Blue Apron Subscription Box Review – October 2015
Blue Apron is a subscription meal delivery service. Every week, they send seasonal recipes created by their culinary team and all of the pre-measured ingredients you need to make them at home. Each meal contains 500-700 calories and takes about 35 minutes to cook.
Check out all of our reviews of Meal Delivery Services to see every meal kit subscription box option!
In addition to their 2-Person Subscription Plan, which features seasonally-inspired meals for two, Blue Apron also offers a Family Plan that features kid-friendly recipes and family-style meals for four. (Note that this is a review of the 2-Person Subscription Plan.)
It’s easy to skip deliveries and cancel your subscription through the Blue Apron website.
My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Box: Blue Apron
The Cost: $59.94 for 3 recipes on the 2-Person Plan, $69.92 for 2 recipes on the Family Plan, $139.84 for 4 recipes on the Family Plan, and $65.99 for six 500 ml bottles of wine.
The Products: Fresh ingredients and recipes needed to make 3 meals.
Ships to: US
I’ve been reviewing Plated for several months now, and I’ve received a few requests from readers to see reviews of other meal delivery services, too. Blue Apron has been on my radar for quite awhile, so I was very excited to sign up and try out one of their boxes. (FYI- I’ll also soon be reviewing a box from Hello Fresh.)
When I placed my order with Blue Apron, I was automatically assigned 3 recipes; however, it was easy to go back into my account to pick new ones. Interestingly, though, Blue Apron restricts recipe choice. Certain combinations of dishes are not allowed, so depending on which recipe I selected first, certain other recipes became unavailable. For this box, I really wanted to pick both Southern Style Burgers and Mixed Mushroom Risotto, but I wasn’t allowed to choose both dishes. I’m not sure why certain combinations aren’t allowed, but it bothered me that I couldn’t pick whichever three dishes I wanted.
I ended up selecting the following recipes: One-Pot Shrimp Perloo, Southern-Style Burgers, and Seared Chicken & Autumn Vegetables. Blue Apron included a recipe card for each of my selected dishes.
They also included a newsletter, “From the Farm,” that features some information about the ingredients in the box.
In this shipment, I also received a small card alerting me of an ingredient substitution.
The box was packed very carefully, with veggies at the top and meat at the bottom. Delicate ingredients were packed with additional care.
Each recipe had an accompanying bag of “knick knacks,” which included things like spices, condiments, and dried fruits.
Southern-Style Burgers with Green Tomato Chow Chow & Old Bay Oven Fries
Calories: 700 per serving
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25-35 minutes
I started my week of Blue Apron meals with Southern-Style Burgers. I began by preparing my ingredients.
I made the oven fries by drizzling olive oil over sliced potatoes, seasoning them with salt, pepper, and Old Bay, and roasting them in the oven at 475.
While the potatoes cooked, I began preparing the chow chow. I sautéed onion, garlic, and the provided spice blend in olive oil. When the mustard seeds began to pop, I transferred half of the mixture to a bowl and added green tomato, vinegar, sugar, and water to what remained in the pot. When it thickened, I removed it from the heat.
To make the burgers, I added the mixture I’d previously set aside to the ground beef, along with the remaining Old Bay. I formed the meat into patties and cooked them in a skillet.
When the burgers were cooked, I toasted the buns. When they were nicely browned, I constructed the burgers and plated them alongside the fries.
I thought the burgers were okay. I was really looking forward to trying the green tomato chow chow, but I wasn’t a huge fan of its flavors. The burger itself was cooked well, but, again, I thought the flavor was just so-so. The fries were tasty, but, overall, this dish didn’t blow me away.
Seared Chicken and Autumn Vegetables
Calories: 685 per serving
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25-35 minutes
Next up, I made Seared Chicken and Autumn Vegetables. Again, I began by preparing my ingredients.
Next, I cooked the chicken.
When the skin was nice and crispy and it was cooked through, I transferred it to a plate and added the turnip to the pan. I cooked it for about 5 minutes and then added onion, cabbage, and thyme to the pan. As soon as the vegetables softened, I added in chopped figs, mustard, demi-glace, apple cider, the cooked chicken, and some water. I cooked this for about 5 minutes and then finished it by adding a bit of butter.
I transferred the food to plates and garnished with some of the remaining thyme.
I was really excited to try this dish, but I was disappointed with how it all came together. First of all, the pieces of chicken were really small. I could have overlooked this if the vegetables had been delicious, but I wasn’t really a fan. For me, the flavors didn’t work well together. The combination of thyme, dried fig, mustard, and turnip sounded okay on paper, but I didn’t like the way they tasted side by side.
One-Pot Shrimp Perloo
Calories: 665 per serving
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25-35 minutes
I finished out my week of Blue Apron meals with One-Pot Shrimp Perloo, a Lowcountry rice dish that’s similar to jambalaya.
I started the perloo by cooking garlic, celery, bell pepper, onion, and scallion in a hot pan with some olive oil. I cooked it for a few minutes and then added in the bomba rice. I allowed the rice to roast in the pan for a few minutes, seasoned everything with salt and pepper, and then added in diced tomatoes and water.
I brought the mixture to a boil and then allowed the pot to simmer until the rice cooked, about 18 minutes.
When the rice was ready, I removed the pot from the heat and added in shrimp, lemon juice, and parsley. I let the heat from the dish cook the shrimp, and then I plated the perloo, topping it with chopped parsley and scallions.
Again, I thought this dish was just okay. I liked the flavors of the rice, but I wasn’t a fan of the shrimp. It was fresh enough, but I didn’t think the quality was great- the shrimp was a little soft and almost mushy, not quite as firm as I’d expect.
The Verdict: I’m a big fan of the meal subscription box concept. Up until now, my experience has been limited to Plated, but I love picking out my meals in advance, receiving a box full of fresh ingredients, and trying new recipes. I jumped at the opportunity to try Blue Apron, and I couldn’t wait to see how the experience would compare.
First of all, I think it’s important to point out that Blue Apron costs $9.99 per serving, making it more affordable than Plated, which starts at $12 per serving, and Hello Fresh’s Classic Food Box, which starts at $10.75 per serving. (Though, if you’re looking for meat-free meals, the cheapest option is Hello Fresh’s Veggie Box, which starts at $9.08 per serving.) While the prices are all in the same ballpark, Blue Apron offers a $12 savings per week over Plated, which certainly adds up if you’re a regular subscriber. They also focus on recipes that can be cooked in 35 minutes or less. I have to give Blue Apron credit for their low prices and quick recipes. I think it’s great to see a meal delivery subscription that caters to those with limited time and budgets.
For me, though, the experience itself was a little disappointing. When it came time to select my meals, I was pleased with the week’s offerings; however, it really bothered me that I wasn’t able to pick all three of the dishes I wanted. The fact that certain meal combinations weren’t allowed made the menu feel limited. When the box arrived, I was happy with the quality of the ingredients I received and how they were packed and shipped, and the recipes were straightforward and easy to follow. The meals, however, didn’t dazzle me. There wasn’t a single dish that I’d describe as “restaurant quality,” and, as a capable home cook, I felt I could have made better dishes myself. To be fair, none of the meals I received were bad, but they didn’t wow me. It’s possible, of course, that I just got unlucky. This is my first box from Blue Apron, so I have to consider the possibility that my experience is not representative of the subscription as a whole. Still, after these meals, I’m not rushing to sign up for another box.
Do you subscribe to Blue Apron? If so, please share your experiences in the comments section below.