We recently ordered a box from Green Chef so we could try it out and give you an analysis of Green Chef vs Blue Apron. We ordered the omnivore box, which offers a mix of vegetarian and meaty dishes. Here’s what we thought of each dish:
Veggie Thai Curry
This was so delicious that I immediately made a huge batch of it again a few days later. Creamy coconut milk spiced with a yellow curry blend, filled with a rainbow of healthy veggies, and perfectly finished with black quinoa for a boost of satiating protein. It only took us a total of 36 minutes to whip this up on a lunch break, and both of us were beyond replete afterwards.
Rosemary Sirloin Steak
This Green Chef’s nod to Mother’s Day, and though we aren’t yet parents, it made for an extra special dining experience. I felt like this meal was an incredible value… a similar meal out would have cost upwards of $20 a plate. We turned cooking into a romantic in-home date and even cracked a nice bottle of wine to accompany. The flavors were truly incredible, and neither of us could finish our whole plate so we were happy to have leftovers the next day.
Chicken Mole Chilaquiles
Being from Texas, I’ve had my fair share of Tex-Mex cuisine over the years, but have never ventured to try chilaquiles. While these took closer to an hour to prep, which was much longer than the other 2 recipes we tried, the result was worth the wait. Most of the delay was in waiting for the dish to simmer, during which time I was able to clean up the kitchen a bit, so time wasn’t entirely wasted. Overall, I loved the fresh twist on Mexican cuisine, with red bell pepper, onions, zucchini and a splash of lime juice combined with a pop from the adobo-marinated chicken.
What Green Chef Does Better
Green Chef is a proud supporter of Meals on Wheels, a nationwide program that provides meal delivery to nearly 2.5 million senior citizens. Green Chef will donate on your behalf when you #greenchefgives on social media.
You pay a premium for the Green Chef subscription, because all of the ingredients, from the quinoa to the limes are certified organic. This means that all food must be up to snuff with the USDA organic standards and must be evaluated by an accredited agency. California Certified Organic Farmers is one such agency; it is the entity that inspects all of the Green Chef foods and gives its stamp of approval. While we didn’t notice a huge difference in taste of the ingredients, it was nice knowing that what we were putting in our bodies was pesticide, fertilizer, and GMO free. Some people are willing to pay a premium for that peace of mind, and others aren’t.
Overall, the Green Chef portions seemed huge compared to Blue Apron’s, and are just a tad higher in calories. We had leftovers with both of the Rosemary Sirloin Steak and the Chicken Mole Chilaquiles, that made for a nice lunch serving the next day. There have been several times with Blue Apron where we felt hungry after eating (mind you, we weigh 110 and 150 pounds, so it’s not like we’re large people). We’ve always wondered why Blue Apron doesn’t throw in some extra filler in the form of starch, i.e. give two potatoes instead of just one. Perhaps the generous portion sizes offered by Green Chef make it worth spending a bit more on a Green Chef subscription.
Here’s the big winner. We try to stick with a mostly paleo diet (we’re all human when pizza gets the better of us), but Blue Apron doesn’t accommodate paleo or gluten-free diets — even its vegetarian meal kit selection provides limited options. Both meal plans let you pick your protein options: beef, chicken, fish, etc. or no meat at all, but only Green Chef offers menus to specifically cater to vegetarian, paleo, and gluten-free diets. Additionally, if you’re a carnivore, you can choose to either receive a mix of meat and veggie entrees, or upgrade to have meat with every meal. The more extensive menu options do, however, come with a price tag…see more on that below.
Labeling the Products
Each recipe card is themed with a different color. Ours were green, red, and orange. The corresponding ingredients all wore a matching sticker so it was easy to quickly separate the ingredients for one meal from another.
Ease of Prep
Green Chef actually does some of the hard work for you! While they still recommend that you wash any whole produce, some of the ingredients, like the ginger, garlic, potatoes, and carrots in the Veggie Thai Curry we tried, were already rinsed and pre-cut. This saved us considerable time during the prep process. Overall, the prep and cooking seemed to go faster than with Blue Apron, averaging 43 minutes per meal. A lot of meals I’ve made with Blue Apron take upwards of an hour.
What Blue Apron Does Better
Blue Apron is much cheaper. Here’s a comparison of the two services:
Let’s compare apples to apples. Blue Apron’s plan would fall under Green Chef’s “carnivore” category, because to my knowledge, you can always select three meats if you wish. If you were to order Blue Apron every week for a year, you’d pay a grand total of $3,116.88. With Green Chef, the same weekly delivery would cost you over $1500 more, or $4676.88! I don’t know about you, but to me $1500 is a lot of money! That’s a mortgage payment or a fun long weekend getaway or a shopping spree…
Love that Blue Apron thought to fully complete the dining experience with its wine subscription. If I just had bookoos of money, I’d order a pairing for every meal, but the hubs put his foot down. Our current wine selection comes in a different kind of box ;).
In terms of packaging, the two services both have a lot of plastic cups, bags, and boxes to deal with. Both, of course, offer entirely recyclable packages, but I think Blue Apron does this a tiny bit better because their packaging is less bulky. The Green Chef box is bigger and all the ingredients come bundled inside of a giant piece of jute insulation. Green Chef recommends composting this jute insulation, which is an ambitious ideal for people who have nowhere to compost, like us renters. We currently have to haul all of our own trash and recycling to the landfill ourselves, so all the extra packaging is a pain. If recycling in your area isn’t an option, Blue Apron will actually pay the shipping for you to return 2 deliveries’ worth of packaging so they can recycle it for you. No such luck with Green Chef.
The recipe cards provided by Blue Apron have all the ingredients, with measurements, so that you can easily remake the recipe. Green Chef’s cards list the ingredients, but leave out measurements. If you want to make the meal again, you have to visit their website and find the recipe.
Just like with Blue Apron, the Green Chef sign-up process is uncomplicated and fast. However, I do see two short-comings with Green Chef:
- Skipping meals: With Green Chef, anytime you want to skip the week’s delivery, you can only do so by postponing a week. So I got frustrated when I was trying to skip several weeks in a row, because it just kept pushing it back a week at a time. With Blue Apron, it’s really easy to skip an entire month by simply clicking “skip” on each date.
- Recipes: Back to the recipe cards…We loved the Veggie Thai Curry we made, and really wanted to make it again, so I hopped online like the card said to track down the recipe. It says, “View complete recipes in your Order History or at greenchef.com/menu.” I first went to my Order History, nothing there, like I never even got a delivery. In the end, I found it by going to greenchef.com/menu and scrolling back through previous menus, but I’d say there’s a glitch in the system that they need to fix.
Who wins? If I had an endless budget, I would probably go with Green Chef and order their paleo box every week, because it’s compatible with our lifestyle, it’s all organic, and the faster prep times are a huge plus. That said, hubs just informed me that money doesn’t just grow on trees, so we might be sticking with Blue Apron for now.