Blue Apron is a meal kit delivery service. Every week, they offer 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, 2-meal subscription plan ($9.99 per serving + $7.99 shipping, 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 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.
February 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.
Let's get into the recipes, shall we?
Meal #1: Smoky Brussels Sprout & Black Bean Tacos
Calories per serving (as prepared): 750
Total cook time according to Blue Apron: 30 minutes
Actual time: 58 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.
As a fun Valentine's Day treat, my dear sweet partner, Blair, decided he wanted to make this recipe for me! Admittedly I was a little nervous because I am the proprietary cook of this relationship, but he was determined, so we busted open a huge bottle of champagne and I let him go for it (with limited intervention).
To start, Blair scrubbed all the potatoes and rinsed the Brussels sprouts. He made quick work of slicing up the sweet potatoes into half moons, tossing them in oil, and hitting 'em with some salt and pepper. After that, he quartered the sprouts, mixed them in a bowl with the chile paste, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread them out on a separate baking sheet. To give you a sense of scale, the baking sheet with the potatoes was the largest one I owned—Blue Apron gave us a ton of potatoes. The sheet for the sprouts was considerably smaller. Once the oven reached 450 degrees F, Blair slid the potatoes in for 22 minutes and the sprouts for 13 minutes.
It wasn't too bad taking the back seat on cooking for a change! Please enjoy this view of my incredibly humble kitchen. Also, Blair volunteered to wear that apron.
With the veggies roasting in the oven, Blair peeled and thinly sliced the shallot, then drained and rinsed the can of black beans in a wire mesh strainer I bought from Blue Apron on Black Friday (with my own dollars, I might add). He commented on the quality of the strainer and I've been pretty pleased with it myself, especially for quinoa-related matters.
In a medium-sized pot with a drizzle of olive oil heated to medium-high, Blair cooked the sliced shallot and sugar for 3 minutes until softened. Look at that intense stirring action! From there, he added the drained beans with some salt and pepper and I tossed in 2 tablespoons of water. He cooked the mixture while stirring it occasionally and mashing some of the beans with the back of the spoon until a paste had formed and the beans were largely broken down.
While the beans were going, Blair wrapped the four tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwaved them for about 1 minute. You can't really tell from the photo but the paper towel was pretty badly shredded and probably more wet than it needed to be, but in our defense, we'd been through a few glasses of champagne by this point.
Here are the veggies after they finished in the oven. Looks pretty good if I do say so!
On a cleaned work surface (in this case, my countertop), Blair spread out the black bean mixture across the bottom of each small tortilla, topped them with the roasted sprouts, and gave each one a dollop of sour cream he meticulously seasoned with salt and pepper. Blair is excellent with portioning things out equally with great precision, as you can see by his work demonstrated here.
Voila, Blair's completed Valentine's Day meal! As you can see, he did a remarkable job and I am very proud. I was pretty overwhelmed by the huge portion of sweet potatoes included but Blair was thrilled. He noted we could have left the sprouts in the oven for a bit longer to get extra roasted, and while I agree, I still found them to be pretty meaty and filling. The seasoned sour cream was the perfect accompaniment to the spicy chile paste on the sprouts, and the black bean mixture did a great job of acting as an adhesive and a boost of protein. I'm pretty used to cooking most dishes on my own, so it was a genuine treat having my boyfriend step into the kitchen and do something so kind. This also speaks to how attainably Blue Apron crafts their recipes. Blair is a very intelligent and naturally talented guy, and though he doesn't spend a ton of time in the kitchen, he found this dish to be pretty easy to whip up. These recipes aren't fool-proof, but they're pretty close!
Meal #2: Creamy Proscuitto & Tomato Pasta with Brown Butter Breadcrumbs
Calories per serving (as prepared): 690
Total cook time according to Blue Apron: 25 minutes
Actual time: 39 minutes
I resumed my (self-designated) post in the kitchen a few days later following our Valentine's Day fun to whip up this intriguing pasta dish. One of my few vices that outweighs my hopeless devotion to carbs is my even more hopeless devotion to prosciutto, so I was pretty excited to get this one going.
The prep work for this dish was a breeze. I cleaned off the mushrooms with a damp paper towel before slicing them up, separated the sheets of prosciutto from the package onto a plate, and chopped up all 5 cloves of garlic from the small bulb Blue Apron provided. The recipe only suggested using 2 cloves, but I really love garlic and am about to embark on some extended travel so I've gotta use up everything I can before I depart!
In a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat, I melted the included butter packet and stirred it constantly for a few minutes until the foam subsided and the butter had started to deepen in color and fragrance. From there, I added the breadcrumbs with some salt and pepper and let everything toast for about 4 minutes. Once cooked to my liking, I transferred it all to a bowl until the last step.
To that same pan, I poured in a touch more olive oil and threw in the sliced mushrooms for 4 minutes to cook undisturbed so they'd brown quickly. My mountain of garlic, the capers, and about 1/2 of the provided red pepper flakes made their way into the pan shortly thereafter. The fragrance of the ingredients mingling over the heat for about a minute was incredible. Off to the side, I tossed the pasta into a pot of salted boiling water for 8 minutes, and upon draining it, I reserved 1/2 cup of the pasta water for later use.
After everything warmed through and had a chance to sizzle for a moment, I stirred in the tomato paste. Tomato paste is truly the unsung hero of the kitchen—its concentrated flavor is unmatched and it makes for a really simple yet impressive sauce. To form my sauce, I added 1/2 cup of water with some salt and pepper and let it cook for 3 minutes until it thickened. I then killed the heat, added the cooked pasta, the pasta water, and the mascarpone before giving it all a generous stir.
To serve, I filled each bowl with the pasta mixture, tore the prosciutto into bite-sized pieces, and topped it all off with the breadcrumbs. Good lord, this meal was exactly what I wanted—carb-heavy, savory from the mushrooms, and salty as all get out. The capers were a nice, zippy addition to the rich tomato sauce and the mascarpone at the end made things mellow and comforting. Also, that prosciutto—I am weak! I'd definitely make this dish again. It delivered on the sophistication and uniqueness I've come to expect from Blue Apron while immediately satisfying both my hunger and my emotion-driven food needs.
Verdict: Blue Apron was great this month. My satisfaction streak continues! It was so much fun having my guy make me a meal in a grand romantic gesture, and we were both pretty blown away by the flavors in the pasta dish. 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 $11.99/serving. It's great as a meal rotation supplement and if you're looking to try something fun with your partner, I recommend cooking a BA meal together! I say this every month because I feel it's worth mentioning, so I'll say it again: 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 $47.95 ($9.99 per serving + $7.99 shipping), you’re paying $11.99 per serving.
Check out all of our Blue Apron reviews and find the best meal delivery kits of 2019!
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