Egg alternatives 101

Today is world egg day.

A lot of people can’t have eggs and a lot of people choose not to eat eggs. In my house there’s one of each: my daughter is allergic and I am vegan. So I feel than rather than promote eggs, we should promote egg alternatives.

 

What’s in an egg?

Eggs have 3 main parts: eggshell, egg whites and egg yolk. Egg whites are about 2/3 of the egg, and egg yolk the other third. One egg is about 1/4 of a cup in volume and 60 grams in weight.

Egg whites are about 90% water and 10% proteins, and almost no fat or carbohydrates. Yolks are about 50% water, 15% protein and 25% fat. And as pretty much everyone knows eggs also have a lot of cholesterol. One egg can have over 200 mg, the recommended daily amount for people with high cholesterol or heart disease. The limit is 300 mg for those who are healthy.

Apart from that, eggs come from animals who are hurt and killed in the process of obtaining those eggs. I won’t go into it because this is a happy food blog. But if you would like more information I suggest visiting the Vegan Society’s page about the egg industry, and this article by How Stuff Works that answers the question if hens lay eggs anyway, why wouldn’t vegans eat them?.

 

What do eggs do in cooking?

Eggs can be quite hard to replace because thanks to their composition they have a variety of functions in cooking. In many cases combinations of alternatives work better than using only one.

Eggs can:

  • provide structure (protein)
  • bind ingredients together
  • leaven
  • provide moisture (water)
  • add richness (fat)

 

Egg alternatives

Commercial egg replacements (like Ener-G and VeganEgg)

  • Good for: each product will be better for different things, in general they all work in baking. Some, like VeganEgg, can be used for scrambles, omelettes and quiches.
  • How to use: follow packet instructions.
  • Where to buy: some large supermarkets, health stores.

Flaxseed (linseed) and chia seeds

  • Good for: binding, moisture, some richness. Provides no leavening and very weak structure.
  • How to use: to replace 1 egg mix 1 tablespoon of ground seeds with 3 tablespoons of warm water, use after 10 minutes. It needs to be mixed prior to adding to a recipe.
  • Where to buy: large supermarkets, some smaller supermarkets, health stores.

Baking soda mixed with vinegar

  • Good for: leavening in baking.
  • How to use: to replace 1 egg mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 1 teaspoon of vinegar.
  • Where to buy: anywhere where food is sold.

Silken tofu and vegan yogurt

  • Good for: moisture, richness and binding. Great for dense baked goods.
  • How to use: to replace 1 egg use 1/4 cup.
  • Where to buy: most supermarkets, health stores, West Asian food stores (Japanese, Chinese,…)

Firm tofu

  • Good for: scrambles, quiches.
  • How to use: to replace 1 egg use 1/4 cup crumbled.
  • Where to buy: most supermarkets, health stores, West Asian food stores (Japanese, Chinese,…)

Mashed fruits and vegetables (including but not limited to: banana, apple sauce, avocado, potatoes, winter squash, beetroot, tomato paste)

  • Good for: moisture, richness and binding. They also add flavour (and sometimes colour) to the recipe.
  • How to use: to replace 1 egg use 1/4 cup.
  • Where to buy: anywhere where food is sold.

Flours and starches (including but not limited to: arrowroot powder, cornstarch, chickpea flour, potato starch, instant mashed potatoes, rice flour, wheat flour)

  • Good for: structure and binding mostly, and some moisture. Chickpea flour works great for omelettes and quiches.
  • How to use: to replace 1 egg use 2 tablespoons of flour or starch mixed with 2 tablespoons of warm water.
  • Where to buy: supermarkets, health stores, ethnic food stores.

Bean cooking liquid (like aquafaba, but any bean will work)

  • Good for: whipping, moisture and some leavening. When whipped will add some structure and can be used to make meringues and mousses.
  • How to use: to replace 1 egg use 3 tablespoons.
  • Where to buy: anywhere where food is sold (buy canned beans), or save the liquid when cooking beans.

Sparkling water and fizzy drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)

  • Good for: leavening and adding air to batters. They will add flavour.
  • How to use: to replace 1 egg use 1/3 cup.
  • Where to buy: anywhere where food or drinks are sold.

Agar agar and vegetarian gelatin alternatives

  • Good for: binding and structure. Agar agar also for whipping.
  • How to use: to replace 1 egg use 1/4 of prepared vegetarian gelatine alternative while still liquid (prepare according to packet instructions). To replace 1 egg with agar agar, mix 1 tablespoon with 3 tablespoons of water and boil. To replace 1 egg for whipping, mix 2 tablespoons of agar agar with 2 tablespoons of water, boil and whip, chill for 30 minutes and whip again.
  • Where to buy: some large supermarkets, health stores, Asian food stores.

Nut and seed butters

  • Good for: richness and binding, especially in baking.
  • How to use: to replace 1 egg use 3 tablespoons.
  • Where to buy: anywhere where food is sold, large supermarkets and health stores for less common butters.

Oil

  • Good for: moisture, richness.
  • How to use: to replace 1 egg use 3 tablespoons.
  • Where to buy: anywhere where food is sold, large supermarket and health stores for less common oils.

Kala namak (Himalayan black salt or Indian black salt)

  • Good for: flavour.
  • How to use: add to the food in small amounts and taste as you go, it can get overpowering quickly
  • Where to buy: some large supermarkets, health stores, West Asian food stores (Indian, Pakistani,…).

 

If you use any other egg alternatives, leave a comment so we all learn.

 

 

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