An honest food blogger's review of the Home Chef food delivery service! What to expect, plus photos and reviews of meals included!
Hey friends! So first of all, I want to start by saying this is not a sponsored post. I have no relationship whatsoever with Blue Apron. This means you can trust in the fact that these are all my honest opinions! (Which is something you should always be able to trust in, because I'm more honest than Abe himself!)
For my birthday recently my best friend got me a Groupon for 3 Blue Apron meals. All hail Groupon! And best friends! 🙂
I had mixed feelings about Blue Apron going into it because as a new food blogger I like to find my own recipes, experiment, and make the dish my own. I was afraid I would feel a little restricted by the meals provided.
On the other hand, I was super excited about the idea of prepackaged recipes that would arrive right to my door! I was also excited to learn some new recipes that I may not have otherwise tried. And um hhiiii, free dinners for 3 nights?! Can't beat that!
So let's start with the basics of this Blue Apron review. When you first sign up for your meals you have a few options...so let's dig in!
Your first decision is what size of plan you need.
- 2-Person plan
- Under this plan you will receive 3 meals a week, which each serve 2 people.
- Weekly plan cost: $59.94
- Cost per meal: $9.99
- Family plan
- Under this plan you can choose either 2 or 4 meals a week, and each meal serves 4 people.
- Weekly plan cost: $69.92-$139.84
- Cost per meal: $8.74
Your next decision is what type of food preferences you may have.
- First, you can choose vegetarian as an option. If you are not a vegetarian, you have the option of the following proteins, and you can choose as many as you want (or all of them!):
Next up, pick your delivery date. All of the meals will be delivered on the same day, in one giant, fresh food filled box! You can choose either:
Finally, you will put in your delivery and payment information. Once you sign up, you will be set on weekly recurring charges and deliveries. You can choose to skip a delivery at any time, but you have to select this by a certain date (as to be expected, so they don't start packing it all up for you to have you cancel last minute!)
Once you are signed up, you can review the meals that were selected for delivery, and you even have the option to change some of them, if you wish! They will provide you with 6 different options (at least for the 2-Person Plan they did), however, weirdly enough, not all meals can be combined. I'm not sure why this is but it will show you which meals are available to be mixed together.
The nice part is that if you're not interested in any of the meals, you can simply skip that week and look forward to the next one! Okay, now that everything is ordered let's move on to delivery day!
I set my delivery day as Wednesday (free food delivery hump day!! Heyyy!) Delivery information said that the food would be delivered by 8 pm. This had me a little on edge because I legit had no back up plans for dinner that day. Fortunately, my box was waiting for me by the time I got home from work at 5 pm. (Just narrowly avoided another pizza night...)
So here's my review of the delivery and packaging of the Blue Apron dishes...
The box was very well packaged and insulated, however, a little soggier than I had expected. The bottom of my box was pretty....moist. Sorry to anyone who hates that word (which is....everyone). However, it was still holding together so it wasn't too bad. And it was also pretty impressive that everything was still cold!
Inside I was excited to see a little pea informational cheat sheet and 3 different recipe cards. They're printed on a high quality card stock so you can definitely keep the recipes around to repeat them!
The food package was a big ol' foil ball! I was disappointed that one of my recipes was taped or glued to the packaging which ended up ripping off a portion of the instructions when I removed it. I managed to figure it out but I was just like why, Blue Apron, why... Inside you'll find all of your fresh, packaged, labeled ingredients! I was pretty stoked to see garlic right off the bat. Love me some fresh garlic! 🙂Your food is evenly distributed between these handy dandy, reusable ice packs, and they even seem to put some thought into how the ingredients are packaged. It's not all just tossed in there all willy nilly with an ice pack (like how I pack my lunch every day). The food that doesn't need refrigerated is right on top and the meat is dead center, surrounded by the most ice.
