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Egg Substitutes Th­at You Can Bake With


One of the major differences between becoming a vegan or vegetarian or looking at a paleo versus vegan diet is whether or not you consume eggs. If you’re one of these folks, you already know that some adjustments are easier to make than others. Saying “no” to mass-produced mystery meats? Easy. Waving goodbye to your favorite creamy cheese? Not so simple.

Whether you’re a novice or contemplating trying out for Top Chef, there’s one part of the cooking in the kitchen that’s definitely a challenge once you go vegan: trying to find a good egg substitute or substitutes.

The search for healthy, vegan egg substitutes
People who live a vegan lifestyle stick to a plant-based diets, eating lots of fruits, veggies, nuts, and grains. Vegans don’t eat foods that come from animals, including meat, eggs, and dairy products. And while there are plenty of nutritious, delicious foods that vegans can continue enjoying, the implications of not eating eggs are trickier than deciding what to eat at brunch.

That’s because eggs are essential in almost every baked good. From homemade breads and French toast to brownies and waffles, eggs work as a powerful binder, adding moisture, fat, and structure. So, when an egg is listed in a recipe, a substitute that will perform all the functions an egg does in that particular recipe is necessary. The extra tricky part? The requirements change depending on what the recipe is, so there’s no one-size-fits-all replacement available.

Another issue with egg substitutes and replacements — whether for eggs, faux meats, or other vegan-unfriendly ingredients — is that they’re often packed with unhealthy ingredients and additives, they’re processed foods dressed in vegan packaging. Unless products specifically hold a “non-GMO” label, if they include soy, wheat, or corn, more than likely they’re made with GMO ingredients.
Choosing a vegan lifestyle doesn’t mean a lifetime without freshly baked loaves of bread or chewy cookies. Below, find my worst — and best — bets for vegan egg substitutes.

Steer clear of these egg substitutes
Silken Tofu
Tofu is one of my 10 health foods you should never eat. That’s not because soy is inherently bad for you; there are plenty of healthy varieties, like fermented natto and tempeh. But, most of the soy that’s sold in stores is genetically modified and isn’t farmed the same way the crop is in Japan, so it doesn’t yield the same nutritional benefits.

Most people also lack the enzymes necessary to digest unfermented soy. Who wants to suffer from gas, indigestion, or bloating on account of a birthday cake? When it comes to using an egg substitute, steer clear of tofu.

Egg Beaters and Better’n Eggs
These egg substitutes are just eggs that have had some of the cholesterol and healthy fats skimmed out of them. Some contain just egg whites, while some contain the entire egg, but they are still animal products and non-vegan. They’re also, despite what many websites claim, not healthy because of its many artificial ingredients and colors.

Use these egg replacements instead
Try these egg substitutes to continue making and eating baked treats. Note that some of these will work better in certain types of recipes than others, and some will have a bigger nutritional punch than others.

For example, besides lending a nutty flavor to recipes, flaxseed benefits include omega-3 fatty acids — however, you wouldn’t want to use it in a chocolate chip cookie recipe. Meanwhile, recipes like angel food cake and meringues probably won’t work well with an egg substitute.
Experiment with different types of substitutes and your favorite recipes to achieve the best results.

Best for: cakes, muffins, quick breads
1 egg: 1/4 cup applesauce
Be sure to use unsweetened, unflavored, organic applesauce. It’ll act as a binder, keeping cakes and muffins moist.

Baking soda and vinegar
Best for: cakes, muffins, quick breads
1 egg: 1 teaspoon of baking soda mixed with 1 tablespoon white vinegar and 1 tablespoon water

This combo is best used when you want to keep treats, like cakes, fluffy. It’s best in recipes where more than one egg is listed.

Banana or fruit purees
Best for: cakes, muffins, quick breads
1 egg: 1/4 cup mashed banana or other pureed fruit

Bananas and fruits add loads of moisture to baked goods. Depending on how ripe the banana is or the type of fruit puree used, they might add extra sweetness, too, so you might want to adjust sugar levels accordingly. A fruit puree favorite is pumpkin, which tastes especially delicious in fall-inspired recipes.

Chia seeds and flaxseeds
Best for: cakes, muffins, quick breads, yeast breads, cookies, brownies
1 egg: 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds (after grinding) and 3 tablespoons water

Use chia seeds or flax as your egg substitute and get an extra nutritional boost to boot. Grind chia/flax seeds in a coffee grinder, mix with water and let set in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. You’ll wind up with an egg substitute that’s surprisingly similar to an egg in texture.

Because flax adds a slightly nutty flavor, it’s great in whole-grain breads, muffins and pancakes; use with caution in cakes.

Ener-G Egg Replacer
Best for: cakes, muffins, quick breads, cookies, brownies, yeast breads
1 egg: see box instructions

This egg substitute, available in supermarkets, is made from potato and tapioca starch. It’s free of eggs, gluten, wheat, casein, dairy, yeast, soy, tree nuts, or peanuts, so it’s a great substitute for those who aren’t vegan but still suffer from food allergies. It is, however, a processed product, so use this only if you feel another egg substitute wouldn’t cut it.

Though it’s supposed to be flavorless, Ener-G can impart a slightly metallic or chalky taste to baked goods. It’s best in cookies or baked goods where there are a decent amount of other ingredients that can “mask” the taste and where fluffiness isn’t a factor.

Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, is a certified doctor of natural medicine, doctor of chiropractic, and clinical nutritionist with a passion to help people get healthy by using food as medicine. For more information, please visit www.draxe.com.