Yeah. That answer should be obvious. I know… this groaner of a title was a cheap trick to get you to read my post. But, seriously, let’s talk about egg substitutes!
Of the things I miss most being vegan, it’s definitely not meat. I’ve never been the type to crave a steak. (Well, at least not after getting food poisoning after an unfortunate meal at a Quincy’s steakhouse when I was nine.) What I miss most are cheese and eggs. It seems nothing can give that custardy texture but eggs! Or am I just missing the right substitute?
Which egg replacer you use really depends on what you’re trying to achieve. Scrambled eggs? Baking? French toast? All beg for something different. This summary, by the way, isn’t the textbook of all egg substitutes. I’m just sharing what I’ve personally tried.
Let’s begin with scrambled eggs. Savory breakfasts are a favorite for me! Pre-vegan, I would often have breakfast for dinner, especially if the rest of my family was having something I didn’t want. It was nothing to whip up a nice omelet or egg and cheese sandwich. But, alas, those days are gone. What I have now is either tofu scramble or Just Egg. Each sub has its own secrets to making them work. For tofu scramble, add a bit of turmeric for the yellow color. If you can find it, adding black salt will lend a sulfur-like flavor that mimics eggs, or so I’ve heard. I haven’t been successful in finding this, though. A recent addition to the market, Just Egg is great! I think it’s a love it or hate it thing with this product, though. I happen to love it. Many in my vegan circles do not. It does tend to stick to the pan like mad, and it cooks very quickly. The secret to scrambling this is to use a non-stick pan and a fair amount of oil. For both, I recommend sautéing in a bunch of veggies to the mix, cooking these first before adding the tofu or Just Egg.
Your choices go up for baking. As I’ve worked on veganizing my traditional egg based recipes, I’ve tried flax eggs, Bob’s Red Mill egg substitute, and Just Egg, all with success. To make a flax egg, mix 1 tablespoon flax meal with 3 tablespoons water, and wait several minutes for the mix to thicken. Bob’s Red Mill makes a powdered egg substitute that you mix with water. Although the texture works for baking, I think it adds a strange flavor that I’m not particularly fond of. You can also use ¼ cup Just Egg. Some other popular choices are ½ mashed banana or Ener-G egg substitute (similar to the Bob’s Red Mill product). Be aware that you will be able to taste the banana if you use this.
French toast was a bit disappointing the first time I tried to make this vegan. As always, I started with a googled recipe. The first I tried had flax eggs. It was just OK. But my favorite thus far is using Just Egg. I followed the recipe on their website first, but now I just eyeball it like I did before I went vegan. I use about ¼ cup Just Egg to ½ cup unsweetened plant-based milk, a dash of salt, and a liberal sprinkle of cinnamon. This is enough for about 3 slices of bread. Cook in a non-stick pan generously coated with cooking spray until golden on both sides, then top with vegan butter and syrup!
So maybe you aren’t a French Toast fan. You’re more of a pancake lover? You can rely on science to create fluffy pancakes, not eggs. My favorite recipe is the Fluffiest Vegan Pancake recipe from Tasty. The chemical reaction from baking powder and vinegar is what gives these pancakes its amazing texture. My favorite vegan chocolate cake recipe from King Arthur Flour also uses this method to help the cake rise.
So, there you go. A synopsis of some of the egg substitutes on the market and, perhaps, already in your kitchen! The best choice really depends on your needs. I’ve yet to try aquafaba to make meringue. Have you tried this? I’m still super impressed by Just Egg, though, for its versatility. Now that I can find if for less than $5 as it becomes more widely distributed, I’m going to try using it to make custard desserts. If that doesn’t work, I’ll have to explore the silken tofu route, which I also haven’t tried. We’ll see how my recipes develop!
My lead photo for this piece is of my last chickens, Eggo and Ebony. They were born and raised by a hen from my own flock. It was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life to watch Francesca raise her babies. I no longer keep chickens, but doing so taught me so much about these amazing creatures! Birds are awesome.
What are some of your favorite egg substitutes? I’d love to hear about it! As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.