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Shopping at Wegmans can be a vegan’s or vegetarian’s dream come true in my part of the world.

With a few exceptions (nutritional yeast in bulk and fresh produce), most of our culinary needs are met in the Nature’s Marketplace section of the store.

Before Wegman’s opened a few years ago, we traveled 45 minutes to the nearest Whole Foods or forked over copious amounts of money for items available at the local health food store.

With a plethora of in-store items to choose from, my curiosity was peaked and I wondered if the recipe section on the Wegman’s website had any interesting vegan dishes.
Not finding anything that jumped out, I did what I normally do when perusing for a recipe – I looked at everything with the idea of substituting ingredients where necessary.

For reasons unknown to me, I kept going back to their Zucchini Jalapeno recipe.

I’ve never been a huge fan of zucchini, but I like a challenge and this seemed to fit the bill.
Zucchini is about 95% water, therefore, what you combine or pair it with is the key to a tasty dish.
The outcome was a full-bodied success.

Noticing that the bulk of the flavor from the Wegmans recipe stemmed from chicken stock and jalapenos, I set to work with substitutions and additions.
I substituted vegetable broth for the chicken stock and added garlic, creole spice, vinegar, brown rice and cuban black beans.

Using too much creole spice can quickly ruin a dish. Start small and add more as needed.
Also, don’t be shy with the salt!

If you are feeling really ambitious, check out my Cuban Black Bean recipe and substitute 1 cup of it in lieu of using separately cooked brown rice and canned black beans. Cut the recipe in half and use any extra bean mixture to make a loaf or burgers.

Serves 8-10

2 sweet onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 zucchini, medium-sized, peeled and roughly chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
6  cups vegetable broth
1/2 -1 tbsp creole spice (I like Emeril’s recipe)
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of my cuban black bean and rice recipe
1 cup cooked brown rice or grain of your choosing
15 oz can Cuban black beans (Trader Joe’s brand is the best according to my sources)


  • Saute onion and garlic with a touch of vegetable broth on MED-LOW 5-7 min, until translucent. Add minced jalapeno peppers and sauté until soft.
  • Add zucchini and continue to sauté until tender.
  • Add vegetable broth, creole and vinegar and simmer on an even low boil at MED-HIGH for 10 min.
  • Let cool some and carefully transfer to Vitamix blender. Start on LOW and increase speed to purée.
  • Add rice and beans. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with cilantro leaves.

How far do you have to travel to find healthy, affordable food?  Please leave a comment…