Two weeks ago I was treated to a week of meals by Blue Apron. If you’re unfamiliar with Blue Apron, they are one of the preeminent food delivery services in the country. They pride themselves on providing high quality recipes and ingredients weekly that are healthy, seasonal, and delicious! I am excited to share my experience with you and I even have a special discount offer for their services at the bottom of this post…read on!
I’d never done a meal delivery program before, but I was excited to see what Blue Apron had in store for me. One thing that sets them apart from other similar companies is that they don’t ship meals that are already cooked. Instead they send the fresh ingredients perfectly portioned out so you can prepare the meal at home. All the fun of cooking with none of the hassle of grocery shopping or having to buy big amounts of obscure ingredients that end up going to waste because you use so little of them!
They have two menu plan options: 3 meals a week for two people or 4 meals per week for a family of 4 (intended to be served family style). I went with the first option because I usually only cook for myself (and can you say LEFTOVERS!?).
Once you sign up for your plan you can make specifications based on your diet and nutritional requirements. Even though I don’t eat red meat, I went with the traditional plan because I wanted to see what kind of variety came with the regular option. If I ended up getting a meal with red meat, I just decided I’d treat my parents to dinner that night! 🙂
Once you pick your menu plan, you pick the day you’d like your meals delivered! This is important because everything is overnighted and shipped fresh…meat, veggies, grains, breads, and ‘knick knacks’.
What are knickknacks you may ask? Well they’re Blue Apron’s cute little terminology for all the extra ingredients that are used with the main ones (think: spices, sauces, herbs, seasonings, and random other foods).
I received my big box early one morning and took some pictures so you could get a sense of what all came in it!
Here are the ingredients broken down by meal!
I was super excited about the 3 meals they sent. They were so varied and unique. I loved how they spanned a wide variety of taste and flavor profiles and cuisines.
The recipes are sent on large recipe cards with bright, vibrant pictures of the finished meal. On the back there are also step by step visual instructions on how to assemble the meal. Each meal takes 40 minutes or less to make, but I did find that some were quite prep intensive. If you’re looking for a quick weeknight meal, these probably won’t work for you. But if you have time to relax and really indulge in cooking a meal from scratch, then Blue Apron is right up your alley.
Here are the specifics about the 3 meals I was able to try…
This was my favorite meal out of the 3 and also the first one I made. I’ve always been a flavor of Thai dishes and the way this dish showcased those traditional attributes was amazing. Basil and ginger are some of my favorite ingredients to cook with they completely enhanced the rich flavor of the chicken thigh as they cooked. I also love the ponzu sauce! I had never had that before and its light salty-citrusy flavor was delightful. But the star of the show as definitely the coconut rice. Wow. I don’t think I can ever have plain rice again after experiencing it with rich coconut milk powder incorporated in.
The Italian in me loved the traditional preparation and flavors in this dish. I am a salmon lover for sure but I’d never paired it with panzella salad before. My grandma used to make homemade panzella all the time so I was excited to have something for dinner that reminded me of my childhood. The sweet corn, mild shishito peppers, and juicy plum tomatoes were at the peak of freshness and made for a light side to the buttery, rich seared salmon. I was also very happy with how fresh the bread tasted despite being shipped! The baguette was soft and doughy and you could tell it was of high quality.
This was the only red meat meal of the bunch so I cooked it for my parents to enjoy! From what I smelled during the preparation process and from what they said after eating it, it was a true foodie experience. This dish is actually African in origin and featured the most amazingly fragrant tomato sauce. My parents said the meatballs tasted of herbs like thyme, crushed pepper, and garlic. They loved the contrast of the warm, cooked meatballs with the raw zucchini salad on top! The zucchini salad was accented with fresh mint and lemon to create zesty, light flavor. On the side I served garlic toasts (which I did try!) were so easy to make. I had never made garlic bread before and for my first time I was very impressed. Simple, crunchy, and incredibly satisfying for a garlic lover like me!
These recipes were INCREDIBLE. Everything was filling, satisfying, and gourmet tasting. Seriously some of the best food I’ve ever cooked at home. Of course I only at the salmon and chicken dishes, but when I made the meatballs for my parents they raved about them as well! My favorite component of the whole week of eating? The coconut jasmine rice in the Stir-Fried Ginger-Basil Chicken that I mentioned above. I have never used coconut milk powder before and now I am on the look out for it wherever I go. It made the rice taste amazing rich and flavorful. And the fragrance it emitted while cooking was out of this world! Also, I usually opt for brown rice, but that was because I had no idea how delicious quality jasmine rice is. I’ll definitely be incorporating it more into my diet!
Since I was so impressed with the 3 recipes I was sent, I decided to look on the Blue Apron site where they have a free archive of past and current recipes they’ve sent out. I love that they offer this recipe collection as a resource to their customers because their chefs come up with some truly unique food and flavor combinations. Here’s a few recipes I have my eye on….
Overall, I was incredibly pleased with my Blue Apron experience. I love the idea of not having to menu plan or ‘think’ about what you’re going to make for the week. This would be so convenient for someone who works or goes to school full-time. It also totally reduces the need to grocery shop each week which is awesome! I would definitely like to have a few more hours on my weekend instead of braving the lines at the store. Big thank you to Blue Apron for letting me try their awesome service! 🙂
Interested in trying Blue Apron for yourself? The first 50 Healthy Helper readers who click this link will get TWO FREE MEALS on their first Blue Apron order! Remember you can order a week at a time, no long-term commitments, and shipping across the US is always free.
Have you ever tried a meal delivery program before?
Which meal above would you most like to try?
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