Sunday, September 22, 2013

VeganMoFo Day #22: The Vegg Product Review

Last fall I happened to be in Chicago for a few weeks for some schooling. I planned that my classes would fall during the "Chicago Veganmania" veg fest. VeganMania was so much fun, I wanted to go back this year. Scheduling and obligations here really suck sometimes. I couldn't go (it was yesterday). My goals at VeganMania were to be there when the doors opened (made it!), visit every single vendor booth (done!), eat as much vegan food that I've never tried before as possible (yup!), and buy as many new products to try for the bed and breakfast as I possibly could (success there too!) Oh, and by the way, I met the Vegan Black Metal Chef who I absolutely am crazy for.

Among the vendors last year was Food Fight! a vegan grocer from Portland Oregon. I picked up several products from them, including something called The Vegg. The Vegg is a vegan egg yolk replacer that comes in powdered form. I'd heard about it, but it's not available where I live, and I couldn't justify the shipping to me (gotta love island living when it comes to shipping charges, right?) for one packet, yet didn't want to buy a bunch of it because what if I didn't like the product. Enter Food Fight! at VeganMania and my problem was solved.

I wasn't sure what to do with it because it was a completely new product. I wasn't looking for anything to supplement my personal or professional baking lines as once a recipe is perfect in my world, there is no deviation. I really didn't want to use it for french toast or anything like that, since I knew it wasn't something I'd stick with also having so many of my own tried and true inn recipes using things like flax, chia and applesauce. Before I knew it, high season was upon me and The Vegg was on the back burner. I simply had no time to play with this new product.

Earlier this year, a cookbook came out specifically for The Vegg. The Vegg cookbook has recipes submitted from people the world over, and a few from the creator of the product as well. There are a few duplicitous named recipes, (pastas and stuff) but the recipes are completely different being from different cooks and chefs. Each recipe is credited and the website provided for each chef, cook, or blogger.

What I really wanted to accomplish with The Vegg was to come up with a way to use this product in ways that will help me make things that are more challenging to make or buy due to vegan concerns and where I live. I selected 3 recipes from the book, let's take a peek at what I did:

This was the packet of The Vegg I purchased.
At the time, The Vegg was donating I think 10% of it's sales to
Compassion Over Killing, one of the most effective organizations
advocating for animal rights in today's day and age.
This packet had enough Vegg in it to let me experiment with
several recipes at a really good price point.

I chose a very simple and basic omelet for my first recipe.
Everything for the omelet was dumped into the Vitamix and blended.

This is The Vegg on the skillet getting all hot and bothered.

It looks like it dries out a little, but it's really not dry at all.
Here is the last tomato from my brother's garden up north along
with some Daiya provolone, getting chummy with The Vegg omelet.

I flipped the Vegg omelet when it was golden. It held together pretty well, but
this was my first ever try, so you can see a little crack in the middle.
Not bad for a beginner!

Here is my first Vegg omelet.
This was the first omelet I have eaten in 16 years? Maybe 17!

Did I like it?

I followed the omelet recipe exactly; when the batter was ready it was far too thick to pour. I'm used to having to make changes in recipes because of the weird weather considerations living here. All I did was add more liquid. It did not change the flavor of the batter, so no additional seasoning or Vegg was needed. I poured The Vegg omelet onto the preheated skillet. It did not act like conventional egg, it was thicker, so I had to spread it out with a spatula very quickly. I found that it began to cook instantly, so there was very little wiggle room for getting this spread on the pan before it was impossible. It didn't take near as long to cook as the recipe called for so I added my fillings, and tried to flip the lone omelet. I had to run the spatula all the way under the omelet so it wouldn't stick. Truth be told I have no idea if eggs do the same thing, it's been way too long for me to ever remember working with real eggs. Once I flipped the omelet I pressed it down a little with the spatula and gave it a couple minutes to heat the fillings. I don't know if you'll agree with me, but I think this was a very authentic looking omelet. I ate the omelet immediately, and was really surprised how good it was. I mean it was REALLY good. The other happy vegan has also tasted tested the fruits of my Vegg omelet labors and he loved it as well. I had quite a bit of batter, so I stashed the leftovers, uncooked, in the fridge. About 2 days later I went back and made some more omelets. I found the batter actually easier to work with, and the flavors had become even better. I don't know the shelf life of the mixed omelet batter I made, but I can't think of a reason why it wouldn't last at least 3 days. Remember.... this IS plant based food. Although certainly we've got the same food safety issues to always think about, there is no chance of salmonella or other things growing that would be a concern with cruel eggs.

