Just as I did with Hello Fresh a few months back, I got myself a Groupon to a new meal delivery service recently. This time, I tried out Blue Apron. Blue Apron is actually the first meal delivery service I had ever heard of or seen commercials for, but being a cheap-ass, I was waiting for a deal. Like with HelloFresh, the full price seemed like a lot – about $60 for 3 meals per week for 2 people. With the Groupon, I got it for half that price, so it was well worth it. In fact, at the Groupon price of $5 per person per meal, it was less than stopping for two slices of pizza or at the fast-food drive through – and (spoiler alert) the food was way better.
When I signed up, I already liked the three meals for the following week, so I went with them. I could have swapped out two of them if I had chosen to.
Our meals were:
They arrived in a nice cool box with ice packs. It was incredibly hot and humid that Monday, and everything was still fresh when I opened it up.
Upon opening the box, Blue Apron had their own little style of packing. The vegetables and “extras” were all packaged and labeled, and each meal had a little brown baggie of “knick-knacks” as they called them: the spices and seasonings with the dish. I did like Hello Fresh’s packaging a little bit better – each meal had its own little box of goodies, to make it super simple to match up vegetables etc. This wasn’t a deal breaker, just that I preferred HelloFresh’s aesthetic. They were honestly pretty similar.
Blue Apron’s recipe sheets did not tell you if a dish was a certain skill level, like HelloFresh did – just the amount of time they took to cook. I found them to be pretty true to the listed timing.
The first meal up was the Ginger Pork burgers. They were quick and easy to make, with just a few mix-ins. The black bean mayo was tasty, and the dressing for the beans was awesome. I had never heard of furikake before, and turns out, it is pretty delicious and salty. I will say, this was the smallest of the meals. I did want a bit more.
Next up, the Seared Cod and Potato salad. I was most looking forward to this dish: I prefer fish, and enjoy a good potato salad. This did not disappoint. Interestingly, both this dish AND the burgers had pickled cucumbers as a part of the meal – kinda strange to put those in the same box. The cod was incredibly easy to make, and the potato salad was different than anything I’d had before with sour cream and vinegar instead of a mayo-base. I also loved the crunch of celery AND radishes in the potato salad. I was very happy with the portion size: the cod pieces were large, and we had extra potato salad to eat!
Lastly, the Fried Chicken and Kale Slaw. I should say that I am not a huge chicken breast eater. They usually bore the life out of me. This was the most in-the-box meal: a piece of chicken pan-fried, sweet potato wedges baked in the oven, and kale. I wish I had been able to get a little bit better crisp on the chicken. The “hot honey” was kind of a fraud – it was not something that your average person couldn’t have come up with – literally red pepper flake in honey. However, I was surprised to find that the kale slaw was out of this world. I had never done kale in a “slaw” form – just kale dressed up well and let wilt a little – and that was the star for me here. I would love to know what was in their spice mix with the slaw, because it was super yummy. As with the last meal, the portion size was plenty here. We had some extra potato wedges and kale to snack on.
Overall, these dishes tasted great, and were probably a little bit less “out of the box” in terms of flavor than the HelloFresh dishes I’d tried prior. This isn’t a bad thing – there were surprises, but mostly they were flavors I was familiar with and enjoyed. I also liked the portion sizes for the most part – they were not stingy with the proteins. I found the recipe cards easy to follow along with, as well.
Would I do it again? Like with HelloFresh, this is a great way of trying new foods and taking the “work” out of cooking – leaving just the fun part of doing, not shopping or planning. However, at full price, it is still a little steep for me. At the discounted Groupon price, it was absolutely, hands down, worth it. But full price? Unfortunately, I won’t continue to get the delivery. But if another deal comes up, I’ll definitely jump in!
Have you ever tried something like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh? What was your experience like?