How I Got Even More Value Out of My Blue Apron Box

published Apr 26, 2016
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(Image credit: Blue Apron)

When I lived in Park Slope, Brooklyn, there was a red-sauce Italian joint whose portion recommendations for its family-style pastas were very flexible: “Feeds four yuppies — or two Italians.” Meaning, they gave you one big bowl of pasta, and what you did with it was up to you. I used this strategy on a week of Blue Apron meals and found that by using the portion guidelines as just that — guidelines — I could get an extra bang for my buck and was none the hungrier.

(Image credit: Blue Apron)

Blue Apron has made it simple for people to try inventive, healthy meals they otherwise wouldn’t. (For me, a recipe that called for buying a jar of harissa is a deal breaker.) Their meal plans come in two varieties: the 2-Person, which sends three meals per week in one shipment (at $9.99 per person per meal); and the Family Plan, which sends either one or two shipments of two meals designed to feed a family of four (at $8.74 per person per meal).

Well, I’m a party of one who prefers less-frequent batch cooking. Plus, I’m a vegetarian who’s often wary of vegetarian meals leaving me hungry an hour later. I found that Blue Apron’s meal plans indeed allow for customization that turned the advertised six meals of the 2-Person plan into a few more.

Below are the three meals I cooked and how I got even more out of them:

(Image credit: Blue Apron)

Dish 1: Roasted Chickpea and Freekeh Salad with Harissa-Glazed Carrots and Dates
Two Meals Became: Dinner, lunch, and a snack
How: This filling Middle Eastern salad was designed to be two meals, but the hearty freekeh is studded with protein (and crunch) in the form roasted chickpeas, then topped with a rich, lemony labneh sauce. I didn’t quite turn two meals into three, but reserving one scoop from each serving gave me two satisfying meals plus a little extra for a late-night snack.

(Image credit: Blue Apron)

Dish 2: Creamy Lemon Pasta with English Peas, Mint and Garlic Breadcrumbs
Two Meals Became: Three dinners
How: Like a fish that grows to the size of its bowl, my stomach can grow to the size of the pasta being served. But if I’m being honest about my appetite, I can portion a batch of savory, crème fraîche–y pasta into thirds instead of halves instead and be well sated. When I reheated dinner number two, I had the idea to top it with a lightly fried egg for a little extra protein boost. (It was a good idea, if I may say.)

(Image credit: Blue Apron)

Dish 3: Fontina and Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Pioppini Mushrooms and Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds
Two Meals Became: Two meals. Because to reportion a grilled cheese is to not let joy into your life.
How: The recipe up-levels the comfort-food favorite with an arugula pesto (that I made from scratch, thank you). Not only did I keep the portions to the suggested two, but I had a friend over for Friday-night dinner and gave her one. (She brought the IPA — an even trade in my book.) I suppose you could get creative with how you slice your sandwiches, but this is one formula I had no intention to alter.

Blue Apron allows you to create delicious, chef-designed recipes at home by delivering all the ingredients you need, right to your door, in exactly the right proportions, with many of these ingredients being additions to your cooking rep (hello, harissa!). Blue Apron recipes are delivered in a refrigerated box so ingredients will stay fresh even if you’re not at home when your package arrives — and shipping is always free.