Next up was a ravioli recipe from the book. The recipe was multi-stepped, and included the dough, the filling, and the sauce. For me, that wasn't going to happen by any stretch.... time issues as always. So, what I did was first make the dough to see if it was going to even turn out before considering sauces and fillings. Not only did the ravioli dough turn out, it was absolute perfection. I did not have to change one single thing in this particular recipe. Although it took a while to make because the dough needs to "rest," the elasticity and texture was truly perfect. The dough is exceptionally smooth and easy to work with once it's rolled out. I had my skeptical thoughts as I was making it... it seemed very "tough" when the ingredients first come together.

Since the dough seemed to be going so well, I decided to move forward with a filling. And, to that end, I used the tofu ricotta recipe I'm totally in love with from Whole Foods web site. I gave you that recipe a few weeks ago on our Facebook page one Vegan Recipe Monday. It simply is the easiest filling I could think of, and as a first go round, I wanted the ravioli to be what used to be my pre-vegan favorite... cheese. Here's the photos of the ravioli, what do you think:

This recipe provided enough ravioli dough for 4 sheets.
At this point I was skeptical, the dough seemed
tough and hard to work with.
But I soldiered on.

I rolled the dough out as square as possible to minimize waste.

I made the tofu ricotta using the Whole Foods web site
recipe, and began to "fill" the ravioli.

People use molds to make ravioli? Really?
I have my grandfather's ravioli cutter. I didn't use it,
but I have it. I thought that's how to make ravioli.
Anyway I used a long spoon to "press" the edges before cutting,
then ran a decorative fondant cutter across them to cut.
Just like my grandfather's ravioli cutter (who used to be a "cook"
at a NYC restaurant. They didn't call themselves "chefs" back then...)
If I was paying more attention, I would have
removed the wrinkles. I was in a hurry, as always.

Here are some of the final raviolis.

When all the ravioli are finished, you put them on a board
and freeze them til ready to use.

I really wish I could take better pictures.
These are some of the ravioli, cooked.
They were so delicious, this photo does NOT do them justice!

The dough was perfect. It was not tough, and tasted just like I remembered "real" ravioli to taste. In fact, this recipe alone was worth the (really low) purchase price of this book ($13! for reals!) If I never make another recipe using this book or product, I will forever have this dough recipe and forever use The Vegg for it. This one recipe alone opens up an entire new world for me. I have had ravioli remarkably few times since going vegan. Down here there are no vegan doughs available for pasta, and making my own wasn't really feasible as any recipe I came across just didn't look "right" to me. Also, the other happy vegan has some recipes from his own grandmother that he is going to use The Vegg for as well because the yolk has been the problem for his replacement in those recipes. I am absolutely over the moon thrilled with this recipe, although I didn't use the written ones for filling and sauce. This recipe can easily be modified to gluten free, as The Vegg IS gluten free, what you use as other ingredients is your own decision as far as choice of flours and other things.

The third recipe I tried was not good. In all fairness, I had to substitute one main ingredient for another, as it simply is not available to me with island living. I'm not sure if the substitution caused the failure but its completely unfair to review it here since I had operator error.

