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Egg Substitutes

Found in both the refrigerated and the frozen sections of the supermarket, packaged egg substitutes usually contain egg whites, fat-free milk, food coloring, vegetable oil, and vitamins. Most substitutes contain no cholesterol and 1 to 4 grams of fat per serving. They can be used sparingly in baking (for yeast breads, muffins, cakes and cookies) and in cooking (for egg-based casseroles, sauces, puddings,and custards). Avoid using egg substitutes in popovers and other delicate pastries, where they do not perform as well.

To thaw egg substitutes when frozen, refrigerate them until liquid. Do not leave them on the outside.

Egg substitutes can also be used in place of uncooked eggs. Since egg substitutes are pasteurized, they make a safe alternative to the uncooked, slightly cooked, or coddled eggs called for in recipes such as eggnog, homemade mayonnaise, and Caesar salad dressing. Using egg substitute in these recipes will also lower the cholesterol and saturated fat content instantly.

If you do not eat eggs, there are a also a number of choices. Powdered egg replacer is one choice. Available in health food stores, it is made from potato starch and other leaveners. It has good binding and leavening properties for baking; it even whips up and will hold soft peaks. Whipped tofu is another option; it works well in recipes that call for a lot of eggs, such as quiches. It also works well in creamy puddings and pie fillings. Ground flaxseed is a third option. When simmered with water to form a thick mixture, it mimics the binding properties of eggs for baking, but it doesn't have nearly the leavening power of eggs. There is a bonus, however: Flaxseeds are a concentrated source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

To replace 1 egg with tofu, whip 1/4 cup silken tofu in a blender. To use in baked goods, add 1 to 2 teaspoons water to thin the whipped tofu.

To replace 1 egg with ground flaxseed, simmer 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed in 3 tablespoons water until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Cool to room temperature before using. (If you buy flaxseed while, grind it in a clean coffee grinder.)

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