Q: My daughter is allergic to eggs. Should I use a store-bought egg replacer, or is it better to make my own substitute? Do you know of any good homemade egg substitutes?
Alisa Bar-Dayan, RD: Eggs perform different functions in various types of food, so choosing one egg substitute over another really depends on what you’re making.
In cakes, eggs act as a leavening agent and make them fluffy and light. In cookies and muffin recipes, eggs add moisture and hold ingredients together. The type of egg substitute you use may change the taste of your recipe.
For baked goods such as muffins, pancakes and pumpkin or banana bread, try a small ripe mashed banana or one-quarter cup of applesauce; both will add a nice fruit-flavored sweetness. One-quarter cup of canned pumpkin, squash or pureed prunes can also work, but the flavor may come through, and they’ll make the finished product slightly denser than the recipe intended. None of these replacements help your baking to rise, so be sure the recipe calls for some baking powder or baking soda.
You can also buy a vegan replacement powder from your local health or specialty food store. Look for brands such as Kingsmill, Bob’s Red Mill, Orgran and Ener-G. Most are flavorless and can be used in baked goods as well as casseroles and loafs. Many contain a combination of ingredients such as guar gum, potato starch, cornstarch, baking powder and tapioca flour. Be careful as some egg replacers use egg whites as one of the ingredients.
Homemade egg substitutes are usually cheaper than store-bought, but require a bit more preparation. Remember that egg substitutes usually contain fewer calories and cholesterol than eggs, so they may be a good alternative even for those who don’t have an egg allergy.
Homemade Egg Substitutes
Following are a few basic homemade egg substitutes. Each would be the equivalent of one egg in a recipe. Try the flour-based ones in your cake recipes; the tofu blend would be nice in a casserole:
• 2 tbsp chickpea or soy flour + 2 tbsp water
• 1 tbsp arrowroot flour + 1 tbsp soy flour + 2 tbsp water
• 1/4 cup tofu blended with liquid portion of the recipe
• 1 tbsp soy milk powder + 1 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water
• 1/4 tsp xanthan gum + 2 tsp potato starch + 1/2 tsp oil
• 2 tbsp flour + 1/2 tbsp shortening + 1/2 tsp baking powder + 2 tsp water
You’ll have to experiment to figure out which substitute is best for your recipes. Have a little fun: use tofu in traditional egg dishes such as quiche and egg salad (you can replace regular mayonnaise with soy mayonnaise). If you’re feeling adventurous, scramble some tofu for breakfast or add to a pita for lunch. Add a small amount of mustard or turmeric to scrambled tofu and you’ll have yellow-colored “eggs”.
See question and answer on substituting milk for toddlers.
Alisa Bar-Dayan is the Marketing Dietitian at the Specialty Food Shop in Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. Visit www.specialtyfoodshop.com.
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