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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Vegan Egg Replacer: How To Substitute Eggs in Recipes

Eggs are traditionally used in a variety of ways, from scrambles to desserts and baking. Choosing the right vegan egg replacer, then, is largely determined by what you're planning on cooking. For example, you won't be able to fry up ground flax seeds, but you could certainly fry medium-firm tofu. In this article we'll take a look at basic vegan egg substitutes and talk about how they're used.
Ener-G Egg Replacer: This is a commercial brand of egg replacer that can be found in many conventional grocery stores. The brand name varies depending on where you live in the world, but the concept is the same - it's a starchy powder that you mix a specific amount of water with to replace eggs in baking, like cupcakes and cookies. It can be found in the baking aisle of your grocery store by the flours.
I've used this with much success, and it's great if you only want to replace one or two eggs. My mom has used it in recipes that call for 3-4 eggs with excellent results, although not everyone is fond of it in higher amounts.
Use this in any kind of baking, since it's all-purpose like that. However, this will not work for anything egg-based, like quiche or meringue.
Other starches: When I'm without Ener-G, I opt for cornstarch - usually 1 tbsp mixed with 2 tbsp water for one egg. I've heard that other starches like arrowroot powder also works well, and I would assume potato starch would also be functional since it's a main ingredient in Ener-G. Use cornstarch (or other starches) in baking goodies, but not eggy things like quiche, just like the above egg replacer.
Ground flaxseeds: Ground flax makes a great binder in baking, though it does impart a slight flax-y taste. If you mix 1/4 c. warm water with 1 tbsp ground flax for one egg, mix it up and let it sit for 5-10 minutes, the mixture will turn gelatinous, perfect for baking. I like using flax in healthier baking where its mild flavor isn't too out of place.
Ground chia seeds: chia seeds do the exact same thing flax does - make goopy gelatinous water - but with absolutely no flavor so you can use them in virtually anything. 1/4 c. warm water mixed with 1 tbsp ground chia seeds should do the trick for replacing 1 egg. Use in baking.
Bananas: This works very well as a binding agent in baking. 1 medium, well-mashed banana is enough to replace 1 egg. Obviously you wouldn't want to use this in a recipe where the taste of banana would be unwanted, but it does work very well otherwise.
Vegan yogurt: In recipes that call for a lot of eggs, like cheesecake, I've been known to replace some of them with vegan yogurt, since it's thick and goopy, adds moisture and helps bind ingredients. Most cheesecakes call for a lot of eggs (usually around 4), and I like replacing 2 eggs with starches, and the other two with yogurt (or soft tofu which I mention below).
Soft or silken tofu: Tofu is a great egg replacer, although it's usually more annoying to use than the other egg replacers mentioned above, since you have to open a package, use only a little bit, and then let the rest of the package take up precious space in your fridge. On the odd occasion I do have tofu kicking around, though, I've been known to use it in baking with lots of success. Make sure to use either the soft or silken kind - firmer tofus get a chalky taste when they're blended. It's also very important to blend the tofu in a blender before adding it to the recipe, or you'll have little white specks in your pumpkin pie, and that's just sad.
Medium or firm tofu: When making scrambled "eggs", quiche or frittatas, this is what you'll want to use. I find that medium-firm tofu is the most egg-like in texture and I love using it in scrambles, with plenty of seasonings so it isn't bland. All you have to do is heat a little oil over medium heat in a pan, crumble in the tofu, season to taste with salt, pepper and herbs, and saute for 10-15 minutes. Throw in vegetables if you like. Adding a 1/4 tsp of turmeric gives it a nice golden "eggy" color.
These vegan egg substitutions cover 99% of recipes I make. Eggs are surprisingly easy to bake without, and multiple egg replacers work just as well as others if you don't have access to a certain ingredient. Tofu isn't a perfect substitution for scrambles but it's delicious in its own right - just be sure to season it well, because tofu is quite bland by its lonesome.
The best part of using a vegan egg replacer? There are no worries about eating raw cookie dough.
Allysia is a certified raw food chef and health enthusiast who writes about all things related to veganism. You can find out more at her website The Real Meal.

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