What you need to know about ingredient substitutions for eggs

What you need to know about ingredient substitutions for eggs

I have a love-hate relationship with eggs. I grew up eating eggs several times a week — scrambled or over easy for breakfast, egg salad with mayo for lunch, or a dinner recipe my mom would prepare, ultimately calling for eggs at some point in the game. Eggs are a staple to non-plant-strong folks, in terms of nutritional value, and the glue that holds many dishes together. But before I discuss what you need to know about ingredient substitutions for eggs, I wanted to tell you a little bit about egg facts. 

Eggs have zero dietary fiber, and a large portion of their calories is from fat – about 70%. Saturated fat. The average-sized egg has about 213 milligrams of cholesterol, and for those of us with high cholesterol, we shouldn’t be consuming more than 200 milligrams per day. Actually, we have no need to consume any cholesterol at all. We make more than enough all on our own.

The obvious question is why is there so much fat and cholesterol in such a cute little package? Within that egg shell are all the pieces of the puzzle needed to produce a new life, to make feathers, a beak, eyes, a brain, a heart, and so on.  Yes, it takes a lot of nutrients to make a chicken!

Other health hazards exist as well. Eggshells are porous and fragile, and conditions on egg farms are pretty horrific, so eggs are the perfect breeding ground for salmonella which is the leading cause of food poisoning in the U.S.  

What about egg whites?

Egg whites are trouble, too, but somehow don’t seem so bad. I always feel less guilty when ordering an egg white omelette with spinach and mushrooms. Most of us eat egg whites because of the concentrated source of protein, rather than the yolk, which is the concentrated source of fat.  But egg whites pack a punch of protein, which is needed to make all those little chickie body parts. So when we consume too much protein, as most Westerners do, adding a concentrated source can increase the risk for kidney stones, kidney disease and prostate cancer.

Dr. Greger, in his ground-breaking book, How Not to Die, discusses the link between consuming eggs and invasive cancer, because of a compound called choline, found in eggs. Higher levels of choline in the blood have been associated with increased risk of developing prostate cancer. 

What’s the answer?

Of course you know what my answer is going to be! Avoid eggs and try to consume more plant-based foods. By increasing your intake of protective fiber, phytochemical and antioxidants, you will decrease your intake of saturated fat, animal protein and cholesterol. Easy peasy.

 

Pumpkin

Pumpkin is my favorite ingredient in my plant-based kitchen. It is creamy like banana and applesauce, and I love the way it adds an orange hue to baked goods. Pumpkin is a great substitute in recipes that may benefit from some extra color. Aside from that, pumpkins are an excellent way to add antioxidants to your day. They are low in sodium and high in fiber. Mixing pumpkin and flax makes an ultimate egg in these scrumptious cupcakes!

Since pumpkin is heavier than eggs, it’s perfect for recipes that call for heavier ingredients, like pies, or bread loaves. This Pumpkin Parfait with Cashew Vanilla Cream is unbelievably delicious, and if you start making it now, you will perfect it in time for the holidays! 1/4 cup of pure pumpkin = 1 egg.

Banana

Mashed bananas work wonders in baking, and one of my favorite recipes is for Banana Muffins from Forks Over Knives. The bananas make the mixture very creamy and thick which translates into the most delicious, moist muffins. Bananas are potassium-packed powerhouses which offer plenty of starches and sugar, so they work best in recipes that call for added sweetness.

Speaking of sweet, this recipe for Banana Nice Cream is one of my most favorites! No dairy, no eggs, and no refined sugars. It is a win-win, and so deliciously satisfying! Oh, and 1/2 a mashed banana = 1 egg.

Chia Seeds

This little black seed grown in South America was a staple in the Aztec and Mayan diets, and for good reason. They are chock-full of antioxidants, proteins, Omega 3s, vitamins and minerals, all of which provide a powerful punch of energy.

Chia seeds are considered a hydrocolloid. Hydrocolloids are molecules that thicken and form a gel when combined with water.  That’s why they make the most perfect egg substitute — gummy and thick. Mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 1/3 cup of water (which equals 1 egg), let sit for a few moments, and add to your batter.  If you don’t grind the chia seeds first, your batter will have a great, chewy texture with some delightful crunch. 

Chia seeds are great in this Chocolate Chia Pudding recipe, or this Double Chocolate Raw Chocolate Cake. 

Applesauce

I love applesauce. Maybe it is a throwback to my days as a young girl, when my mom would give me applesauce to soothe a tummy, or to help a fever subside. There is a certain level of comfort that applesauce provides, so I welcome this ingredient whenever I can. The combination of sweet and tart makes this egg replacement a top choice. I use applesauce in my muffin recipes as a great way to turn a recipe plant-strong, and I have also used it in banana bread and cookies.

The great thing about using applesauce is that it is also a replacement for oil. It makes a great stand-in for both eggs and oil, immediately converting your recipes to plant-strong goodness. One of my favorites: Fudge Vegan BrowniesEnough said.  1/4 cup of applesauce = one egg.

