How To Core a Tomato

Tomatoes are the base of some of our favorite dishes: spicy salsas, sweet marinara sauces, and summery Caprese salads. Pretty much nothing beats a perfectly in season summer tomato, but even in the winter we’ll search out vine-ripened and cherry tomatoes to get our fix.

sweet summer tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes are delicate enough to be eaten whole, but larger tomato varieties, like beefsteak or Roma tomatoes, have a fibrous core at the top of the tomato that should be removed before using it in a recipe. It won’t hurt you, but it has an unpleasant woody texture. This core can be tough to remove with a regular kitchen knife, but a paring knife is the perfect tool for the job.

Remove the core from a tomato

Step 1: Choose a Ripe Tomato

Let’s not waste our efforts on sub-par fruits (yes, it’s a fruit). Ripe tomatoes are easier to work with and will have a sweeter flavor. Look for a tomato that is plump and firm to the touch, but not too hard.

Step 2: Cut Off the Stem

If the stem is still attached, pull it away or remove it with a knife. Hold the tomato steady with one hand and use the paring knife to cut around the stem, making a small circular cut. Then, gently lift the stem off the tomato and discard it.

Step 3: Make a Small Incision

Holding the paring knife by the back of the blade, make a small incision at the top of the tomato where the stem was removed. Be careful not to cut too deep, as you only want to cut through the skin and not the flesh of the tomato.

Step 4: Remove the Core

Once you have made the incision, insert the tip of the paring knife into the tomato and gently twist it to create a small hole. Then, insert the knife a little deeper and twist it again. Continue this process, working your way around the core of the tomato, until you have removed the entire top part of the core.

Watch our chef demonstrate this technique below, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more cooking videos.

11 Easy Fried Rice Recipes

Fried rice is a dish that we turn to again and again, and for good reason. It’s delicious, easy to make, and versatile enough to accommodate a wide variety of ingredients. Fried rice is the perfect dish to throw together on nights when you don’t quite feel like cooking. Try these easy fried rice recipes to get inspired.

Tips for making the best fried rice

  1. Use cold, leftover rice: The key to making good fried rice is using cold, leftover rice. Freshly cooked rice is too soft and moist, which can result in soggy fried rice. Leftover rice that has been refrigerated for a day or two has dried out slightly, making it easier to fry and resulting in a better texture.
  2. Don’t overcrowd the pan: To ensure that your rice gets crispy and caramelized, make sure not to overcrowd the pan. If the pan is too full, the rice will steam instead of fry, creating a mushy texture. Cook the rice in batches if necessary, and remove it from the pan before adding more ingredients.
  3. Use high heat: To get the best texture and flavor in, use high heat. This helps to caramelize the ingredients and gives the dish that signature smoky flavor. Just be sure to keep an eye on the rice and stir it frequently to prevent it from burning.

Easy fried rice recipes we love

Pancetta & Egg Fried Rice with Spinach, Scallions & Spicy Mayo

fried rice with spinach

Orange Salmon & Fried Rice with Mushrooms & Bok Choy

Vegetable Fried Rice with Togarashi Peanuts

easy fried rice recipes with peanuts

Broccoli, Carrot, & Spicy Pepper Fried Rice

fried rice with fried egg

Chicken Fried Rice with Green Beans, Cabbage & Peanuts

chicken fried rice with scallions

Roast Pork & Cumin Sauce with Vegetable Fried Rice

roast cumin pork

Togarashi Shrimp & Vegetable Fried Rice

togarashi shrimp

Hibachi-Style Shrimp Fried Rice

shrimp fried rice

Prosciutto Fried Rice with Sesame Snow Peas & Bok Choy

Yellow Curry Fried Rice with Mushrooms & Bell Pepper

Sweet Chili-Glazed Pork with Vegetable Fried Rice

If you follow the tips and recipes above, your fried rice turns will turn out perfectly every time.

How to Cook with Lemongrass

Lemongrass is a herb that has been used in Southeast Asian cuisine for centuries. The plant is native to Thailand, Vietnam, and India and has a citrusy aroma that adds a refreshing flavor to rice or noodle dishes. Learn how to cook with lemongrass and bring this beautiful flavor to your kitchen.

