Gadget Or Gimmick: The Vegetti

Welcome to Gadget Or Gimmick, our weekly column where we look at all the weird gadgets and gizmos that promise to make your cooking (and your life) better. Which are worth it, and which should be left in the junk drawer? Join us as we decide if it's a gadget worth our time, or a gimmick worth forgetting.

Do you ever look around and realize a new trend is suddenly everywhere? I remember waking up one day in 2007, and realizing everyone my age was in skinny jeans, seemingly overnight. Then, a few years ago, I noticed a similar sensation with spiralized vegetables. But to get them, you'd need a bulky (and usually pricey) spiralizer. Neither my budget nor my apartment could accommodate it, and the trend seemed destined to leave me behind with regular old diced veggies.

Then a friend emailed me to ask if I'd heard of the Veggetti. Despite a weird name (just try saying it out loud) and its over-the-top, as-seen-on-TV promises, I decided to give it a try. After all, at only $9.99, it was a fraction of the cost of a traditional spiralizer — and a fraction of the size. I bought one over the summer, when my CSA box was basically overflowing with zucchini, and I was running out of ideas. I was ready to try anything.

The veggetti is basically a pencil sharpener for vegetables, if you wanted to eat pencil shavings. You insert whatever vegetable you'd like to spiralize, then twist it through the veggetti's blades to get long, curly strands you can turn into pasta, salad toppings, or stir-fry. While getting more greens was already appealing, I also found it a handy way to make my favorite pasta dishes summer-friendly: simply sub in zucchini noodles for pasta in a favorite recipe, and cut out the need to sweat over a boiling pot of hot water.

A few drawbacks: Unlike a hand-cranked spiralizer, the veggetti does take more elbow grease to use. And, since you're twisting it into a narrow blade, a small part of the vegetable will go unused. You'll also have to stick with narrower vegetables — heftier squash won't really work here. But, considering that clean-up is simple (especially nice when, like me, you don't have a dishwasher), I found these small problems to be easily overlooked.

Besides, if the spiralized vegetable trend turns out to not be as long-lived as the skinny jean, it will gather a lot less dust in my cabinets — and I won't feel bad about bidding it adieu to that great donation bin in the sky one day. Small enough to fit into my silverware drawer, and at the cost of two Starbucks runs, the veggetti is way more than just a gimmick.
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