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As you have probably noticed, over the last few years many meal kit companies have started operating in the US. These companies offer the delivery of pre-portioned ingredients of professionally designed meals to cook at home. These meal kits are designed to make the whole experience of cooking your evening meals as easy as possible. Basically, these companies offer a meal planning + grocery shopping service all wrapped up in one!
The first company to emerge on the market and begin this growing trend was Blue Apron. Today, it is still one of the biggest meal kit delivery services in the country. Blue Apron offers eight weekly changing dishes as part of their two-person plan and four additional dishes in their four-person plan. The meals offered by Blue Apron have been created by professional chefs and provide quality, well-known home-cooked meals. They might be classic dishes, but they also always come with an interesting twist. Their menu is such that it offers you the chance to improve your home dining experience and it also adds some wonderful challenges in your kitchen, allowing you the chance to experiment with great new flavors every time.
The variety of the dishes can range from classics like Tacos and burgers to Asian style dishes like noodles, stir-fries or buns and they include European flavors with dishes such as flat breads, pastas and quiches. Blue Apron is very innovative with their menus, offering some interesting collaborations with well-known chefs and food gurus. They also when applicable, offer dishes to suit different trending diets, like the Whole 30 or Mediterranean diet, just to name a couple. Among their weekly menu you will also be able to find vegetarian and child friendly recipes. They also provide the option of quick and easy dishes. I highly recommend combining at least one of these quick and easy selections in your meal kit delivery since many of us don’t always have the time or energy for a long cooking session.
Our chief editor, Lee Levy, had the pleasure of recently trying a Blue Apron box at her home, and following is her full review of the dishes and the Blue Apron experience here:
“I arrived home with my kids after school, to find the Blue Apron box waiting for me near the door. I invited a couple of friends for dinner that evening, so the convenience was wonderful!
I opened the box and was very impressed by the quality of ingredients I received from Blue Apron. Everything looked fresh and I couldn’t wait to start cooking! All the ingredients were placed together in the labeled box, with all the refrigerated proteins kept cool at the bottom of the box with ample ice. I had to do some sorting when I opened the Blue Apron box, but this didn’t really worry me as it really only took a few minutes. A great feature I noticed was that they had all the smaller ingredients for each dish wrapped in individual bags.”
With this delivery I had selected three dishes:
- Freekeh & vegetables “Fried Rice”
- Seared Steaks & Spicy Peppers
- Salmon Burgers & Smoky Potatoes
As previously mentioned, I had some friends over for dinner that first night so I cooked the first two dishes for our meal, and saved the third dish, the salmon burgers, for a casual Friday night dinner with my family.
On a general note, we absolutely loved every dish!
Here is a detailed review on each one:
Name of dish: Freekeh & Vegetable “Fried Rice”
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Taste ranking: 95%
My main notes: This dish was very good and had some interesting and surprising Asian Japanese flavors. It was a fried rice with a great twist. I loved the freekeh, a type of toasted wheat and it had a super tasty earthy flavor. The dish was full of fresh vegetables. The broccoli, carrots and snow peas were of a lovely quality. Also, the fresh ginger added a nice zest to the dish. You could easily make this one without the egg and then it would be suitable as a vegan dish. Overall, it was very satisfying and super yummy!
Name of dish: Seared Steaks & Spicy Peppers
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Taste ranking: 90%
My main notes: The main thing I loved about this dish was the quality of the meat. The steaks were so good, they were tender like butter and tasted super fresh. I also loved the Asian Japanese flavours of this dish. The seasoning of the sweet potatoes was enhanced by a very lovely dressing of mayo, scallions, white yuzu and miso. It was absolutely delicious!, The peppers added a spicy edge to the dish. I have noticed that Blue Apron uses the Sambal Oelek sauce quite a lot in their dishes. The soy glaze for the seared steak itself was a wonderful addition to the meal. All these flavours combined well together to create a delicious dish. Again, I have to say that the steak itself was AMAZING! One of the best steaks I have ever cooked in my own kitchen. This one was a definite treat. I do need to note with this one that it took some time to cook. Overall it was about 45 minutes, so maybe it is a dish that I would recommend saving for weekend nights.
Name of dish: Salmon Burgers & Smoky Potatoes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Taste ranking: 93%
My main notes: I have always found it tricky to cook a perfect burger. It is a challenge to find one that stays stable but remains moist and tender inside. This salmon burger by Blue Apron was certainly a winner for us. I loved the fact that you first cook the salmon, flake it and then make the burger from the flakes. This cooking technique reassured me that it was a good recipe to give the kids. I absolutely loved the seasoning of the mayo with the relish – what an amazingly simple but delicious idea! Finding unusual flavour combinations is one of the main reasons I love using meal kits so much, by using them, you get lots of new ideas for home cooking that you can easily implement in your own meals during the week.