Blue Apron is a meal kit delivery service. Every week, they send seasonal recipes created by their culinary team with the pre-measured ingredients needed to make them at home.
This is a review of the 2-person, 3-meal subscription plan ($9.99 per serving + free shipping, or $59.94 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 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: The U.S. only.
January 2020 Blue Apron Review
My July delivery featured a pretty cool box redesign, but for the months following (including this one), things are business as usual. I'd really like to see the updated design make another appearance.
It's back to the big silver cooler bag we go, which seals shut at the top with a little bit of adhesive. The top flaps are easy to pull apart. Inside, we find this month's ingredients. A lot of them come labeled in bags, 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 coordinating recipe title. They are the same as the ones larger ingredients come in, and they are also recyclable. A cardboard divider separates the ingredients from a nest of ice packs at the bottom of the box where the proteins are kept.
Meal #1: Miso-Butter Shrimp with Stir-Fried Vegetables
Calories per serving (as prepared): 360
Total cook time according to Blue Apron: 35 minutes
Actual time: 53 minutes
A quick tip: Before storing everything in the fridge, I recommend taking a minute to gather all the ingredients and place them in individual grocery bags per recipe so everything stays together.
Ordering shrimp from meal kits has become a habit of mine; I prefer the ease and simplicity over dealing with the grocery store for something I only eat on occasion. Low in both carbs and calories, this veggie-packed meal had me wondering if it would have enough protein to be satisfying without noodles or a bed of rice.
To start, I washed off all my produce. The mushrooms still had a bit of dirt on them and I found the bok choy to be especially sandy, so those extra minutes cleaning everything off were well spent. There were a lot of moving parts to this dish so I opted to go the mise en place route for ease of assembly. The bok choy stems and sliced carrots went into one bowl, the bok choy leaves went into another bowl, and the chopped mushrooms had a bowl of their own as well. I separated the 4 cloves of chopped garlic, the honey and vinegar mixture, and the miso paste, demi-glace, and 2 tablespoons of water in an identical fashion. Who cares if there are a few extra dishes to wash if they make it all simpler in the end? Lastly, I patted the shrimp dry and seasoned both sides with salt and pepper.
In a large non-stick pan set to medium-high heat with a drizzle of olive oil, I cooked the mushrooms for about 5 minutes until they started to brown. The sliced carrots and bok choy stems went into the pan next with some salt and pepper for about 6 minutes until softened, followed by the chopped garlic and half the packet of red pepper flakes for 3 minutes or so. All of those ingredients were tossed with the honey-vinegar mixture for about 2 minutes, with the bok choy leaves coming in last until slightly wilted. This glorious vegetable combination was then transferred to a bowl with a plate on top to keep it all warm.
To the same pan, I heated a touch more oil over medium-high heat and cooked the shrimp for about 7 minutes. The recipe said to cook them for 4-5 minutes, but I like to exercise caution when cooking with shellfish, plus I was looking for some nice fond to form for the pan sauce. Once the shrimp had reached a safe internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit, I transferred them to a nearby plate. The miso/demi-glace sauce entered the pan and was used to deglaze the bottom. I stirred in the butter packet until a silky, delicious sauce formed.
To serve, I formed a nest of vegetables, topped it with the shrimp, poured over the pan sauce, and finished everything with the black and white sesame seeds. What a photogenic meal! If you're eating this one with your eyes, then you already have an idea of how tasty it was. The shrimp were plump and filling, the veggies were beautifully sauced and well-seasoned, and the sesame seeds were both a lovely visual and flavorful accompaniment. Though I originally considered serving this with rice for fear it wouldn't be satisfying enough, the shrimp kept me full for quite some time. This was a really great spin on healthy eating for the new year.
Meal #2: Fig & Goat Cheese Beyond Burger with Roasted Cauliflower & Spicy Lemon Dressing
Calories per serving (as prepared): 660
Total cook time according to Blue Apron: 35 minutes
Actual time: 43 minutes
Now, I wasn't planning on having 2 Impossible burgers within the days leading up to this Beyond Burger recipe arriving at my door, but here we are. Consider me fully on the plant-based "meat" wagon.
The prep for this recipe was super simple. I set the oven to 450 F, washed off the cauliflower, and got to work. Does anyone else find chopping crucifers into florets really satisfying? Once I worked the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces, I tossed them with a touch of oil, plus some salt and pepper on a foil-lined baking sheet. They roasted for 25 minutes. In the meantime, I sliced up the shallot, separated the buns, and mixed together all of the lemon juice, currants, and a little bit of the red pepper flakes in a small bowl.
