Is Blue Apron Worth The Money?

We found a Groupon deal for Blue Apron a while back so we decided to give it a whirl and see what the fuss is all about.  A giant box appeared on our doorstep on a Wednesday afternoon with everything that we would need to cook dinner for three nights.  We took the silver insulated bag containing everything out of the box and were able to cram the whole thing into our fridge.

For the first meal MJ was so fast that by the time I stepped into the kitchen he'd already prepped half the ingredients.  I surveyed the scene to figure out what was left.  I cut a few things up, babysat a pan simmering over the stove, took a wine break and then started in on the dishes.  That is basically how it went for most of the meals until that one fateful day MJ decided that I should do it all by myself.  Disaster.  I had to go it alone because I didn't want to hear him tell me I'm using the wrong knife or that my cutting technique is off.  I would have made him cut the onion though, had that been an ingredient.  I don't do onions.  It was Friday so I went with the Cheeseburgers and Potatoes.  Sounds easy right?  But for an untrained novice, not so much when the recipe includes things like kale, lemon, garlic and rosemary. Things I would never include if I were making burgers and taters on my own.  I am not a cook! The lemon is what really held me up with talk of pith and zest, but the burgers were so, so, good.  That's the thing about Blue Apron.  They really do know what they are doing with the combination of ingredients they provide. 

The calories per serving for most of them are between 600-700 calories.  The ingredients are plentiful, the portion sizes are very generous and every meal cooked has been delicious and full of flavor. I usually end up stuffed.
*Fresh Linguine & Roasted Fennel  with Lemon Ricotta, Castelvetrano Olives & Breadcrumbs
Southern-Style Chicken Cacciatore with Creamy Grits & Basil
Meals we have enjoyed so far grouped by delivery.  Asterisks indicate favorites.

*Fresh Linguine & Roasted Fennel with Lemon Ricotta, Castelvetrano Olives & Breadcrumbs
  Southern-Style Chicken Cacciatore with Creamy Grits & Basil
*Cumin-Sichuan Beef & Noodles with Sweet Peppers, Cabbage & Garlic Chives

*Pork Meatballs in Butter Lettuce Cups with Soy Dipping Sauce & Sticky Rice
*Jamaican Jerk Chicken & Maduros with Stewed Collard Greens & Charred Lime
  Baked Sicilian-Style Rigatoni with Lacinato Kale & Ricotta Salata

*Trattoria-Style Cheeseburgers with Crispy Rosemary-Garlic Potatoes & Aioli
  Seared Chicken & Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds
  Mushroom Browned Butter Cavatelli with Kale & Soft-Boiled Eggs
Clockwise:*Beef & Noodles//*Jerk Chicken & Maduros//*Pork Meatballs in Butter Lettuce Cups//Sicilian-Style Rigatoni
*Clockwise:  Not a Blue Apron Meal-oops!//Cheeseburgers + Rosemary Garlic Potatoes//Seared Chicken & Roasted Sweet Potato//Butter Cavatelli + Kale + Soft-Boiled Eggs
Now I will turn it over to MJ interview style since he is the brains behind this operation.

What do you think about the efficiency of delivery and packaging?
Pretty efficient.  It shows up the day it's supposed to before dinner time.  Everything is labeled and separated.  All seasonings are bagged and labeled with that meal.   The food is still cold when it shows up.  The ice packs keep it really cold.

How do you feel about the type and variety of meals offered?
Good variety.  You never get the same types of meals.  I wish they had more non seafood options.  If you don't eat seafood and you want to change the menu you end up with 2 vegetarian meals if you want to change the menu. (I don't eat seafood, hence the reason for having to skip those). 

How do the meal choices work? Do you have to get something every week? Do you pick your delivery day?
The two person plan is 3 meals with 2 servings each per week.  They automatically choose 3 for you based on preferences when you select.  No pork, no fish etc.  The set menu is seafood, vegetarian and a meat.  If we want to switch out we have to choose either a seafood or vegetarian meal.   It shows what you will get that Wednesday and you skip it if you don't want it.  You can see the menu four weeks out but you can skip six weeks out.  Delivery day is based on where you live.  You don't get to pick.

What do you think about the quality of the produce and ingredients?
Nothing spoiled.  Everything is fresh.  Vegetables are crispy.  Meat is good.  It's not top of the line meats cuts but pretty good cuts.  They provide everything except salt, pepper and olive oil.

Once delivered do you have to cook the meals right away?
I think they are supposed to last at least up to 10 days.  You can spread it out. 

How about prep time?  How long does it take to make most of the meals?
Depends on who's cooking!!! If you are cooking it will take 2 1/2 hours.  If I'm cooking it is 30-45 minutes.  

How do you like the app and the program itself?
It's pretty good.  The app is kind of slow but good.

What about portion sizes?
It's plenty of food.  Perfect.  Sometimes you feel like you have too much, but it really is the serving size.

Is it worth the money?
Yes.  I think so as long as you don't get it every week.  If you only order stuff that you think you will like.  It's convenient, you try new stuff and you can save the recipes for future use.  And to make my wife cook.  Which has only happened once.  The cost is $59.99 per delivery for 3 meals at 2 servings each.  When you do the math on it that comes out to $10 per person per meal which isn't bad, but if we did that every single week it would be $240 per month which is bad.  Cheaper than it would be to dine out, but this is only dinner three nights a week so there are grocery expenses on top of that.

I agree that it's worth it if you just do it every now and then to change things up.  And this is coming from someone who isn't into cooking.  I would never dream of making half the stuff they sent us just because of the fancy names and ingredients list.  The first week of January he got another delivery which sucked for me because I'm on a diet that does not include 700 calorie meals.  The bites of 3-cheese calzone were to die for and there were three of them.  Three!! I requested a bite of every single one.  It also had burgers and a really simple chicken noodle soup.  I had no business eating a calzone, but the chicken noodle soup fit my macros okay and I had a bite of his burger.  It was so good.  I'm lucky he doesn't mind sharing.  Blue Apron ingredients are high quality and they don't scrimp on anything at all.  They always provide plenty to work with and the food is full of flavor.  Just delicious.  What I'm trying to say is, yes.  It's worth the money.  Definitely give Blue Apron a try if you haven't yet.  You won't regret it.


Tia @ HoPo said...

We have debated doing a mail order dinner option in the past! Glad I read this review! It seems right up our alley for nights I forgot to prep for!

Nylse Esahc said...

I forgot but re-learned from this post that maduros are what we call plaintains. If I didn't see the picture I wouldnt have known what maduros were.

I don't think I'll ever do this option, but its good to hear your feedback.

Pegster said...

My friend does Blue Apron and really loves it. She keeps the recipes and uses them on her own. What she does love is that the portions are all figured out and when you need a crazy ingredient it is in there which is awesome.

Ashley R said...

Good to know :) We tried Plated and enjoyed it. The thing I don't like about blue apron is you can't pick and choose which meats you eat-- i.e. just beef, etc. I don't eat pork, and my husband doesn't like all fish, so I think Blue Apron would be tricky for us.

The Lady Okie said...

I've heard about Blue Apron but never tried it. I hadn't thought about doing it just on occasion and not all the time. I might have to try that!