Does anyone remember waaaaaaaaay back in September when I had ambitions to create easy weeknight meals for when you come home and want to eat your microwave because you’re so damn hungry (#hangrymeals)? Well, being a workin’ woman who only occasionally remembers to shop for groceries and things, I’ve only come up with a few since then. I have also discovered Blue Apron. They take the shopping and meal prep out of the equation, so all you have to do is chop, sauté and season your way to a homemade dinner. No meal planning. No aimless wandering in the grocery store (am I the only person who tries to plan for the week and ends up coming home with six candles and a jar of peanut butter?). Drop your things at the door and remember that cooking can be enjoyable.
I recently got a chance to sample three meals from Blue Apron. The sign-up process is simple, which I appreciate (I get distracted when I see too many buttons and brightly colored objects): you choose meat- or plant-based meals, how many people you’ll be cooking for, and when you’d like them delivered. It costs $9.99 per person, which is cheaper than going out and you have the fun of preparing something adventurous at home. I found myself waiting all week for the package to arrive because A) I love getting mail B) I love eating food, so getting a box full of food and recipes was like whatever the Flying Spaghetti Monster equivalent of Christmas is.
When the box arrived, I tore it apart and rolled around in the pile of ingredients on my kitchen floor. I spent three hours deciding which to make first. I decided the eggplant tagine would do, so I cooked it all up in under 30 minutes (whole wheat couscous and a medley of vegetables with a Has El Ranout spice mix, dates, olives, CHICKPEAS, and toasted almonds). Obviously anything with chickpeas wins my heart. I am not an eggplant lover (I’m generally an avid eggplant hater, actually), and I loved this dish. The mix of ingredients was somewhat exotic and was mostly stuff I’d never pick out myself in a grocery store. Score.
The next day I tried the Vietnamese Bun Cha. This was the most similar to what I usually make (throw a bunch of veggies together, fry tofu, coat in some sauce that involves soy sauce), but had much more grace and some cool ingredients like Thai basil and a Bird’s Eye Chile.
My last precious Blue Apron meal was mole-mushroom tacos with kale. The ingredients were fresh and came with pepitas and lime juice, which were nice touches and amped up the flavor significantly. I have to admit that this was my least favorite of the three meals, but I think that’s because when I eat tacos my general love for kale and anything green goes out the window (I want something big and greasy and oozing salsa, which this was not). Still, it was tasty and Ben and I gobbled the tacos up faster than you can say heartburn.
The first 30 people who sign up using the Veganizzm code can get two free meals from Blue Apron! I recommend checking them out (they’ll spice up your mid-week meal routine) or giving a gift box for the holidays.
Click HERE to redeem your two free mealz.
In the mean time, if you’re salivating over that Seared Tofu Bun Cha, here is the recipe from Blue Apron (serves 2!):
- 1 14-Ounce Package Extra Firm Tofu
- 6 Ounces Vermicelli Rice Noodles
- 2 Ounces Bean Sprouts
- 1 Carrot
- ¾ Pound Red Cabbage
- 1 Bunch Mint
- 1 Bunch Thai Basil
- 3 Tablespoons Peanuts
- 1 Lime
- 1 Tablespoon Coconut Palm Sugar
- 1 Bird’s Eye Chile
- ¼ Cup Golden Mountain Sauce
1. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Cube the tofu. Peel and cut the carrot into thin matchsticks. Remove and discard the core of the cabbage; thinly slice the cabbage leaves. Thinly slice the bird’s eye chile into rounds; remove the seeds. (For a less spicy dish, discard half the chile.) Pick the mint and Thai basil leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Roughly chop the peanuts. Using a peeler, remove the rind of the lime, avoiding the pith; mince to get 2 teaspoons of zest. Quarter the lime.2. In a medium bowl, combine the golden mountain sauce, coconut palm sugar, bird’s eye chile, lime zest and the juice of all 4 lime wedges; whisk until thoroughly combined and the sugar has dissolved.
3. In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the tofu and cook, flipping occasionally, 7 to 9 minutes, or until evenly browned. Transfer to a bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon of the bun cha sauce; season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
4. While the tofu cooks, add the noodles to the pot of boiling water. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and rinse under cold water for 30 seconds to 1 minute to stop the cooking process.
5. In a large bowl, combine the cooked noodles, carrot, cabbage and remaining bun cha sauce; season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently to mix.
6. Divide the noodle salad between 2 dishes. Top each with half the cooked tofuand half the bean sprouts. Garnish with the Thai basil, mint and peanuts. Enjoy!