How to cut lemongrass:

The tough outer leaves of lemongrass are inedible, so they need to be removed. To cut lemongrass, you’ll need a sharp knife and a cutting board. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Start by trimming off the root end of the stalk, leaving about 2 inches of the bulbous base intact.
  2. Cut off the top portion of the lemongrass, about 2-3 inches from the tip of the stalk.
  3. Remove the tough outer layers of the lemongrass by gently peeling them away with your fingers or a knife until you reach the softer, pale-yellow interior layers.
  4. Once you’ve peeled away the tough outer layers, you can slice the lemongrass into thin rounds or chop it into small pieces for use in recipes.

How to cook with lemongrass

Lemongrass is a versatile herb that can be used in a variety of dishes. Here are some common ways to use it in your cooking:

  1. Infuse it in soups and broths: Add sliced lemongrass to your chicken or vegetable broth to add a citrusy flavor to your soups and stews.
  2. Use it in marinades and dressings: Lemongrass can be combined with other ingredients like garlic, ginger, and soy sauce to create a flavorful marinade for meats or a zesty dressing for salads.
  3. Add it to curries and stir-fries: Lemongrass pairs well with coconut milk, curry paste, and vegetables in Thai and Vietnamese curries. You can also use it in stir-fries with meats or tofu.
  4. Brew it into tea: Lemongrass tea is a popular beverage in Southeast Asia and is said to have a calming effect on the body. To make lemongrass tea, steep sliced lemongrass in hot water for several minutes.

Knowing how to properly cut lemongrass and incorporating it into your cooking can elevate your meals and introduce new flavors to your palate.

Try some of our favorite recipes with lemongrass

Coconut-Poached Tofu with Lemongrass and Red Curry

This rich, lightly spicy soup, combines lemongrass and red curry to create a flavorful broth.

lemongrass tofu stew

Lemongrass & Ginger Turkey Burgers

These turkey burgers use two traditional Asian aromatics, ginger and lemongrass, to create a patty with a bright and citrusy flavor profile.

burgers with lemongrass

Chilled Lemongrass Beef & Noodles with Marinated Carrots & Cucumber

This summer-friendly cold noodle dish highlights bright, citrusy lemongrass, cooked alongside tender beef and mixed with springy lo mein noodles and crisp veggies.

chilled noodles with lemongrass

Find more recipes like these in the Blue Apron cookbook.

Salad Greens: Our Favorite Types & How To Use Them

Types of Lettuce for Salad

We’re never far from a salad craving here at Blue Apron. Whether we’re aiming to highlight seasonal ingredients or balance out a rich meal, a bowl of crisp greens beckons us. If you’re a salad fiend (or you want to be one), this is your moment to discover new types of lettuce. Here are a few that we love, and the salads we adore making with them. Plus, how to make any salad dressing from scratch.

9 Common Types of Salad Greens

Green Leaf or Red Leaf Lettuce
These two types of lettuce are packed with bright leafy flavor. They arrive in robust heads, and the leaves are never papery. We especially love how all the nooks and crannies of the ruffled leaves hold onto whatever delicious dressing we’ve whipped up. We love tossing green leaf lettuce with seasonal ingredients, as in this Chopped Salad with Sweet Potato, Apple, and Blue Cheese, or using them in place of bread in our Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps.

Arugula has a peppery bite to its lacy and delicate leaves. That edge makes it a great candidate for the simplest-ever salads–just greens and vinaigrette–and, apparently, irresistible to yuppies in the 1990s. That history aside, we love to pile the greens atop fresh pizza, just as they do in Italy.

Napa Cabbage
Napa cabbage, with its crinkly leaves and elongated shape, has a milder and somewhat sweeter flavor than regular green cabbage and is a nice crunchy change of pace from your regular leafy green. It’s the main event in many Asian salads, a move we borrow in our Chopped Napa Cabbage Salad with Creamy Ginger Lime Dressing.

Bibb, Butter, or Boston Lettuce
This lettuce, which goes by any of the above B-prefaced names, has a buttery yet crisp texture. There’s a nice crunch when you bite in, followed by near melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. We love to pair Bibb/Butter/Boston with more delicate mains, like Shakshouka or Mushroom-Lettuce-Tomato Sandwiches

Frisee & Chicory
Frisee and chicory are similar greens, both spiky and a little bitter, and, as a result, ultra nutritious. As with escarole, we like to pair these two greens with stronger, heartier ingredients. They may look delicate, but they can stand up to beef, warm goat cheese, and purple potatoes.

Escarole is a hearty green with a bitter flavor whose strong leaves stand up to any number of full-bodied ingredients, like bacon or strong cheeses. We especially adore it combined with warm ingredients, as in this Cannellini Bean & Escarole Salad with Crispy Potatoes; the crispy potatoes wilt the greens, making them even more enjoyable to eat.

