In this brief guide, we learn about eggs and their uses, and explore them in detail. This guide also outlines and explains what you can substitute for eggs if you cannot eat eggs or are unable to procure them.
The following are some options you can consider:
- Unsweetened applesauce
- Mashed banana
- Ground flaxseeds or chia seeds
- Silken tofu
- Vinegar + baking soda
- Yoghurt or buttermilk
A brief about eggs
When we refer to eggs, we usually mean chicken eggs, however, there are many different types of eggs available on the market such as duck eggs, quail eggs and ostrich eggs to name a few. There are many types of chicken eggs available that vary in size and nutritional value. They may be enhanced to have more vitamins and minerals and also are available as brown eggs.
Egg whites are a considerable source of protein that is used by many bodybuilders and gym-goers to build muscle. The yolks have high nutritional value as they are a great source of fat, vitamins and minerals and carotenoids. Eggs are cheap, easily available and extremely healthy with a lot of health benefits.
Eggs are used in baking and play an important role in it as they act as a leavening agent and add flavour, texture and structure to the dish.
What are eggs used for?
Because eggs are such a great source of bodily nutrients, they are a popular breakfast food. They are also eaten as a source of protein for muscle building and weight loss, however, it is advised to not eat the yolk if it is for the latter. They can be eaten both directly as well as incorporated into dishes.
Eggs can be cooked and eaten directly in a variety of different ways. Some of them include being boiled, scrambled, poached or cooked with other ingredients as an omelette.
Aside from being eaten as is, they are an important component in a range of different recipes such as :
- To bind ( for example in dumplings)
- Used as an egg wash to add a golden glaze and crisp to pastries.
What can be used instead of eggs?
Eggs are sometimes avoided by those who have egg allergies or are vegans, for example. In this case, there are many substitutes that can be considered, especially in baking and cooking;
1. Unsweetened applesauce
Applesauce is made from pureed, cooked apples. You can use the sweetened variety however, you will have to reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe to compensate. This is a healthy substitute that can be used for muffins, cupcakes, cookies and bars that adds moisture. However, keep in mind that using too much applesauce can result in a rubbery texture.
An egg can be replaced by one-fourth cup of applesauce in most recipes.
2. Mashed banana
Mashed, ripened bananas are an excellent, nutritious substitute for eggs. It adds density and moisture to your baked good, however, it does add a slight banana flavour so make sure that the recipe can afford that.
This alternative works for quick breads, muffins and cakes. Use a banana of moderate ripeness as the riper it is the sweeter it will be and can change the flavour of your dish. One egg can be replaced by ¼ cup of mashed banana.
3. Ground flaxseeds/chia seeds
These seeds are highly nutritious seeds containing omega-3 fatty acids and fibre. This is quite a healthy option. You can mix a tablespoon of ground seeds with 3 tablespoons of water to create a thick paste that will easily substitute one egg.
Keep in mind, however, that this option makes your dish dense and can also leave a nutty flavour. It is hence advised to be used for savoury baked goods like pancakes, waffles, muffins, breads and cookies.
4. Silken tofu
Tofu is the result of pressing processed, condensed soy milk into blocks. Silken tofu has higher water content and is hence softer. ¼ cup of silken tofu can be pureed to replace an egg. It is flavourless in comparison with the other alternatives however can make the dish denser so is better used in brownies, cakes and breads and other recipes that call for only a few eggs.
5. Vinegar + baking soda
This combination reacts to form carbon dioxide that creates air bubbles that give the baked good its airiness and light, fluffy texture. One teaspoon of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of water substitutes an egg in most recipes.
This can be added to cakes, cupcakes and quick breads.
6. Yoghurt or buttermilk
This option adds a good amount of moisture and texture to the dish. Be sure to use plain and unsweetened yoghurt so that it does not add any further sweetness or flavour to the recipe. You can replace one egg with ¼ cup of yoghurt or buttermilk.
This can be a heavy substitute so beating it before adding can be helpful. It is best used for muffins, cupcakes and cakes.
As you have seen, this guide has explained why eggs are important in our diets and our cooking and how they can be substituted by different ingredients that also include vegan options.