While I devoted three separate posts to each HelloFresh meal, I’ve decided to condense my findings about BlueApron all into one post. As I make my way through all of these different meal services, I think this will be the most efficient way to share my opinion.
The first thing I want to note about BlueApron, is that I was able to get my first box (3 meals for two people) for absolutely free. Yes, that’s right! Completely 100% free groceries. And after I received my first box, I cancelled. No strings attached, just 3 three meals for my husband and I. It is very difficult to argue with that.
Now for the meals. In our box, we got Lemongrass Chicken Burgers, Brown Butter Cod, and Pork Chops with Farro and Plum Salsa. Overall, I have to say that I more enjoyed the flavors and combinations of these three Blue Apron boxes than I did the HelloFresh boxes that I tried. But let me break them down one by one.
Lemongrass Chicken Burgers
Flavor: 3 | Ease: 5 | Dirty Dishes: 7 | Price for first week: FREE
While on the whole, the Blue Apron meals impressed me more, this dish was a bit disappointing. The first disappointment was that the ground chicken arrived frozen. Now I understand that there are health reasons and they have to ensure that the groceries stay fresh in transport but I generally don’t like my groceries to be frozen. I think if that one thing had been fixed, these burgers would have been fine. But I felt that the patty didn’t taste quite as fresh as I would have liked. Other than that, the dish was super easy, I liked the hoisin mayonnaise and the cilantro on top. And the wedge potatoes were also a nice touch.
Brown Butter Cod
Flavor: 5 | Ease: 3 | Dirty Dishes: 8 | Price for first week: FREE
This was my favorite meal by far from both the Blue Apron and Hello Fresh experiments thus far. The fish tasted so fresh and not “fishy” at all. I think this had something to do with the brown butter being cut by a bit of sherry vinegar. I also absolutely loved the fresh corn, bright peppers, and purple potatoes. The ingredients were lovely and they all went together perfectly as well.
Pork Chops with Plum Salsa
Flavor: 5 | Ease: 4 | Dirty Dishes: 7 | Price for first week: FREE
This was my second favorite meal (again from both Blue Apron and HelloFresh). Blue Apron does an excellent job of putting together a well rounded and pretty healthy meal without it tasting like it’s necessarily healthy. This dish had farro and kale, two healthy things that I never eat, and it was a great balance to the rest of the meal. My favorite part was the plum salsa. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. I just love sweet fruit with pork chops.
Overall, you’ll notice that there were significantly more dirty dishes for these recipes and that is mostly because of the prep. The first step for each recipe was to wash, dry, and chop all of the veggies which led to significantly more dishes being dirtied. Also, in general, these recipes were a little bit more involved. I’m not saying they were difficult but they definitely took a little longer to put together. My one major criticism of Blue Apron is that every other step tells you to salt and pepper to taste. I pretty much only salted and peppered at one step and it was perfectly seasoned. Any more would have been overkill and far too salty. Not only that but it just seems like a waste of time. Salt and pepper once for the side dish and once for protein and be done with it.
Photo interruption: Also it’s important to note that I recently upgraded from my point and click Canon that my husband bought me for Christmas that has served me well the past few years to a DSLR Canon (EOS 5D Mark II). It is my husband’s hand-me-down. So here are some photos of the prep in no particular order.
So does Blue Apron make me look like a professional chef? A little bit. I mean let’s be honest here, I don’t normally put so much thought into my plating and most of the dishes that I cook aren’t balanced enough to look good plated anyway. I enjoy this semblance of aptitude but I also miss the fun of picking out what new dishes I want to try making! There’s no doubt that these meal services take a bit of the creativity out of cooking. Next week, Marley Spoon, but then I think I’ll take a break and cook my own things for a little while!