My BFF/right-hand-chocolatier Maresa and I have been talking about making vegan deviled eggs for years. This Thanksgiving we finally got around to it and I think the results are going to change your life forever.
Truthfully, the recipe is more Maresa’s than mine. We both started out tinkering around with a pile of ingredients, a food processor, and some scribbled ideas late in the kitchen one night, but I could feel that she was in hardcore recipe development-mode—her mind was whirring with modifications, improvements, tricks. I went home, and when I showed up at work the next day Reesey excitedly brought out a perfect platter of the little guys. Jacob and I pretty much died, and so did everyone at the friends-Thanksgiving we all went to the next day. Vegans immediately started jumping up and down with excitement, and non-vegans were initially puzzled but quickly entranced by their cleaner, lighter, yet bizarrely authentic taste. After nearly 20 years of missing deviled eggs, I may or may not have teared up a little bit after eating my first one. For reals:
I CAN’T REALLY EXPLAIN IN WORDS HOW AMAZING THESE ARE.
Even if you’re weirded out by eating something shaped like an egg. Someone on Maresa’s business Facebook page (which you should be following) asked why two vegans wanted to make an egg dish so badly, and Maresa’s response articulated my own thoughts perfectly:
Great question! I usually hate stuff like this. We did it for a few reasons: 1. the fun challenge of nailing a taste and texture that are decidedly Not Vegan. 2. Deviled eggs, to me, taste good. I’m not vegan because meat and dairy and eggs taste bad- I’m vegan because those industries are too effed up to support. 3. Nostalgia. My grandma used to make deviled eggs and now she can’t, so someone’s gotta do it, and I’m not going to touch a chicken’s period. That said, Enjoy! Hope you make em if you want em!
Hot damn I have a cool bestie. I know.
1) There are two magic tricks to this recipe, and if you don’t have ‘em both, you can’t make it: black salt and agar powder.
We got the idea to add black salt from Isa’s brunch book, and it’s invaluable—it’s what makes the recipe taste like eggs. You can get it at an Indian market, or I’m sure Google will find you some—make sure you’re getting Indian black salt (Kala Namak) and not regular old flaky black sea salt. Our advice: whatever you do, don’t stick your nose in the bag of it and take a strong whiff.
And agar powder. It’s so easy to use, don’t fiddle with the agar flakes or any other crapola. It’s what makes the recipe feel like eggs, so you can’t make it without it or you’ll just have a puddle of eggy flavors. At work we use prodigious amounts of fancy-pants Ferran Adria’s brand, but any Thai market has Telephone brand agar powder for super cheap—about $1 a packet, which will be plenty for these eggs. (It contains a teeny amount of potentially artificial vanilla, which Lagusta’s Luscious can’t abide, in case you’re wondering why we can’t just save money and use it too.)
2) If you don’t have an egg mold, who cares? Square devils might not convert omnis so easily, but who cares about them? Make them in ice cube trays, little bowls, whatever. But once you start looking for an egg mold, I bet you’ll find one. The mold we used for this initial run is a giant metal one Maresa found at The Salv. Or, online: look at these cuties, or this one, for $90, that makes many petite eggs, or this sturdy workhorse. When I go to Montreal this spring to stock up on chocolate molds at Chocolate Chocolat, this mini-mold is going into my cart tout de suite. And maybe this cool textured one too. As Maresa points out in her cute first step (you can see the whole recipe on FB at that link, too), if you get a vintage mold, be sure to WASH WASH WASH.
3) This recipe is shamefully easy. Be prepared. The only thing is that two of the measurements are in grams (we work in grams, sorry!). If you make this recipe and have access to both a gram scale and regular ol’ cups and spoons, tell me the conversions & I’ll love ya forever. Even better, buy a gram scale! They’re only like $20, and it will change your cooking life.
Maresa’s Deviled Eggs
Make the whites:
450 g unsweetened soymilk (Maresa used Silk—and actually we both like almond milk a lot too, it’s brighter and less grainy) (2 cups)
2 t agar powder
1/4 t black salt
Bring all ingredients to a boil. Pour into molds and refrigerate until set up (about 30 minutes).
(Maresa’s giant mold is the size of avocados, yep.)
Make the yolks (honestly, a half recipe of this will probably be enough for the amount of whites. But it makes a great dip!):
1 lb. extra firm tofu (but I’d wager any kind would work just fine)
4 T Vegenaise (as a general rule, I loathe Vegenaise and Nayonaise and all that crap, but they work for this recipe. If you want to concoct something out of almonds or cashews, I’m sure it will be great too.)
1/3 c olive oil
2 t mustard
2 t white wine vinegar
1 ¼ t salt
¾ t black salt
1 t turmeric (don’t use too much or your eggs will be fluorescent!)
Put all ingredients in food processor. Whiz until smooth. (In the LL kitchen, “whiz” is the parlance of choice to mean “process/blend/combine”)
Using an open star tip and pastry bag, pipe yellows into whites. Garnish with paprika.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to look for deviled egg platters at Goodwill. Happy egging!