Blue Apron, a company based in Brooklyn, will send box of ingredients to your door once/week for three vegetarian or meat/seafood meals. With Blue Apron, subscribers can put together convenient home-cooked meals while utilizing new recipes and ingredients.
Cara Eisenpress from Blue Apron AND Big Girls Small Kitchen (her blog is amazing, if you aren’t already a fan) emailed me and asked if I’d like to try a Blue Apron box. Of course I did! So my insulated vegetarian meal box arrived in the mail on a Wednesday, and the contents were still cold when I opened it up after work. On the top was a letter from the Blue Apron Team, along with three beautifully illustrated recipe pages.
Serving sizes are larger than estimated in the recipes, which was a nice surprise because one recipe was more than enough for a huge dinner for two and another single serving for lunch the next day.
Oil, salt, and pepper are not included in the box (the oil was particularly noticeable because I ran out of olive oil the week the box arrived!). Including all of the items would have been helpful, so you could literally not have a single item in your kitchen and still cook three delicious meals. But aside from those three items, everything else arrives portioned out and ready to prep.
Here are the three meals I made with the box:
Whole Wheat Pizza Topped with Arugula Salad
Salad-topped pizza is one of my go-to options at a pizza place. Maybe I’m just tricking myself into thinking it’s healthier, but really, fresh greens on top of pizza is a good combo. The dough for this recipe arrived pre-made in a bag and I let it rise for a few hours. Closely following the recipe (i.e. trying not to make it up as I usually do), I spread out the dough on a large baking sheet, which resulted in a very thick whole wheat crust. Even though the recipe didn’t say to do this, I should have divided the dough into two and made two separate pizzas. Everything else, though – the tomato sauce, cheese, olives, and dressed salad on top was fantastic. I’ve made pizza a million times, but I felt very accomplished with this one!
Maple & Sesame Root Vegetable Stir-Fry
I cook a lot of stir-fries and sometimes I feel stuck using the same ingredients and flavors. This dish tastes like it was cooked in a restaurant, which was very rewarding. It was a little heavy on the sugar compared to my typical homemade stir-fry, but if I was using the box on a regular basis, I would just use a little less maple syrup. I also used fresh lotus root and sunchokes for the first time – trying these new ingredients was really exciting and delicious.
Tempeh Ratatouille on Wheat Berries
This was my favorite of the three recipes, and also provided the opportunity to use two more new-to-me ingredients: tempeh and wheat berries. When my box arrived the graffiti eggplant had gone bad, so I had to buy another one, but aside from that all of the other ingredients were ready to go. I prepared the ingredients and began cooking the tempeh in my wok in stages as the recipe instructed. Once the tempeh was browned on all sides, I added the red pepper flakes, which promptly started smoking and left a nice black coating all over my wok. The recipe didn’t say to mix together the garlic, red pepper flakes, sugar, vinegar, and tomato paste before adding to the tempeh, but lesson learned on that one! Funny how following a recipe can sometimes make me forget common cooking sense. I transferred the tempeh over to another pan and, after that first little mishap, everything else fell into place perfectly. I ate this for three days straight – it made a lot of food and was so delicious.
As with any new culinary experience, I realized a few things about myself as a cook that I didn’t think about before this food box adventure:
- I rarely use recipes and, when I do use them, it’s only as a guide.
- There are a lot of basic ingredients I’ve never used.
- I love recipe testing and thinking about how I can improve recipes.
Trying out Blue Apron was a great experience. I love grocery shopping, but I know plenty of people who can’t stand it. For a homecook who has the disposable income to let someone else do the shopping and meal planning for them, this would be a great solution. It’s $60/box, which is more than I spend on groceries for the week, but to a lot of people the time and energy savings would be totally worth it. Plus, it’s like receiving a delicious present every week!
Thank you to Blue Apron for the complimentary box. As with all EatingPlaces posts, opinions are my own.