The cool crunch of Romaine makes it a favorite for light, summery salads. It’s also the go-to for the traditional Caesar, since it’s a perfect contrast to the creamy, cheesy dressing. We also use the likable lettuce as the base for our Baby Vegetable Nicoise.

No lettuce list would be complete without cool, crunchy iceberg lettuce. Though it lacks the nutritional value of a red leaf or an arugula, we’d argue that it makes up for that with old-school charm. Paired with a pizza, it makes a brings in refreshing crunch. Plus, it keeps for a while in the fridge, meaning you’ll always have a vegetable on hand.

Wholesome baby spinach salads were all the rage in the first decade of the 2000s, often topped with everything from sweet fruit to crunchy nuts. Spinach has an earthy attitude and, like escarole, is particularly awesome beneath warm toppings (it almost melts beneath a steak). Anyway, there’s a reason that food trends happen, and this is one we’d like to continue, especially when we pair the green with strawberries, almonds, and a balsamic vinaigrette as in our Flank Steak with Strawberry-Spinach Salad

Salads aren’t just for summer! Watch the video below to see how Blue Apron chef Lili Dagan creates three bountiful salads using seasonal winter produce.

Now that you love these types of lettuce as much as we do, it’s time to get cooking!

What is High-Volume Eating? 

high-volume salad

The diet industry is worth billions. Diet plans flood our inboxes and social media feeds every day. Bookstores and grocery store aisles are filled with diet products and “quick fix” solutions. It seems like every day we hear of a new diet that promises results. With so much information out there, it can be hard to separate fad diets from tried-and-true methods of healthy eating. Are you wondering if high-volume eating is right for you? The key thing to remember is that no one diet fits all. The ideal plan is based on sound science and your personal health journey. 

What is high-volume eating? 

High-volume eating is not necessarily new, but it’s a popular topic for health influencers. It focuses on the types of food you consume, rather than offering a strict meal plan. This style of eating was cultivated by Barbara Rolls, a nutrition professor from Penn State University, who coined the term “Volumetrics.”

What is caloric density? 

High-volume eating emphasizes consuming foods with low caloric density.  On a per gram basis, foods provide different macronutrient profiles, meaning the calories from protein, carbohydrate, and fat. One gram of cabbage will contain fewer calories than one gram of oil, even though it’s the same weight of food. Foods with low caloric density usually have a higher water and fiber content. This helps increase the feeling of satiety (feeling full). High-volume eating encourages followers to stay away from consumption of calorically dense foods, which often have higher levels of nutrients of public health concern, such as saturated fat and added sugar.

The science supporting this way of eating suggests that foods high in fat on a per gram basis typically have a lower volume. Why? Because compared to proteins or carbohydrates, fat contains more than twice the calories per gram.

Why does volume matter? 

Picture your empty stomach as a bowl. Now fill that bow with 200 calories of energy and calorie dense apple juice. It doesn’t fill much space. Now picture filling it with 200 calories of fiber-packed apples. The apples fill up more space, and will leave you feeling more full.

As a Registered Dietitian, appreciate how his way of eating  focuses on the positive. High-volume eating prioritizes eating filling foods like fruits and vegetables to help increase satiety and fullness while minimizing calorie intake.  By choosing foods with higher volume and lower caloric density, this method also allows for larger portions. That said, it is important to also seek out lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy, which may fall into the moderate volume category, to round out your diet. Diversity and understanding your dietary needs are key when it comes to a healthy diet.

High-Volume FoodsLow-Volume Foods
ZucchiniFatty cuts of meat
CucumbersMaple syrup

This post was written by Heather Sachs. Heather is a Registered Dietitian with a Masters degree in Clinical Nutrition. She has more than 15 years of experience combining her knowledge in food, nutrition, and regulatory affairs as well as translating science into impactful brand communication. Heather is currently Blue Apron’s Director of Regulatory Affairs.

Winter Tomatoes: Finding & Cooking Them

For tomato lovers, August is a sacred month—it’s the magical time of year when the farmer’s market overflows with ripe, juicy, heirloom tomatoes. These in-season beauties are delicious on their own, or as the star of a simple tomato sandwich. In the winter months, the selection is slimmer. Out of season tomatoes can pale, watery, and flavorless. Don’t despair just yet! The secret to how to find good tomatoes in the winter lies in plain sight. 

good winter tomatoes

Smaller tomatoes don’t need as many resources to ripen. They also have a lower water content, so they’re less likely to taste, well, watery. In the winter months, the smaller the better. Look for cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes. If you can find them, vine-on cherry tomatoes will be the best bet. Once you get your tomatoes home, be sure to store them properly to preserve flavor

Even in the depths of winter, cherry tomatoes will bring bright flavor to salads, pastas and grain bowls. These are some of our favorite tomato recipes to make all year long. 

