Vegetarians have always been okay with eating eggs. However, vegans have a different perspective. As far as we’re concerned, eggs are an animal product that’s stolen from exploited and cruelly-treated animals (in this case, hens).
That being said, a few bold new companies are offering “vegan eggs” that claim to taste just as good as the real thing!
So, what are vegan eggs?
Vegan eggs are vegan egg substitutes that are made from a plant-based protein. Soy protein and bean-derived protein are the most common base proteins used for vegan eggs.
Vegan eggs aren’t actually “eggs.” Instead, they’re sold as pre-made patties or sold in liquid form that can be fried in a pan like traditional scrambled eggs.
If you’ve been craving the perfect breakfast sandwich, then vegan eggs are definitely something that you should have on your radar. They’re one of the latest innovations in the field of artificial “meat” products, alongside companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Meat.
There are only a few companies offering vegan egg substitutes, as the industry is just being tapped into. Unfortunately, most people have no idea what’s really in these vegan eggs.
So, being a vegan egg lover, I decided it was the perfect time to create a detailed post demystifying all of the ingredients used to make vegan eggs. While I’m at it, I’ll also answer some of the questions I’ve received about vegan eggs!
Are Eggs Vegan? Here’s Why They Aren’t
One of the most common misconceptions I’ve heard about the vegan diet is that “Eggs are vegan.”
I understand where this assumption comes from, as the vegan diet is often confused with the vegetarian diet, which allows eggs. However, the two diets are not the same.
While vegetarians are allowed to consume animal products like dairy and eggs, vegans vow never to consume any product that comes from an animal or uses animal-derived ingredients.
At this point, you may be wondering, “Why aren’t eggs vegan? It’s not like they’re actually animals, right?”
Although eggs aren’t exactly “living,” it’s not the eggs that are the problem. It’s the fact that eggs are obtained from exploited mother hens. These hens are often overpacked in small spaces and genetically modified so that their bodies produce far more eggs than normal.
During their short lifetime, they’ve subjugated to extreme stress and eggs farms have a high rate of death associated with disease and overheating.
These female eggs rarely get a chance to see the outside world and are essential “egg machines” born to pop out eggs until they die or are slaughtered for meat.
This entire process violates the vegan code of, “Do no harm,” and is why vegans don’t consume eggs or egg whites.
What Are Vegan Eggs Made Out Of?
If you break an egg down to its most basic components, it’s relatively simple. Eggs are just a blend of protein and fat. So replicating them isn’t very hard. The trick is replicating the taste of real eggs, which start-ups like JUST Egg have nearly perfected.
So, what exactly are vegan eggs made out of?
Most vegan eggs have a protein base made from a plant-based protein like soy protein isolate. JUST Egg is the only company that uses mung bean protein, which they claim has the most similar texture to real eggs when cooked. It also has a milder flavor than soy protein.
Although protein is, by far, the most important aspect of a vegan egg, it’s not the only important thing.
The protein must be held together by emulsifiers and fats, which is why all-vegan eggs contain some type of vegetable oil and often contain a thickening starch that doubles as a binding agent.
Last but not least, the key to the perfect vegan egg is flavor. Most vegan eggs are flavored with savory seasonings that are often found in breakfast recipes, such as garlic, onion, black pepper, and salt.
Do Vegan Eggs Have Shells?
One of the most common misconceptions that most people form when they learn about vegan eggs is that they’re just real eggs that are ethically obtained. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Vegan eggs aren’t actually “eggs” and therefore don’t have a shell or come in an egg shape.
However, as food technology grows, you never know… We may just see real vegan eggs sometime in the near future!
Do Vegan Eggs Have The Same Protein As Real Eggs?
One of the main reasons why real eggs are such popular breakfast food is that they’re a great source of low-cost protein. They’re incredibly healthy and have essential nutrients like Omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for your joints.
Therefore, one of the main questions I get is, “Do vegan eggs have as much protein as real eggs?”
In general, vegan eggs don’t have as much protein as real eggs or egg whites. However, they’re still a good source of plant-based protein and have similar amounts of protein. JUST Egg, by far, has the highest protein content compared to other brands of vegan eggs.
If you’re a vegan, then you need to make sure that you’re getting enough protein. First-time vegans often become protein-deficient once they stop eating meat. This doesn’t have to be the case, though. There are lots of healthy sources of plant-based protein that you choose from instead!
Do Vegan Eggs Taste Like Real Eggs?
I’ll be honest, vegan eggs don’t taste exactly like real eggs. However, they’re pretty darn close! In my opinion, JUST Egg has the most realistic tasting egg flavor. They put a lot of research and time into developing the perfect recipe, and it shows in their final product.
