Eggs and vegan alternatives
Some rely on eggs as a source of protein and vitamin B12, but a plant-based diet can be rich in these essential nutrients, and by avoiding eggs you can have optimal health.
Eggs are loaded with cholesterol – about 210 milligrams (70% of the U.S. daily value) for an average-sized egg. Eggs contain about 4.5g of fat, of which 1.6g is saturated. Calorie-wise eggs are 75 percent fat, 20% protein and 5% carbohydrate. [Source: CalorieKing.com] Note: eggs are often eaten with high-fat foods such as cheese (in omelets), or fried with bacon and sausage, boosting the meal’s fat content further. Because egg shells are fragile and porous and because conditions on egg farms are crowded, eggs are the perfect host to salmonella bacteria – a leading cause of food poisoning. But don’t worry! They’re easy to replace.
Replacing eggs in baking
Eggs in baking are rarely used for their flavour but rather for their binding and raising qualities. If a recipe calls for just one or two eggs, you can often skip them. Add a little extra water and oil for each egg eliminated to balance out the moisture content of the recipe. Or try one of these substitutes in place of one egg:
- 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed and 3 Tbsp water.
- 1 Tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch mixed with 3 Tbsp water
- half of a banana mashed
- Commercial egg replacers (check the label – some contain egg whites).
Ener-G Egg Replacer
Ingredients: Potato starch, tapioca flour, leavening (calcium lactate [non-dairy], calcium carbonate, citric acid), cellulose gum, carbohydrate gum.
A reviewer at vegweb says, “I’ve been using Ener-G for about 8 years now and I swear by it. I’ve used it to adapt many non-vegan baking recipes, and it works extremely well. I use it for muffins, cookies, breads, etc. that normally call for eggs.”
Tips for eggless baking:
1. Find vegan recipes and try them before converting your old favourites. See ourbreakfast page and recipes page.
2. Eggless cake batters should be slightly thicker than those made with eggs so avoid adding too much extra liquid.
3. Use pastry flour instead of regular flour.
4. To give extra leavening, add an extra 1/2 to 1 tsp baking powder.
5. Removing eggs from a cake recipe may result in a slightly stickier mix. Use a non-stick baking pan, or oil the pan then dust with flour.
Replacing eggs in savoury dishes
While many substitutes are available for some forms of egg dishes, there are no replacements for the traditional “sunny-side up” egg or the whole boiled egg. Although tofu can mimic chopped, boiled egg white, the yolk remains an enigma. In any case, the yolk contains most of the cholesterol and 99% of the fat that occurs in eggs – this is why physicians may recommend avoiding the yolks of eggs but not the whites.
Scrambled tofu. A popular commercial product called “Tofu Scrambler” can be used to turn tofu into a delicious dish that resembles scrambled eggs. It is available in natural food stores and in most supermarkets. Or make your own: crumble tofu with a fork then gently fry with a spoonful of turmeric and a dash of salt. See full recipe on our breakfast page.
Replacing eggs in casseroles, burgers and loaves
Eggs used in casseroles, burgers and lentil loaves are used primarily for binding. There are a number of savoury substitutes, including flour, tomato paste, mashed potato, mashed avocado, tahini, nut butters, moistened breadcrumbs and rolled oats.