Cherry tomato recipes

Spicy Beef Tacos with Cherry Tomato Salsa & Creamy Corn

beef and tomato tacos

These tacos feature jalapeños two exciting ways: fresh, in a simple salsa (your cherry tomatoes may be red or yellow), and dried, in the chipotle paste used to season the beef. Chipotles are smoked, dried red jalapeños, and their bold, savory flavor complements the beef’s richness. 

Salsa Verde Shrimp & Cavatappi Pasta with Tomatoes & Zucchini

shrimp and tomato pasta

Cavatappi pasta provides a perfect complement to the bright flavors and textures of sautéed shrimp and zucchini in this easy dish. It’s all brought together by a light sauce of mascarpone cheese and our piquant salsa verde.

Crispy Baked Chicken & Honey-Chipotle Sauce with Cilantro Rice & Tomatoes

breaded chicken with tomatoes

You’ll make a delightfully crispy, golden coating for chicken breasts by dredging them in spiced butter and cheesy breadcrumbs before baking in the oven to achieve a golden, crunchy exterior. They’re finished with a drizzle of spicy-sweet chipotle sauce and a topping of dressed tomatoes for welcome freshness and acidity.

Fried Egg & Pesto Grain Bowls with Spinach, Tomatoes & Feta Cheese

egg grain bowl with tomatoes

Kickstart your day with these flavorful breakfast bowls, which feature pesto-dressed farro topped with garlicky spinach, tomatoes, fried eggs, and tangy feta.

Romaine Salad with Mozzarella, Tomatoes & Fig Vinaigrette

tomato romaine salad

This vibrant salad gets deliciously sweet flavor from a simple fig jam and apple cider vinaigrette. It’s perfectly balanced by a bounty of crisp vegetables (romaine, tomatoes, and radishes) and creamy mozzarella.

Italian Chicken & Orzo with Bell Peppers, Tomatoes & Onion

chicken and tomato dinner

Classic Italian ingredients like olives, capers, crushed red pepper, and more come together to make the bright, zesty sauce that mixes into tender orzo pasta. It’s the ideal pairing for chicken seared with sage, oregano, and more Italian-style herbs and spices.

Meatball Pizza with Bell Pepper, Fresh Mozzarella, & Cherry Tomatoes

tomato meatball pizza

Tonight’s pizza is sure to be a household favorite. We’re topping our dough with fresh mozzarella, garlic, and green bell pepper, then baking it to meld those dynamic flavors. To top the pizza just before serving, we’re cooking meatballs—seasoned with classic Italian spices—in a savory sauce made from cherry tomatoes (yours may be red or yellow).

Turkey Piccata Meatballs with Zucchini, Tomatoes & Orzo

tomato turkey rice

In this spin on an Italian-American classic, we’re cooking our turkey meatballs and vegetables in a rich butter sauce that highlights fresh meyer lemon juice, briny capers, and garlic.

One-Pot Chicken & Creamy Spinach Rice with Olives & Marinated Tomatoes

Winter tomato one pot chicken

This wholesome dish features savory-seasoned chicken and rice mixed with creamy mayo, spinach, and roasted red peppers, which all comes together in one pot.

If you know how to find good tomatoes in the winter, you can enjoy the taste of summer all year long.

10 Tasty Taco Recipes for All of Your Dinner Needs

Tacos: they’re not just for Tuesdays. Tacos are a crowd-pleasing dinner any night of the week. Depending on the fillings that you choose, this versatile dish can be meaty or vegetarian. Tacos can be a quick dinner solution or an elaborate feast. Try some of our favorite taco recipes for dinner tonight. If you’re missing a few ingredients, it’s ok to get creative. Tacos are forgiving, you can substitute your favorite proteins or vegetables in almost any recipe.

Flour vs corn tortillas 

Traditionally, tacos should be served on two corn tortillas that have been warmed until soft. Corn tortillas are made from masa, a ground corn flour. They’re naturally gluten-free, and have a delicate corn falvor and a soft bite. Occasionally we like to mix up our taco recipes and flour tortillas, which are made from wheat flour, and are chewier and stretchier than their corn counterparts. 

