Overall rating: 8/10

Onions, carrots, and Swiss chard add color and nutritional value to this Italian comfort dish, a soul-warming winner.

Deliciousness

Rating: 9/10

It was really hard taking the time to snap a picture of the final product when all I wanted to do was dig in and drink up!

It was really hard taking the time to snap a picture of the final product when all I wanted to do was dig in and drink up!

I cannot remember a time I’ve ever made meatballs prior to this recipe, but I now understand why they are a staple food of a hearty Italian diet. Blue Apron really rolled these meatballs through the spice cabinet – paprika and cayenne added a little bite, while the onion, garlic, and other spices rounded out the flavor palette. After a light browning to lock in the juices, these plump little meatballs were served up in a divine ragout sauce. A healthy dose of veggies lightened up a meal that might otherwise have felt a bit heavy. The portions were so generous that we even had leftovers to snack on the next day. After all the flavors melded together in the fridge overnight, the dish was even better day 2. Definitely adding meatball ragout to our recipe docket because it was amaze-balls.

Nutrition

Rating: 7/10

I chopped, chopped, and chopped some more! Lots of nutrient dense veggies in this dish

I chopped, chopped, and chopped some more! Lots of nutrient dense veggies in this dish

The most delicious, but probably worst diet offender in this recipe was the star of the show – the meatballs. Each serving of the ragout had 5 oz. of 85% lean, 15% fat ground beef, which has 355 calories, 22 grams of fat (33% of the recommended daily value), and 128 mg of cholesterol (42% of the daily recommended value). There are many classifications of fats, but saturated and unsaturated fats are the two primary types. Saturated fats, dubbed the “bad” fats, come from animal products, and when over-consumed, can lead to high cholesterol, clogged arteries and an increased risk for heart disease. As with everything, moderation is key, so probably wise for you to not eat meatballs on the regs. The other nutrition offender in this recipe was the 1/4 cup of Panko Breadcrumbs, but the small portion this recipe called for had a relatively insignificant number of calories, carbs, fat and sodium. Breadcrumbs are an essential ingredient in meatballs because they help keep the meat moist, tender, and intact.

To balance out the artery clogging beef, this ragout did sneak in a substantial amount of satisfying veggies. Swiss Chard, which seems to be a Blue Apron fave, is a great source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and a long list of other nutrients. Carrots, high in vitamin C, biotin, and vitamin A, are best known for their anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular and vision benefits. Potatoes have high levels of vitamin B6, which is critical for red blood cell production and the metabolism of carbohydrates. Onions have great levels of biotin, a key nutrient for skin health, and also have a multitude of other health benefits. Nothing about this meal tastes “healthy”, but it’s nice to know that the ragout does have some nutritional value.

Ingredients

All the ingredients needed for this delightful dish

All the ingredients needed for this delightful dish

Rating: 8/10

I got my box on Wednesday and made the ragout on Friday. The ingredients all appeared to have survived their stay in my fridge unscathed.

  • Carrots: I got a bonus carrot that made me happy as Little Bunny Foo Foo
  • Potato: Firm with no issues; the recipe said 1, but I got three.
  • Swiss Chard: All the chard I’ve gotten from Blue Apron & reviewed so far has been really fresh,and this didn’t disappoint.
  • Onion: About as good as onion gets.
  • Spices: While I usually just discuss the fresh ingredients, I’d like to point out that the meatball spice blend had 7 different spices! If I had found this recipe online, I likely would have avoided it because I don’t keep things like ground fennel seed or dried marjoram on hand. Unless you have a great bulk section at your grocery store, keeping a well-stock spice rack can really get expensive, so I love that Blue Apron allows me cook meals with a great variety of spices.

Ease of Prep

Rating: 8/10

Close up of the finished ragout. Worth waiting for!

Close up of the finished ragout. Worth waiting for!

Snapped pictures of my ingredients at 6:26, diced my way through the veggies and got to the meatball rolling by 6:54. Pulled the meatballs off the stove around 7:08 and started cooking the veggies, then finished simmering the ragout and plated the dish at 7:32. At an hour and 6 minutes, I was about 11 minutes over the suggested time, which I didn’t think was bad. Rolling the meatballs and dicing so many veggies did take a long time, but it was nice that this dish only required using one pan, so less clean-up on the back end. I suggest pouring yourself a glass of wine and patiently waiting for meatball perfection.