I Tried It: Under the lid with Blue Apron

afc-blue-apronBlue Apron is all the rage these days, but what’s under the lid here?

Just about everyone is taking advantage of ready-to-eat meals these days, so what does it take to be a Blue Apron lover? I gave it a try.

Most all of the options require next to nothing on your part for preparation — you need salt, pepper, olive oil — but you will do well the more extensive a kitchen you have, as ingredients need to be cut, peeled, pan-cooked and oven baked. And while the timing on them varies, generally expect the whole process to take 30 minutes to an hour to get a meal on your plate.

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So what are some of the things I tried? A couple of great meals came to people’s doorsteps this year, among them:

  • Seared Salmon w/”Green” Potato salad: The salmon is great by itself, and it’s topped with a nice apple juice-like glaze. The salmon is meant to be topped with mustard seeds, but they don’t add a ton, and honestly, I overcooked them, which is very easy to do.

    blue-apron-pork-tteokbokki

    Pork Tteokbokki

  • Korean Bao Sliders: These mini sliders are served in a bao-style dumpling wrapper with a spicy mayo. The side? A pan-fried sweet potato! Very filling and definitely two meals.
  • Crispy Cod & Yuzu-Shoyu Soba: You bread and pan-fry the cod and serve them atop these noodles, which is good! Just make sure you chop the veggies wonderfully.
  • Pork tteokbokki: Odds are, if you’re eating in the U.S. this will be the first time you try this dish. It’s a Korean dish with rice cakes and pork cooked in that wonderful, spicy gochujang.
  • Crispy cod tacos: I love these tacos for the fish you bread yourself, and topped with some radish. The best part of these? That has to be the slaw, a red cabbage slaw with chipotle pepper that makes it a little spicy.

    Grains of paradise-crusted steak

    Grains of paradise-crusted steak

  • Grans of Paradise-Crusted steak: A nice ribeye steak topped with some cooked peanuts and topping a bed of mashed plantians and collared greens. The aforementioned grains of paradise? A great addition!

The upside: everything is pretty low in sodium, which gives you the option of avoiding it if need be. The downside to that is that you probably will add too much if you are not paying attention, as the recipes call for a frequent dash of salt which over the cooking process will add up pretty quickly.

At the same time, Blue Apron will give you a pretty extensive introduction to a variety of cooking techniques, and I have found a good many of the recipes can be repeated. Some require a niche grocery store, but the end result is still pretty good.

Seared Salmon w/Glazed carrots

Seared Salmon w/Glazed carrots

The downside: The food is easy to make if you’re a couple, but for a single person you’re going to want to plan a lot of your week. Meals aren’t good for more than a few days and once the ingredients start to go bad, they’re pretty expensive to replace. Still, three meals a week with two servings each will make for a pretty nice week of meals, if you have the time to devote an hour or so to each.
Some of the individual dishes I tried:

The bottom line: Blue Apron is a pretty good option to teach you how to cook and get you trying a few different kinds of food.

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