Oh the magic of holiday foods! From dishes like cream cakes and pastry rolls to hearty meals, stews, and creamed this and that, your oven has never been so entertained or your belly been so filled with tasty foods. You might be baking a good bit more this time of year than usual as well. Whether that’s a cake, pie, cupcakes, or anything else, more than likely, your recipe calls for eggs. Though there are many eggless recipes out there (which is helpful for those allergic or plant-based eaters), not all egg substitutes come with health benefits. And while baking doesn’t have to be a time to focus on health, why not use some perfectly efficient and healthy egg substitutes instead of eggs or other more processed egg substitute products?
What’s the Point of Replacing Eggs?
Eggs are inherently rich in cholesterol and animal-based saturated fat, and they’re even a bit scary! One egg has more cholesterol than a typical cheeseburger, and their fats aren’t necessary in our diet when we have options like coconut, avocado, and healthful nuts and seeds (all naturally cholesterol-free).
So when approaching your holiday baking conquest, use some of these easy, fast, and healthy substitutions for eggs instead of a processed product or an egg itself. You’ll be amazed how easily they work and how you’ll never miss the egg that used to be in your recipes!
Okay, okay, chia is SO 2010, but forget that! The little tiny, tasteless seed is still worthy of some serious egg-replacing power. And let’s not forget they’re the easiest, sneakiest way to get in those healthy fats at the same time. Talk about double duty! Chia seeds can be ground and mixed with water and you’ll never know they’re there except when your baked goods come out perfectly! To help your items rise, just be sure not to leave out the baking powder your recipe calls for. You can also use whole chia seeds instead of ground chia seeds for a bit more texture. This is a good idea for items like muffins (especially lemon poppy or nut-based options) where you might want a little extra something, something!
Use 1 tablespoon chia (ground or whole) plus 3 tablespoons room temp water to replace one egg.
Nutritional Benefit: Per tablespoon, chia provides 5 grams heart-healthy fats, no cholesterol or saturated fat, 4 grams of fiber, 50 calories, and 3 grams protein!
Flax seeds can be used just like chia seeds and have more omega 3 fatty acids than most forms of fish. They’re also packed with fiber, essential protein, B vitamins, magnesium, and they have a wonderfully nutty flavor. Use flax, ground or whole, in any recipe you need an egg and a flavorful boost. Flax works fantastic in pie crusts, in puddings, in cupcakes, muffins, cakes, pies, and donuts.
Use 1 tablespoons flax (ground or whole) with 3 tablespoons room temperature water to replace one egg.
Nutritional Benefits: Per tablespoon, flax is similar to chia seeds. It contains 4 grams of heart-healthy fats, 4 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, and no cholesterol or saturated fats.
Avocados actually make pretty surprising nice egg imposters. They’re really amazing at holding baked goods together and also adding moisture and flavor due to their healthy fats. Though green and vibrant in color, you’ll never taste the avocado flesh, just get that fatty mouthfeel you’re looking for from eggs (or even butter). Avocados work perfectly in cupcakes, brownies, and even cookies.
Use 1/4 avocado (regular Haas avocado) for each egg called for.
Nutritional Benefits: Avocados provide a large amount of folate (an essential B vitamin), Vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, fiber, and even a little protein. They’re not called nature’s perfect food for just any reason, as you can see!
Fruits like bananas, pumpkin, squash (yes, technically a fruit), applesauce, and even puréed prunes work beautifully to replace eggs. They add binding texture you’re looking for, while also adding sweetness, flavor, and vitamins. These fruits mentioned here work well in baked goods, and even baby food prunes, veggies like carrots and sweet potatoes, and butternut squash can all be used in a pinch when you don’t have time (or just don’t want to) use the adult version! Just be careful with fruits like berries, peaches, pineapple, etc. They don’t have that same binding power that other fruits do. Though they can still be used in recipes, it’s best not to rely on those alone to replace an egg.
Use 1/4 cup fruit purée of choice per egg called for.
Nutritional Benefits: Fruits are fat-free, cholesterol-free, provide Vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and many contain phytonutrients and anticancer properties.
Have you heard of this amazing fiber? Though commonly used as a fiber aid, it’s actually such a smart baking agent! It’s tasteless and nearly calorie-free (it’s also gluten-free too), and works the exact same way that chia and flax do. As soon as this magical powder hits water, bam! It starts gelling up and serves as a natural binder and thickener in recipes. A little bit of psyllium goes along way though; it’s rich in soluble fiber, so you only need a little before it will start gelling up quite nicely.
Use 1 teaspoon husk powder (not the whole husks) with 3 teaspoons of water to replace one egg.
Try it in: Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes as a tasty way to give this product a go!
Nutritional Benefits: Psyllium is a plant-based powder that’s gluten-free, corn-free, and completely grain-free. It’s a seed whose fibers are used to reduce cholesterol, improve regularity and heart health, and is commonly used by low-carb dieters since it’s starch-free and low glycemic. You can also use it in shakes, smoothies, or even common dishes of your choosing.
As you can see, you needn’t buy powdery egg replacement products when you can just use whole foods. Also remember that it’s better for your heart, arteries, and overall body to use these plant-based options when you can. Experiment with any of these awesome egg substitutions in: muffins, cakes, donuts, cookies, cupcakes, and pies, oh my! What a tasty holiday season it’s going to be!
We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!
Lead image source: Chocolate Chip Pecan Pumpkin Bread (Gluten-Free)