This is a review of the 2-person, 2-meal subscription plan ($9.99 per serving, or $47.95 per week).
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-serving plan or a four-serving plan.
For the 2-serving plan (Signature, Weight Watchers Freestyle, or Vegetarian):
- $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.
For the 4-serving plan (for families, get-togethers, or meal-prep):
- Starts at $71.92 ($8.99 per serving + FREE shipping) for 2 meals per week,
- $95.88 ($7.99 per serving + FREE shipping) for 3 meals per week,
- $119.84 ($7.49 per serving + FREE shipping) for 4 meals per week.
The Products: Fresh ingredients and recipes for delicious, chef-inspired meals at home.
Ships to: U.S. only.
July 2019 Blue Apron Review
Blue Apron redid their packaging design, and I am *here* for it! Upon opening the box, I was greeted by this month's recipes and the usual nutrition information card. But what fun updates lied beneath?
Instead of the big silver cooler bag, Blue Apron situated a large ice pack inside of this cardboard container. It was easy to lift out of the box instead of prying open the adhesive from the cooler bag (which my hair always got stuck to). I was also never too sure of how best to dispose of the cooler bag, so this cardboard shelf remedied all disposal doubts!
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 “knick knack” bag so they don’t get lost in the shuffle, and those bags are also labeled with the meal’s name. The plastic bags are the same as the ones larger ingredients come in, and they are also recyclable.
It looks like the new box design comes with some built-in insulation on the sides. Beneath the cardboard ice pack shelf was the produce, followed by a cardboard divider, which led to the cooled meats and yet another massive ice pack. There was a note on the box to not break the box down before recycling it, and to instead just toss the whole thing in the recycling bin. I'm a huge fan of the redesign—how about you?
There were no advertisements or info cards in this month’s box.
Grab your appetites and let's get cookin'!
Calories per serving (as prepared): 740
Total cook time according to Blue Apron: 25 minutes on the site, 20-30 minutes on the recipe card
Actual time: 48 minutes
After unboxing all of the ingredients, I always take a minute to separate each meal into its own plastic grocery bag for storing in the fridge, so nothing gets lost, and so identical ingredients aren't accidentally included in the incorrect dish.
Like all rice-based dishes that enter my home, I opted to use my handy-dandy Wolfgang Puck rice cooker to tackle that task. Stovetop rice, who? We don't know her. Anyway, I added one cup of water to the pre-measured rice, along with a pinch of salt, then closed the lid and let it rip. Out of frame is me rapidly bringing a honey packet to room temperature by storing it in the pocket of my joggers.
The prep work for this dish was super easy. I halved, peeled, and thinly sliced the onion provided, then moved on to slicing up the big ol' poblano. It had a lot of ridges and wrinkles, so breaking it down into nice strips wasn't exactly an easy task, but it wasn't impossible. In a small mixing bowl, I whisked together the mayo, pocket-warmed honey, 1 teaspoon of warm water, and the chile paste. The recipe suggested only including "as much as [I'd] like, depending on how spicy [I'd] like the dish to be." I have a firm "use all the ingredients provided" policy in my home, so I used all of the chile paste, then snuck a quick taste of the sauce. WOW. Was it really spicy? Absolutely. But, was it unexpectedly awesome? Oh yeah. What a strong start to the meal!
On an exceptionally hideous paper plate I had leftover from a family picnic, I dried the chopped chicken with a paper towel before tossing it in cornstarch, salt, and pepper.
Oh look, the rice is done! I let it sit on "keep warm" until it was needed again.
Off to the side, I had a deep, non-stick pan heating up with a thin layer of oil on medium-high heat. I threw in the chicken to cook without stirring for 5 minutes, then let it continue to cook for another 5-7 minutes with some occasional stirring.
After the chicken had cooked to a safe temperature, I coated it in that heavenly chipotle sauce. If the meal stopped here, and it was just a bowl of this chicken and sauce, I would not complain one bit. Naturally, I snuck a few pieces of chicken to snack on while the rest of the dish came together, you know, to make sure it was safe to serve my guest. (wink.)
To that same hot pan, I added the onion and pepper slices with just a touch more oil, plus some salt and pepper. Those cooked on medium-high for another 7 minutes before being hit with a tablespoon of water to help soften things up for a minute or two.
When the veggies had cooked to my liking, I mixed them into the rice with a generous packet of Blue Apron's cilantro sauce. Believe it or not, that cilantro sauce has a cult following, and once you've had a taste, you'll quickly see why. A pro tip I learned on Reddit: if you're wild about any of Blue Apron's sauces (including the cilantro sauce), they will happily send you their recipe so you can make it on your own!