The shallots cooked in a small bit of oil on medium-high heat with salt and pepper for 5 minutes until browned. I transferred them to a mixing bowl with the fig spread and creamy mustard sauce to create the burgers' signature condiment, and you know I had to sneak a little taste. Who knew figs and creamy mustard made such a homerun combination? The Blue Apron folks certainly did, and I appreciate them for sharing because I'd have never known otherwise.
In that same pan, I cooked the Beyond Burgers for about 7 minutes on each side. The cauliflower had a long way to go so I gave the patties some extra cooking time. When they'd reached my preferred level of doneness, I transferred the patties to a plate and let the buns toast in the fond for about 2 minutes. They might look a little burned, but I thought they were just right!
When the cauliflower had finally finished roasting, I tossed the florets in the spicy lemon-currant dressing.
Though my plating leaves a bit to be desired, my cooking does not! This meal was an easy, casual meal that felt pretty sophisticated with the goat cheese and fig-mustard-shallot topping. Though I wasn't wild about how lemony the cauliflower was, I did appreciate the sweetness of the currants and the spicy zip of the red pepper flakes. It was a really interesting flavor profile overall. My only point of feedback for this dish would be an upgrade for the buns. I don't mind potato buns all that much, but a good bun can turn a great meal into a fantastic one. Considering the number of specialty ingredients used to comprise this meal, I can see why this bun choice was made. Overall, this was a unique and satisfying vegetarian meal—exactly the kind of dish I'd expect from Blue Apron.
Meal #3: Coconut Vegetable Curry with Jasmine Rice
Calories per serving (as prepared): 500
Total cook time according to Blue Apron: 30 minutes
Actual time: 56 minutes
Curry is one of my greatest pleasures in life, especially the plant-based variety. I make a shelf-stable version every few weeks or so using frozen veggies, Thai red curry paste, coconut milk, and whatever else I have on hand, so while this particular recipe wasn't something out of the ordinary for my regular meal rotation, it looked too good to pass up.
More cauliflower to roast, hooray! After washing the produce, I chopped the zucchini, sliced the carrots and combined them with chopped garlic and ginger I'd peeled beforehand, and quartered the lime. The cauliflower was broken up into florets, then drizzled in a bit of olive oil and tossed with curry powder, salt, and pepper before being roasted for 23 minutes. Even though I was quick to wash my hands after handling the curry powder, my nails still looked a little bit yellow! No sweat, though—curry is always worth it. Lastly, I added a pinch of salt and 1 cup of water to the rice in my rice cooker. Pretty simple as far as prep work goes!
To a large, non-stick skillet heated to medium-high, I cooked the chopped zucchini in an even layer for about 7 minutes instead of the recommended 2-3 because it was taking a bit to brown. From there, I added the prepped carrot mixture with some salt and pepper to cook for about 6 more minutes to get everything softened. To speed the process along, I covered the pan with a lid for most of that cook time. As soon as I could easily pierce the carrots with a fork, I added the tomato chutney and coconut milk with some more salt and pepper until everything reached a boil.
I've had this tomato chutney from a past Blue Apron recipe and it completely blew me away. It's deeply savory and complex in a way I've never experienced and I need to get my own jar ASAP. I've only ever made curry with curry paste, so using chutney as a base was an interesting technique I was excited to try. The veggies cooked in this simmering mixture for about 5 minutes.
When the cauliflower was done in the oven, I tossed it into the pan with the rest of the veggies and stirred everything with the juice of two lime quarters until combined. The rice was done around this time, too.
Voila! What a charming, colorful meal, am I right? I served the curry atop the rice with a lime wedge off to the side for some added brightness. The tomato chutney made an excellent curry base, though in the end, it didn't taste that much different than the curry paste I typically use. The char on the cauliflower added a really great contrast of texture and flavor, and the rest of the veggies were hearty and delicious. I only ate half of this meal at first because I was a little scatterbrained and distracted that day, so I can attest that the leftovers reheated wonderfully and were almost better the next day!
Verdict: Blue Apron was really nice this time around and continues my ongoing streak of monthly satisfaction. The quality of the produce was outstanding, the dishes lent a creative flair to some classic meals, and everything was pretty simple to whip together. While Blue Apron isn't less expensive than going out and purchasing the groceries yourself, it is really convenient, there's no food waste, and the recipes are outstanding—not to mention it's far less than takeout for similar meals at $9.99/serving (including free shipping for 3 meals). I retain my position of thinking it's worth it, at the very least as a monthly treat instead of a weekly staple. The only area I'd like to see some improvement (aside from upgrading the potato buns) is with the reduction of single-use plastic packaging. I understand the bags are recyclable, and I get the need to keep things separated and organized, but there has to be a better way, you know? Given Blue Apron's commitment to building a better food system, I'd be surprised if this item isn't already on their long-term agenda.
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 $59.94 (plus free shipping), you’re paying $9.99 per serving.
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