- Do Vegans Eat Eggs? (Why Vegans Don't Eat Eggs)
- Are Vegan Eggs Healthy?
- What Are Vegan Eggs And How Do They Taste?
- Vegan Eggs Vs Regular Eggs Nutrition
- Common Vegan Egg Substitutes
- Baking and Cooking with Vegan Eggs
- Example Of Recipe Using Just Egg In Baking
- Example Of Recipe Using A Flax Egg
- Pros and Cons of Vegan Eggs
- Benefits of Vegan Eggs
- Vegan Egg Recipes
Do Vegans Eat Eggs? (Why Vegans Don't Eat Eggs)
People who follow a vegan diet can eat vegan eggs, not regular chicken eggs. This is because a vegan diet excludes eating any animal products and eggs come from chickens. The vegan egg market is growing. You’ll typically find that they are made from beans or nuts. You can also make vegan egg replacements for baking by using silken tofu, ground flaxseeds or chia seeds.
Some people who follow a vegan diet also have other reasons for not eating eggs. They may choose to do this because of ethical or environmental reasons. We’ll talk more about this below!
Are Vegan Eggs Healthy?
If you miss scrambled egg for breakfast or a delicious egg sandwich you might wonder if there is anything to replace it. Yes, vegan eggs are a healthy choice! To help answer this question and put things into perspective let’s first talk about regular chicken eggs.
Eggs have a complex history. Should we eat them? Should we not eat them? You’ve likely been told by your doctor to avoid them if you have high cholesterol. This is because one whole egg has approximately 200 mg of cholesterol, which is over 75% of what was once the recommended daily limit for dietary cholesterol before it was removed from The Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Currently, The Dietary Guidelines do not have a recommendation for the amount of cholesterol we should eat on a daily basis, but just to limit it as much as possible without compromising a healthy diet. Cholesterol is found in the egg yolk itself. So you may have even been told to only eat egg whites to avoid cholesterol. Vegan eggs have no cholesterol at all.
The current recommendations from the American Heart Association states that eating one egg a day can be a part of a healthy diet. At the end of the day it is your choice in terms of what you think is best for you. A part of a dietitian’s job is to help explain the facts and guide you on making healthful food choices.
A good rule of thumb is to not always zero in on just one food. Overall health is based on the overall quality of the diet. It is still wise to be mindful of how many high cholesterol foods you eat, and also focus on increasing vegetables, fruit, nuts and legumes (beans, peas, lentils).
What Are Vegan Eggs And How Do They Taste?
Vegan eggs are eggs made from plants like mung beans, chickpeas or plants like flax and chia seeds. They are found in the refrigerated section and aisles of grocery stores, online retailers like Amazon, big box retailers like Target and local health food stores. JUST Egg, a popular vegan egg brand, uses mung beans. WunderEggs uses almonds, cashews and coconut milk. JUST Egg has a familiar mouthfeel to chicken eggs. It is also similar in terms of fluffiness and texture. WunderEggs are vegan hard boiled eggs. These too have a very similar mouthfeel of a chicken egg.
Vegan Eggs Vs Regular Eggs Nutrition
|Regular Eggs||JUST Egg||WunderEggs|
|Total fat (g)||5||5||6|
|Saturated fat (g)||1.6||0||1.5|
|Total cholesterol (mg)||200||0||0|
Regular chicken eggs do not have fiber because they come from an animal source. Since vegan eggs come from plant sources, you’ll find that some, like WunderEggs, have fiber. So where does the fiber come from? It’s coming from the nuts!
It’s recommended that people up to 50 years of age eat 25 grams (women) to 37 grams (men) of fiber per day. That drops slightly (to 21 and 30 grams respectively) as we get older. But, more than 90% of women and 97% of men fall short of meeting the recommendations for fiber. Fiber plays a role in reducing risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, some cancers and gastrointestinal disorders.
There are not many food sources of vitamin D, but regular eggs are one of them. Vegan eggs may or may not have this vitamin. The good news is that there are some plant-based sources of vitamin D such as:
- Plant-based alternative milks like soy, almond, etc.
