Chickens lay eggs. Humans have known this for quite a while-following hens around and snatching up their ovum like we’re hungry foxes (we aren’t?). But modern egg farming has consequences-chickens live in incredibly inhumane factories that are filthy and crowded. The hens are fed steady diets of genetically modified soy and corn, antibiotics, hormones.
And recent research even suggests we’re more at risk of developing serious cardiovascular disease by regularly eating eggs. But thousands of years of egg eating has deeply integrated them into our diets. They’re quintessential in countless recipes…or are they?
Necessity breeds ingenuity-and food-loving vegans have been hard at work cooking and baking their way around eggs. You can too. Here are some great substitutes for the egg.
Soy is undergoing a lot of scrutiny lately. Once the darling of the health food world for cholesterol-lowering and cancer-preventing properties, factors like genetically modified soy and overconsumption of the versatile bean have moved it from the friend category to foe. But if you don’t overdo it and eat soy only rarely, one of the very best ways to eat it is as a scramble substitute. Crumbled, seasoned and sautéed, scrambled tofu is a dead ringer for eggs and can satisfy that craving for a hearty breakfast.
Use it in baked goods that call for eggs. Substitute ¼ cup applesauce for 1 egg. It binds and moistens just like an egg but without the cholesterol.
Similar to applesauce, mashed bananas bind and moisten in any baked good recipe. Replace the same amount as applesauce, too: ¼ cup to 1 egg.
A wonderful seasonal egg replacer is pumpkin. Same principles as above-it binds and moistens. Use 1/3 cup of cooked mashed pumpkin to 1 egg. You can also use a winter squash such as acorn or butternut.
5. Flax seeds
These healthy omega-fatty acid rich seeds get super slimy when wet. Use them ground up for best effect in baked goods. Substitute 1 tablespoon flax (mixed with 3 tablespoons water) for 1 egg.
6. Chia seeds
Also full of healthy omega-fatty acids, chia seeds are also a great protein source. Use the same ratio as flax seeds: 1 tablespoon chia seeds soaked in 3 tablespoons water for a few minutes to replace 1 egg. [Editor’s Note: Our sponsor Barlean’s has both chia and flax seeds.]
7. Non-dairy yogurt
While many non-dairy yogurts contain a lot of excessive ingredients–some of which are not recommended (like carrageenan)– in a pinch you can use it as an egg replacer. One quarter cup yogurt is a good substitute for 1 egg in baked goods.
A great substitute in savory recipes, you can use ¼ cup mashed potatoes to 1 egg. You can also use potato starch (2 tablespoons), but it’s better to stick with whole food ingredients.
They had to be good for something, right? Prunes pureed with a little water make another easy egg substitute for baking. Use ¼ cup to replace 1 egg.
10. Olive oil
In some baking recipes, all you need to add is an extra ¼ cup of olive oil to replace an egg!
This is a really great binder, but make sure you find a non-GMO corn starch. Two tablespoons corn starch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water replaces 1 egg.
This seaweed gel is a good substitute for recipes that call for just egg whites. Mix 1 tablespoon agar powder with 1 tablespoon water. Whip it in a blender or food processor. Let it chill in the fridge about 30 minutes and then whip again.
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