Sponsored Content.

We Tried Blue Apron's New Prepared And Ready Meals. Here's What To Expect

You're probably familiar with Blue Apron, the meal kit service that delivers pre-scaled ingredients and step-by-step recipes for your choice of meals, directly to your door. By skipping both the grocery store and the time it takes to portion out all of the ingredients for your meal, a single delivery can save you hours every week — not to mention the dreaded "what's for dinner?" discussion every night. But what if you could have equally enjoyable and nutritious meal options, with next to no effort at all?

At the beginning of the year, Blue Apron added the Prepared & Ready line of meals to its roster. These fully prepared single-serving meals take a quick two to three-minute spin in the microwave, or reheat in the oven, and are ready to serve. The meals come fresh and refrigerated, not frozen, and unlike many pre-assembled or frozen dinners you'll find at the grocery store, they are created by chefs to suit a variety of tastes and dietary needs.

Having already tried and enjoyed Blue Apron's regular meal kit service, I was curious to see how the new Prepared & Ready meals would compare. So Blue Apron sent a collection of six new Prepared & Ready meals for me to sample first-hand from the menu, covering a variety of cuisines and protein preferences. Here's what you can expect from the new ready-to-eat line of meals from Blue Apron.

Sesame Turkey with Udon

Unlike other kinds of noodles, pre-cooked udon noodles lend themselves to quickly reheating in the microwave, thanks to their thicker and chewier texture. I was pleased to find the texture of the noodles in this meal was just right and perfectly slurpable. The chile-soy sauce is on the sweeter side to balance out the savory turkey carnitas. The fresh edamame, bell pepper, carrots, and green beans added a nice snap to each bite, with hints of sesame sprinkled throughout the dish.

The combination of turkey with udon is a welcome and playful twist on more traditional Japanese cooking and helps to keep the calories low while boosting the dish's protein count. One serving is just 400 calories, with 24 grams of protein, 10 grams of fat, and 54 grams of carbohydrates. The meal was exactly what I needed for a filling lunch to power me through the rest of the day.

Mediterranean-Style Pork & Vegetables

Several of the meals I tried from Blue Apron's Prepared & Ready menu include Mediterranean flavors, like feta cheese, fresh vegetables, briny capers, olives, and herbs, which were all a welcome addition to my meal rotation. This particular dish combines feta, Greek-style dressing over zucchini, capers, and lemon juice, with hearty carnitas-style pulled pork. It's not a combination I would have immediately considered when preparing a Mediterranean-style meal, but after having tasted it, I can't wait to try it again.

The dish is cheesy enough for people who like feta, but not especially briny or funky for those who don't. The saltiness of the cheese and the bright flavors of the zucchini salad are a great accent to the pulled pork. The zucchini is still a little bit sweet and cooked uniformly all the way through yet with a slight snap to it, and the capers are not especially noticeable, texturally speaking (great for anyone who might be adverse to them). The Mediterranean-Style Pork & Vegetables has 480 calories per serving, 27 grams of protein, 36 grams of fat, and only 11 grams of carbohydrates.

Salmon & Riced Broccoli

I regularly tell myself that I should include more fish in my diet, but rarely find new ways to incorporate it into meal planning. So, the Salmon & Riced Broccoli meal was a welcome inclusion with my first delivery. The salmon filet is as large as I'd expect to buy from the grocery store, and it comes dressed with basil pesto for a nice herbal finish.

If you're wondering what the texture of par-cooked salmon that takes a two-minute trip through the microwave is like, you might be surprised to discover that it's both fully cooked as well as tender and flaky. Since the salmon is essentially steamed in the packaging during reheating, it doesn't seem like much of the fish's moisture is lost. Additionally, while both feta cheese and olives can be divisive flavors, neither is especially overpowering here. Both add a little bit of saltiness and tang that balance the herbal pesto and accent the flavor of the salmon nicely. The riced broccoli and diced zucchini are also cooked through without being mushy, retaining just enough texture to be satisfying.

The entire dish is only 400 calories, with an impressively low 7 grams of carbohydrates per serving. It also contains 28 grams of protein and 30 grams of fat in total. Thanks to the lower calorie and carb count, it was easy to enjoy this dish with a glass of rosé wine (and absolutely zero regrets).