- Fortified orange juice
- Fortified breakfast cereals
Vitamin D became a pretty popular topic after the pandemic. It definitely is an important nutrient that helps to support our immune system. It is also needed to help build strong bones, prevent osteoporosis and to help our muscles move.
Choline is a nutrient that is used to regulate memory, mood, and to help form membranes that surround many cells in our body. Choline is also an important nutrient for pregnant women because it helps with the development of a growing baby’s brain. Plant sources of choline include:
- Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli
- Whole grains
- Some types of beans (like kidney and lima beans), nuts (such as almonds) and seeds
Ground flaxseeds have a small amount of choline. So whenever you use flaxseeds as an egg substitute you’ll get some of this important nutrient.
Eggs have a small amount of calcium. Chia seeds and ground flaxseeds are a great source of calcium. Vegan egg products, like JustEgg do not have calcium and WunderEgg has even less calcium than a chicken egg.
Calcium is a mineral that the body needs to help our muscles move, and to carry messages between our brain to parts of our body. Calcium may also prevent high blood pressure and a condition called metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a condition that has three or more of the following issues:
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugars
- A large waist circumference
- High triglycerides
- Low levels of HDLs (the good cholesterol)
Vitamin B12 is only naturally found in animal products. It is also found in fortified foods like nutritional yeast and some breakfast cereals. Vitamin B12 is required for the development and function of our nervous system, healthy red blood cells and DNA synthesis.
People who follow a vegan diet or consume very little meat/dairy products should focus on eating foods fortified with this vitamin. It may also be helpful to consider a supplement.
It’s a good idea to check the label of any vegan egg product to see if it has additional vitamins and minerals. If you are concerned about whether or not you are getting enough vitamins and minerals, talk to your healthcare team (doctor, dietitian, pharmacist) about taking a supplement. It is always recommended to speak with your doctor before starting a supplement.
Common Vegan Egg Substitutes
Vegan Egg Substitute Brands, There Role In Recipes And How Each Substitute Works.
- Aquafaba. Brands - Oggs & Vör
- Aquafaba is the liquid water that the chickpea legumes have been cooked in. It acts almost like egg whites when used in baking, it binds and add structure to whip creams, meringues and vegan marshmallow spreads.
- Chickpea Flour. Brand - Bob’s Red Mill
- Also known as the garbanzo beans are used to make flour by grounding the chickpea legume up. It acts mostly as a binder in baking as well as adding protein. We use it as a egg replacer in chickpea scrambled egg.
- Vegan Hard Boiled Egg. Brand - WunderEggs
- A great whole egg substitute. Made from almonds, cashews, coconut milk, agar, konjac and black salt for flavoring. We used this for deviled eggs and in vegan potato salad.
- Egg Replacer Powder. Brands - Bob’s Red Mill, Ener-G and Peggs
- They act as binders and leavening agent in baking. Made from potato starch, tapioca flour, baking soda and psyllium husk fiber. Perfect in muffin, pancake or quick bread recipes.
- Liquid Egg Replacer. Brands - JUST Eggs & Simply Eggless
- Just Eggs is made from Mung beans and Simply Eggless is made from Lupin beans. Just Egg is a great substitutes for all your vegan baking and cooking needs. We it in muffins, as a morning scramble, to make frittata, really everything. We haven’t found a way that doesn’t work yet. Simply Eggless is a lot thicker than Just Egg. It cooks more like silken tofu, we use in a pinch.
- Plant-Based Poached Egg. Brand - Yo! Egg
- An vegan poach egg, complete with a runny yolk. Is currently only available at select restaurants in Los Angeles. The company is also working on a sunny-side-up egg option.
Baking and Cooking with Vegan Eggs
Using different vegan egg substitutes for cooking, baking, binding, and leavening. Tips on how to achieve best results when replacing eggs in recipes.
Scramble these vegan eggs just like you would a regular egg. Shake the bottle well and pour into a preheated non-stick pan that has either butter or oil in it. Use a spatula to scramble the liquid until it is cooked through. These work well in recipes used for cooking and baking. For example, in our recipe for Vegan Quiche, simply replace regular eggs with a bottle of Just Egg!