Taco recipes 

Spicy Beef Tacos with Cherry Tomato Salsa & Creamy Corn

beef taco recipe

These tacos feature jalapeños two exciting ways: fresh, in a simple salsa (your cherry tomatoes may be red or yellow), and dried, in the chipotle paste used to season the beef. Chipotles are smoked, dried red jalapeños, and their bold, savory flavor complements the beef’s richness. To tame the heat, we’re serving it all atop a sweet, creamy layer of sautéed corn stirred together with sour cream, lime zest, and cilantro.

Spicy Chicken Tacos with Poblano Pepper & White Cheddar Cheese

chicken tacos with sweet potatoes

In this recipe, soft flour tortillas are toasted with a layer of melty cheddar cheese, then filled with a duo of sautéed chicken and poblano pepper. They’re perfectly matched by a side of fiery chipotle-roasted sweet potatoes and a bright, cooling lime mayo for dipping.

Steak Tacos with Fresh Tomato Salsa & Lime Sour Cream

steak taco recipe

Packed inside flour tortillas, slices of Mexican-spiced steak and a juicy tomato-jalapeño salsa find cooling contrast from bright lime sour cream, plus a side of zucchini sprinkled with cotija.

Spicy Black Bean & Caramelized Onion Tacos with Roasted Zucchini

vegetarian taco recipe

We’re using sharp cave-aged cheddar to create a melty layer on top of warm flour tortillas—the perfect base for our smoky, spicy, and rich filling. To accompany our tacos, we’re serving a side of roasted zucchini topped with fresh lime juice for a bright, tangy lift.

Cheesy Chicken & Poblano Tacos with Mexican-Spiced Fingerlings

cheesy chicken taco

In this recipe, soft flour tortillas are toasted with a layer of melty cheddar cheese, then filled with a duo of sautéed chicken and poblano pepper—perfectly matched by a side of Mexican-spiced fingerling potatoes and a cooling lime mayo for dipping. 

Veracruz-Style Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro & Lime Sour Cream

shrimp tacos

Veracruz, a Mexican state along the Gulf, is known for its delicious seafood dishes. For tonight’s Veracruz-style tacos, we’re filling soft flour tortillas with sautéed shrimp, marinated in a spicy paste made from smoked, dried jalapeños. Thin-sliced red cabbage and peanuts give the tacos plenty of satisfying crunch, while avocado and sour cream (brightened with a bit of fresh cilantro and lime) help balance the dish’s heat.

Veggie Tacos with Mexican Street Corn

veggie tacos

Tucked inside warm flour tortillas, bites of grilled poblano pepper, onion, and zucchini find cooling contrast from a layer of sour cream. For an easy take on Mexican street corn, or elote, we’re serving these tacos with a side of corn on the cob dressed with creamy lime mayo and tangy cotija cheese

Guajillo Pork Tacos with Smoky Sweet Potatoes & Lime Sour Cream

pork taco recipe

These zesty tacos get a smoky, flavorful boost from our guajillo chile pepper sauce, which we’re using to coat our pork filling as it cooks in the pan and also as a finishing drizzle for the tacos just before serving. We’re serving them alongside roasted sweet potatoes with a lime sour cream dipping sauce.

Mushroom & Potato Tacos with Romaine & Orange Salad

mushroom and potato tacos

For this hearty vegetarian meal, we’re filling soft flour tortillas with mushrooms and potato—seasoned with a zesty, chorizo-inspired blend, then roasted. A pickled pepper relish lends bright flavor to the tacos, all tied together with a creamy sauce seasoned with the same spices. Our side salad of juicy orange and crunchy romaine rounds out the dish.

Korean Pork Tacos with Spicy Red Cabbage Slaw

korean tacos

Tacos make for a quick, easy way to showcase delicious Korean flavors. Our saucy pork filling owes its kick of heat to gochujang, or Korean red chile paste­—which we’re also adding to a kimchi-inspired slaw of crisp red cabbage slaw. Tangy, vinegar-infused sour cream perfectly tempers the spice. (Mixing in a splash of rice vinegar brightens the sour cream and gives it just the right consistency for drizzling over the tacos.)

Leftover tortillas? Try these eight great dinner ideas with tortillas.

Asian-Style Sautéed Aromatics Recipe

If you’ve ordered dishes like Korean Pork & Rice Cakes with Bok Choy or One-Pan Udon Noodle & Spicy Peanut Stir-Fry then you’ve cooked with Blue Apron’s Asian-style sautéed aromatics. 

