VEGAN EGGS? | Yes, They're a Thing!
Updated: Nov 20, 2020
When you first delve into the plant-based world, you may think there are many things you’ll be ‘giving up’.
While you’ll soon find out that ‘giving up’ is actually more like ‘substituting’, you’ll also discover that there are so many options available. A quick walk down any grocery store aisle will present you with burgers, sausages, mince, even mock-chicken strips. But there are still some foods that you’d be excused for thinking just can’t be replaced.
If you’re craving something you think you can only get from animals, read on - your salvation awaits!
As the blog title suggests, yes - you can have ‘eggs’ on a plant-based diet. Real eggs - be they chicken, duck or ostrich - are unique. Their taste and texture are unlike anything else and, as such, can’t be replicated. But vegan egg options do exist and personally, I way prefer them. I have always found eggs a bit too rich, slimy and overpowering for my tastes. The plant-based alternatives are tasty, healthy and, done right, a far more appealing texture.
So what’s in a vegan egg? Tofu is the basis for both the yolk and white, with herbs, spices and tomato added for flavor. I’ll be honest: it’s a tricky recipe, but you can make fried ‘eggs’ from 100 percent plant-based ingredients, and they’re amazingly tasty.
Scrambled eggs are much easier, with products such as Just Egg, Orgran’s Vegan Easy Egg or Vegan Egg from Follow Your Heart making it quick and easy to get your scramble fix. You can even grate firm tofu or mash soft tofu, mix with a little paprika, curry powder, salt and pepper and fry up a super-quick scramble substitute.
A bonus of all of these options is that they still offer an excellent protein hit, but without the harmful cholesterol of the real thing - or harming any animals.
As above, omelets are completely possible without breaking a single egg.
You can use the three products I mentioned or follow this really easy recipe from The Minimalist Baker for a crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside omelet that is as healthy as it is cruelty-free.
photo: The Minimalist Baker
Mix it up with some wilted greens, mushrooms, chopped tomatoes, or even add some slices of plant-based wieners or sausages for a truly hearty omelet. Add some barbeque beans and some salad on the side and you’ve got yourself a complete, balanced meal!
Omelets are completely possible without breaking a single egg.
Okay, there are plenty of bacon fake-ons out there already! Bacon is one of those must-haves for a lot of newly-transitioned plant-basers, as I discussed in a previous blog, so it’s understandable that a number of companies have already made both pork and turkey-style bacons with plant ingredients.
Again, maybe it’s a personal thing, but I’m not a huge fan. They’re a great bacony hit for those who are craving, but I just find them a little bit too fake-on to be bacon!
That said, bacon does have its place in a plant-based diet. VegNews offers an excellent run-down in this article of some of the best bacons on the market, but if you want to create for yourself, there are a couple of easy ways.
Simplest of all is to take a block of tofu, tempeh or best, seitan, thinly slice, season and fry. Using smoked paprika, liquid smoke, Braggs seasoning or even barbecue sauce, marinate your thin slices for at least 20 minutes then fry as you would normal bacon in a dash of oil.
To call it bacon is a bit of a stretch and it’s an average substitute for the real thing, but it’s far healthier and still seriously delicious.
For a more authentic replacement, Google will throw you plenty of recipes, but I found these two, which aren’t too much trouble to make and offer two different styles of bacon.
The first is the thin-and-crispy variety from The Edgy Veg. Using rice paper and a tasty, smoky marinade, this quick-and-easy recipe gives you the crunch you want in perfectly-fried, crispy bacon.
If you’re maladjusted and prefer thicker, chewier bacon, seitan makes the perfect, firm-yet-tender base for your strips. You can buy packet seitan or you can make your own with this complete recipe from Loving It Vegan, which also includes the marinade whichever way you choose to go.
photo: Loving It Vegan
As with bacon, there are plenty of cheez products on the market, but yellow and gelatinous does not maketh the cheese! While the common blocks and slices can be great sandwich-fillers, they aren’t that diverse, and you have to go a long way to find a plant-based cheez worthy of crackers and wine.
If you want to get really adventurous, you can even try making your own. LiveKindly has collected 25 amazing vegan cheese recipes together and, once you have the ingredients, many of them are actually surprisingly easy.
Yogurt is probably the easiest of all non-dairy dairy products to find. Usually based on soy or coconut milk, you can find plenty of options and flavors at many grocery and health food stores.
Removing the dairy aminos and fats means you don’t have to worry about lactose intolerance or skin outbreaks often associated with cow’s milk-based dairy products.
If you want to go it alone and create your own, it is seriously one of the easiest recipes you could ever make.
Minimalist Baker comes to our aid once again for an incredible, two-ingredient (yeah, seriously - only two!) coconut yogurt that is a tangy, Greek-style version of the real thing. It also has the benefits of probiotics, helping to heal your gut and assist healthy digestion.
Pinch of Yum takes a different approach. With only one more ingredient, she offers a smooth and creamy dessert which, by her own admittance, isn’t really yogurt, but is a flavorsome and highly adaptable recipe. If you are after that little bit of acidity, you can add the contents of a probiotic capsule to the recipe, cover with fabric and leave in a warm, dark place for 24-48 hours for a more truly yogurt-like dessert.
photo: The Minimalist Baker
The plant-based marketplace is expanding exponentially as more and more people are turned on to the ethical, environmental and health benefits of quitting animal products. Donuts, croissants, countless mylks, fish sticks - anything they can do, we can do better! But there’s nothing more satisfying than sitting down to a meal you have prepared from scratch, so get creative in the kitchen, try out a few of these recipes and most importantly, let me know how you go!
Bryan is a 'self-taught' plant-based activist, discovering the benefits of eliminating animal products from his diet over 10 years ago. Since that time, he has advocated not only for a social shift in dietary and environmental awareness but also to reverse the construct that meat consumption is somehow tied to manliness and machismo.
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