Reviewed: Blue Apron Meals

1:55 PM

Last week I had the opportunity to try out Blue Apron Meals, a mail service which sends you everything (yes, everything) you need to make three meals for two, once a week for just $60. I was pretty skeptical-- I mean, everything I need to make three meals-- in a box? Through the mail? But with a free box from a former co-worker I said why the heck not!

Blue Apron shares a set menu for the week (there is a vegetarian option) and you have the option to skip that week's box if you don't find the recipes appealing. I skipped the first and second week, but loved the third week menu options. My first delivery contained ingredients to make Short Rib Burgers on Pretzel Buns with Sweet Potato Rounds, Latin Spiced Shrimp Lettuce Cups with Red Quinoa, and Turkey Cutlets with Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Broccoli. 

My box arrived early on a Wednesday and I eagerly unpacked it. The shipment arrives in an insulated box with ice packs at the bottom to keep the meat cool, and produce is neatly packaged on top. Meat is packaged in vacuum sealed packages, however one of the turkey cutlets was not properly sealed and I was reluctant to use it. I wasn't too impressed with the head of lettuce I received, but luckily it was just two of the outer leaves that were discolored. 

The rest of the veggies were fresh and in good shape, exactly like product I would have picked myself from the grocery store. One thing that perplexed me were the crazy disproportionate servings of Thyme and no distinction in the recipes or packaging indicating if one meal was supposed to use more than another. 

The recipes included are designed to be made in about 35 minutes, but this depends a lot on how good you are with a knife. I'm slow when it comes to prepping veggies so the first night's meal (Latin Spiced Shrimp Lettuce Cups with Red Quinoa) took me a little closer to an hour to prep and cook. The three recipe cards are easy to follow, and contain clear and detailed instructions for each meal as well as visuals and a list of the ingredients you'll need for each. Each meal has a corresponding brown paper bag of "Knick-Knacks" containing the odds and ends you'll need for each meal like butter, spices, syrups, and condiments. All they expect you have on hand is water, salt, pepper, and olive oil.

I set right to work the first night making the Latin Spiced Shrimp Lettuce Cups with Red Quinoa & Poblano, Jicama, and Orange Salad (Blue Apron recommends making fish and shellfish meals first). 

Serving Size: Generous. Since this was a produce based salad recipe, the portions were rather generous. I had enough to take a salad and quinoa for lunch the next day, as well as a side salad with dinner. I was very impressed with the amount of shrimp I received; I could have easily served dinner for three.

Recipe: Easy and Delicious. This salad was easy to put together (despite my mediocre knife skills) and really flavorful! You can season to taste, but I used my whole packet of Latin Spice Seasoning and it was perfect. I'm not one for quinoa but I really liked the dressed quinoa. It was a little messy to eat, but I would definitely make this recipe again!

Two nights later I made the second meal, Turkey Cutlets with Roasted Broccoli and Mashed Potatoes.

Serving Size: Just enough. As I said, I was reluctant to use the improperly sealed turkey cutlet, but I only needed one serving so I was fine with that. The two potatoes I received in my box made for a generous side serving but I found myself wishing there had been more broccoli. I ate the whole head intended for two by myself. The leftover mashed potatoes went to work the next day.

Recipe: Medium but boring. Nothing too complicated in preparing this classic meal. I had never actually made mashed potatoes at home before, so that was fun. I discovered either my oven gets too hot, or the temperatures called for to roast their veggies is a little high when paired with their timing suggestions. My broccoli was well done and quite browned, but definitely edible. The sauce was a little tricky, the recipe says to leave drippings in the pan and make the sauce in the same pan, but because of that my sauce came out brown and I'm sure was a little off taste-wise but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

And the meal I was most excited for, Short Rib Burgers on Pretzel Buns with Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds.

Serving Size: Just enough. I got lazy and only sliced up one sweet potato, leaving the other for another meal. I didn't love the cheese sauce, so while there were leftovers of that, I didn't save it. There was one burger for lunch the next day, though.

Recipe: Easy but Bland. A decent burger, but I would have liked a more substantial burger patty. The 10 ounces of ground short rib wasn't quite enough for two burgers. The pretzel buns were delicious, and as I mentioned above the cheese sauce was just okay, nothing special. I didn't use the red onions called for in this recipe at all. Same issue with the roasted veggies this time, my sweet potatoes were almost like chips, but I actually enjoyed that.

The Verdict: Awesome, but not for everyone. There are some kinks to work out in packaging and portions but overall I'd say it's a great service. I'm not sure it's worth the $60 price tag for someone who lives alone, but if you're regularly cooking with a partner it's a decent value. And while it's not quite as economical as shopping at the grocery store, it's certainly more convenient, and there is virtually no food waste. 

Have you ever tried a food delivery service like Blue Apron Meals?

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