Look at all of these beautiful, fresh, ingredients! I'm a freak for organization so I LOVE how they're all individually bagged and labeled! And oh my gosh, how cute is it that the recipe extras are termed "Knick Knacks"? I can't. I just can't. It's too cute!
And inside the knick knack bags...guess what? MORE LABELED, TINY PACKAGES OF FOOD! Eeeee it makes my organizational heart so happy! 🙂 Alrighty, so we've got the food, we've got the ingredients, we've got the knick knacks, so let's cook!
My first delivery came with the following three recipes:
- Seared Salmon Salad (with english peas, arugula, and pink lemon)
- General Tso's Chicken (with sautéed snow peas and jasmine rice)
- Roast Pork and Mashed Potato (with molasses-stewed collard greens)
So if you're interested in seeing my food reviews below, keep on reading! Or you can scroll to the bottom for my general review, the pros and cons, and overall experience with Blue Apron!
SEARED SALMON SALAD (with english peas, arugula, and pink lemon)
Blue Apron recommended serving any fish dishes first, and I'm a glutton for rules so I gladly obliged. I was excited to try the salmon salad because I recently discovered that I love salmon so I was ready to try a new recipe! I was about 100% excited about the salmon and 95% dreading the salad. You guys know I'm not a salad fan...BUT...I was going in open minded. Mainly because the salad included potatoes...
The ingredients for this recipe were very easy to follow and the dish came together in about 20 minutes.
My favorite part was the packet of salmon seasoning. I don't know why. I just loved that it was all prepared for me and that the recipe even told me what was in this not-so-secret-spice, in case I want to make it again!
My second favorite part was the English peas. I don't think I've ever cooked those before and shelling them was such a fun, adorable experience. I love that they included the little pea cheat sheet too, to teach me the difference between the various types.
I was very impressed with the serving size. This was a HUGE salad for each person!
It was super pretty. I was impressed with the presentation and that it actually looked like the picture!
The verdict on the seared salmon salad?? Not our cup of tea. Sorry Blue Apron, this one really missed the mark with us. The arugula was over powering, the salmon was not that flavorful, and the lemon/vinegar taste was really bitter. I enjoyed the potatoes! Buuut that's about it. Personally I will stick to my balsamic roasted salmon, but this may be a good recipe for someone else!
Our cat seemed to be pretty interested in this dish, though, so to each their own! 🙂
GENERAL TSO'S CHICKEN (with sautéed snow peas and jasmine rice)
So after my seared salmon salad sadness, I must admit I had pretty low expectations for the general tso's chicken recipe. I am not a huge Chinese food fan to begin with, but any time I do eat it, I always get general tso's.
I was SO impressed by this recipe! I took one bite and before I even finished chewing I was saying "Oh my gosh this actually tastes like real general tso's!!"
The chicken was crispy and flavorful, the snow peas were crunchy and perfect, and the rice was delicious too! (I was afraid the rice would be sticky and bland, but it was perfection.)
The resemblance to the real thing was uncanny. I was blown away by it. I will definitely be saving the recipe for this dish so we can recreate it whenever we're craving Chinese! And as an added bonus, the serving is HUGE. Each meal has 800 calories but we were only able to eat half of the serving. That's a 400 calorie, filling, delicious, dinner!
If you have the opportunity to choose this dish from Blue Apron I highly recommend it (or make it yourself by following the recipe here!)
ROAST PORK AND MASHED POTATO (with molasses-stewed collard greens)
I saved this dish for last because I knew it would be my favorite (because, hi, there's a mashed potato involved here), and as suspected, I loved it!
First of all, I have never had collard greens so I was really excited to try them. And guess what? I'm obsessed with them now. They were so good. They're like the sassy cousin of spinach that you hope comes to your holiday dinner because all of the other vegetable family members are boring.
