It’s just about 16 years since I went vegan, and over the years I’ve used a lot of different things as substitutes for eggs. There are great alternatives for eggs in pretty much everything – from breakfast scrambles, to baking, to frittatas, and even meringues. And in recent years there’s been an, ahem, eggsplosion of commercial plant-based eggs such as Just Egg, Vegan Egg, and more.
Which, if any, of these store bought egg replacements are worth your money? Are any actually healthier or better for the planet than an egg laid by a chicken or duck? Here’s a quick rundown of the best plant-based eggs, with a few of the more traditional vegan-friendly egg substitutes also included below.
Vegan Egg was arguably the first mass-produced plant-based scrambled egg substitute. This powder is made with black salt, algal flour and algal protein, and you mix it with water to make an egg substitute as and when you need it. Each packet yields about a dozen egg equivalents.
Vegan Egg is simple to use, easy to store (it doesn’t require refrigeration), and has a long shelf-life. It’s not quite as convenient as Just Egg (which is ready-to-pour), but it’s arguably more eco-friendly as it weighs far less for shipping. It’s also more versatile, in that you can use it as a substitute for straight up scrambled eggs or in baking, for thickening sauces, or even to make vegan custard. It works well even at higher heats, so incorporates nicely into batters for waffles and pancakes. The black salt (kala namak) gives it the same sulfurous flavor as eggs.
The Vegan Egg from Follow Your Heart is a bit runnier than Just Egg and takes a little longer to cook when making a scramble (about 8 minutes versus 2 minutes).
Vegan Egg is a good source of dietary protein, fiber, healthy fats, and some carbohydrates and micronutrients. Vegan Egg has a lot of major distributors worldwide, meaning that it is available at many grocery stores as well as online.
Like all other plant-based egg substitutes, Just Egg is free from cholesterol and is associated with fewer carbon emissions and less water use, among other things. However, because it is packaged in liquid form (which is certainly convenient!), it does have slightly higher carbon emissions associated with it compared to the powder type plant-based eggs.
Just use a mung bean protein to create their egg substitute, along with canola oil, turmeric and carrot, and water to give it an ‘eggy’ color. This impressive food engineering results in a ready-to-pour product that has all the same qualities as a regular chicken’s egg.
You can also easily use Just Egg to make frittatas, pancake batter, and even for French toast. In general, however, this is best suited to savory items rather than for baking as it tends to thicken quite quickly with heat. For scrambling, this is an advantage as you can go from pour to perfect scrambled ‘eggs’ in just a couple of minutes. Just really fluffs up like regular eggs to create that curd-like texture.
Just is reportedly working on a baking-friendly version of their product, so watch this space. The baking friendly version might also work for making sauces such as carbonara. Right now, Just Egg doesn’t emulsify like Vegan Egg, meaning it just doesn’t work as a sauce thickener.
Just Egg also has a lot of major distributors and is readily available in grocery stores (check the refrigerator section) in the US as well as online. Once open, you’ll need to use Just Egg quite quickly, and even unopened it has a much shorter shelf life than Vegan Egg and other plant-based egg substitutes. It’s also not quite as convenient for taking camping, unless you keep it in your cooler.
Just is nutritionally very similar to a regular egg, with one serving providing five grams of protein. It’s a great option to serve to sceptical omnivore friends and family without compromising your ethics.
Another good option for scrambled plant-based eggs comes from the makers of the Vegg (a popular egg yolk substitute, see below). The Vegg Scramble is a powder-based formula specifically intended to be mixed with non-dairy milk to make a breakfast scramble similar to standard scrambled eggs. The magic, once again, lies in the inclusion of black sulfur salt, along with algal protein and algal flour, soy protein and nutritional yeast. Every serving provides a whopping 20 grams of protein!
The Vegg itself is made with fortified nutritional yeast, sodium alginate, black salt, and beta carotene. It is intended for making French toast, as well as for dipping, and also makes a mean egg-free hollandaise.
Vegg also offer their kosher certified products in bulk, which saves on plastic and shipping, and also saves you money! And there’s a handy Vegg Baking Mix that is ideal for quiches, cakes, cookies, muffins, challah bread and other recipes.
Eggcitables are currently only available in Canada ($5 flat-rate shipping all across Canada) and though I haven’t yet had the pleasure of trying them, I’m excited to give them a whirl!
