Favorite Things: Blue Apron

I had the most wonderful experience this past week – I got to try a box of meals from Blue Apron. Blue Apron provides you with original recipes, all the ingredients for the recipes, and easy to follow directions to cook them. There are two types of packages you can get: vegetarian and meat/fish. I requested a vegetarian meal package.

I received three meals. The total package contained, I was told, enough for two people. But really, I ended up eating most of this food all week long AND I shared my meals with someone each time. So there is plenty of food here for the price (59.00). I’ll say more about portion sizes as I go along.

After I got over my initial excitement (and literally destroyed the box I was so excited to see what was in it!), I got all my ingredients set out on the counter:

All my ingredients for the week.

All my ingredients for the week.

Each ingredient is labeled and packaged in the exact amount you need. For example, I received two bags of parsley. The parsley was needed in two different recipes. I didn’t need to worry about how much parsley to put in each recipe. I just used one of the package and saved the second package for later. The ingredients are incredibly fresh. In fact, they are downright beautiful. For example, I had a head of garlic that was way prettier and nicer than anything I could buy at a store right now. I wish I had thought to taken a picture of just the garlic to show you, but I didn’t. I ate it. Sorry.

At the top, you will see the recipe cards. Each recipe comes with its own card. Each card has a picture of the meal, a list of ingredients, and a picture of the ingredients on the front. On the back are the directions. The directions are broken down into six steps, and each step has its own relevant picture.

My Biggest Fear

The meals I had for the week were:

  • Sweet Potato Gratin with Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
  • Spanish Paella with Cremini Mushrooms & Roasted Broccoli Rabe
  • Miso & Shiitake Ramen with Hoisin-Glazed Tofu

Now, I don’t know what you’re thinking at the moment, but I had some concerns straight away. They were:

  • I hate sweet potatoes
  • I hate broccoli in all its forms
  • I hate mushrooms
  • I hate Brussels sprouts

Soooo……I was a little concerned about actually liking these meals, but I made a promise to myself before I cooked a single one. I promised myself I would cook the meals, exactly as written and with ALL the ingredients and keep an open mind. These meals were definitely pushing me outside my comfort zone and I hadn’t even started cooking yet!

Let’s Get Started

I was dying to cook one of these meals and did so the very next day. I launched into it with the Miso & Shiitake Ramen with Hoisin-Glazed Tofu. I was very excited to try the ramen noodles. Blue Apron included a letter with my package that gave me an overview of the meals. They had high praise for the ramen noodles. The noodles were made by the Sun Noodle Company. According to Blue Apron:

Sun’s stunning variety if products and reputation as the best ramen noodle producer in North America are the result of 30 years of commitment to research and cooking. And now you get to simmer sensational authentic Japanese noodles in your kitchen.

All the ingredients ready to go.

All the ingredients ready to go.

So, in case anyone was thinking, “Ramen noodles? Are you kidding me?” Rest assured these were no ordinary ramen noodles. I had to get them in my mouth ASAP.

The ramen noodle dish introduced me to two ingredients I had never even heard of before: Choy Sum, a type of Chinese cabbage, and enoki mushrooms. It also required me to use shiitake mushrooms. Reminder: I hate mushrooms, and now I’ve just realized I have to eat cabbage. I also hate cabbage.

But I made the dish. Just like I promised myself I would. So I got to cooking it.

Simmering in the pot

Simmering in the pot

The dish itself was very easy to make. The directions for the dish, and all three actually, were very clear and easy to follow. I never had any problems understanding how to prep a single dish.

And what did I think of the noodles? Were they worthy of their reputation? YES. I was excited before I even got them in the pot. As soon as I let them out of their bags and into the water I could tell how fresh they were. If I could buy these noodles at my grocery store I would buy them all the dang time. For real. I have never had ramen noodles like this, and I have never loved eating ramen so much.

So what was the end result? This was hands down my favorite meal of the three, but my dinner buddy voted a different one as favorite. We enjoyed all three so I think what constituted a favorite came down to personal choice. Would I eat all three again? Yes I would. And I know, given my earlier list of things I hate to eat that makes no sense. So let me clear it up for you.

Things I might Actually Enjoy Eating

The biggest surprise I had from this whole experience was learning that I liked things I had always thought I hated. Does hate sound like a strong word? Oh trust me….it’s the right word. But I kept an open mind and cooked everything as I was instructed. At the end of the day, honestly, how could I not have fallen in love with these dishes?

Final version of the ramen (you have to bring your own wine!)

Final version of the ramen (you have to bring your own wine!)

