Choosing a vegan lifestyle and changing diet overnight can be a very stressful life change. Especially for people who love cooking, it can be quite depressing to realize that they might have to stay away entirely from certain food ingredients considered staples in cooking.
Eggs are one such ingredient.
Avoiding eggs might seem like the end of your association with entire cuisines, especially ones that require baking. Fortunately, as the vegan lifestyle becomes common, several products that can effectively replace non-vegan products have come to market.
What role do eggs play in cooking?
- Eggs are used to mix several ingredients and help maintain the shape of the food.
- In baking, eggs help give food items like soufflés and cakes their texture and softness. This is because, when eggs are beaten into the batter, it creates little pockets of air that allow the batter to rise in heat, creating a sponge-like quality.
- Adding eggs to a mixture of other ingredients intensifies their taste.
- Eggs also add moisture to the food.
Vegan alternatives for eggs
Flax Seeds or Chia seeds
Flax seeds are probably the most commonly used vegan alternatives for eggs. They provide the same effect of binding ingredients together without losing shape. You achieve egg-like properties by mixing 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed with 3 tablespoons of water.
The mixture, usually with a thick consistency, can be used to cook pancakes or baking cookies and cakes. The flavor of flax seed adds to the dish’s overall flavor, not to mention the additional nutritional value.
Similarly, you can achieve the desired results using chia seeds. The only difference is that chia seeds impart a darker color to the dish. Do not be surprised if your dish turns out different than expected.
Bananas bring the same mixing and binding qualities found in eggs. However, the puree needs to be used with an extra raising agent such as baking soda, probably in a slightly larger quantity, since adding bananas increases the batter’s overall density.
In terms of proportion, you can use a puree made from one average-sized banana in place of one egg. Like any other fruit ingredient, bananas add a strong flavor to a dish. This need not be a problem if you are not entirely averse to the banana flavor. Among fruit alternatives for eggs, apple sauce has a lighter taste and can do the same things as a banana puree.
Aquafaba is literally ‘bean water.’ It is used in canned beans and chickpeas and contains the same proteins and starch as eggs. It effectively replaces eggs by providing the same protein content and imparting the binding qualities of starch. Aquafaba is best made at home by boiling chickpeas or beans in water and straining out the beans or chickpeas. One tablespoon of aquafaba can replace one egg yolk.
Tapioca starch has an egg-white-like consistency and the same binding features and texture. In addition to being used in baked items such as puddings, tapioca starch is also used in making vegan mayonnaise, which is exceptionally smooth. You can substitute one egg with a tablespoon of tapioca starch mixed with 3teaspoons of water.
Tofu has a high protein content, which makes it a nutrient efficient substitute for eggs. You can use pureed silken tofu in baking or ice creams. Pureed silken tofu is creamy, which makes it an incredibly delicious substitute for eggs. You can also use tofu in pan-fried dishes or salads in place of eggs.
Vegan egg substitutes
Much like vegan butter, vegan mayonnaise and other vegan products that replace non-vegan food ingredients, vegan egg substitutes are also available in the market.
However, since vegan products are not strictly certified, most people either choose a natural egg alternative or switch to eggless food recipes. Nevertheless, vegan egg substitutes are probably the most effective in replacing non-vegan eggs.
- JustEgg is a popular vegan egg substitute that can also be used to make scrambled eggs. The main ingredient is mung bean, with a bit of onion for flavor and turmeric and carrot for color. JustEgg has the right amount of protein and no cholesterol, making it ideal for people with a high cholesterol risk.
- Vegan Egg uses algal products such as algal proteins and flour to enhance its nutritional value while adding eggs’ texture and consistency. Black salt is used to impart the taste of eggs. Vegan Egg is also used in scrambled form, in addition to baked food items.
- The Vegg Scramble is an excellent breakfast choice. It mainly consists of pea protein isolate and a combination of several chemicals that gives it an egg flavor.