There many reasons why you may consider eating vegan eggs: ethical, environmental, and health. When it comes specifically to avoiding eggs, it could be due to egg allergy, personal preference, or to avoid eating too much cholesterol.
Avoiding eggs, however, is not always a simple task. Many dishes require eggs for taste, while other recipes use eggs to hold ingredients together, most commonly in baking.
On the market so far, there is VeganEgg (made from algal and plant-based added ingredients for taste; although it contains controversial carrageenan), Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer (from potato starch, tapioca flour, baking soda, and psyllium husk fiber; no grains), and homemade substitutions such as flax seed, tofu, and bananas.
Many of these are easy to use in baked goods, but when making vegan scrambled eggs, tofu is the simplest way. Of course, consuming it has its own health risks. The other option for scrambled eggs, VeganEgg contains carrageenan and a lot of extra unnecessary ingredients.
Which is why a new addition to vegan egg family may become a real game changer for vegan restaurants and your kitchen alike…if done correctly.
What may become the end of this new egg product, however, are the controversies surrounding its creator. Will this ambitious new egg replacement stand the test of time, or will it go the way of the dinosaur? Read on to learn more.
The New Vegan Egg — Its Unique Main Ingredient
The new vegan egg in question has impressed even hardcore food critics, and it’s made from a simple and surprisingly powerful plant-based ingredient that has long been used in Asian cuisine.
In order to test the new product, a contributor for Forbes went to Hampton Creek’s headquarters, the maker of this vegan egg and a vegan mayo, and got a chance to try many of the company’s new plant-based items.
She tried many different things, but what she said “blew her mind” was an egg sandwich. It was not only good, but better than a real egg sandwich.
This one was created with a 4,400 year old bean — mung bean.
Mung bean is a small, green legume that is full of protein, fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants. This bean is not common in the U.S. but has been used in traditional Ayurvedic diets in India for thousands of years (and also in Pakistan, China, and Southeast Asian countries).
After testing other ingredients to use for vegan eggs, such as soy and pea protein, Hampton Creek found mung beans to be most similar taste-wise and texture-wise.
After making its choice, Hampton Creek called its product “Just Scramble,” and it is just now hitting the market.
Its texture is described to be similar to scrambled eggs, but a little grainier. It also tastes similar to an egg but with an earthy aftertaste.
It cooks like a regular egg, and a bottle of Just Scramble is equivalent to seven eggs.
A Potential Problem With Just Scramble’s Ingredients?
Hampton Creek’s most known product is Just Mayo, a non-GMO, egg-free, vegan mayonnaise.
It famously drew the ire of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise (and even a lawsuit) because of the wording of its product name, but ultimately the Unilever-owned company dropped it, and the product has since gained a foothold in many natural and health food stores.
The full list of ingredients for the new Just Scramble product has not been published, but it was reported that it is mung bean protein, water, oil, salt, pepper, and onion. So far, so good.
Except, currently Hampton Creek is currently importing the beans from a conventional farm in China, and that is a red flag for polluted ingredients [read about Chinese food quality issues] due to a lack of quality control and numerous recent food scandals.
The ingredients are also not organic, and that’s another red flag for a product that could theoretically be made at home from cheaply bought organic mung beans.
Hopefully, the company will do its best to ensure quality ingredients in the future. For now, this product is the only choice of its kind.
Just Scramble looks like yellow liquid, but quickly becomes an egg-like consistency when exposed to heat.
It is going to be served in some restaurants and fast food chains starting at the beginning of this year.
Consumers will also be able to buy it in some grocery stores (likely Whole Foods, Kroger, and Walmart, which sell the company’s other products). It should be noted that Bill Gates has often invested in this company as well:
The Controversy Surrounding The Egg’s Maker
Unfortunately, talking about Hampton Creek is lately impossible without talking about the company’s controversies. Last year, all but one person of its board of directors resigned after disagreements with the founder, citing bad science, unsafe work environment, and shady work ethics. This was in June last year.
Just two months later, Target stopped carrying Hampton Creek’s products due to rumored safety issues.
Then there was a brief investigation about the company making itself more famous by using fake shoppers to buy its products and create a hype around the products. It’s also been accused of labeling lies.
Finally, the company is also working on creating “murder free” meat from real animal proteins.
This lab grown meat is supported by PETA for being more humane than normal meat, but others have raised concerns that there have not been enough studies done about its health effects on humans, and the practice still hurts some animals (Nothing beats going fully vegan when it comes to ethical treatment of animals).
This Silicon Valley startup, as former employees have said, are a food company trying to be a tech company but the technology and science are simply not there.
Until this product is in the hands of the consumers, and further tried and researched, we can only hope it is good quality – on paper, it sounds like a needed vegan food item.
If you are someone who would like to make a similar product yourself, skipping the manufacturing process, there are a few recipes to try at home.
Making Vegan Eggs From Scratch At Home
The most commonly used vegan egg substitute is tofu. Soy does have some negative side effects, specifically having to do with hormonal dis-balance, so it is not recommended to eat it often, and if you do, make sure it is organic or at least non-GMO.
If you decide to try it, there are a few recipes to experiment with:
Don’t want to eat soy? No problem. Here are soy-free alternatives:
And what about mung beans? Mung bean flour should be similar to chickpea flour in recipes. It is, however, not common. But you can grind your own flour using a powerful blender, or a grain grinder (works for grains and legumes). If you tried mug beans as vegan eggs, feel free to share your impressions in the comments section.