Since 99.5% of my posts these days are about what I’m cooking or baking, I’m guessing it’s not a surprise to anyone that it’s one of my favorite hobbies. I love to plan menus, I love to cook for friends, I love to bake for Joe. I just love food.
A few of my friends–some of whom do not love cooking or planning meals–have told me about Blue Apron, which delivers fresh ingredients right to your door. It promotes less food waste (though the recyclable packaging was no joke out of control) and I can see how people who aren’t as familiar in the kitchen, or just hate to shop, would love it.
My friend sent me a free week’s trial to see what it’s like. Once you create an account, you can choose which plan is for you (2 people for 3 meals, 4 people for 2 meals), then you can input your dietary restrictions/preferences and choose your meals from the six available options for that week. Three of those were vegetarian, so we didn’t have much of a choice!
Here are the recipes we received (click name to see recipe):
Falafel Pitas & Tzatziki
Fresh Fettuccine Pasta with Porcini Mushroom Bolognese
Asparagus & Arugula Pesto Pizza with Pink Lemon Ricotta
Sounds good, right?
The shipment contained recipe cards for each meal with step-by-step instructions along with the ingredients, clearly packaged.
Let’s go through the three meals (which did last us a full week).
First up: Falafel
I personally love falafel, so I found myself most excited to try this, but it was probably my least favorite of the three. Too oily.
I did enjoy the pea shoot salad, which I don’t think I’ve ever tasted before. It almost tasted like fresh grass–which sounds weird, but it was like a vibrant bite of first spring.
Downside: Some of the ingredients didn’t arrive so fresh. This Persian cucumber had seen much better days and, in fact, its sorry state was the only reason we chose to make this one first. I didn’t trust it sitting in the fridge for a few more days.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 (Bonus: It wasn’t too spicy for Joe.)
Next was the mushroom pasta.
I had read some complaints on the Blue Apron site about the lack of recipes that avoid mushrooms or kale. I guess they are the go-to ingredients for the vegetarian options. I was a little weary of this because Joe isn’t thrilled about mushrooms, but I just chopped them to death so he wouldn’t have to chew them much.
Hands down, this was my favorite. The depth of flavor coming from those re-hydrated porcini mushrooms was unreal, as was the fresh pasta.
I would definitely make this one again with my own ingredients–which is always an option since the full recipes are online, or I can just use my trusty card.
Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (Joe wasn’t as crazy, but still ate it.)
The pizza…hahaha…oh, the pizza.
I’m not sure what made me think leaving a yeast-based dough in the fridge until the very end of the week was a good idea. That dough just kept rising and rising and by the time I noticed it, it was a full-blown WE-MUST-MAKE-THIS-TONIGHT panic. I wish I had taken a photo, but the plastic bag it came in was stretched to the absolute max. I think because of this, or maybe because of the altitude, the dough wouldn’t stretch. No matter how much rest time I gave it, it wasn’t budging…so here’s our ridiculous pizza attempt:
It was like a pizza dough bowl with cheese and vegetables in the middle. (And because I like my cheese on top of my toppings–big debate!–you can’t really see anything but the cheese.) I did like dotting my pizza with the pesto and ricotta, and we added some tomatoes.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
A definite pro of this service is being introduced to new ingredients. I had never heard of pink lemons and they even sent a separate card explaining the foreign ingredient. Pretty cool.
The final verdict:
- It’s expensive to me. I know I can cook for us for way less than what this costs per week.
- As a vegetarian, you don’t have much choice in your menu and might encounter ingredients you aren’t thrilled with without a way to change, other than skipping the week.
- Some ingredients arrive in questionable condition
- I can see this as a nice service for those who don’t know how or like to cook very much. It’s (mostly) fool proof.
- I liked being introduced to new recipes and ingredients. It was a nice break from the same recipes we make all the time.
- Recipes are (mostly) healthy
- Less food waste and all of the shipping containers are recyclable.
Would I use it again? Maybe. I’ve cancelled my service for now, though. Have you used it?