Eggs are a key ingredient in many baking recipes, making it a challenge for those following plant-based diet to create their favourite cakes and baked goods. From an environmental standpoint, reducing egg consumption is beneficial for our planet. Egg production has increased rapidly over the years – in China alone, the egg industry is worth US$37 billion. Like other intensive industrial farming practices, producing eggs generates greenhouse gas emissions and also contributes to contaminating soil and water, not to mention it’s ethically problematic- most egg-laying hens live in pretty horrific conditions. You may also be avoiding eggs for health reasons such as an allergy. Whatever your reason for avoiding them, there are actually many great vegan-friendly replacements for eggs so don’t fret. Below, our top 6 easiest egg substitutes, most of which you probably already have in your pantry.
Applesauce is a purée made from cooked and mashed apples. Though often sweetened, you can find unsweetened varieties in select stores and it can also be easily made in your own kitchen. Homemade applesauce takes only around 20 minutes, and only requires gathering a bunch of apples, cut into slices, boil on the hob and either mash or purée! Using about one quarter of a cup (65 grams) of applesauce is a great substitute for one egg.
Recipe Replacement Ratio – 1/4 Cup Applesauce to 1 Egg
2. Mashed Bananas
Another fruit based replacement for eggs is mashed bananas. All you need are some ripe bananas, and mash them with a fork! Not only is this a cheap and easy replacement, it is also incredibly versatile – mashed bananas are great in cookies, pancakes, muffins, breads and cakes! Again, around a quarter cup of mashed bananas equates to one egg. Your finished product is likely to be quite dense and moist, and will probably carry a mild banana flavour – so if you aren’t a big banana fan, then read on for more egg replacement ideas.
Recipe Replacement Ratio – 1/4 Cup Mashed Banana to 1 Egg
3. Ground Flaxseeds Or Chia Seeds
Both flaxseeds and chia seeds are popular egg substitutes in the baking world. Not only do they act as a great binder ingredient for baking recipes, they also pack a nutritional punch! Both are high in omega-3 fatty acids and contain loads of fibre. While buying ground seed meal from stores and supermarkets can be pricey, you can also purchase whole seeds and grind them at home yourself. To replace one egg, whisk around 1 tablespoon (7 grams) of ground seeds with 3 tablespoons of water until the mixture thickens. This healthy replacement works best in pancakes, waffles, muffins, cookies and breads, and will bring a slightly nutty and earthy flavour!
Recipe Replacement Ratio – 1 Tbsp Ground Flax/Chia Seeds + 3 Tbsp Water to 1 Egg
4. Silken Tofu
In Asia, tofu can be found in almost every grocery store, outdoor market or local food shop. You might be surprised to know that the silken variety of tofu, which has a higher water content than firmer types, are fantastic substitutes in baking. Especially for those who dislike the flavour that fruit and seed based replacements bring to the finished product, silken tofu is a good choice in brownies and cakes. Nutritionally, tofu is also high in protein. Around 60 grams of silken tofu equates to one egg.
Recipe Replacement Ratio – 1/4 Cup Silken Tofu to 1 Egg
Another stand-in for eggs is the liquid leftover from cooking chickpeas or other legumes, commonly known as aquafaba. You can also easily purchase canned chickpeas and use the drained liquid. For those who want to substitute egg whites in a recipe, aquafaba is perfect – around 3 tablespoons (45 grams) can replace one whole egg or egg white. It works particularly well in meringues, macaroons, mousses, fluffier cakes and nougats.
Recipe Replacement Ratio – 3 Tbsp Aquafaba to 1 Egg
6. Plant-Based Milk
Plain, unsweetened and unflavoured plant-based milks can also replace eggs in baking. Using about a quarter cup can replace one egg, and it performs well in most muffins, cake and cupcake recipes. You can find plant-based milks in most supermarkets and most health or vegan grocery stores. Formerly a niche product on shelves, they now come in many varieties including almond, soya, rice, coconut and more.
Recipe Replacement Ratio – 1/4 Cup Plant-Based Milk to 1 Egg
Lead image courtesy of Meredith Heuer for The New York Times.