Vegan Just Egg Looks More Like Polenta, but Tastes Egg-Cellent
Sustainable vegan startup Just recently launched its new eggless egg-replacement product called Just Egg. Instead of using traditional chicken eggs, the completely plant-based food utilizes mung bean, a protein-rich legume commonly used in Asian cuisine. Just Egg reps claim the concoction is best when scrambled, but that it can also be used to make omelets and select baked goods like pancakes, custards, and quick bread. This obviously sounds way too good to be true, so one egg-loving editor set out to uncover the truth.
The packaging for Just Egg is very attractive; the logo isn’t busy, the colors are chic, and we just love a good minimalist design.
So it looked good, but how did it cook? The first pour was a little chunky, which was off-putting, but fine. After about 10 minutes over medium heat, the mixture started to congeal and baby curdles formed. It didn’t make much progress beyond that though, and we even waited an additional 20 minutes for it to harden and scramble. Although we used Pam nonstick spray, it began sticking to the bottom of the pan, so we took it off the stove and plated it.
The final texture was very polenta-like with a slight scramble. Upon actually trying it, it didn’t have quite the texture of a real egg, but it wasn’t far off. Instead of a hard scramble, which we prefer, it was more of a soft scramble. It’s hard to believe this formula can withstand the structure of an omelet, because our results weren't very firm. It looks really strong and fluffy on Just's website though, so maybe we need a little practice?
The good thing was that it tasted great. There were no weird flavors that you sometimes get with plant-based products pretending to be meat or dairy. It’s not bland, but not too eggy. Sometimes the taste of real egg can be overwhelming, so as long as you can get past the borderline mushy mouthfeel, you’re in good shape. Pro tip: We added a little pepper to ours, and then some Frank’s hot sauce for good measure.
The most serious complaint we have about this product is that it kind of took forever to make. Normally, eggs cook in the blink of an eye, and we had Just Egg on the stovetop for a half hour. It’s also pretty pricey. The suggested retail price is $7.99, but your standard carton of a dozen eggs costs just $2 or $3. Lastly, the refrigerated shelf-life is only four days, so you have to use the entire bottle almost immediately after you open it. But if you have a little extra money to spend and you eat them often, this could totally be worth it for you.
If you’re a strong, independent vegan who don’t need no Daily Meal editor telling you whether eggless eggs are good or not, head to Fresh Thyme, Hy-Vee, Gelson’s, Roundy's, Mariano's, Woodman's, Sendik's Pick n Save, Metro Market or Organic Roots Market to taste-test Just Egg on your own. Not cooking tonight? Kick back, relax, and enjoy a plant-based meal at one of America’s best vegan restaurants instead.
Food samples were provided for review at no cost to the writer.
UPDATE October 3 12:37 pm ET:
After our initial taste test, Just Egg reached out to suggest we try the product as cooked by the experts at vegan deli Orchard Grocer. The daily special used the egg replacement along with plant-based maple bacon, Violife faux provolone, vegan mayo and genuine scallions on a fluffy bun. A paper bag stuffed with fake egg sandwiches showed up a short while later.
Props to the chefs at Orchard Grocer. Just Egg is obviously not as easy to make as normal eggs (or we would’ve gotten it right during our demo), but they managed to get the outside to firm up and look more like real egg. Upon biting into it, our staffers had opinions.
“It tastes like bean sprouts,” one editor said. “The texture is also weird. It’s like, soft and a little grainy. It’s not egg. 4/10 would not buy, especially for like $8.”
“The texture is similarly squishy to the last bodega egg and cheese I got,” another said. “I like a little firmer egg. I didn’t love that bodega sandwich.”
“If this were the consistency of real egg, I wouldn’t eat the egg. I like them well done,” a third said. “It’s gonna be a no from me, dog.”
While this sandwich was clearly more egg-like than our original results — and while we did eat and more or less enjoy all of the sandwiches — we still aren’t convinced by its texture. Nonetheless, it’s a great option for people who can’t (or choose not to) eat chicken eggs. Not all faux-animal products need to taste or feel exactly like the very thing they’re trying to mimic.