Everything is being veganized these days and “the incredible edible egg” is no exception.
After creating a plant-based version of mayonnaise, food company JUST has launched its latest innovation — a liquid vegan egg called JUST Egg.
If that sounds odd or perplexing, we get it. But food allergies and plant-based eating are on the rise and some folks still want a good ol’ scramble. If you’re all about that yolk, though, you’re out of luck with JUST Egg.
One of the best ways to get people to try something new? Put it in something popular and delicious, like a burrito.
JUST Egg made its restaurant debut in Veggie Grill’s new All-Day Breakfast Burrito ($10.95) on July 12. It’s the first breakfast item for the vegan chain.
Are the burrito and this new “egg” any good? Yes. The burrito is, in fact, egg-cellent (sorry, not sorry) and tastes just like a delicious non-vegan breakfast burrito.
The tasty, sizable cylinder is stuffed with scrambled JUST Egg, soy chorizo, home fries, black beans, Daiya vegan cheese and fire-roasted salsa and wrapped in a toasted flour tortilla. It’s served cut in half, which makes for easier eating, and comes with a small side of chips. Veggie Grill’s CEO says they’re still looking for a gluten-free flour tortilla that doesn’t resemble cardboard.
Veggie Grills aren’t open during breakfast hours but they are during brunch hours — a sacred time in L.A. — and the burrito will be served all day through Sept. 11.
JUST didn’t hastily jump on the vegan product bandwagon — the company spent about five years developing an animal-less egg that looks, cooks and mostly tastes like the real thing. We may not have fully believed it if we didn’t see it for ourselves. Ben Roche, JUST’s director of product development, poured the ready-to-go liquid into a hot greased pan, moved it around and in a few minutes produced fluffy scrambled “eggs.”
“You don’t have to relearn how to scramble eggs,” Roche says of the product’s user-friendliness.
JUST Egg has a subtle non-egg flavor, likely from the mung beans, but it’s not off-putting — just different.
“If it doesn't taste like what people expect it to taste like, we’re not going to serve it,” says Veggie Grill CEO Steve Heeley, who notes 80 percent of Veggie Grill customers aren’t vegan or vegetarian, just people trying to eat more consciously.
Until now, one of the more popular vegan egg products has been Follow Your Heart’s Vegan Egg, which can be scrambled and used in baking. But it’s a powder that requires adding water and mixing. Follow Your Heart recently introduced Liquid Vegan Egg at a trade show but it doesn’t appear to be in stores yet.
JUST Egg is already liquid so it’s more similar in form to products like Egg Beaters ... without the actual eggs.
The product's main ingredient is mung bean protein, plus expeller-pressed canola oil (a vegetable oil many health experts say is unhealthy), onion puree, carrot and turmeric extracts for color, and other additives for taste and texture.
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“We found mung beans had not only a high percentage of protein but the type of protein in a mung bean is very similar to an egg protein, as opposed to a fava bean or soybean,” Roche says.
Speaking of protein, each 3-tablespoon serving of JUST Egg has 5 grams of it, which may quell the question many vegans loathe: “Where do you get your protein?” It also has 2.5 grams of fat and 45 calories per serving and is gluten-free, non-GMO and cholesterol-free.
The plant-based egg substitute also can be used to make pancakes, French toast and some baked goods such as banana bread. The company plans to keep experimenting to improve it even more.
For home cooks, JUST Egg will be available in the egg section at Gelson’s Markets in a few weeks. A 12-ounce container, equivalent to about six eggs, will cost $7 to $8.