Yep, you may have already seen a previous Blue Apron review on this site before, by our illustrious developer, Kellbot. Her review wasn’t that into it, but my pals sent me over some of those freebie vouchers and I was like, ehhhh why not, it’s free food. I’ll give it a go, knowing that it may be a bust. But meal kit services are pretty popular, so there may be things I’d like about them. Plus, I already spend a good chunk of time cooking from scratch, so taking some of the meal planning away seems like it might actually save me some time. What would it be like for someone who already spends a big portion of time cooking to take on a meal kit service? Here’s how it went for me…
Blue Apron, and all of the meal plans, rely on cooking from scratch. This means chopping veggies, multitasking, and not taking my usual shortcuts like using jarred garlic on the sly. So anyone not used to that may find the dishes to be a lot to handle. The meals we got for the weeks we used it (quite a few as we ended up finding it useful) were each labeled between 30-60 minutes to make. Ours usually took an hour or so, which accounted for not knowing the recipe and generally messing up the multitasking at times.
An hour of cooking is about on par for a usual dinner that I’d make anyway, so that was no issue for me. If you’re used to defrosting a pizza most nights (like most of us and myself for a LONG time), it’ll likely feel more tedious than a usual night of cooking.
One thing that I like about Blue Apron is that they seem to be pretty mindful of not being wasteful with food. I can tell they are utilizing ingredients over and over (we ate a lot of sweet taters!). But it does make it hard to swallow when you see another chioggia beet (though they are so pretty and tasty!). The solution to that is pretty simple, though: just choose recipes from their menu options that are more diverse. That could be on me more than anything.
Additionally, you’ll end up using the same prep techniques over and over. We ate a lot of roasted root vegetables, which I assume was a seasonal trend. So you’ll at least get pretty solid at whatever it is they’re having you do. My knife skills improved, I’m sure.
This is the biggie, though, right? Was the food any good? These meals are created by pros and are super tested and then rated by users, so it’s super likely they’d be tasty. And they ARE. We did not run across one recipe we didn’t like, or even love. Everything was good. Nutritionally, they fit into a generally healthy and well-rounded diet, but they certainly don’t run super low on calories. If you’re doing any portion control, you’ll likely have some leftovers, which is good on that account and for budget reasons.
Ah budget. Here’s where it gets iffy. We paid about $60 for three meals per week. That meant we were still supplementing a couple of dinners and all other meals (we only eat out about once a week). It was totally doable if we made use of leftovers and budgeted other meals well. So while it’s super convenient and not too extravagant, you’re still paying a little more for the recipes, planning, and grocery delivery.
Would I use it again?
Yep, and I did. For a few months, actually. But we’re on a different diet plan now, so it just doesn’t fit anymore. If you’re doing Whole30, however, they are starting to incorporate some compliant recipes in there. Plus, it was pretty fun to realize Wil Wheaton was posting the same Blue Apron meals we were, sometimes on the same day. The friend who passed along the free vouchers sometimes has dinner parties with friends where they get together with their respective boxes to cook it all together. My kitchen barely holds just me, but it does sound fun.
Are you using a meal kit, grocery delivery, or other new wave eating tool? Let me know about it!