The Vegg cookbook also included a recipe for how to "spherify" a yolk. Yes, seriously. I also watched a very short tutorial on that and couldn't believe my eyes. I'm not going in that direction. For me, I do not miss seeing runny yolks and things on my plate or the plates of others, although I do realize there are others who don't mind, and for them, you should get this product because you CAN finally replace that if you miss it. What I did miss was the texture, flavor and consistency that egg yolks seem to provide in some recipes that I just couldn't replicate. The cookbook includes recipes for vegan fried eggs (yes, I'm going to try that, but not spherifying the yolk), scrambled Veggs, frittatas, baked goods, pastas, Benedicts, bagels, burgers, quiche, pancakes, french toast, and absolutely so much more. I am buying more Vegg because I'm absolutely sold on the value of this product.  If you go to the Vegg website, you will find more information, and a few recipes up there. The company says the ingredients in this product are organic except for the nutritional yeast. I have the same problem here finding organic nooch. Sometimes I am able to buy it in bulk from one of my natural food suppliers, but lately it has been scarce and I've purchased conventional too.

I cannot think of any drawbacks to this product, aside from the fact that anyone on a sodium restricted diet may not be able to use this. I don't get too involved in those issues as that is something for each of us to decide on our own. And quite frankly, the sodium didn't seem excessive (65mg per 1/2 tsp, which equates to 3% of RDV) but I do realize there are people who cannot or should not have ANY added sodium. The product is gluten free, soy free, dairy free, nut free, vegan and mostly organic as well.

For me, The Vegg fills a void, and opens up many more recipe possibilities for me. As I get more comfortable with the product I will likely begin to come up with my own ideas and recipes. For now, I want to experiment much more with other recipes, and am really looking forward to having a constant stash of tons of different ravioli in my freezer (including gluten free!)

The Vegg is a very small company, and facing competition of course as more companies bring more products like this to the market. There's good and bad in that.... the good that more product choice means obviously someone is doing something right.... people are seeking this type of product. The bad is that sometimes the "little guy" gets steamrolled by the big companies. Right now, there's a push on to get The Vegg into Whole Foods. I'm joining that effort. This product was another groundbreaking idea brought to reality and I am hugely supportive of the fact that Compassion Over Killing is throwing their support to this product since COK is such a crucial advocacy group.

If you see The Vegg, go for it. I'm ordering more. I already have a few more recipes chosen, as well as a NEED for MORE RAVIOLI, QUICK! I'm a Vegg fan, and you should be too.

My only regret about this product is that I ridiculously waited an entire year before breaking into my stash! Thanks to The Vegg for helping the world be a more delicious and compassionate place to be. WAY more delicious might I add..... my world is devoid of ravioli no more!


  1. Hi! I just made an omelet and the peanut butter chocolate bacon donuts from The Vegg Cookbook ( ). I used the omelet recipe on page 15, and mine was not thick enough, and didn't set well (I ended up having to bake it). Which recipe did you use? Your omelet looks awesome!

  2. Hi April! I used the same recipe. Yours wasn't thick enough, and mine came out way too thick, yet we used the exact same reipe. I actually had to just about double the liquid, yet it was still very thick, but pourable. I kind of shaped it using my spatula. I read your post (and a bunch of others, LOVE!) and it looks like your omelet was bigger, maybe that made a difference too? I didn't bake mine. I made about 6 omelets with my batter, if that gives you an idea size/thickness. I also found the batter much easier to work with after it sat in the fridge for a day or 2, even the flavors were better (considering it was great the first day, that's saying a lot too!) I cook over a propane flame, and used a very large stainless steel skillet with aluminum core. I really like this recipe, and I'll be using it again, I hope you have another go at it too (although there's a couple others in the book, I just wanted the simplest one, sans flour). So, ok, now I have to say the most important thing: I love your hedgehogs too! Glad they're into MoFo with you! Jen :)

    1. That's fascinating! Well, I used all the batter to make one big omelet, since I was splitting it with a friend, and I didn't let it sit in the fridge. Still, you wouldn't think it'd be *that* much of a difference! Well, I'll certainly try letting the batter sit in the fridge for a while next time, and I think I'll up the heat a bit. Your ravioli look delicious, as well - I may have to do that next! As for the hedgehogs, they think your blog is awesome, too (and they love deer!)