I decided to give Blue Apron because my boyfriend and I like to cook and had heard a lot of good things about these kits. You pick the menu items ahead of time, and they deliver a box with all the ingredients you'll need packed in dry ice. The package was really exciting to open! My inner hippie got a little anxiety when I thought about all the potential waste from packaging, but it was actually a lot less than I thought it would be. It was also so nice to have all your week’s groceries just dropped off at your door, even for someone who kind of loves grocery shopping. The directions are very easy to follow and go in a logical sequence. Now let’s break down the meals:
Monday: Paneer and Lentil Masala
I was a little dismayed when I saw the nutrition information—800 calories per serving seemed crazy! I mentally went through ways to dietitian-ize it, such as using less oil when cooking and swapping the heavy cream for unsweetened soy milk, but ultimately I decided to just stick with the recipe. I’m actually glad I did, because the cream made a big taste difference (in a good way). The nutrition information also didn’t seem quite so bad when I saw the portion sizes. To me, this meal could comfortably fill 3 people. Everyone is different though, so others may feel it could feed 4 while some may agree with the 2 servings per package. Taste-wise, I really enjoyed this dish and was glad for the opportunity to cook with some spices and ingredients I don’t generally use. My primary criticism is that I would have liked for there to be more vegetables. We had some leftovers so I put them in a Tupperware and added some shredded carrots to get an extra serving of veggies in, which was really tasty!
Overall consensus—would definitely make this recipe again, but would add some shredded carrots and diced tomatoes when cooking, and would divide into 3-4 servings.
Tuesday: Korean Beef Steam Buns
First impression before even making them was, “wow, these things aren’t the healthiest”. But then I remembered that we didn’t pick this one because of the nutrition—we picked it because we loved the pork buns we had last month at a Thai restaurant in the village and thought it would be fun to recreate them at home! That being said, I still went through a mental checklist of what vegetables we had in the fridge and tried to think of ways to incorporate them. Knowing that we had red cabbage and carrots, I googled “Asian cabbage carrot slaw” and tons of results came up. I was happy to know we’d have some low-cal veggies on the side of this indulgent dish. The buns themselves were delicious and fluffy, which is exactly what we wanted. The sweet potato tempura was a little difficult to execute so might not be great for a beginner chef.
Overall consensus—some things should be left to the professionals. The buns tasted good, but they weren’t nearly as good as the ones we had from a restaurant.
Wednesday: Barramundi and Herbed Couscous
This was definitely my favorite meal of the three, but I may be a little biased with my love for fish. I had never heard of this fish before and was a little disappointed when I looked into it more to learn that it was farmed. This meal gets major points for the difficulty level (or lack thereof!). It was so easy and would be great for anyone who’s busy or who doesn’t have a lot of experience cooking. The honeynut squash are so cute! Plus you don’t have to peel them and they’re really easy to cut. The taste was a lot like acorn squash or butternut.
The fish portions were adequate for the recommended 2 servings, but we did have leftover squash and couscous, which I was able to repurpose into dinner the next night with chickpeas, sundried tomatoes, and extra spinach. Win-win!
Lastly (I’m starting to sound like a broken record here…) I’d add more vegetables if I made it in the future. Extra spinach in the couscous felt necessary to balance it out.
Overall consensus— this was a winner. I'd make this recipe again, but would add more vegetables. And I've already gone out to find honeynut squash!
The biggest perk was the convenience. I didn’t feel that these meals were much healthier than getting take out, but they can definitely be veggied up a little if you have extra vegetables in your fridge. I’d recommend checking the ingredients list and the nutrition information before ordering so that you can make an educated decision. I did enjoy the taste of all of them, which is obviously very important! Not sure if I’d order again, but I am interested in trying some of the other meal delivery kits to see how they’d compare. They could be great for weeks when you’re coming back from traveling or have a lot going on and don’t have time to grocery shop.