Flax and chia eggs explained

Flax and chia eggs explained

chia transformation into egg

The main challenge for plant-based cooking is the fact that eggs are off-limits. While not everyone loves them (I have never been a massive fan except for shakshuka), they are very useful; especially when baking! Luckily, some very clever people have come up with a great egg alternative that is very accessible and works well in things like cakes, veggie burgers and pancakes. You can use this method in every recipe where an egg is used as a binder (to hold the whole show together).

The replacement is ground flax or chia seeds (often referred to as flax/chia meal) with a few tablespoons of water and a few minutes in the fridge. Chia seeds are much more gelatinous and therefore do not really require chilling, but the drawback is that they are not the cheapest things to buy.

Flax seed with water (commonly called a flax egg) looks like an unlikely egg replacer until you put it into the fridge for 15 mins. The cold thickens the mixture considerably and makes it ready for use. Furthermore, both flax and chia seeds are extremely nutritious so don’t feel bad for sneaking them into your recipes.

Flax seeds are rich in micro-nutrients, dietary fiber, magnesium, vitamin B1 and omega-3. In addition to what flax seeds offer, chia seeds have copious amounts of phosphorus, calcium and the antioxidant selenium; which is has been linked to lower cancer and heart disease risk. According to the highly entertaining book about running, Born to Run, it is one of the reasons that the Tarahumara are the incredible athletes that they are so why not give flax and chia eggs a try.

Flax egg step by step

Chia egg step by step

makes
1 egg
PREP
5 min
COOKING
0 min
makes
1 egg
PREPARATION
5 min
COOKING
0 min
INGREDIENTS
METHOD
  1. Grind flax or chia seeds in a coffee or a nut grinder. Don’t overdo it as seeds will start releasing their natural oils if processed for too long (like nuts) and you will end up with chia/flax butter instead:)
  2. Put ground flax or chia seeds into a bowl and stir 3 tbsp of water into it.
  3. Chill the mixture in the fridge for about 15 mins. If you are using chia seeds chilling isn’t necessary as they turn into ‘egg whites’ before your very eyes.
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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
43
2%
sugars
0 g
0%
fats
3 g
5%
saturates
0 g
1%
proteins
1 g
3%
carbs
2 g
1%
*per serving
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4.7
3 reviews, 11 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Michelle:
I made a cake using the chia seed method, does it need a longer cook time? It came out a little different texture(almost like my was slightly undercooked) but I dont know if this is normal for this method.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Michelle,
    While this hack successfully allows you to make egg-free cakes, it isn't always as simple as taking a recipe containing eggs and subbing them for flax or chia eggs. The recipe needs to be created with flax/chia eggs in mind or often substantially altered if converted from an omni recipe. Plus, this is only one of many vegan egg substitutes (apart from aquafaba, fruit or veg puree, tofu, vegan yoghurt etc.) and it isn't always the best fit. Hope that helps! Ania
Nina:
I tried using aquafaba in a cookie recipe, and the cookies were way too cakey for me, with a smooth, silky finish after baking..I did not like it lol..do you think it’s because I whipped it for too long? Or do cookies always have that texture when using aquafaba?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Nina,
    It's really hard for me to answer this. I suspect the texture was down the particular recipe and the ratios of individual ingredients rather than down to using aquafaba. I suggest asking the recipe author. Sorry I cannot be of any more help! Ania
Peggy:
Hi Ania,
I'm very new to plant-based cooking and am really pleased to find your recipes and tips.
You say you can whip up the chickpea brine like egg whites - does that mean you can actually cook it like meringue/pavlova?
And if you were baking sponge type puddings or cakes, which egg replacement method would you recommend?
Thanks for your help. Peggy
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Peggy,
    I'm delighted that you are trying plant-based cooking and that my blog is proving helpful! Yes, you can make meringue (recipe here) and pavlova (haven't got a recipe yet) with it and the most amazing chocolate mousse as well. There are many many possibilities and I'm excited for you to try them! As for egg-replacement in cakes, that's a more complicated question as it very much depends on the cake, but there are lots of ways to replace eggs: flax or chia egg, fruit or veg puree (apples, bananas, beetroots, sweet potato), silken tofu, vegan yoghurt and sometimes aquafaba. Hope that helps! Ania
Karen:
Can not wait to try this and share with my sister-in-law and her daughter(my niece) who are both on a plant base diet. Thanks for sharing:)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Karen, so glad it's useful. They work really well in veggie burgers, pancakes and brownies. There is also another egg replacing method that you may like: 1 egg = 3 tbsp of chickpea brine (water from a tin of chickpeas).
    It does miracles - check out this recipe https://www.lazycatkitchen.com/fluffy-vegan-chocolate-mousse/.
      Karyne:
      Your mention of Chickpea brine reminds me of a recipe I happened upon a while back for Chocolate mousse - chickpea water whips up the same as egg whites. And bonus - you can't over whip them!
      Fold in melted chocolate, chill and bam! chocolate mousse!
      ... though I am pretty sure this is not the first time you have hear of this :)
        Ania
        Ania:
        Hi Karyne, yes, not only I have heared of it, it might have been my video you have seen :) I am a bit fan of chickpea brine (also known as 'aquafaba') and use it in many of my recipes, especially desserts. It's really a fabulous ingredient. Ania
stacey:
Hi Ania,
I love your pictures with this post. I have tried flex egg in the past and ended up with crunchy cookies. I am hoping the chia egg works better.
Stacey
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Stacey. I'm not sure whether chia will help to make your cookies more chewy. If it doesn't work, perhaps it's worth trying 3 tbsp of acquafaba (chickpea brine) as 1 egg replacement. Keeping my fingers crossed for your cookie success!
Milan Perkins:
Great work guys. Hope you're well. Looking forward to seeing you again sometime. Will pass this on to Uyên, my personal masterchef wife. Xo
    Ania
    Ania:
    Awesome, we are really glad you like it, hope Masterchef wife approves:) We will definitely come to Melbourne in not so distant future so a get-together will be in order! X
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