It might seem like this prepackaged blend is a magical substance that makes every meal delicious, but it’s actually just a mix of common ingredients found in many Asian-inspired meals. We pre-package the mixture to save you cooking time, but if you want to recreate any of these recipes at home, it’s easy to make your own version with a few ingredients and a good knife. 

Chef Lili shows us how to make Asian-Style Sautéed Aromatics

Recipe for Asian-Style Sautéed Aromatics 

  • 3 Tbsps finely chopped peeled ginger, about one 3” piece 
  • 3 Tbsps finely chopped scallions 
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 3 Tbsps neutral oil  

Prep and finely chop the ginger, scallions, and garlic. Use both the white and the green portions of the scallions.  

In a small sauce pot, heat the oil. Add the chopped aromatics, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5-7 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the aromatics are softened.

Use as a base for flavorful stir frys, noodle dishes, and more! 

Here are some of our favorite dishes using Asian-Style sautéed aromatics 

General Tso’s Chicken with Bok Choy & Jasmine Rice

General Tso's Chicken with Asian-Style Sautéed Aromatics 

Try making this classic takeout dish at home. Our recipe features a sweet and tangy sauce, bok choy, and soft jasmine rice. 

Chicken & Wonton Noodle Stir-Fry with Peas, Carrots & Cabbage

Chicken & Wonton Noodle Stir-Fry with asian-style sauteed aromatics

For this comforting stir-fry, we’re making a sweet and savory sauce to coat fresh wonton noodles, tender chicken, and crisp veggies—first cooked with our fragrant blend of sautéed aromatics for a boost of bright flavor.

Sweet & Savory Sesame Chicken with Vegetables & Jasmine Rice

Sweet & Savory Sesame Chicken asian-style sautéed aromatics

Tender chicken, bok choy, and carrots come together in the pan with a simple, flavorful sauce of tahini (a nutty paste made from sesame seeds), sweet hoisin, and ponzu. The fluffy rice soaks up any extra sauce. 

Korean-Style Beef Bowls with Bok Choy & Gochujang Mayo

Korean-Style Beef Bowls with Bok Choy & Gochujang Mayo

A simple drizzle of mayo mixed with gochujang—a savory paste made from chiles and fermented soybeans—deliciously brings together contrasting textures of tender beef, crisp bok choy, and crunchy marinated radishes.

Soy-Glazed Wonton Noodles with Red Cabbage & Soft-Boiled Eggs

Soy-Glazed Wonton Noodles with Red Cabbage & Soft-Boiled Eggs

In this quick-cooking dish, delightfully chewy wonton noodles and a duo of vibrant veggies are tossed with an umami-filled combination of black bean sauce, sweet chili sauce, and soy glaze. A rich soft-boiled egg served on top lends even more savory flavor to the noodles.

Hoisin Pork & Gochujang Rice Bowls with Mushrooms, Radishes & Marinated Cucumbers

Hoisin Pork & Gochujang Rice Bowls with Mushrooms, Radishes & Marinated Cucumbers

For these bowls, we’re mixing fluffy white rice with spicy gochujang, then topping it off with pork cooked with lightly sweet hoisin sauce. Crispy marinated radishes and cucumbers provide delightful cooling contrast.

Find more recipes like these with the online Blue Apron Cookbook.

8 Fall Flavors You’ll Want To Try

Fall is harvest season. Each year, an abundance of delicious fruits and vegetables hits the stands at grocery stores and farmers’ markets. Working with seasonal fall aromatics is one of the best ways to create a flavorful meal.

The following are some of our favorite heirloom and specialty varieties. The best place to find them is at your local farmers’ market, or you can grow them. The seeds are available at seed saver websites.

What are aromatics?

Aromatics are vegetables and herbs that can add rich, deep flavors to your meals. Common aromatics include onions, garlic, and ginger. Many recipes start by sautéing aromatics to create a base flavor profile for your dish.

Seasonal fall aromatics

Garlic: The first ingredient in hundreds of Blue Apron dinners, spicy garlic is a powerful aromatic ingredient. Multiple varieties, including black garlic and Italian purple garlic, are in season in the fall.

fall aromatic fennel

Bronze Fennel: Often used as an ornamental plant. Its dull golden leaves and bulb can be used much in the same way as green fennel. Try fennel in pasta dishes or on top of a pizza.


Celery: Modern celery is derivative of wild celery that has been carefully cultivated to be tender and crisp. This ancient vegetable has been mentioned as far back as Homer’s Iliad. Celery is a key ingredient in mirepoix and sofrito, the essential aromatic bases of French and Italian cuisine.


