Vegans Will Love Guy Fieri's Egg Substitute

Ingredients don't get much more versatile than eggs. From cupcakes to crème brûlée, they're a key ingredient in many desserts. And whether they're the star of a egg-based breakfast dish or a binding agent in a casserole or meatloaf, eggs are a make or break component of many recipes. That's precisely why if you follow a vegan diet or simply don't have any eggs on hand, finding an effective substitution can be tricky.

When baking, substitutions like applesauce and mashed bananas work best in replicating the moisture eggs normally provide, Food Network shares. Other alternatives like carbonated water, beer, and vinegar mixed with baking soda are ideal if your baked good requires some lift. But these substitutions work better in baking than they do in cooking. 

When cooking, per Taste of Home, your best bet outside of using a store-bought egg replacer is to use arrowroot powder or blended up silken tofu. Celebrity chef Guy Fieri, however, has a much more foolproof vegan egg substitute.

Guy Fieri uses flaxseed in place of eggs

Think about the consistency of raw eggs. It's gooey, somewhere in between a liquid and a solid, or perhaps more accurately "a phlegm," according to Guy Fieri (via Food & Wine). Flaxseed, when soaked in water, also produces a phlegm, turning into what Fieri referred to as a "flax glob" that closely resembles raw eggs.

Flaxseed is exactly what it sounds like — the seeds from a fibrous plant called flax, Jessica Gavin explains. Flaxseed tastes nutty yet mild, so it can go uneasily unnoticed as a vegan egg substitute, much unlike sweet alternatives like applesauce or mashed bananas.

To make a "flax glob," Fieri uses a ratio of three parts water to one part flaxseed, per Food & Wine. But for best results, Simply Recipes recommends first grinding the flaxseed into a fine powder, also sold as flaxseed meal. One egg is equal to one tablespoon of ground flaxseed (or a half tablespoon of whole flaxseed) plus two and a half tablespoons of room temperature water, Simply Recipes states. 

It takes at least seven minutes for flaxseed to thicken into an egg-like consistency, so be sure to wait or else the substitution won't be as successful, per Simply Recipes.

Why does flaxseed work as an egg substitute?

It's hard to imagine seeds being able to turn into a vegan-friendly egg just with the addition of water, but there's a reason it works so well. As Kitchn points out, eggs are made up of moisture, protein, and fat. And, as Heathline shares, flaxseed is also made up of protein and fat. So, when you add water, you get all the components of an actual egg. According to Simply Recipes, water also activates a gum in the outermost layer of the seed, which gives it the gelatinous texture Guy Fieri is so keen on — and what allows it to act as a binding agent and an emulsifier, much like an egg.

Compared to eggs however, the ratios of protein and fat in flaxseed are very different, and they're also balanced out with a good amount of fiber, Cookie and Kate notes. Because of this, flaxseed and water doesn't provide as much structure as eggs do when cooked. Though the plant-based substitution does best when there's flour involved, it can work well in any recipe. After all, it does have Guy Fieri's stamp of approval.