Over the last 6 months we’ve tried out a bevy of prepared meal and meal kit delivery services, I mean, isn’t it our duty to try out the merchandise? We’ve written reviews on companies like Sun Basket, Veestro and Diet to Go, but to date we hadn’t signed up for one of the big names in the meal delivery sector.
Then, we began to notice more and more neighbors with Blue Apron boxes out at the curb on recycle day and realized it’s about time we tested out the big daddy of the meal kit marketplace. Time for a Blue Apron review:
How Blue Apron Meal Kit Delivery Works
The concept is simple when it comes to meal delivery, you either get a fully prepared meal you just heat and eat, or you get a meal kit, which includes all the ingredients you need, perfectly portioned for you, and a recipe card with full instructions to prepare. If you like to cook, but don’t like, or have time for, all the planning and shopping these meals kits are your new best friend.
Blue Apron has been the leader in the meal kit sector since it’s founding in 2012. You read that right, this industry only started to really take off a few years back, and now Blue Apron is valued at $2 billion!
You sign up on their website, select some preferences, choose a delivery date and voila you’e getting food to your door ready to cook and eat.
Let’s Start With The Blue Apron Website
First things first, a couple of questions on the website to narrow down your weekly delivery options. Want enough food for 2 people? A family? How many recipes per week? How pretty do you think the people are in the picture? Does the Dave Matthews look-a-like really know how to use that knife? You know, all the important stuff.
As you can see in the top right, we got a $30 discount on our first offer and we’ll give you the same offer, $30 off your first Blue Apron order since we like to pay things forward*.
You can also see at the bottom you start out with a mixed dietary preference of “You like to eat food”, which brings us to the next screen:
Uh oh – cat’s out of the bag, we are… vegetarians!
Forgetting that harrowing fact for a second, check out the options you have when it comes to proteins. Select what you want to eat and what you don’t and Blue Apron will make it happen. The one thing I really wish Blue Apron had was an option for gluten-free, my wife is a no go on gluten so we’ve had to make some substitutions to the vegetarian plan.
If you are listening Blue Apron – and I know you are – include a gluten-free option in the future. Thank you.
Moving right along, after selecting your protein preferences, you are almost done (seriously).
You can read, so I won’t bother mentioning you can view your delivery schedule for the next six weeks, modify your delivery and change your menu from this screen. The next screen is my favorite, the food, because isn’t that what this is really about?
Your next three meals, sir:
Here’s a cool fact I learned after signing up and salivating on my keyboard, Blue Apron won’t send you the same recipe in a calendar year. You will always have variety, which really makes opening your box a fun adventure each week.
I get a lot of questions about whether Blue Apron food is good for the kids at home, and I’ll say that so far is a bit of a mixed bag. They have loved helping me create the meals (they are rock stars in the kitchen) but only a few have tickled their fancy (see pizza above left).
We signed up for the two person plan, the menu could be different with the family plan, so reserve judgement until you try it for yourself. (Did I mention we can get you a $30 off coupon?).
Now that we’ve covered how easy the website is and I’ve showed you everything except the credit card I used to sign up, let’s get the the actual food.
Blue Apron Review: The Prepping, The Cooking, The Eating
At the time of this review we have eaten seven out of the nine Blue Apron meals we have had delivered over the past three weeks. Those three meals you see above have already been ingested and digested, so for the purpose of this Blue Apron review, the pictures will be from our most recent dinner: Cremini & Shiitake Mushroom Pasta with Summer Beans & Crispy Shallot Rings.
Before I get into the details about this meal, I’d like to make one thing really clear, I am downright amazed at the various types of food we have had with Blue Apron.
We’re vegetarians, so we aren’t used to other people being able to do it right. Most of the time you get an assortment of leftover side dishes, like “green beans with broccoli and summer corn with a light lemon caper sauce” – that is not a meal folks.
Over the last three weeks from Blue Apron we’ve had ethnic food like a Bhindi Masala, simple food like Grilled Goat Cheese and Plum Jam sandwiches and clean and fresh food like the Basil Fettuccini with Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes and Zucchini. Every night has been more variety and flavor than I expected.
But let’s talk about this meal:
Ten ingredients all perfectly portioned and easy to prep, plus a simple to follow recipe on the back. And even better, no scary ingredients here:
Noodles, green beans, two types of mushrooms, parsley, butter, shallot, flour, Parmesan cheese and “Summer Pasta Spice Blend”. You read those ingredients and think, sounds bland, right?
What I quickly learned was each Blue Apron meal has it’s own spice blend which brings the party to the table. Imagine the ingredients listed above, but cooked with a mix of Italian seasoning, garlic powder, ground yellow mustard seeds and cayenne pepper – that is the “Summer Pasta Spice Blend” folks. And there is your flavor.
The prep was easy, wash the produce, slice the shallots, chop the mushrooms, cut the beans into 2 inch pieces, boil water. Simple.
Then we start cooking some crispy shallots, which took about 3 minutes.
On to the mushrooms, which took about 3-4 minutes to brown.
Add the green beans, the spice blend and some water, simmer for about 8 minutes (noodles are boiling in the background too, but that’s boring).
Toss the cooked noodles into the pan, add the butter and cook together for another 2-3 minutes. Add some of the reserved water from the boiled noodles as needed to avoid it getting too dry and… there you have it: Cremini & Shiitake Mushroom Pasta with Summer Beans and Crispy Shallot Rings in about 30 minutes.
It’s not just beautiful, the spice blend gives it some punch. You can really taste the ground mustard, the cayenne and the Italian seasoning. The beans were delivered fresh and crisp and the fried shallots on top gave it a nice textural crunch. We added some cherry tomatoes we had laying around which could be considered cheating, but I like cherry tomatoes so I added them.
I’ll sum up this Blue Apron review this way, of the seven meals we have had so far five have been winners and two have been OK. In my mind that’s really good, considering I didn’t have to plan a menu and shop for it, Blue Apron did all the work for me.
It’s worth a try folks, you won’t be disappointed.
Full disclosure: We paid for our own boxes for three weeks to test the product completely, Blue Apron did not send us any freebies. But the ads on this page are affiliate links, so if you like the review and decide to sign up through our page we will receive a revenue share.