Firstly, the colors of this dish are so lovely, especially with that generous sprinkle of cotija cheese on top. As for the taste? Well, this meal was an absolute winner! I was so excited about both the chipotle sauce on the chicken and the cilantro sauce on the rice. They were incredibly complementary, and the vegetables lent a nice crunch to an otherwise tender meal. It was one of those dishes where I forced myself to put my fork down after every few bites so I'd really enjoy the flavor instead of shoveling everything into my mouth with blind delight. A meal this delicious deserves to be savored! One thing that I find elevates Blue Apron above some other meal kit subs is their sauce game, and that is definitely evident here. It's a force to be reckoned with—or, if you're me, eaten with abandon.
Calories per serving (as prepared): 760
Total cook time according to Blue Apron: 35 minutes on the site, 30-40 minutes on the recipe card
Actual time: 54 minutes
I really can't complain about the prep work for this dish, either! All I had to do was gently pull the buns apart, chop the broccoli into florets, grate 2 cloves of garlic on the small side of a box grater (the recipe called for 1 clove, but in this house, we double all garlic measurements), rehydrate the shiitake mushrooms with one cup of boiling water, and mix together the sweet miso and mayo. I snuck a taste of the miso mayo and it was kind of wild! I've never had sweet miso before, so that sweetness was a little unexpected, but it still had that familiar funk of savory miso paste. I seasoned the mayo mixture with a little bit of salt and pepper, because that's always the move.
I also chopped up the bok choy incorrectly! Let's just get that admission out of the way. It was a thousand degrees in my kitchen this past weekend and the direction to cut the bok choy "crosswise" confounded me for whatever reason, so I settled on these long, awkward strips because that seemed to make the most sense for a burger topping at that moment. I drizzled them with some olive oil, and you know I hit 'em with some salt and pepper. It's the Blue Apron way.
In a non-stick pan on medium-high heat with a drizzle of olive oil, I cooked the broccoli in an even layer without stirring for 4 minutes. Then, I seasoned everything with—you guessed it—salt and pepper before pouring in 1/2 cup of water. This proved to be a little too much water for my broccoli, as it took forever to cook off, and instead of softening the crucifers, it sort of overcooked them. Bummer. Once most of the water was gone, I threw in the vinegar, waited another few minutes for that to cook off, then transferred everything to a bowl.
When the mushrooms had rehydrated, I gave them a generous chop. They were rubbery and a little slippery; I'm honestly surprised I didn't slice one of my fingers. More serious kitchen accidents have happened to me with far less hazardous ingredients.
Because I had run out of mixing bowls, I enlisted the help of this large salad bowl to host the ground beef, chopped mushrooms, hoisin sauce, grated garlic, and our dear friends salt and pepper. The recipe said I'd have sauce left over, but I firmly disagreed as I dumped the whole container into the mix. Being cautious not to overwork the meat, I did my best to gently combine the ingredients, then shape everything into two patties. The mushrooms really did not want to stick to the meat. It was sort of a mess, and it was around this time that everything started to go off the rails.
In the photo, these patties may fool you into appearing structurally sound, but I can assure you they were not. "Maybe they'll come together in the pan," I thought optimistically.
They did something in the pan, all right, and by something, I mean totally collapsed at first flip. I let them cook in a touch of olive oil undisturbed for 5+ minutes before bravely turning them over, but it was out of my hands. They crumbled mercilessly. I did my best to encourage them to stay together, but it was to no end. Plus, they took quite a long time to cook through. When I accepted that I'd done all I could, I took them out of the pan and set them aside.
The last step was toasting the buns in the fond before assembling everything. As you can see, I like my buns extra toasted.
This is, hands down, the most horrific meal I've ever plated. I sincerely apologize to you for laying eyes on this thing. There was no way a humble potato bun could host the crumbly behemoth that was my shiitake burger. No, that's not a side dish in addition to the broccoli, that's just my extra burger in a sad pile of itself. The long, awkward boy choy strips did not make things any easier. I thought the miso mayo would have been a decent adhesive, but my chopping error asked far too much of the condiment. All of that said, what this meal lacked in beauty, it more than made up for in taste. Man, it was so good! Cumbersome and a little messy, but still interesting and complex in both flavor and texture. The vinegar and sesame seeds on the broccoli really elevated it from a simple side into something special, and the burger and bok choy married perfectly with the miso mayo. Never judge a book by its cover, or a dish by its troublesome plating!
Verdict: My experience with Blue Apron this month was more amusing than usual, but delicious as always. I really enjoyed both meals, and I award the chipotle chicken bowl as my favorite of the two. The unique flavors, especially the sauces, really put some extra zip in my typical home cooking rotation, which definitely lends a hand in justifying the cost of $11.99/plate (shipping included). I've mentioned this before, but I'm also a fan of Blue Apron's convenient user interface, which only adds to the value. If you're looking to get a little bit daring in the kitchen without a ton of technical difficulty, I recommend this meal kit.
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 from a whole new crop of meals.
Value Breakdown: At $47.95 ($9.99 per serving + $7.99 shipping), you’re paying $11.99 per serving.
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What do you think of these Blue Apron recipes?