The taste difference is, of course, easier to realize if you’re just eating the vegan eggs by themselves.
Personally, I prefer to eat my vegan egg patties on a sandwich or mixed up with fresh veggies and rice. With the right seasoning and my favorite vegan hot sauce, it’s hard to tell the difference.
What Are The Ingredients For JUST Egg Patties?
JUST Egg patties are, by far, the best-selling brand of vegan eggs in America. They’re sold at a number of grocery stores and can be purchased online as well.
There are only a couple of other brands of vegan eggs that are available in today’s limited vegan market, and none of them really compare as far as taste and flavor go.
Here’s a quick rundown of the main ingredients used by this start-up!
Oddly enough, water is the main ingredient used in vegan eggs. Then again, if you break down the chemical analysis of eggs, they have a higher water content as well. Even humans are 70% water!
If you didn’t already know, water is 100% vegan, so you never have to worry about this ingredient. When it comes to drinking water, some waters are better than others. However, in regards to processed food, it really doesn’t matter where the water comes from, as long as it’s filtered.
2) Isolated Mung Bean Protein
Unlike other vegan egg brands that use low-cost soy protein, JUST Egg stands apart in its use of mung bean protein. Most Americans have no idea what mung beans are, as they’re native to East Asia.
The reason why mung bean protein is used is that it’s incredibly nutrient-dense and has more protein than other forms of beans. Additionally, the flavor is a lot more mild, nutty, and slightly sweet. These properties all make mung bean protein the perfect substitute for real eggs.
My problem with the soy-based protein used in other vegan egg patties is that you can taste the soy, which really takes away from the flavor and reminds me of tofu.
The concentrated mung bean protein used in these vegan eggs is the reason why each serving of JUST Egg contains 7 grams of protein, which is the same as one large egg!
3) Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil
Like most vegan egg brands, JUST egg contains a small amount of vegetable oil to provide fat content and create a thicker, more egg-like consistency in their vegan eggs.
JUST Egg uses canola oil, which is a sustainably sourced cooking oil derived from the seeds of canola flowers.
Unlike palm oil, which is one of the leading causes of rainforest deforestation, canola flowers are sustainably grown, harvested, and processed into high-temperature cooking oil.
4) Corn Starch
Corn starch is a plant-based starch that’s extracted from corn. It’s basically super-processed corn flour. This ultra-fine starchy powder is often added to vegan food as a thickener and binding agent.
Basically, it helps hold all of the other ingredients together, which prevents the vegan egg patties from falling apart while they’re being cooked. It also gives the egg patties a thicker consistency, which mimics real eggs.
5) Baking Powder
Baking powder is another common baking additive that’s vegan and doesn’t involve any animal products or by-products. Baking powder increases the volume of food while giving it a softer texture, which is why it’s often used in baking bread and cakes.
When added to these vegan eggs, it serves a similar purpose, creating a softer, fluffier, egg patty.
6) Dehydrated Onion & Garlic
As I mentioned, the flavor is very important when it comes to vegan eggs! One of the reasons why Just Egg has such great-tasting vegan egg patties is that they use real onion and garlic in their recipe.
As the patties are sizzling in the pan, you’ll smell the unmistakable aroma of an American breakfast.
7) Natural Carrot & Turmeric Extractives
Most people expect their eggs to be yellow, as this is their natural color. Without any added colors, these patties would be pure white, and wouldn’t look very natural.
So, to make them look more “real,” JUST Egg uses natural coloring derived from carrots and turmeric to give their vegan eggs a yellow-orange appearance that’s more believable.
Salt doubles as a natural preservative and a flavor enhancer. Salt is always vegan, though, so there’s nothing to worry about here.
Transglutaminase is a natural enzyme that changes the quality of protein. In vegan eggs, it slightly modifies the texture of the bean-derived protein, creating a more “egg-like” texture. It’s all a part of improving the overall flavor and texture in an effort to create a realistic vegan egg.
Are Vegan Eggs Healthy?
For the most part, vegan eggs are quite healthy! They’re an excellent source of plant-based protein, and natural fats, and are relatively low-calorie.
The only downside of vegan eggs is that they contain more sodium than I’d like. This is true of all processed pre-packaged foods, though.
Conclusion – You Should Try Vegan Eggs Before Judging Them
I get it, the idea of eating vegan eggs may sound a bit ridiculous… But they’re actually quite delicious, especially when they’re added to a sandwich or scrambled with some fresh veggies and vegan cheese!
I say give them a try before you judge them. You might just fall in love with them.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more traditional vegan breakfast, then be sure to check out my list of the best vegan breakfast cereals next!