Vegetarian Living With Wegmans

Since I frequently sing the virtues of Trader Joe’s and its vegetarian options, I figured it was only fair to give a nod to Wegmans while I’m visiting New York. Over the years, Wegmans has steadily expanded its organic and vegetarian options. Their stores often co-locate these items in a “Nature’s Marketplace” section, which makes them easy to find. In some stores, like the Brockport, NY location, the Nature’s Marketplace section is sizable and offers everything from frozen foods to supplements and toiletries.

My strategy while staying with non-vegetarian relatives is to find convenience items that are quick to make and unobtrusive, getting me in and out of the kitchen fast and with little hassle to others who are preparing meals. Frozen foods seemed like an ideal choice, given the circumstances. The first item I tried is Wegmans Organic Soy Chorizo and Potato Burrito ($1.99). This item weighs in at a reasonable 300 calories, and I had high hopes for taste. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that vegetarian chorizos I tried in Tucson were on par with the real thing. This burrito, though, didn’t quite live up to expectations. The combination of thick whole wheat tortilla and potato dominated the flavor, drowning out the spices of the chorizo. The burrito was also rather dry. Instructions advise cooking the burrito in the microwave wrapped in a paper towel, but I feel like the paper towel soaked up moisture. This is probably not a product that I’d make a repeat purchase.

I also purchased Quorn Cheese Burgers, a new product to Wegmans that was on sale ($3.99 for a 4-pack, $4.99 regular price) and advertised in their seasonal magazine. At 100 calories per burger, I give these patties high marks. Quorn burgers are made from mycoproteins derived from fungi and are available in four different flavors. These cheese burgers contain Cheddar and soft cheeses. The texture is very meat-like, though the product itself has an almost layered appearance on the inside. Smoke flavoring is a great addition, creating a taste reminiscent of a bacon cheeseburger and making this the best smelling veggie burger I’ve ever tried. Though I give these burgers a definitive thumbs-up, a couple of tips are in order: First, the burgers are not individually wrapped in cellophane or plastic within the box. I’m not a fan of useless packaging, but this did strike me as odd. Some interior packaging would probably prevent freezer burn on the patties, which was already developing on mine within a week. If you’re keeping them in the freezer for an extended period of time, you may want to re-package the burgers in foil. Also, I recommend a stovetop or grill preparation for the burgers. They were more moist and tasty coming from the stovetop than they were coming out of a microwave.

On a final note, fans of veggies may want to check out the Summer edition of Wegmans Menu Magazine ($4.99, but mailed free to many customers). While the issue is not all-vegetarian (a feature on ethical meat producers that Wegmans purchases from is included), there are some tasty looking vegetable recipes and tips on grilling your favorite vegetables. Valuable coupons are also included.

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