Despite assisting others with meal planning and creating grocery lists, I have to admit I’m not the greatest at doing it myself. There are a ton of benefits to taking the time to plan our your meals, write out a shopping list based on those meals and prep some food in advance of your week. You’ll undoubtedly save money and make healthier choices. But sometimes it’s tough to do. Or you aren’t feeling inspired with yummy recipes you want to create. Maybe you wish you had someone who would plan menus, shop for you, bring it into your kitchen and measure out the ingredients appropriately?!
Well, let me introduce you to Blue Apron, a service that does just that! It’s a home delivery service, which isn’t really a new concept, but it’s different than PeaPod or FreshDirect. Blue Apron wants you to get the full experience of cooking. So they’re not just shipping groceries to your door. They’re sending you fresh ingredients and exciting new recipes to prepare those ingredients.
Here’s how it works:
-You fill out information providing your dietary preferences (vegetarian, no seafood, no pork, etc)
-Blue Apron sends you an e-mail with the weekly menus, which you can decide to purchase or decline. If you don’t love that week’s selection or know you won’t be able to get in the kitchen…they give you the option to skip, saving both $ and wasted food!
-You select a delivery date and your refrigerated package is delivered to your doorstep.
-You open your package and get cookin’!
My cousin gifted me a free week of Blue Apron, so this was a no-brainier for me, but for $9.99 per person per meal, I totally see myself ordering again. Here are my thoughts on my first week of meals…
The meals for my menu were Whole Wheat Spaghetti and Zucchini with a Spinach Pistachio Pesto, Tempeh Reuben Sandwiches on Rye and Vegetarian Green Coconut Curry. The box was packed with all the items I would need to make the entrees and sides and each ingredient was labeled. It also included an intro letter and recipe cards for each item.
Because I knew I’d be traveling soon, I got right to cooking and made the Tempeh Reuben sandwiches. I have to say I was a little hesitant about this recipe, because a Reuben is such a meaty staple. Would a vegetarian version be able to hold its own? I definitely wouldn’t have thought to make a Reuben using tempeh. But I was intrigued and excited to give it a shot.
The recipe was easy to follow and came together nicely. In addition to the sandwich, I made the carrot and celery root salad, which is also something I wouldn’t have put together on my own. I’ve actually never used (or seen?) a celeriac/celery root like this, so that was fun to learn about. It tastes like celery, but with a carrot or root vegetable texture!
The final product was fantastic! As I mentioned, I was originally hesitant about a vegetarian reuben and even more unsure of the side salad. But it was so good. I loved the citrus component of the salad and it really paired well with the savory sandwich.
I knew the best judge of this meal would be the boyfriend. He’s a total meat-a-tarian and didn’t even know what tempeh was, so I’m just glad he was willing to try it! And guess what? He loved it too!
A few days later I made the Whole Wheat Spaghetti & Zucchini with Pistachio Spinach Pesto. I was in a bit of a rush, so didn’t take pictures, but I promise it was beautiful and more importantly, delicious! Once again, I would never have thought to use pistachios for a pesto but now I will absolutely do it again! I haven’t gotten to the Coconut Curry quite yet, but that’s okay by me…I don’t love coconut! ;)
Overall, I think Blue Apron is a great service. I love that the dishes are interesting and creative without being difficult to follow. It’s perfect for anyone looking to expand their recipe repertoire or learn a bit more about cooking. Each meal comes with step-by-step instructions and the ingredients are perfectly portioned so you can’t really screw it up! And the only things you need to have on hand are olive oil, salt and pepper.
The price point is totally reasonable for what you’re getting, in both quality ingredients and convenience. It could be a great date night option if you dread going out to restaurants and spending so much money on meals and tip! Plus it means you’re making your own food, controlling what goes into it. You know I’m all about getting hands on in the kitchen and cooking with real ingredients to maximize nutrition. Especially if you think you don’t like cooking or don’t know how. What a great way to learn new recipes and sharpen your skills!
My only hesitation with Blue Apron comes in the packaging/shipping. While they do aim to source local and sustainable ingredients when available, it still has to travel to your doorstep. And depending on where you live and what season it is, certain ingredients just can’t be sourced all that locally. Not to mention the packaging.
I admit I might not have been able to easily identify that celeriac, but a carrot?! I don’t need that individually wrapped and labeled. I can appreciate the educational component of it and the fact that they want to provide exact portions for the recipes, but I hope they move toward reducing packaging. On a positive note, I must applaud that all of their packing materials are recyclable and biodegradable.
I’m traveling a lot at the moment so can’t justify ordering another Blue Apron yet, but I’m really looking forward to experimenting with another week of menus soon!
Have you jumped on the Blue Apron bandwagon yet? What did you think? Tell me about it!
Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this review and have no affiliation with Blue Apron. I was gifted a week of menus from a Blue Apron customer and chose to share my thoughts with my readers. As always, the thoughts and opinions in this post are honest and solely my own.