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Why you don't need eggs in your diet

Welcome to vegcurious – the blog for people who are curious about plant-based eating.


When it comes to a plant-based diet, there is a whole lot of confusion around eggs. And, while there are ethical concerns when it comes to egg production, that’s not what this blog is about. If you are interested in learning more, there are links at the end of this post that can provide information about the egg industry.

What do eggs do anyway?

Eggs seem to live a double life. Sometimes they are celebrated as a nutritional powerhouse with magical powers of leavening for baked goods, and sometimes they are seen as poison in a shell that will send your cholesterol levels off the charts and you into the over-crowded waiting room of your local cardiologist. In this blog, we are going to just focus on the role eggs play in cooking and how you can easily replace them, or do without them altogether!


It's a shell game

I’m no food scientist or anything, but I’ve been down this road many times. I’ve asked food science professionals and chefs, what, exactly, do eggs do in cooking and baking? Now, I’m not talking about recipes that are heavily egg-based like brioche or quiche. I’m talking about recipes where the egg has less than a supporting role. An extra sent from central casting to be in the background of a crowd scene- if you will. I’m talking about muffins, cookies, protein shakes…recipes with one or maybe two eggs. I’ve been given the usual “technical” answers about proper rise in baked good, added protein in blender drinks…blah, blah, blah. In my personal experience, a single egg, or in some cases two eggs, does nothing discernible, or at least nothing that can’t be very easily replaced with a plant-based option, or left out altogether.

"In my personal experience, a single egg, or in some cases two eggs, does nothing."

The case of the eggless muffin

Back in my non-vegan days, there was a muffin recipe that I would make pretty much weekly – the original source of it has been lost to history but it was pretty much a standard muffin recipe and starred the usual suspects…flour, sugar, oil, one egg, vanilla, salt and baking soda, bananas and chocolate chips. When I decided to give up eggs, I said a tearful goodbye to my favourite muffins. Not gonna lie…it was sad. But then I saw a recipe* in a vegan baking cookbook (The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau) that made me do a double take. There, in the pages of this amazing cookbook was MY muffin recipe…sans egg. Same recipe…no egg. Since this was a vegan cookbook, it couldn’t have been a typo! Was it possible that the egg wasn’t necessary? Could I have been spending money and adding fat and calories to my muffins unnecessarily all these years? I was intrigued and I had to give it a try.

"Was it possible that the egg wasn’t even necessary?"

You’ve probably already guessed…the results were identical. Same rise, same moistness, same crumb…SAME MUFFIN. For years now my family and my banana muffin fans (you know who you are!) have been enjoying the vegan version without noticing any difference at all. I’ve duplicated this effect with all my pre-vegan favourite baking recipes where there was just one or two eggs. I didn’t replace them, I just left them out. No difference! That being said, in some recipes, particularly recipes where eggs play a more substantial role, you may want to explore the world of vegan egg replacements.


Vegan substitutes for eggs

If you decide to reduce, or completely stop, eating eggs the good news is that you don’t have to say goodbye to a classic Sunday morning breakfast or a delicious slice of savoury quiche. Over the years, people smarter than me have perfected eggless versions of quiche, omelets, baked goods and all your eggy favourites.


If you want to adapt your favourite recipes at home, you can try these easy-to-use egg substitutes.

Just remember…replacing one or even two eggs in an existing recipe will probably work out just fine. If you are trying to recreate a family-favourite, egg-heavy recipe, I would suggest you consult with google for a tried and reviewed vegan recipe, like this one for vegan egg salad by Ally Lazar that I am NEVER without. There is always a container of it in my fridge!

Easy vegan egg substitutes that are already in your fridge or pantry

You probably already have a lot of ways to replace eggs in your kitchen right now! This egg replacement chart is a quick reference for using egg substitutes based on what you are trying to make.


Readily available vegan egg substitutes from your grocery store


Liquid egg products

There are many of these like Just Egg and Simply Eggless, with more coming out all the time. They are each just a bit different in taste and texture, so you may want to try a few egg substitutes to find the one you prefer. My favourite is Just Egg. These liquid egg replacements are great for scrambles, omelets, breakfast sandwiches and for baking or cooking – I even add a squeeze into my pad Thai and fried rice.


Powdered egg replacement products

These are basically a mixture of starches and are ideal for cakes and other baked goods. There are many brands available, the most popular one being Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer, but you can easily make your own. Simply combine two tablespoons of any of the following: arrowroot powder, tapioca starch or flour, cornstarch, or potato starch, with three tablespoons of water to replace one egg.


Flax egg

Flax eggs are often used with great results by many vegan recipe developers and chefs. Flax eggs are very easy to create, they give you all the benefits of flax and they are an excellent binding agent. What a flax egg isn’t good at is leavening, so you won’t get any rise– not a problem for a lot of things like cookies, veggie burgers or quick breads.


To create one flax egg, you simply combine one tablespoon of ground flaxseed with three tablespoons of water and let it sit for five minutes.

Aquafaba

You know that liquid that you pour down the drain when you open a can of chickpeas? Well, STOP DOING THAT! Us vegans called that stuff liquid gold, but most people just call it aquafaba and it is aquafabulous! Just two tablespoons of aquafaba equals one egg white. I’ve often wondered, who first thought… “Hey, here’s an idea. Let’s take the liquid in a can of chickpeas and whip it up like egg whites to create a virtually perfect meringue.” Seriously…who thought of that??? It’s crazy, but it works and it makes incredible cookies, frosting, and topping for a lemon meringue pie. Don’t believe me? Just give it a try.


Our old friend…tofu!

Along with all of its other impersonation tricks, tofu makes a pretty good egg substitute, too. In recipes where moisture is needed, such as brownies or quick breads, ¼ cup of silken tofu makes a great egg replacement that’s also high in protein and other nutrients.

A note about kala namak (black salt)

You’ll notice kala namak in Ally’s egg salad recipe (see above) and you’ll see it in all kinds of vegan egg recipes like tofu scrambles and quiches. This stuff will blow your mind! It’s salt…but it smells and tastes exactly like eggs. You don’t need a lot to replicate the full taste of eggs so, if you are a fan of eggs and think it will be hard to give them up, I highly recommend adding kala namak to your spice cupboard. You can find it in most grocery stores or on Amazon.


For further reading about egg production:

For great vegan egg recipes:

For egg replacement ideas:


*For copyright reasons, I cannot provide the Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking. I've provided a link to the book, available through Amazon, if you are interested. It's a good, basic vegan baking cookbook that I use quite often.

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I hope this blog has helped you find your way to plant-based eating. Remember…the goal is not to be perfect. Do the best you can and enjoy the journey!


Note: It is strongly recommended that you consult with your primary care physician before making any changes to your diet. This blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended to recommend or endorse any particular product, diet or eating plan.


Next post: 8 vegan foods you've never heard of - that will change your life!



2 Comments


Guest
Jun 10, 2023

So many great tips here and many cool factoids too! 😊 Thanks! MJ

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Unknown member
Jun 12, 2023
Replying to

Thanks, MJ! Glad you enjoyed it.

Sheryl

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