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September 14, 2016 Comments Views: 1104 Food & Drinks

Blue Apron: An Honest Review

Blue Apron Overview:

What it is: A meal delivery service known for eccentric, easy dishes
Price:
 $59.94 per week ($9.99 per serving) for a 2-person plan (family plan available)
Shipment frequency: Weekly
Shipping: Free!
Meal options: Omnivore, Vegetarian

Blue Apron’s constant bombardment of advertisements finally drew me in.

The popular meal delivery service has been running an excellent promotion where new chefs get their first week of meals for $50 off, so I, being the foodie and penny pincher that I am, decided to see what all the buzz was about!

I received my first Blue Apron shipment a few weeks ago and created the following meals: Neapolitan-Style Stewed Vegetables & Farro, Beef Quesadillas with Creamy Corn & Shishito Pepper Salsa, and Seared Chicken & Fregola Sarda.

Long story short, I will not be receiving subsequent shipments from the company.

I implore all of you to read about my experience (which is categorized! yay!) before deciding to take the Blue Apron plunge:

Produce Quality

My Blue Apron shipment arrived in a large, cardboard box jam packed with ice packs, insulation, and, of course, food!

Meats were separated from the rest of the produce and placed at the bottom with the ice, and though the box was delivered to my door during a particularly nasty heatwave, I was happy to find that all items were delivered cold and dry.

I was, however, unhappy to find that some of my cold vegetables weren’t so fresh.

Blue Apron boasts that their vegetables are farm-sourced and sent at “peak freshness”, but upon close inspection, I noticed that some of the green beans I received were beginning to rot.

Um, ew.

I also wasn’t impressed with the meats, which came packaged in small, super juicy containers. The presentation and quality of said meats weren’t even close to that of the meats I normally purchase at my grocery store or local meat market, which needless to say was extremely disappointing.

Meal Preparation

Prepare for lots of dicing, slicing, and sauteing with Blue Apron.

All of my recipes should have taken me no more than 40 minutes to create (according to Blue Apron, at least), but I found myself in the kitchen for an average of 1.3 hours for each meal.

The recipes provided to me were easy to create and required little effort or talent, but the simple act of meal preparation took what felt like an eternity.

Grate the cheese. Dice the tomatoes. Mince the garlic. Chop the scallions. Cry into your probably-not-blue apron.

I was absolutely starving and exhausted by the time my meals were complete, and to make matters worse, after the last morsel of food was devoured, I was left with the mundane chore of cleanup.

The Deliciousness Factor

The meals weren’t excellent by any means, but they were edible… which counts for something, I guess.

Neapolitan-Style Stewed Vegetables & Farro

Fresh vegetables? Check.

Healthy grains? Check.

Cheese? Check.

Lemon? Check, check, check, check CHECK.

This beautiful dish was ruined by the ridiculous amount of lemon the recipe called for. The citrus flavor took over the entire dish, making it impossible for me to taste the individual vegetables and the delicious mozzarella. Eatable, but blehhk.

Beef Quesadillas with Creamy Corn & Shishito Pepper Salsa:

20160826_225835The quesadillas were simple to make, but they were bland and boring.

The provided Monterey Jack cheese was mild and tasteless (not to mention a pain to shred), offering little to the quesadillas besides added calories and fat. These quesadillas could have been easily redeemed with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, sharp cheddar, or sauteed onion.

The creamy corn and shishito pepper salsa, on the other hand, was flavorful, sweet and easily the best part of the meal.

Seared Chicken & Fregola Sarda

The simplicity of this dish was delightful!

Thanks to my exaggerated cooking skills, the chicken turned out tender and juicy. The fregola sarda was light, tasty and a perfect complement for this summer dish.  The only issue I had with this dish was with the salsa verde, which I found overwhelmed the dish with its distinct flavor.

Nutritional Value

The recipes I received from Blue Apron were full of nutrients and protein while being semi-gentle on the waistline.

My meals had an average 750 calories per serving (there is only one serving per plate), which, at least for me, is the perfect amount to properly fuel my active lifestyle.

I definitely enjoyed the healthy vegetables and grains featured in my recipes, but I was disappointed by the fact that each of my recipes called for an absurd amount of salt. Nearly every step prompted me to add salt, so if you are considering Blue Apron and are trying to cut down on your sodium intake, be gentle with the salt shaker and ignore Blue Apron’s suggestions.

Folks with dietary restrictions may not find Blue Apron to be flexible enough for their needs. Blue Apron offers a vegetarian meal plan, but, unlike some of its competitors, the company does not yet offer Paleo and Vegan meal options.

Final Verdict:

Trying out Blue Apron was a fun experience, no doubt, but I simply could not justify spending $60 a week on three (likely mediocre) meals. I found that I could purchase the exact produce items at my local grocery store for far less than the cost of one Blue Apron meal. I am not willing to pay for the convenience of perfectly portioned ingredients, though I do understand the appeal.

But even more than the cost, the quality of the produce Blue Apron provided me with was not up to my standards (rotting veggies, really?!), and the time needed to create each meal was cumbersome and tiring.

Blue Apron just wasn’t for me, but at the suggestion of GeekGirl Nicole, I’ve decided to try out Green Chef (a competitor of Blue Apron) next week!

Will Green Chef fare any better? Find out in my next review!

What are your experiences with Blue Apron? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

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