If you’re vegan, or even thinking about converting to a vegan diet, it is a pretty safe bet that eggs were one of the last things you struggled to give up; that and cheese. There is actually a large variety of ingredients available that can be used to replace eggs on a vegan diet. Your choice depends on the type of meal you are preparing.
A vegan omelette is very easy to create. There are a few different methods, including, using either silken tofu, or chickpea flour, both of which create a realistic, tasty omelette.
While both of the above methods can create the texture of an egg omelette, there is a special ingredient that you need to recreate the flavour; black salt, or more specifically kala namak. This is a special kiln-fired rock salt with a sulphurous, pungent -smell. It is surprising how much this gives an authentic egg taste, just don’t use too much of it. If you get really adventurous, you can even create an authentic vegan poached or fried egg, I’ll create future posts on this, as it is really amazing how good they are.
Baking Without Eggs
While omelettes are one thing, eggs traditionally form a significant ingredient in many baked goods. There are 3 reasons eggs are used in baking:
- Eggs Provide Structure: Because eggs harden as they are heated, they hold the ingredients together.
- Eggs Act As a Leavening Ingredient: This means that they help baked goods rise.
- Eggs Provide Moisture and Richness: This is because eggs are a liquid and full of fat.
Now the downside from a vegan perspective is that there is not one single vegan egg substitute that can do everything that an egg does in baking. After all, eggs are incredibly complex structures, so this means you need to determine what type of egg replacement is appropriate for each type of traditional egg baked good.
Now you can work this out through trial and error, or follow a proven vegan recipe to determine the right one to use. Below are some of the vegan options available.
A “flegg” is a simple egg replacer made from flax meal and water. Just mix 1 Tbsp flax meal with 3 Tbsp of hot water and use in place of the egg. Note that you can NOT just throw some flax meal in the batter. You’ve got to mix the flax meal with the water separately. The reason that a flegg works so well is because the outer layer of the flax seed hull is a mucilage, which is a gooey layer found in virtually all plants which aids in food and water storage. When you grind up flax seeds (flax meal) and mix them with water, you get a hydrocolloid – a gel which will bind ingredients together. Fleggs will not trap air like eggs do, so they won’t work well in recipes likes angel food cake or crepes. They also don’t act as a leavening agents, so only use fleggs in recipes which call for vinegar, baking soda and/or baking powder to make the food rise and get fluffy.
2. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds, my go to, instead of flax meal, mainly because I use them in other recipes and have then on hand, work in the exact same way as flax seeds do to replace eggs in vegan baking. Just mix 1-2 Tbsp of chia seeds with hot water and let it sit a bit before mixing it in with the rest of the ingredients. Chia seeds (and flax) are also great vegan source of Omega 3.
3. Baking Soda And Vinegar
Now, if you want to get airy, fluffy baked goods, simple trick is to use a mix of vinegar and baking soda. You know how baking soda and vinegar bubble up when you mix them together? They also work as a great trick for unclogging drains, but that’s not really food related and probably sounds about yuck for a food blog, so we’ll leave that one there.Anyway, as it turns out, this drain unclogging ability, also works great at adding some fluffy, airiness to your baked goods without relying on eggs. Mix 1 tsp of baking soda with 1 tsp of white vinegar to replace 1 egg.
4. Silken Tofu
Aside from making omelettes, silken tofu can be used as an egg replacer in other recipes. Some recipes use egg for nothing more than to add moisture. In these recipes, 1/4 cup of silken tofu can be substituted for 1 egg. Now if you don’t know the type of recipe to use silken tofu, think of it this way, if the recipe is dense, such as brownies, rather than a cake, you can generally use silken tofu, just puree it first.
5. Applesauce or Mashed Banana
Just like with silken tofu, you can use applesauce or banana in recipes where there is already a leavening agent since the eggs in these recipes are just there for moisture. However, unlike silken tofu, which is flavourless, fruit-based egg alternatives add a specific flavour to your food. Now this is fine, if you are wanting this type of result, think banana-walnut pancakes or apple-cinnamon spice cake.If this is what you are after, just use ¼ cup applesauce or mashed banana for 1 egg.
6. Arrowroot Powder
Arrowroot powder is a starch, which acts as a binder in recipes for baked goods as well as foods like puddings. However, arrowroot is not a leavening agent, so you will only want to use it in recipes which already call for baking soda and baking powder.For binding purposes only, use 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder in place of the egg. To bind and get the moisture properties of the egg, mix the arrowroot powder with equal parts of water first.
7. JUST Egg
The last vegan egg replacement is a commercial product, blowing US vegan’s minds and worrying many of the larger egg producers in the US.JUST released their first version of the products a little over a year ago, to much fanfare and they are soon to release their version 2.0, which apparently greatly improves an already impressive product.The product – a vegan alternative to scrambled egg – is based on a mung bean protein isolate, described by the brand as ‘an egg substitute that contains the same amount of protein as a chicken egg, with zero cholesterol’. JUST says its product takes 77 percent less water to produce than traditional egg – and emits 40 percent fewer greenhouse gases.The JUST Egg is used to make scrambled eggs and omelettes and comes in a bottle; I am not sure of its availability in Australia at this stage.