Example Of Recipe Using Just Egg In Baking
Flax and Chia Seed Eggs
Ground flaxseeds and chia seeds work well in both cooking and baking. Flaxseeds are a great binding agent and good at keeping dry ingredients together. To make a flax or chia seed egg, simply combine 1 tablespoon of either seed with 3 tablespoons of water. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes before using in a recipe. Then use it like you would use a regular egg. You’ll want to keep in mind that you may need to add a little more liquid to the recipe when using a flax or chia seed egg. We use flax as an egg substitute in our delicious southern vegan pecan pie.
Example Of Recipe Using A Flax Egg
Silken tofu has more water than regular tofu which makes it a great substitute for cream. It can be pureed and used as an egg substitute when baking. Silken tofu is perfect for making pudding. You’ll want to choose silken over regular tofu because regular tofu will make it come out grainy. We’ve got the perfect vegan chocolate pudding for you to try!
Aquafaba is the liquid from canned chickpeas. This liquid is a great binder. It whips well to create a foam and helps to give foods structure, crumb and form (everything an egg does). It’s popular in vegan cooking and is a great substitute for eggs and egg whites in recipes. We use it in our Vegan Peanut Butter Mousse recipe.
Pros and Cons of Vegan Eggs
Miller: Yes, they are! Egg substitutes such as silken tofu, flax and chia seed eggs and aquafaba are all healthy substitutes for regular eggs. They’ll give you a boost of fiber, potassium, protein and other nutrients!
Ishman: Egg substitutes are typically lower in cholesterol, which is a great benefit for everyone; but, especially for people looking for lower fat and heart healthy choices.
Vegan eggs and regular eggs have different nutritional qualities. The current recommendations for regular eggs by the American Heart Association is one egg a day. Vegan eggs have benefits such as fiber and no cholesterol. Regular eggs have specific qualities that vegan eggs don’t such as vitamin B12 and choline. Both choices can fit into a healthy diet.
There is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to cooking with vegan eggs and vegan egg substitutes. This could or could not be looked at as a disadvantage depending on the skill level of the person who is cooking. Since vegan egg substitutes lack certain nutrients that whole eggs have, it is important for anyone following a vegan diet to make sure they are eating a well rounded vegan diet. This is where the expertise of a Registered Dietitian could really be helpful to make sure you are getting the nutrients that you need.
Benefits of Vegan Eggs
Helps those with an allergy to chicken eggs
Eggs are a common food allergen. They are one of eight food allergens that must be listed in clear language either in the ingredient list or with a “contains” statement on the package by federal law. This makes it easier to spot when you are grocery shopping. The only way to prevent a reaction to an allergy is to completely avoid it. People with an allergy to eggs have to avoid eating the whole egg. Vegan eggs in the grocery store are a helpful option for anyone with an egg allergy.
Ethical considerations and sustainability
Chickens in production facilities tend to not have the same benefits of a wild chicken. They aren’t able to lay their eggs in a nest, spread their wings or take a dust bath. These may be a part of the ethical considerations for anyone who adopts a vegan diet and/or lifestyle. While this doesn’t directly impact nutrition, more and more people are thinking about where their food comes from. Growing plants uses less resources (like water use and greenhouse gas emissions) than egg production.
The fact that vegan eggs have no cholesterol is a huge benefit especially for those with a strong family history of heart disease and/or high cholesterol. Genetics aren’t everything, but they do play a role in our overall health. We can take charge by making the best food choices for ourselves, exercising and making important lifestyle choices like avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol use.
It’s important to make note here that saturated fat is a big contributor to high cholesterol levels. Saturated fat is only present in animal sources such as meats, dairy and butter. A bonus to following a vegan diet, correctly, is that it is low in saturated fat and high in fiber. Fiber is an important nutrient that helps lower cholesterol.
Vegan Egg Recipes
Vegan eggs are becoming increasingly popular as veganism grows giving consumers additional options for a plant-based diet without losing taste or nutrients. Vegan eggs are a healthy, ethical, & appetizing alternative to traditional chicken eggs.