Thursday, April 18, 2013

Food allergies: Egg-free cooking, baking, recipes

When you or someone in your family has an egg allergy, like my son does,  it can seem as though you're limited in what you can eat.

In some ways that's true. You have to be VERY careful when you eat out and you have to read ingredient labels religiously for what you buy.

However, there are many wonderful substitutes, alternatives, replacements you can use when cooking or baking at home, even in your favorite recipes!

I have made egg-less pancakes, waffles, cake, cookies, brownies, muffins, meatloaf, meatballs, salmon patties, chicken salad, tuna salad, jalapeno cheese grits, and more. While I don't generally seek out recipes I know will have egg, if I see a really great one for a holiday dish or a special treat, I am always thinking of how I can make it without egg. I don't feel restricted in what I make at home.

Here's the list I found. I have used some of these, but was really surprised at the diversity! When deciding which to use, think about the flavor you want to achieve, the texture and consistency, and whether the egg is to act as a binder in say meatloaf or salmon patties.

First, I want to address some common prepared ingredients that include egg, and alternatives to those.
  • Lots of recipes call for mayonnaise. I find that sour cream is a suitable alternative, even in chicken or tuna salad. For yellow color, add a little mustard. For a thickening add a little cornstarch or flour.
  • Any recipe with imitation crab meat means you have to be very careful. I have found only one brand without egg. You could also use canned salmon or real crab meat. 
  • Be cautious with salad dressings as some have egg (Caesar is one, but there are others), but you can find lots of suitable ones with no egg, including Dollar Tree Italian dressing.
  • Be careful with soups used in cooking. As I discovered to my horror, cream of chicken has egg but cream of mushroom does not. It's no big deal in my opinion to use one instead of the other. It may taste just a bit different, but changing things up is the joy of cooking in my opinion anyway!
  • Some ice creams have egg. Check closely and find one that doesn't.
Next, here's a list of straight-to-the-recipe egg alternatives, the measurements are equal to one egg. Those without measurements, just use your judgment:
  • 1/2 of a banana, mashed. 
  • 1/4 cup of applesauce
  • 1/4 cup of any other fruit puree 
  • I wonder if 1/4 cup of jam or preserves might work, don't see why not. 
  • Tofu - use chunks for mock egg salad and blended silken tofu as a substitute in a recipe. 
  • 3-1/2 Tbsp of this mixture: 1 cup boiling water with 2 tsp unflavored gelatin. 
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax seed with 3 Tbsp warm water, let stand 1 minute. 
  • Canned pumpkin
  • Plain yogurt ( 2- 4 ounces mixed with 1/2 tsp oil)
  • 2 Tb plain corn starch (this would be a binder)
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch with 3 Tbsp water (I use this a lot)
  • 1 tsp yeast in 1/4 cup warm water
  • Mashed potatoes (this one is cool, I hadn't thought of that!)
  • Cooked oats
  • Cooked rice
  • Tomato paste 
  • Bread crumbs
  • Ener-G egg replacer, found in natural food stores
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil + 1-1/2 Tbsp water + 1 tsp baking powder
  • For an egg wash or glaze, use melted butter or margarine
  • Gravy
  • Buttermilk
  • 4 ounces of pop (this is for the fluffing up that egg does to some recipes)
  • 1 tsp baking soda with 1 Tbsp vinegar (also a fluffer-upper I think)

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