Blue Apron Tilapia Meunière with Moroccan-Spiced Lentils & Rainbow Chard

Blue Apron Tilapia Meuniere

Life with toddlers is pretty crazy at the best of times. My wing-man is down with a back injury, so things have been especially hectic around here. I decided to try a meal delivery service to take some of the pressure off. No shopping for groceries, no wasted ingredients and a different meal every night. In theory, I love it.

The top three services offer discounts on the first week’s delivery and being as committed as I am to unnecessarily exhaustive research, I decided to try all three.

All three services are set up the same way – you go online, choose the dinners you want to eat and they send you a big box of fresh ingredients and a recipe for each meal. Genius – because I hate buying ingredients for a fancy dinner and having to throw stuff out because I can’t find a use for the left over ras el hanout (just kidding – there’s always a use for ras el hanout).

Based on 3 Meals each week for 2 people, the cost ends up being:

Blue Apron – $59.94

Hello Fresh – $69.00

Plated – $72.00

 blue apron tilapia meuniere

All three services use a lot of plastic packaging – perhaps none more than Blue Apron.

blue apron tilapia meuniere

The preparation time and effort required for each meal correlates pretty well to the tastiness of the dish.

blue apron tilapia meuniere

Cooking times varied slightly but most took about half an hour from beginning to end.

SO… Here’s what I thought of each service, from the best to worst.  The pictures in the first row are from the company website, the second row is how they really turned out (no filter).

1st Place: Blue Apron

I don’t know if this is fair. The week we got Blue Apron delivered, one of the meals was created by a celebrity chef. That said, all three meals were great.

Blue Apron Tilapia Meunière with Moroccan-Spiced Lentils & Rainbow Chard – This was full of butter but so worth it.

Crispy Chicken Thighs with Braised Lettuce, Kimchi & Maitake Mushrooms – This recipe was created by Top Chef season 12 winner Mei Lin. It was amazing.

Lamb & Beef Shawarma with Creamy Radish Salad The radish salad paired really well with the lamb.

What it was supposed to look like:

blue apron tilapia meuniere

What it looked like:

blue apron tilapia meuniere

Pros:

The quality of the ingredients was by far the best. The complexity of flavors is restaurant worthy. It’s the cheapest service of the three I tried. I am now obsessed with Maitake mushrooms and Ras El Hanout.

Cons:

The packaging is a little out of this world. It’s cute – the only thing that’s more fun than a mini bottle of rice vinegar is a mini bottle of vodka. But seriously guys, the earth.

Not as many options as I’d like.

Verdict: Blue Apron, despite it’s problems was my favorite meal delivery service of the three.

 

2nd Place: Hello Fresh

I have to say I was surprised that Hello Fresh was better than Plated in most respects. I was disappointed that quite a lot of the produce came a little damaged but as far as flavors go Hello Fresh did better than Plated on all three meals.

First night –  Pan-Roasted Salmon with Mustard-Butter Bean Salad – The best of the three meals, good flavors and interesting textures of the butter beans, zucchini and snap peas.

Second night – Spicy Pork & Kale Soup with Udon Noodles – I was looking forward to the big, fat, delicious Udon noodles in the picture. I love those, and that’s why I chose this dish. Instead we got thin, slimy-ish noodles. A fairly tasty soup otherwise.

Third night – Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Tangy Balsamic Potato Salad – The potatoes were boiled then tossed in balsamic vinegar. Surprisingly not as bad as you’d think. My pic shows chicken pieces – I cut up the chicken for Finn. It was pretty yummy.

What it was supposed to look like:

blue apron tilapia meuniere

What it looked like:

blue apron tilapia meuniere

Pros:

Apart from the chicken dish, the serving sizes were huge.

Cons:

Quite a few of the ingredients arrived in pretty bad shape. One of the two potatoes I received for the chicken dish had a substantial black section that I had to cut out, leaving me with one and a half potatoes between two people. The Udon noodles were completely different from the ones in the picture and we got green chilli peppers instead of red.

Verdict: Better than Plated, but still not great.

 

3rd Place: Plated.com

Plated has the best marketing campaign – I expected to love it. All the meals look totally Instagrammable. They are easy to prepare if you don’t mind opening one million little plastic bags and containers. But they all tasted like they were created by high school students. We got four meals from Plated, so I just reviewed the best three. The fourth night (not shown) was a Portobello Burger with Cucumber and Carrot Salad. The tahini in the salad dressing overpowered the whole thing and the burger was blah.

First night – Vietnamese Caramel Fish – Overly strong on the fish sauce, but probably the best meal of the week.

Second night – Quinoa Grits with Squash – I don’t really know what to say. The completely bizarre flavor of the squash took your mind off the completely bland grits but we still ended up eating cereal for dinner.

Third night – Peanut Chicken Curry & Caramelized Apple Tart for dessert – Peanut chicken – More fish sauce and a bland peanut-ish aftertaste. Apple tart – The pie crust was soooo ordinary. It’s hard to go wrong with apples butter and sugar, but it’s the crust they should focus on – I have my own apples, butter and sugar in the pantry). The creme fraiche was for two people… Neither of us dared anyway. I don’t even.. I made my own vanilla whipped cream to go with it. I ate the whole tart, but only because it was a vessel for the cream… Robbie managed two spoonfuls and gave up. I ended up eating whipped cream out of the bowl.

What it was supposed to look like:

blue apron tilapia meuniere

What it looked like:

blue apron tilapia meuniere

Pros:

Lots of meal choices.

Cons:

On day two of our Plated experience, Robbie asked me, “So this is the last one, right?” When I said there was more to come, he actually moaned. That’s a pretty good summary of how the week of meals have been.

Verdict: Disappointed.

I’m hanging out for Din to come to the east coast. They are in Cali now and making their way across the country. I can’t wait to try them.  And when I do, I’ll let you know.

 

 

Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Plated Review

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