The ramen noodle dish taught me this:

  • I love choy sum. Apparently there is a form of cabbage I can get down with.
  • Enoki mushrooms are no big deal. I like them fine.
  • I still don’t like those darn shiitake mushrooms, but hey, that’s just a personal thing.

Next came the sweet potato gratin with the shaved brussel sprouts salad:

Sweet potatoes & brussel sprouts

Sweet potatoes & brussel sprouts

In my childhood, sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts were never a winning combination. However, from this dish I learned

  • I love sweet potatoes when cooked using the Blue Apron recipe.
  • Brussel sprouts, at least in raw form, are delicious!

For the sweet potatoes, I also received one cup of grated parmesan cheese. It was so delicious it was all I could do not to shovel it in mouth straight from the container.

The third and final dish was Spanish Paella with Cremini Mushroom & Roasted Broccoli Rabe:

Paella and Broccoli Rabe

Paella and Broccoli Rabe

From the paella and broccoli rabe dish I learned the following:

  • I love broccoli rabe when roasted in the oven. Send more now!!!!! There is only one piece in the picture because all the rest got eaten.
  • I actually kinda like cremini mushrooms.

Final Thoughts

My experience with Blue Apron could not have been better. The food was literally dropped off on my doorstep. There were leftovers for every single meal. The ramen noodles lasted for four meals. The Spanish paella lasted for three (minus the broccoli rabe which got eaten immediately). The sweet potatoes also lasted for four meals (minus the brussel sprouts which were also eaten immediately). So, for 59.00 one or two people can eat these meals for most of the week for lunch/dinner.

In case you are wondering…the food heats up well. In fact, I had reheated sweet potatoes while I was writing this. They were fabulous. Not soggy. Not one bit.

I liked that I was forced outside my comfort zone and ate things I would normally never go near. To me, that was one of the best things about Blue Apron. I learned so much about myself as an eater this week. While the list of things I hated started off a bit long, at the end of it all the only thing I still don’t care for is shiitake mushrooms. But hey, no one likes everything, and look at all the other things I ended up loving and will enjoy again.

Can you enjoy these meals again? Yes, you can. You get to keep the recipe cards that list all the ingredients you need. I have used Sun Noodle’s website to identify places that carry their product (three in my area!) so I can even go buy their noodles again. Hooray!

Should you try this? Why would you not???? It’s a fantastic value, the ingredients are interesting, diverse, and fresh. Cooking with Blue Apron is easy and fun. You don’t need any significant cooking experience. Just grab your cooking utensils and you are ready to go!

Want to See More???

You can see all the ingredients and what each dish looked like in my brief video review.


15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cassi9879b
    Jan 20, 2014 @ 10:05:23

    I’d definitely have to request substitutions. You can’t get a brussel sprout near my nose! I used to cook them for my dad and would feel nauseous from the smell.


  2. Jessica
    Jan 20, 2014 @ 17:15:08

    This is an awesome post! I saw an advertisement for Blue Apron somewhere, but disregarded it. Personally, I love how the ingredients all come to you pre-measured. That is my biggest downfall when I cook- I eyeball everything. Most of the times it is a hit, but there have been a few occasions where it was a miss.
    The food needs are so difficult to manage in my house. 13 y/o vegetarian, man with food-hate, and 19 m/o that eats everything, and then there’s me- no food gets denied!
    Thanks for the informative review!!


    • leighahall
      Jan 20, 2014 @ 20:01:31

      you are welcome! glad you enjoyed it. the pre-measured ingredients are a great idea and do work well. I shared my food with a meat eater who loved it.


  3. thatbridesgotmoxie
    Jan 20, 2014 @ 20:07:55

    I’ve been wanting to try this service! Those ramen noodles looked relish! The price is WAY less than I thought it would be. I think I’ll give it a go!


  4. Debra@AModernTranslation
    Jan 20, 2014 @ 20:54:43

    Blue Apron sounds like a great program and the food looked delicious. Thanks for sharing your experience.


  5. teenieyogini
    Jan 21, 2014 @ 10:26:11

    Good job being really brave! I don’t think I would be so willing! You were even still excited too!


  6. anitaboeira
    Jan 21, 2014 @ 13:08:34

    This looks amazing. Seriously. Especially the sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts. Would you try the recipes again with your own ingredients?


  7. Lindsay @ Fit & Awesome
    Jan 22, 2014 @ 20:19:57

    I’ve heard good things about this service. Do you know if they can make meals gluten free or paleo specific?


  8. LeighAHall (@LeighAHall)
    Dec 30, 2014 @ 12:20:22

    Favorite Things: Blue Apron http://t.co/F3IUH3dK93 #bikramyoga #yogaholicsmag


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