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Once upon a time, going vegan meant embracing plant-based ingredients in their simplest form. Nowadays, however, there's more choice than ever before. The wide array of choices can be daunting to newbies. Which brand is best? Which products taste the most realistic? Which products are the healthier option? How do you cook them? Do they provide enough nutrition?
The more plant-based alternatives you experiment with, the easier it will become to identify which are suitable for different occasions. For example, if I'm looking for a super meaty, good quality burger, I will always go for Beyond Meat. And if I'm looking for a healthier alternative, I will either make my own or choose a jackfruit-based or tempeh-based burger. So what about vegan eggs?
First things first, 'vegan egg' is a broad term. Vegans have long been using plant-based ingredients to mimic the function of eggs, from flaxseed to apple sauce, so there isn't one sole ingredient that represents vegan eggs. If you're wondering why someone would choose to mimic eggs rather than simply using real eggs, then keep on reading.
Coming to an informed decision of whether eggs are good or bad for you is tricky. Some health professionals will recommend adding a moderate amount of eggs into a balanced diet as they offer some nutritional value. But at what cost?
Although eggs are low in calories and high in protein, there are serious health concerns regarding cholesterol. There are roughly 200 milligrams of cholesterol in an average-sized egg, and adults are only recommended to limit cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams per day. Health isn't the only problem when it comes to egg consumption; there are environmental and ethical concerns, as well as dangers of bacterial disease.
More people than ever are reaching for plant-based options as their food of choice. Of course, everyone has their own reasons, but the beauty of vegan products is that they do not require the use of animals and aim to cause the least harm possible.
Vegan eggs can be from multiple sources. One of the most recent and exciting egg substitutes on the market is CRACKD, a liquid egg product using pea protein (an extract of split peas). Another popular product is Follow Your Heart, a vegan egg product in powder form using organic soymilk powder.
If you would prefer to make a vegan egg, you can use tofu. Tofu makes an exceptional scrambled egg replacement as well as egg whites (when making a vegan-friendly fried egg from scratch). This creates a physical vegan egg replacement that looks realistic; however, if you only need to mimic the function of an egg, ingredients like flaxseed or aquafaba will suffice. To make a single flax egg, mix one tablespoon of ground flaxseed with three tablespoons of water; this is an easy and healthy alternative for replacing eggs in baking.
Each product is different, which is why you should always read the instructions on the packet before cooking. For example, for the CRACKD product, you need to add 15 minutes extra to the recipe time as their product takes longer to cook than a 'real' egg. The company also recommends reducing the temperature of your recipe by 10 degrees celsius. You are welcome to experiment and find out what works best for you. It may take a few tries, but that's what cooking is all about!
Follow Your Heart vegan egg works a little differently as it's in powder form. You have to add a splash of ice-cold water and whisk the mixture to create your vegan egg. Once that's done, you can use it however you want, whether that's making a frittata or baking muffins.
Here's a selection of vegan recipes that either use vegan egg substitutes or other ways of substituting eggs, for example, chickpea flour or tofu.
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