Buffalo-Style Chicken with Mashed Potatoes

The Buffalo-Style Chicken with Mashed Potatoes is one of those meals I'd reach for as a late night meal after a long day instead of ordering out for wings — and actually feel good about it all afterwards. With a mild but recognizable heat from the buffalo sauce topping, the breaded chicken cutlet satisfies that craving for greasy comfort food without any of the actual greasiness. And instead of filling up on fries, the mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables are both a filling and satisfying addition to the meal. The only thing missing is an ice-cold drink.

There's also a little bit of Monterey Jack cheese on top of the chicken cutlet to balance out the warm kick from the buffalo sauce. Astonishingly, this entire dish is only 400 calories per serving, with a total of 28 grams of protein and 26 grams of carbohydrates per serving. If you share a household with other Buffalo wing lovers, you might want to order extras of this particular meal so you don't have to share.

Cheesy Mexican-Style Beef & Riced Cauliflower

As far as I'm concerned, no meal plan is complete without at least one Mexican entree in the mix (if not two or three). Luckily, the Cheesy Mexican-Style Beef & Riced Cauliflower meal was exactly what I was looking for when that particular craving hit. The shredded beef brisket is generously sauced with a guajillo chile pepper sauce and topped with plenty of melted Monterey Jack cheese to satisfy the cheese lovers present. Served over riced cauliflower and studded with pickled jalapeños, this dish is reminiscent of your favorite burrito bowl. 

Since this meal skips the tortilla, it's one of the gluten-free options available on the Prepared & Ready menu. It has 510 calories, with 29 grams of protein, 39 grams of fat, and only 11 grams of carbohydrates. Additionally, the Cheesy Mexican-Style Beef & Riced Cauliflower meal also has about 3.9 milligrams of iron and 430 milligrams of calcium, for those looking to boost those nutrients in their diet.

Cheesy Pesto Chicken with Farro

Since farro — a chewy, nutty form of wheat — isn't something I normally cook at home, this was a nice change of pace from my usual meal rotation. Not only that, but the chicken breast was impressively juicy, fully cooked, and a great compliment to the basil pesto that was served with it. The zucchini, onions, and peppers tasted like they were fresh off the grill with a sweet crunch that paired nicely with the farro. I had no problem imagining I was having dinner in the Italian Riviera for the short time it took to inhale this dish.

I enjoyed this particular meal for dinner, but would gladly have it for lunch as well. I especially love that the Italian-style cheese blend includes a combination of mozzarella, parmesan, asiago, montamore, and fontina cheeses, which really spoke to my cheese-loving soul. What's more, this particular meal option is one of the higher protein choices, with 33 grams of protein, 460 calories, 21 grams of fat, and 33 grams of carbohydrates per serving. Add on a bottle of Pellegrino, prosecco, or another sort of sparkling beverage, and you're all set.

How to order Blue Apron Prepared & Ready meals

Each week, you can make a selection of four, six, eight, or 10 Prepared & Ready meals for delivery from a lineup of 26 options, starting at $9.99 per meal. The menus change slightly every week to help keep things fresh, but you might notice that some of the more popular dishes cycle through the rotation more regularly. Regardless which meals you select, you can rest assured that your protein will be perfectly cooked each time and the flavor will be balanced with the accompanying sauces and sides.

Additionally, you have the option to filter the meals by a variety of preferences, including keto-friendly options, meals under 600 calories, meals with 30 grams of protein (or more), and carb-conscious options with 30 grams of carbohydrates or less. Each package is labeled with a "Use By" date since each meal is freshly prepared and is not frozen. If you already get meal kits delivered through Blue Apron, you can still try the new Prepared & Ready meals and add-ons without disrupting your normal order. New customers can also try the meals with up to 30% off their first five weeks of orders.

Final Verdict: These high quality instant meals are worth ordering

Ultimately, I was impressed with Blue Apron's new line of Prepared & Ready meals and found that the caliber of meals was on par with what I've come to expect from the brand's meal kits. Each one was better than anything I'd find in the freezer aisle at the grocery store. On several nights, the meals were a welcome relief when I didn't feel like cooking and were also great choices for quick and easy lunches.

Since I live in a smaller household, it was easy enough to heat one or two meals at a time, and it turned out that having a variety of meals to choose from was great on nights when my partner and I were in the mood for different cuisines. Cooking for two people usually means a stack of leftovers in the fridge, which are often less attractive the next day. But with these meals, no leftovers went to waste, and no refrigerator space was taken up by stacks of the previous day's to-go containers. The price of the meals is worth it, especially compared to the cost of dining or ordering out, and the relief of having a deliciously prepared meal ready to eat on nights when I need it most is priceless.