This must be the egg industry’s favorite time of the year. There’s Easter eggs, egg-rich Easter cakes and cookies, Easter brunch omelets, casseroles and eggs Benedict (eggs atop English muffins and in the Hollandaise sauce). Eggs also play a big part at Passover. They’re on the Seder plate and in matzo balls, kugels and Passover desserts. Eggs, though, aren’t all they’re cracked up to be for cholesterol avoiders, allergic folk (eggs are among the top eight food allergens) and vegans. Plant-powered egg alternatives mean we still get a place at the holiday table.
• Flax seed. One tablespoon not only ups your omega-3 and fiber, but when whisked together with 3 tablespoons of water, creates vegans’ favorite plant-based egg substitute in baking.
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• Tofu. Smash firm tofu and scramble the same way you scramble eggs. Add spices, veggies, anything you like.
Four plant-based brands offer traditional mayonnaise’s rich flavor and texture without the cholesterol. They’re chicken-pleasingly eggless and proudly non-GMO verified, too.
• Creamy soy-based Nasoya’s Vegan Nayonaise (15 ounces, $4.39), has 30 calories per tablespoon, 3.5 fat grams and 115 milligrams sodium. The tangiest vegan mayo, it’s the lowest in calories and fat and, alas, the highest in sodium.
• Earth Balance Mindful Mayo (16 ounces, $4.29) and Follow Your Heart Vegenaise (16 ounces, $4.99) both follow the Hellman’s mayonnaise model. They’re more thick than creamy, and like Hellman’s contain 90 calories and 9 fat grams per tablespoon. The edge goes to canola-based Earth Balance. It has richer flavor, is lower in price and sodium (70 milligrams as compared to soy-based Vegenaise’s 85 milligrams) and contains no soy (another major allergen).
• The new plant-based mayo on the market is Just Mayo (16 ounces, $5.79). That’s just as in righteous. It’s the priciest, with the most fat (11 grams per 90-calorie serving) and the least sodium (65 milligrams per serving). It’s also the most mayolike in flavor. It’s canola-based and soy-free with a luscious whipped texture.
Find Just Mayonnaise and its vegan mayonnaise peers in the refrigerated section at Whole Foods, natural food stores and some supermarkets. Like traditional mayonnaise, they get their bright flavor from lemon, vinegar and mustard. What they don’t have — preservatives or traditional mayo’s 5 milligrams of cholesterol per tablespoon. Everyone wins. Even the chickens.
Ellen Kanner is the author of “ Feeding the Hungry Ghost: Life, Faith and What to Eat for Dinner. ”