A healthy egg substitute
Thinking about going vegan but not sure if you can give up eggs? It’s true, eggs are one of the most versatile foods out there, especially when it comes to baking. But the popularity of vegan diets has skyrocketed and more and more people are choosing to go completely plant-based for health, ethical and environmental reasons.
The good news is that there is an all-natural, vegan egg substitute that culinary experts and enthusiasts use as their secret weapon in vegan baking: flaxseed egg.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about this go-to, plant-based egg alternative so you can have your vegan cake and eat it too.
What is a linseed egg?
A flax egg is a popular egg substitute for vegans and those with egg allergies or sensitivities. It’s completely plant-based, dairy-free, gluten-free and nut-free, making it a great alternative for those on an egg-free diet.
Most flaxseed eggs have two simple ingredients: ground flaxseed and water. When mixed with water, the soluble fiber in flaxseed forms a sticky gel that resembles the consistency of egg whites. This helps keep ingredients together, creating a smooth batter for flour-based vegan recipes like bread and cookies. (Read more about buying, making, and eating vegan bread here.)
You can buy flaxseed whole or pre-ground. Whole flaxseeds can pass through you undigested — and you’re missing out on the great nutrients — so grind them in a food processor or coffee grinder.
Health Benefits Of Flaxseed Egg
Flaxseed is one of my favorite ingredients for a healthy diet. They are one of the healthiest high-fat foods you should eat. I often recommend adding a few tablespoons of ground flaxseed to yogurt, eggs, smoothies, and oatmeal for extra fiber and heart-healthy omega-3 fats.
Because flaxseed eggs use ground flaxseed, you get the same health-promoting benefits from a flaxseed egg as you do from flaxseed when you use them in your favorite vegan recipes.
So what makes flaxseed eggs so healthy? Let’s start with the nutritional breakdown, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), for 2 tablespoons of organic, ground flaxseeds, which is usually the amount used to make two flaxseed eggs:
Protein: 2 g (4% DV)
Total fat: 5 g (8% DV)
Carbohydrates: 4 g (1% DV)
Total fiber: 4 g (16% DV)
Sugars: 0 g
Calcium: 40 mg (4% DV)
Iron: 0.72 mg (4% RDA)
Monounsaturated fats: 1 g
Polyunsaturated fats: 3.5 g
Trans fats: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 g
Compared to regular eggs, flax eggs contain about half the calories and contain more fiber and omega-3 fats. They contain slightly less protein, but also contain less saturated fat and cholesterol than regular eggs.
As I mentioned earlier, flaxseeds are high in fiber (particularly soluble fiber), which has proven benefits for heart health.
An overview of studies published in 2019 in the journal nutrients, confirms the large body of studies showing that high-fiber diets reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, lower total and LDL cholesterol (“bad”) cholesterol, and even reduce the need for cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Another study in Nutrition and Metabolism even found that eating flaxseed three times a day for a week lowered total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol by as much as 15 percent compared to the control group in the study.
Soluble fiber also helps balance blood sugar, promote weight loss and support a healthy digestive system, according to research in the Journal of International Medical Research and The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Flaxseed is also a great source of plant-based omega-3 fats. They contain high amounts of alpha-linolenic acid, an essential fat that converts to the active forms of omega-3 in our bodies, which in turn help fight inflammation and support many beneficial functions in the body, according to the National Institutes of Health.
A report in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology found that omega-3 fats from flaxseed specifically reduce risk factors for heart disease and improve insulin resistance.
So if you want to boost the fiber and omega-3 content of your favorite baked goods, swap eggs for flaxseed eggs in these recipes.
How do you make a flax seed egg and use it in baking?
Flaxseed eggs are made by simply whisking one tablespoon of ground flaxseed together with three tablespoons of water.
A flaxseed egg can be replaced with regular eggs in a one-to-one ratio. If your recipe calls for multiple eggs, you can multiply the recipe to make as many as you need.
It’s best to make your flax eggs first, because “you need to let the egg-water mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes until it forms a gel-like consistency,” says vegan chef Marisa Peluso. Then add it to your favorite recipes.
Because flaxseed eggs don’t offer much in terms of adding texture and fluffiness to your baked goods, Peluso says they’re best used in quick bread recipes with wheat or oat flour (think dessert breads, pancakes, and muffins). . They usually don’t work well with gluten-free and nut-based flours. It’s also best to add them to wet ingredients first before adding dry ingredients.
Flaxseed eggs have a nice nutty flavor, so they’re best in recipes that complement that flavor profile. Chocolate, pumpkin, and cinnamon are all great combinations.
Flax Egg Recipe
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed or linseed meal
3 tablespoons of water
Add flaxseed meal and water to a medium bowl. Whisk together or stir with a fork until mixture is smooth. Let stand for 10 to 20 minutes until the mixture forms a gel-like consistency.
Replace your favorite recipes with a 1:1 ratio (one flax seed egg per chicken egg).
Flaxseed eggs are a great plant-based alternative to regular eggs. They are simple to make, easy to bake and completely natural with no added chemicals or preservatives.
They are nut free, dairy free, vegan, paleo and gluten free. And they’re great for those on special diets or those with food allergies and sensitivities.
A great source of soluble fiber and omega-3 fats, flaxseed eggs are especially good for the heart and digestion.