I often get questions about egg replacement in vegan baking. While there are egg-replacers that you can buy (Neat Egg, Bob's Red Mill, Ener-G Egg Replacer, VeganEgg), I always opt to make my own. This is mostly because it is so cost-efficient, but also because it is so easy and I know exactly what I'm putting into my recipes - rather than some combination of starches and other ingredients. Plus, all of those products can run close to $10 for a small bag, while you can grab flax in bulk for less than half that price.
Flax is high in fiber (just 2 tbsp contains 4 grams of fiber- 15% of the DRI), it contains tons of plant-based omega-3s (2 tbsp provides 3.5 g of omega 3s - more than 2x the daily recommendation!), and it is one of the best sources of lignans (high in antioxidants, 75 to 800x more lignans than other plant foods). The health benefits of flax include lowering cholesterol, reducing risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, decreasing inflammation, and even reducing menopausal symptoms. Overall they come in as one of the most nutritionally-dense seeds, alongside chia and hemp.
One interesting fact about flax is that you have to grind it in order to digest it. Our bodies are unable to digest through its shell, therefore to get all of its nutritional benefits be sure to grind it (or buy whole ground flaxseed) before adding it to your recipes or smoothies.
Here are some recipes I have made that contain flax eggs:
*Keep in mind that while flax eggs work great for baking, they are not a substitute for plain eggs. I do not recommend a scrambled flax egg :)
Flax Egg vs Egg
When you choose a flax egg over a chicken egg, you are naturally opting for a cholesterol-free, alternative that is lower in calories, fat, and sodium. You actually end up skipping on half of the calories of a large egg when using a flax egg. You also are adding in 2 grams of fiber and double the polyunsaturated fat. While the differences seem minor on a small scale, the continual replacement of flax for a large egg can be a very healthful lifestyle change.
On another note, by making the choice to opt out of using eggs you are no longer supporting inhumane cage conditions that most chickens experience. Every year, approximately 325 million laying hens are raised in battery cage conditions which promote disease, infection, and cruel treatment. You can read more here.
While my main reason for being plant-based is health, I will continue advocate for the animals and environment that can't advocate for themselves :)
- 1 tbsp flax seed (or whole ground flax meal)
- 2 tbsp warm/hot water
- If flax seed is not already ground, use coffee grinder or food processor to grind whole seeds into a fine powder (I usually grind 1/2 cup seeds at a time and keep the rest in a jar in the refrigerator for easy access- it lasts up to a year!)
- Add 1 tbsp warm/hot water to 1 tbsp ground flax
- Stir until well combined, allow to settle and form a gel for 30-60 seconds
- Stir once more and add into any recipe as an equal substitution for 1 large egg!