Blue Apron Subscription Box Review + Coupon – November 2018
This is a review of the 2-person, 2-meal subscription plan ($9.99 per serving, or $47.95 per week). I normally cook for myself, but having meal kits delivered to my home has given me a way to lure friends over to help and enjoy the recipes with me. It’s so much more fun with a buddy if you can spare one. No buddies? You’ll have some leftovers then, so this doubles your value! In addition to their standard 2-person subscription plan, Blue Apron also offers a Family Plan that features kid-friendly recipes and family-style meals for four. You can now switch between 2 and 4 person meals easily with each delivery!
My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About Blue Apron
The Subscription Box: Blue Apron
The Cost: You can choose from a 2 person plan or a family plan:
For the 2 person plan, it’s $47.95 ($9.99 per serving + $7.99 shipping) for 2 meals per week or $59.94 ($9.99 per serving + FREE shipping) for the 3 meals per week.
Family plans start at $71.92 ($8.99 per serving + FREE shipping) for the 2 meals per week, $95.88 ($7.99 per serving + FREE shipping) for 3 meals per week, or $119.84 ($7.49 per serving + FREE shipping) for 4 meals per week.
The Products: Fresh ingredients and recipes to make healthy meals at home.
Ships to: U.S. only
Blue Apron November 2018 Review
Blue Apron ingredients come packaged in a big silver cooler bag that’s a lot like bubble wrap. Along with the plastic-wrapped ice packs in the box, the bubble wrap bag keeps the ingredients cool while they travel. The produce was packed toward the top, while the meats were stowed beneath a cardboard divider in a nest of ice packs.
A lot of the ingredients from Blue Apron come in bags, labeled, but you have to check out the recipe cards to know which meal they go to. Smaller items like butter or sauces come in a *recently updated plastic* “knick knack” bag so they don’t get lost in the shuffle, and those are labeled with the meals name as well. The plastic bags are the same as the ones larger ingredients come in and are recyclable as well.
I got a little nervous because after unpacking the contents from the box, I didn’t immediately see any info cards or recipes. Was I just supposed to wing it? Nope—turns out, the paperwork was carefully tucked into the side of the box, on the outside of the cooler bag. Whew. This month came with a fold-out gift guide for Blue Apron products, in addition to two recipes.
Okay, let’s get these dishes started!
Calories per serving (as prepared): 700 calories
Total cook time according to Blue Apron: 15-25 minutes
Actual time: 33 minutes
I can’t tell you the last time I cooked with ground pork—if ever—so I was pretty excited to get started. Having the sauces and seasonings packed in the knick knacks bag was convenient, and an appreciated touch.
I washed and dried the cabbage and radishes before removing the core and slicing the cabbage into thin strips, and thinly chopping the radishes into little half moons.
As a drizzle of olive oil was heating in my non-stick pan, I prepared the slaw by tossing the sliced cabbage into a bowl and mixing the leaves together with half of the cilantro sauce. At first, using only half of the sauce (per the recipe) didn’t seem like nearly enough, but after a few generous swirls in the bowl, it was the perfect amount. Though, I was a little confounded by what to do with the leftover sauce.
Once my lightly-oiled pan was a nice, medium-high temperature, I tossed in the ground pork and broke it apart with my spatula as it cooked. The recipe said to add only half of the smoky spice mix at this time, but my unreliable hand dumped almost all of it in there. Oh well! I also sprinkled some salt and pepper over the ground pork after the brief spice debacle. The pork had a little bit of a gamey smell right out of the packaging, but I hoped it would cook off. Cooking the ground pork easily took the most time because of my moody electric stove, so there’s where the additional minutes were tacked on in comparison to Blue Apron’s stated cook time.
It’s hard to tell from the photo, but I mixed in half of the tomatillo sauce with the cooked pork, and let it rock for another minute over the heat. Then, I turned off the burner and prepared to assemble my tacos.
But wait! Before the taco assembly, I wrapped the four tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwaved them for one minute. The bottom tortilla was really soggy and weird once I removed the paper towel, but it shaped up after it cooled off.
Once the tortillas were done, I still had some time left before the pork was cooked to my liking, so I crumbled the queso fresco and gave my slaw another few stirs.