Second of all, the mashed potato was surprisingly flavorful given the fact that the recipe only called for a potato, some butter, and salt and pepper. I'm used to my mashed taters having milk, sour cream, cheese, etc. I was mentally prepped to start adding some ingredients so the potato would be edible but it was actually perfect on its own!The pork had great flavor with a nicely seared outside, but I must admit, it was a little dry. However, I'm spoiled by a boyfriend who cooks meat perfectly. And regardless, the blend of the ingredients and the glaze that naturally develops as you cook this dish is phenomenal.
Once again, the servings went above and beyond and of course we had leftovers! This dish was somehow even more ah-maz-ing reheated and it tasted like it was straight from a restaurant. Bravo Blue Apron, bra-vooo! I will definitely be putting this recipe on repeat!
Final Blue Apron Review:
- Food is delivered directly to your door within a few days of ordering and showed up right on time!
- All ingredients are premeasured and labeled, making recipe prep a breeze!
- All of the food was delivered fresh and cold. (With the exception of one moldy pea pod, but hey no one is perfect!)
- You have multiple dish options for each delivery, and can choose to skip a week if they don't tickle your fancy.
- Each recipe comes with its own sheet that includes ingredients, instructions, step by step pictures, and calorie count.
- Each meal pans out to under $10 per person. Not too shabby for a quality, pre-measured, easy to make meal! (Plus, if you eat like us then you get two meals for $10!)
- The serving sizes are HUGE. I love being able to just split each meal directly in half and still end up with generous portions!
- Each meal has wine recommendations, which can also be delivered straight from Blue Apron to your door!
- Due to limited meal combinations, you may end up with some dishes that aren't quite your cup of tea. This could be a pro and con, because while it forces you to try something you wouldn't normally eat (and may end up introducing you to something new you love!) it can also result in wasted food, and scrambling to figure out dinner that night.
- You gotta be on your A-game as far as timing. There are certain cut off dates for changing, skipping, or cancelling meals.
- Although estimated caloric counts are included for each recipe, it would be nice to see a full nutritional analysis for each dish.
- I wish you had the option of ordering just one meal at a time. I was a little stressed about how I was going to have time to cook all 3 meals before the ingredients went bad. I would have preferred if I could just order one meal a week and plan my other dinners on my own. (This would especially be helpful for people living alone who want to try Blue Apron!)
Overall, I enjoyed my Blue Apron experience. It was a nice change of pace from my usual recipe prep, grocery shopping, and worrying about how to use up leftover ingredients. I think this would be an excellent option for a lot of different people!
If you're one of these people, you will probably enjoy Blue Apron:
- Anyone who wants to learn how to cook and needs some extra guidance
- People who are too busy (or lazy! #noshame) for grocery shopping and meal prep
- Busy families
- Single parents
- College kids
- Couples of any age
- Anyone who wants to eat fresh, quick, easy to prep meals at home
- Anyone who is trying to limit how much they eat out at restaurants
- Anyone living alone, with another person, or with multiple people (so, everyone)
I mean, seriously, I can't think of a single person who couldn't use Blue Apron in their lives. Whether or not you feel this is something you'd wish to continue every week or every few weeks is up to your personal experience. Of course, as a food blogger, I chose to end my subscription after my first delivery because what good is a food blog that only posts meal delivery reviews?! But I really did enjoy this experience and I'm glad I can now share it with you guys!
Oh and by the way, in order to cancel your subscription you have to email Blue Apron, which is kind of weird, but super easy. I read some reviews from people complaining about this policy but they seriously responded one second after I emailed them with steps on how to cancel and it was very simple. But you have to do it by a certain date before your next meal automatically gets sent out so make sure you pay attention!
Be sure to check them out! They also have a market where you can buy kitchen tools, cookware and bakeware, wine glasses, cookbooks, gifts, etc. I love a good collection of buyable kitchen essentials!
Have you guys ever tried Blue Apron? How about any other meal delivery companies such as Home Chef or Try the World? I've seen a lot of ads for Hello Fresh, has anyone ever tried them out? I'd love to hear about your experiences! Leave a comment below! 🙂