meal at most places, but my grocery budget is $50-75 for the both of us for an entire week (I manage this by shopping sales, using coupons, and growing some of our own produce). To me, this is a splurge when I would still have to figure out breakfasts, lunches, and four more dinner options.
We also normally have lots of different components with our meals: in addition to a main dish, we’ll sometimes have salad, sides, bread… Blue Apron only provides the main dish, so we had to add a salad or a loaf of bread to make it into a full meal (by our standards).
Finally, the lack of leftovers was a big one for me. When they say “for two people,” this is exactly enough to satisfy two people (I was actually wishing for a second serving of the chicken piccata). I love leftovers and regularly take them to work the next day for lunch (Troy is not a fan, so it’s normally up to me to finish up anything left in the fridge). We often prepare meals that are much larger than the two of us could ever consume (multiple components helps in this aspect) so that I can stretch one meal into several. I guess if there is one silver lining here, it’s that Blue Apron doesn’t give you the option to overeat!
[Edit: While I was browsing the Blue Apron cookbook recently, it seems as if they are adding small salads and sides to their meals. Very glad to see this change!]
While we won’t be continuing with our Blue Apron subscription, I will definitely continue to browse their recipes (they are free online) and use my newly found skill of mis en place-ing to make cooking just a little bit easier and more enjoyable.