Blue Apron Subscription Box Review + Coupon – March 2017
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.
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.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
This review is of the 2-Person Plan, $59.94 box.
The Subscription 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.
COUPON: Get three free meals on your first order! No code needed, just use this link
The Products: Fresh ingredients and recipes to make healthy meals at home.
Ships to: U.S.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
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. Certain combinations of dishes are not allowed, though, so depending on which recipes I selected first, certain other recipes became unavailable. (Check out the weekly Blue Apron Menu to see what’s coming up!)
Unlike many meal boxes, Blue Apron doesn’t group their ingredients by recipe. I like that this limits packaging, but it does slow down the meal preparation process slightly. (I also try to quarantine the Blue Apron ingredients in my fridge, so I don’t use a recipe ingredient for something else by mistake.) The “knick knacks” for each recipe are bagged together, though, which helps.
Inside each baggie of knick knacks, I received a list of the nutritional information.
Unfortunately, when I was unpacking this week’s ingredients, I noticed that I was missing knick knacks for one of my recipes. (I was sent duplicate knick knacks for one of the other dishes instead.) I reached out to Blue Apron about this hiccup, and I was issued a credit of $19.98, which covers the full cost of the meal that was missing the knick knacks. Without the knick knacks, I was unable to make the dish, so I think that’s a fair response. (Especially since I was still able to use the other ingredients for the recipe in another meal.)
In addition to the recipe cards, this month’s box also contained a sheet with tips on how to caramelize an onion.
It also contained a card with instructions for how to enter Blue Apron’s contest to win a private cooking lesson with Brooke Williamson, the recent winner of Top Chef!
Blue Apron has been advertising their partnership with Top Chef all month, and this week’s delivery featured a version of one of Brooke Williamson’s winning Top Chef dishes! I absolutely love this! I’m a big fan of Top Chef (and I was rooting for Brooke to win!), so I’m thrilled that Blue Apron offered subscribers the opportunity to try cooking a version of her winning dish at home. How fun!
Now, on to the food!
Recipe #1- Green Garlic Pesto Pasta with Butter Lettuce Salad & Creamy Lemon Dressing
Calories: 780 per serving
Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
One of my favorite things about Blue Apron is that they regularly feature rare and interesting seasonal ingredients in their recipes, and I picked this dish in part because I was excited to try cooking with green garlic. Unfortunately, a few days before my box shipped, I received an email that due to a supply issue green garlic would be substituted with garlic chives. (I was disappointed by this substitution, but I totally understand that these things happen.)
I boiled the pasta and made the pesto by sautéing garlic chives, arugula, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes in a little olive oil and then chopping them finely and adding enough olive oil to make a paste. After I made the pesto, though, I decided to tweak the recipe a little bit. Blue Apron provided both parmesan and mascarpone for the salad dressing, but I decided to add both to my pesto instead. I also decided to use some of the provided almonds (intended for use as garnish on top of the pasta) in the pesto.
Instead of making the creamy mascarpone dressing laid out in the recipe, I opted to dress my salad with lemon juice and olive oil.
Once the pasta was al dente, I strained it and then tossed it with the pesto sauce. I topped the pasta with additional parmesan and almonds and served it with some salad on the side.
I enjoyed this dish, and I really liked the creamy cheesiness the mascarpone provided! (The garlic chives were VERY garlicky, though. I think if I cook with garlic chives again I’ll make sure to use them sparingly.)
Recipe #2- Spice-Rubbed Pork with Sweet Red Onion & Black Beans
Calories: 730 per serving
Cook Time: 35-45 minutes
And here we have it: Blue Apron’s adapted version of this season’s winning Top Chef dish!
I watched the Top Chef finale, and my first reaction to Blue Apron’s version of Brooke’s dish was lukewarm. I just didn’t excite me as much as I was hoping.
Brooke’s actual winning dish was Braised Pork Belly and Beans with Charred Onion and Purslane. Here’s a picture of the dish from Bravo:
Of course, I don’t expect Blue Apron’s version to be identical, but I was a little disappointed to see that braised pork belly had been replaced with pork loin roast. They’re so much different! (And I LOVE pork belly.)
Despite my initial disappointment, I tried to keep an open mind while I got to cooking.
To make the beans, I caramelized some red onion in butter and brown sugar and then stirred it into warmed garlicky black beans along with some honey, apple cider vinegar, and cilantro.
I rubbed the pork with the provided spice blend, seared it, and then roasted it in the oven alongside some chunks of red onion. When the pork and onions were done cooking, I tossed the onion with some apple cider vinegar.
I sliced the pork loin and plated it over the beans and alongside the roasted red onions. I topped each plate with some additional cilantro.
This dish was okay, but it fell short of my expectations. Given that this dish was adapted from a winning Top Chef dish, I hoped that it would blow my socks off, but it didn’t wow me. It felt like just another Blue Apron recipe, not a special offering. I really wish that Blue Apron had tried to stay truer to Brooke’s original version. I understand that pork belly might be too expensive to include in a meal offered at the regular Blue Apron meal price, but I would have been happy to pay a premium for a Top Chef-inspired dish that featured higher end ingredients!
Recipe #3- Chicken Meatballs & Fregola Sarda with Kale & Scallion Tomato Sauce
Calories: 710 per serving
Cook Time: 35-45 minutes
Last up, I picked out this recipe for chicken meatballs. Unfortunately, as I mentioned at the start of the review, I was unable to prepare it because I didn’t receive the accompanying bag of knick knacks. While I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to try out this recipe, I’m happy with the way Blue Apron’s customer service handled the issue.
Verdict: Before I talk about the food from this box, I have to recognize how cool it is that Blue Apron paired up with Top Chef to feature a version of the winning Top Chef dish. Even though the dish fell short for me, I love this partnership, and I hope to see more like this in the future. When it came to this week’s dishes, my reactions were definitely mixed: I enjoyed the pasta dish, but I thought the pork dish was just okay. Additionally, it’s disappointing that I wasn’t able to prepare the chicken meatballs. (I’m pleased with how customer service handled the issue, though.) Value wise, Blue Apron is competitively priced (about the same cost per meal as Hello Fresh and cheaper than Plated). The biggest issue for me is with the meal variety. I really wish Blue Apron would offer more choices each week and allow for every possible combination of dishes.
Do you subscribe to Blue Apron? Which meals did you pick this week?