In order to find adequate replacements for eggs, it helps to know why eggs are used in baking. Eggs have several functions in baked goods, including binding, leavening, and adding moisture and richness, all of which can be accomplished as well, if not better, with healthful, plant-based ingredients that have no cholesterol or saturated fats.
Baked foods such as cakes, cupcakes, and quick breads rise when vinegar, cocoa, or citrus (acids) and baking soda (a base) are combined. The reaction releases carbon dioxide that produces bubbles in the food, and when the food is heated, the bubbles expand and help lighten or rise the final baked food. A teaspoon of baking soda with a tablespoon of vinegar works well.
A tablespoon of ground flaxseeds whisked with three tablespoons of water for each egg produces a binder with a thick, creamy texture that has a consistency similar to raw egg whites only with the added benefit of all the healthy omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseeds. The nutty flavor of flaxseeds work well with grainier and nuttier foods such as waffles, pancakes, bran muffins, breads, and oatmeal cookies.
Mashed bananas are great binding ingredients that are packed with potassium and magnesium. Half of a mashed or pureed banana can replace one or two eggs in breads, muffins, cakes, and pancakes. Of course, only use bananas as a replacement if you want the banana flavor.
Applesauce acts as a binding agent, provides moisture, and it’s a great low-fat and low-calorie egg substitute. Plus, applesauce is loaded with fiber, vitamin C, and other phytochemicals. A quarter cup of unsweetened applesauce is the equivalent to one egg and makes foods such as cakes, quick breads, and brownies moist.
Silken tofu, made from soybeans, provides moisture and is rich in protein and fiber. A quarter cup of silken tofu blended until smooth and creamy can be substituted for one egg in cakes and brownies to make them dense and moist. Silken tofu is also used to make puddings, mousses, and pie fillings.
Of course, you can also use commercial egg replacers such as Ener-G Egg Replacer and Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer and follow the package instructions. While commercial egg replacers do not add any nutritional value, they are convenient because their long shelf life allows them to be kept on hand.
Eggs are often used to thicken sauces, gravies, custards, desserts, and beverages. Other thickening agents can be used instead, including kudzu, agar, arrowroot, cornstarch, flour, and nut and seed butters.
Eggs are also often used as a glaze for pastries or breads. Oil, nondairy milk, nondairy butter, or ¼ cup of light corn syrup thinned with very hot water can be used instead of eggs.
With all these healthy alternatives to eggs, you don’t have to be vegan to pack in more nutrition and eliminate cholesterol and saturated fats from your baked treats!
“You can have your cake and eat it too”!