For decades, tofu has been the dominant alternative to vegan eggs. Sure, a block of soy may scramble and blend well into a passable quiche, but the taste and texture never quite matched the chicken egg dishes of our past. JUST, formerly Hampton Creek, decided to change that. After a number of trial products ranging from vegan mayonnaise to cookie dough, the brand finally settled on the most potentially world-changing innovation: a vegan egg substitute that could scramble, bake and fry. as well as its bird-based inspiration. JUST Egg is a true game changer, not just for vegans seeking familiar comfort, but for the restaurant industry and the planet. The recognizable yellow bottle has become a mainstay on most supermarket shelves, has become part of restaurant and cafe omnivorous menus, and can even be seen in prime-time television commercials. We like to think the folks at JUST talked about vegan magic, but the truth is there’s a lot of food science and research that has gone into this revolutionary plant-based product. Here’s everything you need to know about JUST Egg, plus five fantastic recipes for using it.
What is JUST Egg?
JUST Egg is a vegan egg substitute made from mung beans. The inaugural product comes as a bottled liquid egg that can be scrambled, fried, and cooked in much the same way as a whole chicken egg. The following products include folded egg patties perfect for sandwiches and toast and sous vide bites (think bite-sized baked egg cups similar to the Starbucks egg bites you find in the case of pastry). While JUST Egg Liquid can replace chicken eggs in a one-to-one exchange in many culinary applications, note that it cannot replicate egg whites. For egg white substitutes, try aquafaba (chickpea brine).
JUST egg nutrition
Unlike many plant-based alternatives, JUST Egg does not rely on soy. The main ingredient is mung bean protein isolate. This unexpected base supposedly lends itself to the versatility of JUST Egg. We won’t sugarcoat it, though – JUST is a product of scientific innovation and is therefore made from a handful of ingredients that you can’t find in stores. In addition to mung bean, JUST contains water, canola oil and less than two percent dehydrated onion, natural vegan flavors, soy lecithin, salt, potassium citrate, sugar, tapioca syrup, gellan gum and some preservatives. Don’t let that shock you – the ingredient list is consistent with many plant-based products, so if you have Impossible patties in your fridge or vegan chicken nuggets in your freezer, you’ll likely find that they contain the same thing (as countless vegan and non-vegan packaged products do).
What JUST Egg does not contain is cholesterol, trans fats or hormones of animal origin. Chicken eggs cannot claim the same.
Are JUST Eggs healthy?
Healthy is a relative term and it all depends on an individual’s definition. If “healthy” for you only means ingredients you recognize, you might want to stick with your tofu scrambles and chickpea flour omelet. However, if “healthy” means no hormones or cholesterol and a decent macronutrient profile, then JUST Egg will meet your standards just fine. A three-tablespoon serving of JUST Egg Liquid contains 70 calories, five grams of unsaturated fat, 170 milligrams of sodium, and five grams of protein. By comparison, a large chicken egg (standard size) also has 70 calories in addition to five grams of total fat (1.5 grams of harmful saturated fat), 185 grams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, and six grams of protein. . What is not noted on chicken egg nutrition labels is the FDA’s allowance for trans fats. Any food with 0.5 grams or less can claim to contain zero grams of trans fat. So let’s say a chicken egg contains 0.4 grams. If you ate two eggs, you would be down to 0.8 grams of this harmful fat, completely unaware of the fact. Although 0.8 grams may seem negligible, the USDA does not offer a minimum amount for trans fats – any amount can be harmful, and the US Dietary Guidelines recommend keeping intake “as low as possible” or no way. This is due to the risk that trans fat consumption poses for coronary heart disease.
Like most processed plant-based products, JUST Egg is a significantly healthier option than its animal-based counterpart and can be part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation.
What’s wrong with chicken eggs?
The global human population consumes 1.4 trillion chicken eggs per year. This level of consumption requires 93 million acres of land and 51 billion gallons of water to sustain, according to JUST. To break that down, that’s 53 gallons of water per chicken egg. Yes, some of this water is for chickens, but the vast majority is used to produce the feed needed to raise laying hens. Essentially, we grow food to produce food, which ultimately results in a dramatic loss of resources. By eliminating the chicken and making eggs from plants, JUST claims to use 98% less water than conventional chicken egg production. The brand also claims to use 86% less land and emit 93% less carbon dioxide emissions.
According to estimates suggested by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the world will need to produce 60% more food to feed a projected global population of 9.3 billion in 2050 if we continue with our current rates of animal-based consumption. It just doesn’t seem viable or possible given that we can’t create more land to meet these demands. Going plant-based is a viable solution, and the JUST Egg Revolution is helping to reduce the relentless use of our natural resources. No, this product alone won’t save the world – it will take more than a morning jostle – but it does help shift the mainstream perspective in the right direction.
5 Vegan JUST Egg Recipes
JUST Egg is available in three varieties: the original liquid egg, folded and vacuum. Here are five JUST Egg vegan recipes to make for yourself, your family and your guests.
1 egg sushi
It’s hard to get away from the relaxing YouTube video of this recipe – the Korean vegan’s soothing voice and the methodical preparation of this Japanese dish are spellbinding. But when your stomach starts to growl, scroll down to the written recipe and do this tamago nigiri for you. Follow the instructions carefully and you will find that you can make great vegan sushi too.
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2 Chorizo egg muffins
Those who love a savory breakfast will enjoy these portable protein bites. Packed with smoky vegan “Chorizo” suspended in a JUST fluffy but firm egg cup, two of them will do for a quick morning meal and a full batch will work well for a brunch buffet. Pro Tip: Freeze all the extras and pop them in the oven for hot, hot breakfasts all week long.
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3 Egg & Potatoes Vegan Breakfast
Bursting with juicy grape tomatoes, crispy potatoes and JUST fluffy eggs, this hearty breakfast is filling enough to enjoy for breakfast or dinner. It’s the perfect dish to make for a crowd of mixed eaters, especially if some of those eaters are skeptical vegans. One bite and they’ll be begging for seconds.
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4 Peanut butter jelly bread
The classic sandwich just got a little sweeter with this delicious jammy quick bread. JUST Egg provides lift and structure like a chicken egg would. The resulting snack cake is moist, dense, and perfectly reminiscent of PB&J in dessert form, without being overly sweet.
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5 Vegan Pancakes
Whip up fluffy, dinner-style pancakes in minutes with help from JUST Egg. These homemade pancakes are simple and serve as the perfect backdrop for pure maple syrup, chocolate chips or a thick knob of vegan butter. Pro Tip: Use JUST leftover eggs to make a side of scrambled eggs for a tasty protein addition to your sweet pile.
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