Meal Kit Monday: A Review of Blue Apron
Meal kit services have been around for years, but there are so many options that it can be overwhelming to figure out which one to choose. To help cut through the noise, I tried nine different meal kits that cater to various types of home chefs so you don't have to. I’ll be posting an honest review about my experience with a different meal kit every Monday.
After the first few weeks of ambitious cooking brought on by the New Year, you might be hitting a recipe funk. Enter Blue Apon. As one of the first meal kit delivery services, Blue Apron caters to a plethora of different home cooks. If you're a meat eater who enjoys the occasional vegetarian meal, or if you like flavorful but simple dishes, Blue Apron is a great place to start your meal kit journey. Blue Apron sends ingredients and recipes straight to your door for a weekly cost and you can cancel at any time. I recently tried one week's worth of Blue Apron's meals; this is what I thought.
Blue Apron Details
As one of the better-known meal kit delivery services, Blue Apron's meal kits start at $47.95. That price includes shipping and two recipes per week, and each recipe serves two people. But the service also has kits that come with three or four recipes per week and has a meal kit option that can serve a family of four.
If you’re someone who has specific dietary needs, Blue Apron offers vegetarian, pescatarian, diabetes-friendly and Weight Watchers-approved meals. But keep in mind that you choose from a selection of about 10 recipes per week, so there might only be one or two dietary specific options on the menu at a time.
Blue Apron Experience
The kit arrived in good condition, and the ingredients were still cold upon opening. I sampled two recipes, and each recipe came in its own bag with the required, pre-portioned ingredients. The recipe cards were large and easy to follow and included photos for each ingredient so that I didn’t confuse one item for another.
You will need common pantry staples like salt, pepper and olive oil for Blue Apron’s recipes, as well as pots, pans and knives. It’s important to check the recipe cards before choosing your meals for the week to ensure you have the proper cooking tools.
The first Blue Apron meal I tried was Calabrian shrimp with spaghetti squash and kale. I noticed that some of the kale was a little brown, but otherwise, the ingredients seemed very fresh — especially the shrimp. Although I’m not a huge seafood fan, combining the shrimp with shallots and chili paste gave the crustacean a nice flavor.
The recipe had a total cook time of 35 minutes, but it took me about an hour to complete. My knife skills aren’t chef fast, so in the time it took me to chop up the onion, garlic, kale and lemon, the baked spaghetti squash had gotten cold. Little missteps like that made the recipes run overtime.
In addition to the Calabrian shrimp, I also tried udon noodles with spicy peanut stir fry. The mushrooms were a bit slimy, but the rest of the ingredients were in good condition. My favorite aspect of this dish was how easy it was to make. Aside from a cutting board and bowl to whisk the sauce in, I only needed one pan. This made cleaning up super easy, which is ideal after an eight-hour workday.
Overall, Blue Apron’s recipes are creative without being too difficult. The menu has diverse options from pasta dishes and seafood to seared steak and Chinese takeout dishes to make at home. The meal kit is a great option if you’re looking to work on your knife skills or multitasking, or if you enjoy trying different recipes.
On the other hand, with a selection of only about 10 recipes per week, Blue Apron isn’t a top contender if you’re someone who wants a wide selection of dishes to choose from. Furthermore, Blue Apron has a very limited selection of recipes for vegetarians and almost no choices for vegans or people on keto or paleo diets.
Disclosure: The meal kit was provided by the company, but all opinions are honest and belong solely to the reviewer.
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