Available in Original, Chipotle, and Garlic & Chive, Eggcitables are a powder you mix with water to create an egg substitute. The ratio is pretty simple: 2 tablespoons of Eggcitable to 2 tablespoons water. The concoction can be fried in a dash of oil for 4-6 minutes to make an omelet, or make a scramble in about 6 minutes.
The company also claims you can use Eggcitables for baking and binding by following the same mix ratio and using as you would any egg. Unfortunately, I can’t verify the versatility of this product for scrambling and baking, so if you’ve tried it, please leave a comment below!
Eggcitables will keep up to 8 months in a dark, dry cupboard, and the product does not need refrigerating. This makes it a great option for traveling and camping.
One other thing I like about Eggcitables is that it is made at the Dartmouth Adult Services Center, located in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, helping support the local community of adults with learning and developmental challenges.
Every pack of Eggcitables can yield 12-15 egg equivalents, with each serving providing 8 grams of protein, just 180 calories, and a good amount of calcium, iron, B12, and other nutrients. Eggcitables are a bit high in sodium for my liking, with just over half a gram in every serving, but they are also a decent source of potassium to offset some of that sodium.
Eggcitables is made without gluten but isn’t yet certified gluten-free. Many of their ingredients, including chickpea and oat flour, come from an exclusively gluten free mill, however. The products are certified vegan and are free from many common allergens.
Eggcitables is made of chickpea flour, oat flour, carrot powder, tapioca starch, nutritional yeast, baking powder, black salt, and xanthan gum. An impressive 97% of the ingredients are sourced from Canadian suppliers with 70% coming directly from Canadian farmers. This makes it pretty eco-friendly in my book.
One of the longer-standing egg replacers, Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer is gluten-free, available in bulk, and simple and easy to use. It’s a great option for baking muffins, breads, cookies, and cakes, but not so good for making scrambled ‘eggs’ (don’t even try it, seriously).
Commercial Vegan Egg Substitutes
There are two stand-out options for commercial vegan egg substitutes: Just and Vegan Egg. The former is a liquid product and the latter a powder that you mix with water. There are advantages to both, but the two are very similar overall in terms of taste and texture, with a scarily similar mouth feel and flavor to scrambled eggs. In general, if you’re looking for an egg substitute for baking, Vegan Egg is better. If you’re looking for a quick and delicious substitute for scrambled eggs, go for Just Egg.
Traditional egg replacements
Innovative cooks have long used a range of other foodstuffs to replace eggs, be it for reasons of scarcity, allergies, health, or ethics. Here are six of the most popular traditional egg replacers, many of which you may already have at hand.
- Ground Linseed / Flax Seed – mix 1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water = 1 egg
- Great for binding in burgers, patties, nut roasts, some pastry recipes, muffins, and more
- Ground chia seeds – 1 tbsp ground chia seeds + 3 tbsp water = 1 egg
- Similar to flax eggs, but with a bit more protein and omega-3
- Tofu – firm, medium-firm, or soft
- For frittatas, scrambles, quiches, and even pecan pie, tofu is a great option that is readily available and inexpensive. Silken tofu has a more egg-like texture, just add a little kala namak (black sulfur salt) to get that eggy flavor.
- Aquafaba (AKA bean water) – save the protein-rich ‘juice’ from cans of chickpeas or skim the top of the cooking water if boiling them at home – 3 tbsps aquafaba = 1 egg white
- If you’re vegan and desperately want to make meringue, aquafaba will be your new favorite thing. When whipped, aquafaba turns stiff like egg whites, putting vegan meringues, mayonnaise, and other delicacies back on the menu.
- Apple sauce – 3 tbsps = 1 egg
- Make sure to use unsweetened apple sauce or puree your own apples and then use a little to bind ingredients in cakes, muffins, cookies, and even crackers.
- Bananas (mashed) – 3 tbsps mashed banana = 1 egg
- Excellent for baking muffins, pancakes, and other sweet dishes that can handle the flavor injection, mashed banana is also a good use of fruit that’s a little past its best. (You can also freeze mashed banana in ice cube trays to minimize food waste even more!).
Whether you’re ditching the animal eggs because you’re vegan or for environmental or health reasons, there are plenty of good alternatives available. No need for meringue envy or failed frittatas, just be sure to pick the right plant-based egg replacer for the job!