A week or so ago I was surfing around Facebook vegan groups and happened upon a post about a new product called The Neat Egg. The Neat Egg Replacer was promoted as being “a healthy replacement for eggs for use in your favorite recipes” that was soy free, gluten free and dairy free. Intrigued, I clicked on over to their website to check out the product in greater detail.
I was amazed to see that The Neat Egg contains only two ingredients – chia seeds and garbanzo beans. What? How can this work? Skeptical but curious, I banged off an email to their social media rep, requesting that I be sent a sample to try. He responded promptly and the sample arrived two days ago; yesterday I busted that puppy open and put it through a real-world pain in the butt challenge to test it: chickpea burgers.
I was going to make the recipe anyway because I needed to take pictures for the cookbook. However, chickpea burgers (really any bean burger) are notorious for not holding their shape well, and for falling apart in the pan or oven. I’ve gotten some decent, albeit mixed results using flax eggs and Ener-G egg replacer. So it was with fiendish glee I set about mixing up The Neat Egg. I wanted to try it out on a recipe I’ve made dozens of times to REALLY put it to the test.
First thing I noticed was the odd color. I guess we’re all used to the products colored to “look like” eggs in some way, so this gray dusty looking stuff threw me off for a minute. But then I had a moment of brilliance and remembered that chia seeds are black, so of course being mixed with beige garbanzo beans the result might be a nice shade of gray. Duh.
So I followed the instructions and mixed one tablespoon of Neat Egg with 2 Tablespoons of water. I normally would use three flax eggs, so I whipped up the equivalent amount of Neat Egg. When I looked at it though, it wasn’t enough in volume so I added another tablespoon of powder and two more tablespoons of water. This is what it looked like in my stick blender cup.
As you can see from the photo below, it is very thick and “sticky” like egg white, which I thought would translate well to the bean burger patties.
I mixed all the ingredients together and added The Neat Egg at the end like I usually do my flax egg. That wasn’t the best way to do things, I should have added it in when I added the garbanzo beans and seasonings so it could have mixed in better. I ended up having to pulse the bean mixture a little too much for my liking and my bean mix was less textured than I usually like. However, this new egg replacer does the job it is supposed to do fabulously.
See how well the bean mixture was able to hold it’s ball shape right out of the bowl? I mean I’ve NEVER had my bean patties hold their shape this well without crumbling, without breaking up, without some kind of problem. I was truly impressed. Even when I flattened it into a patty (I was making sliders so the amount of chickpeas used was only about 3 Tablespoons).
And here is the finished product after pan-frying in a bit of oil (I like the exterior of my veggie burgers to be a bit crispy).
The Neat Egg comes in a resealable airtight pouch and it requires no refrigeration. I’ll use more of it later in the week when I bake cookies or something and let you know if I run into any problems. But judging by the results achieved yesterday, I think these folks are onto something and that The Neat Egg has a solid place of honor in the vegan kitchen.
Get more information on The Neat Egg and other Neat products at www.eatneat.com