Flax Seeds

I’ve saved the best for last. If you are whole-food, plant-based, or trying to be, I guarantee that you’ve come face-to-face with these little tiny seeds. Flaxseeds have been around for 6,000 years, and are considered one of the world’s first cultivated superfoods. These little powerhouses contain anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids (but not the same kind that fish have), along with other antioxidant substances called lignans. Lignans are great for hormonal balance. 

So, if you are interested in improving digestion, clearing your skin, lowering cholesterol, fighting sugar cravings, improving heart health, and cooking without eggs, you’ve found your match.  The seeds are small, brown or tan, or golden. You may see them called “linseed” which is the same thing. Oh — they are a great source of dietary fiber and plant-based protein.

Aside from putting a tablespoon of ground flaxseed into my protein smoothies, I cook with them a lot, because they are my egg-substitute elixir. They contain emulsifiers, which are molecules that bind oil and water, which makes your baked goods nice and fluffy. 

Here’s a recipe for flax eggs. Ready? 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds with 2 tablespoons of warm water. Mix and let sit for a moment.  That equals ONE egg. 

One last thing: it is important to grind the flaxseeds, as you cannot digest them whole. No kidding. You can use a coffee grinder like this one, or you can buy them already ground. The thing with flaxseeds is that they turn rancid pretty quickly once they are ground. So, be sure to seal them in an airtight container, and keep refrigerated. 

Anyone up for some Chocolate Chip Coconut Pancakes?

Now that you have all the info you need for ingredient substitutions for eggs, there’s no need to consume eggs anymore! Click on the Amazon links below to start substituting!


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10 thoughts on “What you need to know about ingredient substitutions for eggs”

  • Hi Amy,

    I love to bake, and I usually use eggs. Lately, I have learned about chia to be an excellent egg substitute. As I read your post, I got surprised to see there are so many different kinds of possibilities for replacing eggs. I really didn’t believe you can use bananas, applesauce and pumpkins instead of eggs.

    You are providing great advice and I’m looking forward to trying these out. Thank you for sharing the delicious looking recipes.

    Pernilla

    • Thanks for writing, Pernilla! I am glad you found my suggestions to be helpful! I just posted another article about pesticides in produce, which may be of some interest to you as well. Thanks!

  • I used to eat eggs daily. For some strange reason, I started to eat less and on some days none at all. Now, after reading your article about all the bad things about eggs, I am glad I am eating less of it.

    Better still, from your article I learned what are the substitutes for eggs. And I love to eat all of them. So, in future, when I choose these alternatives, I will know that I am eating the better alternatives for eggs. Also, I like that extra touch where you suggest recipes. Will be fun to cook some of these dishes.

    Thanks so much!

  • Wow I’m so glad to have found your website. The ideas you have here really resonate with me. We’re off eggs now because I have a daughter who is allergic to eggs, and a son who has eczema, and eggs is one of the said triggers, so we avoid it.

    Reading about salmonella brings back memories (not so good ones though) from years ago, when my then one-year old son got infected from eating eggs. He stayed at the hospital for one full week, being put on drips, and had such bad diarrhea.

    And ‘How not to die’, I’m actually reading this book right now. It is so full of insights, learning so much from it.

    • Hi Joo — so sorry to hear about the difficulties your kids have had with eggs — but so happy that they have insightful parents who are doing the right thing. How Not to Die has an amazing companion cookbook as well. Have you seen it? Here is the link.
      Thanks for writing!

  • I read everything I expected. But, I love eggs. I grew up on a farm and used to gather the fresh eggs every day. I love deviled eggs. You’re killing me with all this bad news, even though I have to agree. My wife eats egg white omelets but she prefers egg beaters. I didn’t see any mention of those here. What is your opinion on those and other egg imitators?
    Thanks for the useful information on egg substitutes.

    • Hi Curtis and thanks for writing! Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but certainly eating plant-strong will prevent more bad news! As for egg beaters, I don’t really endorse those because they are made from eggs, and if not eggs, then chemicals. Do the best you can — maybe only have eggs once a week or something? I know it’s not easy — little bit at a time!

  • I am kind of disappointed to see all the down sides to eggs. The substitutions are great, but not for breakfast 😀 This is interesting because I know that WW counts eggs as zero points and says you can eat as many as you want! So, I am at a loss for what to have for breakfast now 🙁

    • I was on WW as well, and noticed that they endorse eating eggs, as well as dairy and animal products of all kinds. It was a struggle for me as well, until I discovered organic oatmeal. Seriously. I bought the box of packets of unflavored, and added boiling water, some almond milk to cool it down, then a splash of Stevia or cinnamon, and, depending on the amount of points I had, I would add a couple of almonds, or a banana which is free. I am pretty sure that oatmeal is 5 points, which makes for a great, hearty breakfast. Alternatively, Ezekiel bread is 2-or3-points per slice, at 80 calories per slice, and is great toasted with some PB-2 and a teaspoon of organic preserves. Better yet, apple butter. I think that is free. So you do have some options and don’t have to eat eggs! Let me know if any of this works for you, and thanks for writing…!

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