This post is sponsored by Blue Apron
Thomas and I made Blue Apron‘s Curry-Spiced Cod & Summer Squash with Ginger-Lime Raisins and Garlic Naan together the other night.
We always divide the tasks so that one person does the “entree” part (the fish or meat usually) and the other works on the sauces and sides. When we sat down to eat, we remarked that this was one of the more exotic dishes we’d made from Blue Apron, but that was also what we loved about it. We would never have chosen these flavor combinations or put in as much effort as we did if we’d just gone to the grocery store and prepared some cod and rice.
The dinner was delicious, and one of my favorites to date. (This Sumac-Spiced Barramundi was my all-time favorite Blue Apron dish!) I always love the seafood dishes the most.
When I first met Thomas, he had a subscription to Plated that we cooked together every other week or so at his house. The Blue Apron team asked if I’d like to do a compare and contrast post, since I have had a lot of experience with Blue Apron but have tried a few other similar companies too. (I have also tried Hello Fresh and Marley Spoon, but did the most with Plated.)
Let me start by saying that I have really not had any bad experiences with any of the food box companies. So really, I think that the biggest differences between them are based on what goals you have for your own meal planning and cooking style. What is a pro for one person might be a con for another! That said, here are the main similarities and differences from both Blue Apron and Plated.
+ Offers 2-person (3 recipes for two people) and Family Plans (2 recipes for four people)
+ Plans accommodating vegetarians, pescatarians, or if you don’t eat red meat, fish, shellfish, pork, or lamb
+ Ranges from $8.99 — $9.99 per serving, depending on your box choice
– Less choice of recipe options each week — up to 6
+ Focus on sustainable seafood, pastured meat, working with small farms and non-GMO
+ Full recipes available online to make favorites again
+ Offers wine option!
We found the Blue Apron meals to be a bit more exotic and restaurant-like with new-to-us ingredients and techniques. Generally, there were more ingredients in each recipe, which made it more complicated but also more delicious in the end. The Blue Apron meals took a little longer to prepare and were more involved, but they tasted better because they felt like extra special meals we couldn’t have come up with on our own. A bit more suited to date nights and weekends.
+ Offers 2, 3, and 4 serving plans for 2,3, and 4 recipes a week (=a lot of options!)
+ Meat, seafood, vegetarian plans
+ Ranges from $9.95 — $11.95 per serving, depending on your box choice
+ Offers a lot of recipes to choose from, 13 each week, plus Encore recipes that stay up all month
– Free shipping not offered on smallest serving options for the 2- and 3-day plans
+/-Poultry without antibiotics, sustainable seafood efforts, sometimes organic
+ Offers dessert option!
We found the Plated meals to be very tasty and a bit quicker and easier to prepare because they were less focused on gourmet ingredients and techniques. This might be a pro or a con, depending on what kind of cook you are! They were still very tasty though, and a bit more appropriate for weeknights, when time is of the essence.
Here’s another great comparison of meal kit services from Gina!
As always, Blue Apron provided me with a code for 25 of you new to Blue Apron to get your first three meals free. Just click here!
Thanks to Blue Apron for sponsoring this Blue Apron vs. Plated comparison! All food photos were of Blue Apron meals : )
*All notes were taken from the Plated website, so don’t quote me if I got something a little wrong!
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog says
I think there are occasions for both Plated and Blue Apron. They both sound like great plans!
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
Linda @ the Fitty says
Which one do you think suits you the best?
Kelli @ Hungry Hobby says
I haven’t tried plated yet but I will say every time we order blue apron I learn something new about cooking!
I haven’t tried Blue Apron yet, but I have really enjoyed learning new (to me) cooking techniques with Sun Basket so I think I would like Blue Apron too! Plus, the recipes you shared look REALLY GOOD!
Linda @ the Fitty says
It sounds like plated is more for quick and easy cooking.
Vicki Hill says
To me the meals are more complex than I would normally make on a week night. They almost always include some types of sauces, aioli, etc that you make but with all the ingredients available, they are easy enough to fix. I have tried to order meals that I wouldn’t normally fix and have been very pleased with how they taste!
I really enjoyed the recipes from Blue Apron, but I wasn’t happy with the amount of packaging. Also, as a vegetarian, there were no alternate meal choices. I enjoyed every one of them, though. As a novice cook, it was sometimes a stretch to get everything ready at the same time, as I was doing it all myself. And it took me at least an hour to get dinner done!
Did you notice a difference in terms of carbs, Kath? I tried Plated years ago, as well as Blue Apron, and my Plated meals were always low carb, in fact, I think sometimes they were mostly meat and vegetables. I didn’t mind it, because I’m not the type of person who needs to eat carbs with every meal, but that was the most notable difference, for me.
I didn’t notice a huge difference – I think I had sandwichy meals with both companies and I don’t think it’s advertised that way, but I can see how if Blue Apron is a bit more involved with more ingredients there would likely be more carbs there too.
I completely agree. If you are short on time or have a busy kitchen with kids running around like we do, Plated is the way to go. In my experience with both companies, the recipes from Blue Apron are a bit too time consuming. They taste great, but to me, I feel like the one big selling point of these ‘services’ is that you get a great meal, quickly, but you don’t get that with Blue Apron…their recipes always seem to take me at least 1 hour from start to finish.
How do these compare value-wise to a strictly menu-planning service like CookSmarts? Does having the food AT your door and IN your fridge warrant the extra cost? I feel that shopping for the ingredients myself would save so much money over the cost of a BA subscription, but I also love the convenience BA provides. What are your thoughts since you’ve done both? Thank you.
These services are definitely not about saving money (although some people report they waste less food and don’t buy unnecessary snack foods because they skip a grocery store trip). Something like Cook Smarts or my friend Lynsie’s company Vie are much more targeted to meal plans that save you money. These two are more about convenience and adventure.
Having used both services pretty extensively, I prefer Plated. Blue Apron’s meals were all pretty good, with a few great recipes. I found I preferred Plated meals more than Blue Apron. As far as the ingredients and level of cooking, both are pretty similar and it depends on the meal. I’ve had Blue Apron with a few ingredients and Plated with a lot and vice versa. The biggest distinguishing factor for me was the variety. After using Blue Apron for months, I found the recipes all had the same flavors and found quite a few meals that were pretty similar. Plated on the other hand offers a much larger variety of meals and after using them for 6+ months now, I still enjoy its meals. Ultimately it comes down to personal preferences, so both plans allow you to skip meals at no cost, so why not sign up for both and go with the meals that look better for you on any given week (just make sure you keep up with picking/skipping).
But isnt this what started the whole idea of “I can “click” a button and everything will magically appear on my step, without the worries or time contraints and I can cook a delicious meal with my family, include them if they’d like to be?”….. Now these companies are trying to put Blue Apron out of business by making it as quick and easy as possible. Well that my friends is called either take out, recipe cards and the store or microwaved t.v dinners.