People avoid eggs for many different reasons. These may include food allergies, needing to cut down on cholesterol, being vegan and not eating animal products as well as concerns about salmonella. If you avoid eggs for any reason, there are alternatives available.
First you need to know what you want the egg to do. Eggs serve various purposes in cooking. To be able to choose the right substitute you first need to know what purpose the egg serves in a particular recipe. The following are some of the ways eggs are used in cooking.
Eggs as a binder. When an egg is used as a binder it becomes the “glue” that holds other ingredients together. An example of this is adding eggs to meatloaf. Eggs may also be used as a glue to make bread crumbs or flour stick to other foods as a coating for frying.
Eggs as a leavening agent. They help baked goods rise. If there is little or no other leavening such as baking powder or baking soda in a recipe then you know the eggs are being used for leavening.
Eggs for moisture. If a cake recipe calls for eggs, but little or no liquid such as water or milk the eggs are being used to provide moisture.
Eggs as the main ingredient. This is when eggs are the recipe, such as an omelet, Quiche or frittata.
Once you know what job you want the eggs to do in a recipe it is time to start thinking about substitutes.
Tofu is probably your best option if you want to make a dish where eggs are the main feature. To make Tofu Scramble used crumbled firm tofu. Remember tofu takes on other flavors so don’t be afraid of adding veggies and spices. Add a little turmeric or nutritional yeast for the yellow color of scrambled eggs. You may also use tofu to make an eggless egg salad, but I like to use chick peas for mine.
Ener-G Egg Replacer TM is a commercial product and is a powder that may be mixed with water or used dry depending on the recipe. It is used mostly for baking, but may be combined with buttermilk and cheese to make an omelet. Read the back of the package for directions and ideas for using this product.
Commercial egg substitute made from egg whites such as Egg Beaters® . There are other brands on the market as well. These are made from eggs (usually egg whites) so are not suitable if you are allergic to eggs or are vegan. They may also be used for most of the things you would expect an egg to do in any recipe. I use them to make egg dishes, such as omelets, quiches and frittatas, but I use egg substitutes to lower fat and cholesterol content in my recipes, not because I am allergic.
Fruit Puree including applesauce, mashed bananas, pureed pumpkin or prunes may be used to replace eggs. Use 1/3 cup to replace each egg in recipes that use eggs primarily to add moisture. If the eggs are used as leavening try ¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon of baking powder for each egg to give your baked goods a little more lift.
Flax seed meal makes a great egg substitute for baking. Mix 1 Tablespoon flax seed meal which is ground flax seed, with 3 Tablespoons hot water for each egg you are substituting. You can buy flax seed meal or grind flax seed in a spice grinder. After adding the water let it sit until it becomes thick and about the consistency of egg whites. Most resources say to only use this for up to two eggs, but I have used it to replace up to four in my carrot cake with no problem. I use this to replace eggs in most of my baking without increasing the leaving and it works fine. Flax seed is also high in fiber and essential fatty acids giving baked goods a little nutritional boost as well. Don’t ask me how this works as an egg substitute. It took me a long time to even try this because I could not see how it could possibly work. You may also use chia seeds, but they are more expensive than flax.
Vinegar, yes plain old apple cider vinegar. Mix 1 Tablespoon with 1 teaspoon baking soda. If you have ever made a volcano for a science project you know it will foam up, so be prepared. This is what I use in my Easy Egg Free Chocolate Cake.
Cooking without eggs is not as scary of difficult as it may sound. It does require a little experimentation so don’t count on getting it right the first time. Remember one substitute will not necessarily work for all recipes. Give yourself time and permission to play and you will find the egg substitutes that work for you.
If you use egg substitutes, what is your favorite?
Tommorrow: My Eggless Egg Salad Recipe