Replacing Eggs with Flaxseed

Good morning! Can you believe I’ve been awake for more than 2 hours?

I tried my first 3 miler this morning and I felt physically strained. I ate fruit half an hour before heading out, did my pre-workout stretches, and drank lots of water. I’m not sure what I am doing wrong there, but I’m starting to think that I’m not ready to run that distance yet, especially since it’s a jump from my usual 2 to 2.5 miles. I’ll have to slowly work up to 3 miles. Time to start planning routes with google map 😉

Post-workout fuel: overnight oats (the usual PM base) topped with layers of papaya, almond butter, blueberries, and chopped walnuts. Never grows old 😀

Last night I had the urge to make vegan meatballs. And so I did.

I simply made up the recipe as I went along, based on what ingredients I knew went well together. They looked adorable lined up together on the plate ready to hit the freezer…

…cute and compact up close…

… even looked delicious with my vegetarian chili spaghetti (sans seitan–that went into the meatballs instead)…

…but something was terribly wrong. They would be deemed heathens in the land of meatballs.

They refused to hold up together!

After I took them out of the freezer to thaw, I could already feel them breaking apart. Mistakenly I added them to the onion base of the chili, to heat and brown them. At the very nudge of my wooden spoon they started to fall apart. To preserve their round but oh so fragile shape, I had to take them out of the pan immediately before they were mis-shapened any further. They went into the microwave before topping my spaghetti.

So what’s the deal? I didn’t use eggs in the recipe because I wanted to try my hand at a vegan version, so I had opted for a replacement mixture of ground flaxseeds + water. I am starting to think that I made two crucial errors in the meatball formation process:

1. I didn’t measure out the egg replacer. I just kinda eyeballed it. Bad idea! I had no idea how much water was to cover the flaxseed meal, not knowing how much the seeds would soak up. I also did not know how long to wait until I could add it to the meatless meatball mix. Next time I’ll do my research beforehand.

2. I froze the meatballs in an attempt to get them solidified. It was hard enough making the balls without squeezing the life out of them, to keep them from crumbling apart. Freezing them was only a temporary solution, so once I thawed them, they just went back to loosening up. Next time I’ll skip the freezer. If the meatballs can’t hold together at room temperature, then something’s wrong already.

Lesson learned.

I was this close to just crumbling them into a ground meat type of deal, to incorporate them directly into the chili sauce, but I firmly told myself not to. I wanted them to retain the classic meatball shape. So even though they didn’t quite make the mark, they were still tasty as ever! Very meatlike taste and texture, thanks to a combination of seitan, tempeh, walnuts, and homemade bread crumbs. I had my family guessing what was in there for hours 😀

So my question is: Have you ever used ground flaxseeds + water to replace eggs? How did it turn out? I’d love to hear some tips on how to avoid this silly food flop in the future.

Thanks for dropping by! More to come later.

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3 Responses to Replacing Eggs with Flaxseed

  1. Jessica says:

    I have used flax seeds and water to replace eggs in baking, but never in meatballs/loaf as a binder. Eggs do different things in different recipes, and I can imagine the flax solution might not work too well in your balls. I’m not sure what other ingredients you used, so I don’t have a great recommendation, but usually I get patties and balls to hold their shape by using wheat gluten or mashed up beans.

    • Diana says:

      Hmm I think so too. I don’t quite remember where I saw someone else using flax seeds in their meatball mix, so maybe I misread it. Thanks for the tip–in the future I’ll be sure to try putting some beans in my meatballs!

  2. Pingback: Colorful Summer Tofu Salad « VEGeneration

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