Celeriac: The edible root of certain varieties. Distinct, earthy, yet crisp flavor. Can be eaten both raw and cooked. 

fennel pollen

Fennel Pollen: A fine powder found in the flowers of the fennel plant. Intensely aromatic when heated.

leeks are a fall aromatic

Leeks: Leeks are a type of onion characterized by bundled cylinders of tightly packed leaves. Leeks have been grown in Mesopotamia since at least 2000 B.C.E.

fall aromatic lovage

Lovage: Perennial herb. In Old English, called “love-ache.” Herbaceous rosettes of leaves. Very strong and reminiscent of celery, but more nuanced and floral. 

Red Celery: Long considered a “gentleman’s vegetable.” Grown in the U.S. since the 18th Century. (At first, only in the gardens of the well-to-do.)

Craving more seasonal produce? Learn more about the types of pears in season this fall.

10 Types of Squash & Pumpkins

types of pumpkins

A pumpkin probably calls a specific image to mind: a large, orange orb, with a green stem. In reality, there are many different types of pumpkin and squash. Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall all have their own unique varieties. They’re all members of the same family, which includes an incredible assortment of culinary fruits and veggies, including gourds, cucumbers and even watermelons! Squash are a large and special part of that family. There are four basic species of squash. But, even within each species, there are radically different varieties.

For instance, pumpkins and zucchini are technically the same species, even though they ripen at different times of the year and look completely different. The real difference has to do with their maturity. Zucchini, and most other “summer squash,” have thin skins and very small, tender seeds. They’re perfectly ripe in summer—and juicy with summer rain. 

The pumpkin is a completely different story. Though pumpkins grow best in the summer, they aren’t ready for harvest until fall. They have thick skins and mature seeds (which are also called “pepitas” and have a distinct flavor). Pumpkins, instead of soaking up water and using it to create a tender fruit, use it to grow large, sturdy, and hearty enough to survive cooler weather. They mature slowly and aren’t ready to be picked until autumn. 

Put it simply, fall squash don’t mind waiting. And it’s absolutely worth the wait. The recipes in this chapter take full advantage of fall’s hearty squash (seeds, too).

What’s the difference between a squash and a pumpkin?

The difference between a squash and a pumpkin is largely social. It’s fair game to call any squash with a hard shell a pumpkin (no offense to zucchini). 

What’s the difference between a gourd and a pumpkin?

Gourds have a hollow, dried-out shell, and are primarily grown for ornamentation. Most types of pumpkin have thinner skin and edible flesh. They are typically grown and harvested to eat, although some varieties are tastier than others. 

Types of pumpkin and hard squash 

Acorn Squash

acorn squash

Named for its acorn-like shape. Ripens in late fall. Produces edible flowers. 

Blue Hubbard Squash

Blue Hubbard Squash

An especially durable variety. First advertised in the U.S. in the 1850s.

Butternut Squash

butternut squash

Versatile, diverse. One of the most popular culinary squashes. Developed in Massachusetts in the 1940s.  We love it in everything from pie to pasta.

Delicata Squash

delicata squash

An heirloom variety introduced by a New York City seed company. Delicate flesh makes it hard transport on a large scale. Mainly available from small-scale, local farms. 

Kobocha Squash

kobocha pumpkin squash

Tastes and cooks like a cross between sweet potatoes and pumpkins. Often used in tempuras. Brought to Cambodia by the Portuguese. 

Red October Pumpkin

red october squash

Bright red and teardrop shaped. Nutty and mild. Best used simply.

Sugar Pumpkin

sugar pumpkin

A smaller version of the large, decorative pumpkin. Harvested early, just after they turn orange. Higher concentrations of sugar and a creamier, smoother texture.

Spaghetti Squash

Mellow, nutty. When cooked, its flesh can be separated into long strands that resemble noodles. Introduced to the American market from Asia in the 1930s.

Sweet Dumpling Squash

sweet dumpling pumpkin squash

Has a three-month maturation period and needs direct sunlight to mature. Grows all summer, soaking up light. Not ripe until mid-fall. Try baking this cute little squash whole.

Tardiva de Napoli

An Italian variety. “Tardivo” literally translates to “late.” Named for its late ripening period. Certain cabbages with similar characteristics share the name. 

Can’t get enough squash? Learn more about our new 898 squash.

