Review: Donning my Blue Apron

blue apron food delivery

blue apron review

review of blue apron

I’ve been cooking for almost as long as I can remember. My parents let me fry my first egg when I was 7 years old, and as a pre-teen I used to riffle through our spice cabinet and make this weird ‘fried rice’ in which I basically dumped every spice we had into a pot and then added white rice to it. Let’s just say my fried egg attempts were a bit more successful (and palatable). As the years went by, and I continued to cook — and eventually, completed culinary school — preparing food has become one of those things that’s just second nature to me. However, one habit I’m certainly guilty of: I tend to cook with the same types of flavors and ingredients, just because I know what I like (and what’s fastest on a weeknight), so I stick with it. Easy, but sometimes boring.

A few weeks back, the kind folks at Blue Apron emailed me and asked me if I’d be interested in checking out one of their boxes. I wasn’t familiar with Blue Apron at the time — have you heard of it yet? The concept is actually pretty cool. Each week, you get a box of food delivered to your house, which contains ingredients to make 3 unique meals, all of which are healthful and 500-700 calories per serving. You can opt for a vegetable only box, or one that includes both meat and veggies. It’s sort of like a CSA, but with one big difference: instead of just getting a mix of random ingredients, you also receive step-by-step recipe cards that tell you exactly how to make those 3 unique meals! Along with all the meat and veggies, Blue Apron also includes things like spices, soy sauce, garlic — really everything. The only thing you have to provide is oil and salt and pepper.

The week I received my box, the featured recipes were Chicken Fried Red Rice with Romano Beans; Five-Spice Pork Chops with Plum Sauce, Chinese Broccoli, and Purple Sweet Potato; and Za’atar Shrimp and Green Beans with Lemon Yogurt over Israeli CousCous. Joe and I opted to make the Za’atar Shrimp first, especially since Blue Apron recommends cooking seafood first. Here’s how it went: 

blue apron food service

At first, it was a little hard for me to cook straight from a recipe! It’s been so long since I’ve had to truly follow one, so it took me a little bit to get in the swing of things (most everything I cook I make up on my own, including the recipes on this blog — it’s where my days as a recipe tester have really come in handy). However, the recipe itself couldn’t have been simpler, and the results were really delicious! If you’re just learning how to cook, or you already know the basics and want to experiment with unique ingredients, Blue Apron is pretty awesome. I mean, how often do you walk into the grocery store and buy a bottle of Za’atar spice?  The recipe cards use step by step photographs to outline what you need to do too, so it’s super easy to follow along.

blue apron delivery review

Another night, I decided to take things into my own hands. I was pretty inspired by a lot of the ingredients that had arrived in my box, so instead of making either of the other recipes, I created a five-spice chicken stir fry that used up the red rice, ginger, romano beans, carrots, Chinese broccoli, and other goodies that had come in the box. It turned out great, and I kind of secretly loved not having to follow the recipe. So if you’re a more advanced cook, getting a Blue Apron box can also just be a fun way to cook with ingredients you never normally buy, and to try something new!

review blue apron delivery

Downsides? After testing out my box, I emailed them to ask about what products are organic. While the company is starting to distribute widely across the U.S., not all the ingredients are organic, though when they’re available and it makes sense, the company will source organic if they can. Fingers crossed they come out with an all organic box! The only other bumski I can think of is the amount of packaging that comes in each box (holy plastic containers), but I can’t really fault Blue Apron for that — there’s no other great way to send all those ingredients and keep them clearly labeled for new cooks while also ensuring they stay fresh in transit, and fresh in your fridge. So no biggie.

Blue Apron costs $9.99 per person, per meal, so for two people, one box costs $60 for the week (not terrible!). There’s no contract, so you can cancel your box from week to week if you’re not home or if you have other dinner plans. Pretty nice.

All in all, I was very pleasantly surprised by the service, and I’ve already told several friends about it. I have a slew of friends who are moving in with their significant others, and Blue Apron is the perfect thing for their date nights at home, and to help them learn how to cook! If you’re interested in learning your way around the kitchen, you should for sure check it out! You can learn more about the program here, and find out if your state gets Blue Apron service here.

{The Full Disclosure: Photos by Victoria McGinley for vmac+cheese. Blue Apron supplied one box of food for me free of charge, however I was not required to write this post, nor did I receive compensation for it, and all opinions are my own (obvi!). I mostly just wanted to share my experience with you guys, in case this service is something your friends and fam would love!}

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22 Comments

  1. It’s also a particularly great gift for new parents who don’t have the energy to get to the grocery, but are getting sick of takeout. My friends Nick and Kerri received a two-week Blue Apron service after they had their baby, and raved.

    29 Aug 2013 · Reply
    • Victoria McGinley wrote:

      Great idea!!

      29 Aug 2013 · Reply
  2. Josie wrote:

    Oh I like this idea! Often times we are stuck at home because we don’t want to hire a sitter so this would be perfect for us to have a date-night cook session.

    xx
    josie
    http://www.straightnochase.com

    29 Aug 2013 · Reply
  3. Becca wrote:

    This is a fantastic concept. I honestly enjoy being in the kitchen and experimenting with new recipes, but for some reason, always find grocery shopping a dreaded chore. I think I may have to check this out. Thanks for sharing!

    29 Aug 2013 · Reply
  4. dana wrote:

    looks so delish! can’t wait to try this!

    The Casual Classic

    29 Aug 2013 · Reply
  5. Such a great idea for busy families.

    29 Aug 2013 · Reply
  6. The more I read about these ingredient/meal delivery services the more intrigued I am… thanks for sharing!

    –Anne
    aasquaredblog.com

    29 Aug 2013 · Reply
  7. Lauren wrote:

    I have heard of this through Jess Lively’s blog – it’s a really great idea, especially for people who aren’t great cooks but are trying to learn how to cook a bit.

    29 Aug 2013 · Reply
  8. Jackie wrote:

    It looks like the meals came out delicious. I keep wanting to try this-I think the best part is not having to go to the grocery store! Although I agree with you and hope that they start using organic ingredients. It may drive the price up, but it’s definitely worth it.

    29 Aug 2013 · Reply
  9. Thanks for sharing the recipe, looks delicious!

    http://www.designers-artists.com

    29 Aug 2013 · Reply
  10. Nnenna wrote:

    Thanks for the review! My roommate told me about this service and I wondered if it was worth it. I enjoy cooking most times but I do dread going to the grocery. I thought this could be an alternative to that, although I am a sort of picky eater so I worry that I wouldn’t like all of the recipes. It’s definitely something to think about and it’s great to read a review from someone who’s actually tried it!

    29 Aug 2013 · Reply
  11. Yang wrote:

    Thanks for sharing! I waste so much time and money going to the grocery store to buy ingredients (many of which go to waste) to make one meal. This is a really great concept. Looking forward to giving it a try.

    29 Aug 2013 · Reply
  12. Clara wrote:

    Totally feel you on the amount of packaging- that was my main concern with http://www.plated.com/ but there’s really no other way. That and the organic thing, though I think Plated may be a tad better in that department? They are more expensive though!

    29 Aug 2013 · Reply
  13. RGD wrote:

    I really appreciate how honest you were in this post! I’ve always thought boxes like these were a cool idea, but didn’t like the idea of the excess packaging and having to follow recipes. It’s really nice to see a blogger give a real, honest product review! Thanks so much :).

    29 Aug 2013 · Reply
    • Victoria McGinley wrote:

      Thank you!! :)

      29 Aug 2013 · Reply
  14. meg wrote:

    Yum! I like this idea. :)

    http://happinessiscreating.com/

    30 Aug 2013 · Reply
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