Vegan Cooking Tips
By Chef Nancy Berkoff, RD, EdD, CCE
Many recipes call for the use of eggs, whether by themselves or as a seemingly essential ingredient, such as for a dessert. But what if you don't wish to use eggs when preparing a meal? Sure, there are commercial egg replacers available at many natural foods markets and from online retailers. However, here are a few simple ideas, using some of the staples that most vegetarians already have around the house, that will help you make all of your cooking egg-free.
Using Tofu as an Egg Replacer
Silken tofu works well in many recipes that call for eggs. Silken tofu can be used to reduce or eliminate eggs in baking as well as in sauce and dessert recipes. There is no set amount, as all recipes differ. In general, 2 Tablespoons of silken tofu can be used to replace one large egg.
Soft tofu makes a good scramble. Scramble soft tofu with a sprinkle of hot sauce or Tabasco, soy sauce, or miso if you'd like a smooth dish. Pile on the chopped tomatoes, olives, bell peppers, chilies, mushrooms, and green or yellow onions for a hearty scramble.
Firm or extra firm tofu can be used as the 'egg' in an eggless salad. Cube firm or extra firm tofu and toss with a dressing of vegan mayonnaise, prepared mustard, nutritional yeast, and minced onions for a start, and then add pickle relish or minced pickles, minced celery or chopped olives, minced jalapenos, minced parsley, curry powder, and onion or garlic powder for a spectacular salad.
Eggs That Grow on Trees?
Not quite, but certain fruit preparations can be used to replace some or all of the fat in sweet or sweet-and-sour sauces and in baked food items. This is nothing new. For many years, moms and food service directors 'sneaked' vegetables into entrées, such as bean or lentil loaves or hot casseroles. Now, it's your turn to 'sneak' some fruit into savory or sweet foods.
Some moist baking products such as carrot cake, zucchini bread, cornbread, pancakes, most muffins, peanut butter cookies, pumpkin pie filling, and even brownies can easily and happily go egg-less. Play with recipes that call for eggs, using the following guidelines.
To replace one large egg, use approximately:
½ cup puréed or mashed very ripe banana
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup puréed peaches
¼ cup prune purée (works very well with chocolate and carob products)
2 Tablespoons orange juice concentrate, plus 1 Tablespoon mashed banana
We all know that baking recipes are ingredient-sensitive, so keep these things in mind:
1) Do not try replacing eggs with fruit on the morning of a big event! (This goes for any new recipe!)
2) Do match the fruit with the flavor of the baked product. For example, applesauce or peaches will work well with carrot cake.