Voila, here’s the finished dish! I filled the bottom of the tortilla with the zesty pork, layered on some radishes, drizzled some of the extra tomatillo sauce, sprinkled the top with queso fresco, and piled on the slaw as a side. This meal was really easy to put together, and the flavor was pretty nice! I will say, the pork still had a bit of a gamey taste to it, which I wasn’t a fan of, but that aside, the other flavors and elements were delicious. Even with a slightly longer cook time than anticipated, it all came together pretty quickly.
Calories per serving (as prepared): 590 calories
Total cook time according to Blue Apron: 40-50 minutes
Actual time: 55 minutes
For as often as I cook at home (which has been almost daily for the past two years or so), I’ve never made steak at home. Ever. I’ve always been daunted by the thought of purchasing a nice cut of meat and then ruining it with a lack of experience. After studying the recipe, I felt cautiously optimistic.
To get things started, I pre-heated my oven to 450, washed and dried the kale and potatoes, sliced the potatoes into half moons, removed the kale leaves from their stems and chopped ‘em down, quartered and de-seeded the lemon, and chopped five cloves of garlic instead of the recommended two. They gave me a whole bulb, so why stop at just two cloves? Life is short, garlic is abundant. The prep work took me about 22 minutes to complete, which was half of the overall cook time! Eek. I continued on.
I tossed the chopped potatoes onto a foil-lined baking sheet, drizzled them with olive oil, sprinkled them with salt and pepper, tossed to coat, and popped them in the oven for 18 minutes. While they were in the oven, I quickly grated the parmesan cheese.
While the potatoes were going in the oven, I patted these steaks as dry as I could get them, then generously seasoned each side with plenty of salt and pepper. As I prepped the steaks, I had two teaspoons of olive oil getting nice and toasty on medium-high heat in a cast iron skillet.
The steaks seared on each side for about 4-5 minutes. I was hoping for more of a caramelized crust but feared overcooking the steaks, so after 10-11 minutes of sizzling away in the skillet, I removed them to rest on the cutting board.
As the steaks were doing their thing in the skillet, I mashed together the softened butter packet with the entire packet of Calabrian chile paste. I was feeling bold. Also, I don’t like to waste ingredients, so the whole packet went in there. I snuck a quick taste and it was pretty spicy but delicious. No regrets! Once the butter mixture was finished, the potatoes were done roasting. I sprinkled them with the grated parm and put them back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
With another quick drizzle of olive oil into the hot skillet, I added my mound of chopped garlic and stirred quickly for about two minutes.
Then went in the kale with some salt and pepper. I stirred those ingredients around until the kale leaves were slightly wilted before adding in 1/4 cup of water. After the water had cooked off, I killed the heat and squeezed in two lemon slice’s worth of juice and tossed to combine.
The garlic kale came together really quickly and finished at the same time as the potatoes. All that melted parm is a thing of beauty.
The steaks had plenty of time to rest while the garlic kale and parmesan potatoes were coming together, so once all the sides were complete, I sliced each steak along the grain.
Ta-da, here’s the finished product! This meal was so delicious. The steak wound up being a perfect medium rare, the chile butter was quite decadent on top, the garlic kale was savory and citrusy, and the parmesan potatoes almost stole the show, but instead provided a nice, starchy balance. My boyfriend and I were both delighted by this meal; we honestly couldn’t stop saying, “whoa, this is so good” between bites.
This was my favorite recipe of the two, and after this experience, I certainly have a lot more confidence about cooking steak at home! This is a meal I’ll try to recreate in the future, for sure.
Verdict: My experience with Blue Apron was overwhelmingly positive! Since the cons are fewer, I’ll start with those. Unfortunately, the gamey flavor of the ground pork was a significant turn-off, and the length of the prep work for the steak recipe took far longer than I had anticipated. As for the pros, I loved how easy these dishes came together, how clearly the recipes were mapped out, and how ultimately delicious each dish was in the end. It’s a good option if you’re a newbie to home cooking, or if you want to explore new ingredients with thoughtful guidance provided. Overall, I wouldn’t substitute Blue Apron for a weekly grocery trip, but I would use it to shake up my meal rotation every now and again.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Recipes change every week, so these are gone for now, but popular ones always come back in the future. Sign up today to choose for a whole new crop of meals.
Coupon – New customers, save $50 off your first two boxes! No code needed, just use this link.
Value Breakdown: At $47.95 ($9.99 per serving + $7.99 shipping), you’re paying $11.99 per serving.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What do you think of the Blue Apron recipes I got this week?