Vegetarian Thanksgiving: 3 Tips for a Hearty Dinner

vegetarian thanksgiving

Let’s be honest: Turkey has never been the star of the holiday table. You can create a satisfying vegetarian Thanksgiving meal that’s bursting with fall flavors without a bird in sight. Follow these tips for a plant-based special occasion meal that everyone will love. 

Tip 1: Start with quality produce 

If you start out with delicious produce and flavorful extras, you’ll end up with a meal to be thankful for. Lean into the flavors of fall with hearty vegetables like delicata squash and Brussels sprouts. Add a pop of brightness with seasonal citrus. Nuts and seeds, like pepitas and almonds, add texture and richness that enhance roasted flavors. 

salad and pie

Tip 2: Embrace indulgence 

Being a vegetarian doesn’t mean that you only eat vegetables. Thanksgiving is the time to bring in comfort food. We’re talking carbs, cheese, and everything rich. Our favorite vegetarian Thanksgiving main is essentially a dressed-up mac and cheese. This year we’re serving a Three-Cheese Cascatelli Pasta Bake with Mushrooms, Spinach & Truffle Breadcrumbs. A decadent mix of cheeses makes this dish a little indulgent—perfect for a holiday meal. 

vegetarian thanksgiving main

Tip 3: Bring on the umami 

Savory, rich umami flavor can be a little hard to find in a vegetarian diet. It’s naturally present in meats and fish, but you have to look a little harder in the plant-based world. Mushrooms, including truffle zest, are a natural umami bomb. We’re using truffle zest to add a punch of flavor to our vegetarian main dish. Roasting vegetables is also a great way to enhance their savory flavor. A little dark brown caramelization will bring rich complexity to any dish. 

fall vegetables

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menu

Wondering what to serve instead of a turkey? Here’s what’s on our table this year. 

  • Three-Cheese Cascatelli Pasta Bake with Mushrooms, Spinach & Truffle Breadcrumbs
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Calabrian Brown Butter Vinaigrette & Walnuts
  • Arugula & Orange Salad with Pistachios & Creamy Date Dressing
  • Smoky Delicata Squash with Pepitas & Almonds
  • Chocolate Mousse Pie with Whipped Cream & Candied Peanuts

The Blue Apron vegetarian holiday box will be available to ship starting November 7th. Stay up to date here.

What Does ‘Healthy’ Mean to You?

This post was written by Heather Sachs. Heather is a Registered Dietitian with a Masters degree in Clinical Nutrition. She has more than 15 years of experience combining her knowledge in food, nutrition, and regulatory affairs as well as translating science into impactful brand communication. Heather is currently Blue Apron’s Director of Regulatory Affairs. 

In September 2022, Registered Dietitian’s around The United States received a long overdue gift. Following the industry’s 2015 challenge of the definition of the term healthy and subsequent comment period, FDA finally issued its proposed definition of the term Healthy when used as a claim on food packaging.

The goal of this new definition is to better align the term healthy with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, based on current science as well as the updated nutrition facts label.

Under this proposed definition, products may be labeled as “healthy” if they contain meaningful amounts of food from at least one of the food groups or subgroups recommended by the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs). (fruits, vegetables, dairy, whole grains, etc.)

The new proposed definition also aims to limit nutrients in certain food categories which in overabundance can lead to negative health outcomes (saturated fat, sodium, added sugar).

The additional focus on food groups that this expanded proposed definition introduces, rather than solely on a set of nutrients could help consumers more clearly identify food to choose to sustain healthy dietary practices.

FDA is also currently looking into the creation of a symbol to represent the term healthy which could be used on a product to convey the product meets the healthy criteria.

The regulatory definition of the term is complicated, but what does healthy actually mean to you?  

Many people strive to follow a healthy diet. Depending on your lifestyle, healthy eating can look pretty different. You don’t have to follow an entirely organic, plant-based, and local style to feel like you’re making healthy choices. 

Life is crazy, but healthy eating can be fun and enjoyable. Maybe some days you eat locally, while on busier days you rely on pre-prepared foods. Whether it’s takeout, cooking a meal from scratch, or cooking semi-prepped ingredients, the foods that we eat are an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. 

It’s also important to consider mental health. For busy working parents, saving time by having a Blue Apron Wellness box delivered each week can free up time to spend with your family, and will deliver fresh produce straight to your door.

Healthy may have a strict regulatory definition, but that’s not necessarily the way we live our lives. It’s helpful to understand how the term is used in marketing, but it’s equally important to create your own definition of healthy for yourself and your family.