A few weeks ago a friend gave me a free trial of Blue Apron. If you haven’t heard about it, well, I’m about to tell you a little bit, and at the end, give you a chance to try two free meals from them yourself!
Blue Apron is a food delivery service that lets you customize your preferences (vegetarian, no fish, etc.) and fit the frequency/size of the deliveries to your family size. The food comes as raw, fresh ingredients, in just the right amounts for each meal. For the three meals I made, I only needed to provide some oil, water, salt and pepper. Everything else came in the box, including a few tablespoons of butter, a bit of cream, a bit of cider vinegar, and some herbs. It’s great if you hate getting a whole carton of cream for a recipe that only needs a few tablespoons. Everything comes labeled, and with a clear ingredient list for each recipe, so it’s obvious which foods go with which recipe. It does feel like a lot of packaging, but they make nearly everything recyclable, so you don’t have to feel too terrible.
Each meal is made to be cooked in 35 minutes or less, but they manage to be pretty fancy for something you can do that quickly. They’re between 500-700 calories. What that meant for me was eating half and wrapping half up for the next day. Twenty minutes later I’d think “huh that was good maybe I could eat the other half now?” but I wouldn’t, and I’d wake up the next day still not starving. (What I’m getting at is that they don’t necessarily seem like huge portions at the time, but they’re filling.)
The main pluses of the service are that you don’t have to plan ahead, and you’ll probably try cooking some things you never would have made otherwise. The three meals I had were Chicken Charlemagne with Roasted Root Vegetables & Parsnip-Potato Mash (I expected ‘eh’ and got ‘fantastic’), Korean-Style Tteok with Spicy Pork “Ragù” & Gai Lan (I get so excited about rice cakes!), and the Crispy Brown Butter Gnocchi with Meyer Lemon & Brussels Sprouts below. Pretty nice variety for just 3 meals! And, of course, if you don’t want to receive meals for a few weeks, you can pause them without getting billed, and pick back up later when you want to get cooking again.
If you want to try out Blue Apron for yourself, you can! The first 30 readers to click this link will get a free two meal trial. (To make sure that you’re in their delivery zone, which covers vast swathes of the US, check here.)
As a disclaimer – I am not getting anything myself for writing about Blue Apron, I was just really happy with my trial and wrote them to ask if I could get a giveaway for my readers.
And now onto the recipe! For once, I’m just going to give you their text directly, so you can see how their recipes are written. As well as getting the printed recipe, they have them online, with additional tips and tricks.
- 10 Ounces Fresh Gnocchi
- 8 Ounces Brussels Sprouts
- 1 Clove Garlic
- 1 Meyer Lemon
- 1 Red Onion
- 1 Bunch Thyme
Knick Knacks (small items for each meal that come in a paper bag to keep them together)
- 3 Tablespoons Butter
- 1/3 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Makes 2 Servings
About 500 Calories Per Serving
Cooking Time: 15 to 25 minutes (I found preparing the Brussels sprouts pretty time consuming, so this was longer for me)
Prepare the ingredients:
Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Trim off and discard the root ends of the Brussels sprouts. Pick off the bright green leaves until you reach the lighter cores; place the leaves in a small bowl and discard the cores. Peel and mince the garlic. Using a peeler, remove the yellow rind of the lemon, avoiding the white pith; mince the rind to get 2 teaspoons of zest (or use a zester). Quarter the lemon and remove the seeds. Peel and thinly slice the onion. Pick the thyme leaves off the stems; discard the stems and roughly chop the leaves.
Cook the gnocchi:
Add the gnocchi to the pot of boiling water. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until the gnocchi float to the top of the pot. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the gnocchi thoroughly and set aside.
Crisp the gnocchi & brown the butter:
In a large pan, melt the butter on medium-high heat. Once melted, add the drained gnocchi and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes, or until the gnocchi are crisped and the butter is browned and nuttily fragrant.
Add the aromatics:
Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic and onion to the pan of crisped gnocchi and browned butter; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened.
Finish the gnocchi:
To the pan of gnocchi and aromatics, add the Brussels sprout leaves, lemon zest, thyme, the juice of 2 lemon wedges, all but a pinch of the Parmesan cheese (save the rest for garnish) and 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined. (If the sauce seems dry, slowly add the remaining pasta cooking water until you achieve your desired consistency.) Remove from heat; season with salt and pepper to taste.
Plate your dish:
Divide the finished gnocchi between 2 plates. Garnish with the remaining Parmesan cheese and lemon wedges. Enjoy!
Delicious, filling, and decently healthy-feeling.
If you give Blue Apron a try, do let me know how you like it!
It does sound like a service I would use occasionally, as I like trying new things even more when they are easy. HOWEVER, the section where you mark your “preferences” pretty much offers “vegetarian or meat eater?” and “which meats do you not eat?” So they aren’t allergy-friendly. Unless you’re allergic to meat.
Too bad, though, as it sounds like just the thing to break a cooking rut.
Yeah, somewhere in the FAQ they address it, and the best they can do is “a bunch of our stuff is naturally GF, and you can talk to us for suggestions,” but they can’t promise to not allergy you to death.