Eggless 'egg salad' great for special diets

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This must be the egg industry’s favorite time of the year. Eggs, though, aren’t all they’re cracked up to be for cholesterol avoiders, allergic folk (eggs are among the top eight food allergens) and vegans.

Plant-powered egg alternatives mean we still get a place at your table.

• Flax seed. One tablespoon not only ups your omega-3 and fiber, but when whisked together with 3 tablespoons of water, creates vegans’ favorite plant-based egg substitute in baking.

• Tofu. Smash firm tofu and scramble the same way you scramble eggs. Add spices, veggies, anything you like.

VEGAN MAYONNAISE

Three plant-based brands offer traditional mayonnaise’s rich flavor and texture without the cholesterol. They’re chicken-pleasingly eggless and proudly non-GMO verified, too.

• Creamy soy-based Nasoya’s Vegan Nayonaise (15 ounces, $4.39), has 30 calories per tablespoon, 3.5 fat grams and 115 milligrams sodium. The tangiest vegan mayo, it’s the lowest in calories and fat and, alas, the highest in sodium.

• Earth Balance Mindful Mayo (16 ounces, $4.29) and Follow Your Heart Vegenaise (16 ounces, $4.99) both follow the Hellman’s mayonnaise model. They’re more thick than creamy, and like Hellman’s contain 90 calories and 9 fat grams per tablespoon. The edge goes to canola-based Earth Balance. It has richer flavor, is lower in price and sodium (70 milligrams as compared to soy-based Vegenaise’s 85 milligrams) and contains no soy (another major allergen).

• The new plant-based mayo on the market is Just Mayo (16 ounces, $5.79). That’s “just” as in “righteous.” It’s the priciest, with the most fat (11 grams per 90-calorie serving) and the least sodium (65 milligrams per serving). It’s also the most mayolike in flavor. It’s canola-based and soy-free with a luscious whipped texture.

Find Just Mayo and its vegan mayonnaise peers in the refrigerated section at Whole Foods, natural food stores and some supermarkets.

Like traditional mayonnaise, they get their bright flavor from lemon, vinegar and mustard.

What they don’t have — preservatives or traditional mayo’s 5 milligrams of cholesterol per tablespoon. Everyone wins. Even the chickens.

Eggless Egg Salad

Makes 2 to 3 servings.

Firm tofu stands in for hard-boiled eggs, offering all of the protein and none of the cholesterol. Mustard, turmeric and nutritional yeast add a depth of flavor and echo the sunny color in egg yolks. Feel free to customize with add-ins such as sweet pickle relish, olives, a dash of paprika or curry powder or a tablespoon or two of your favorite fresh herbs, finely chopped. Nutritional yeast is a fabulous dairy-free cheesy-tasting golden powder available in the baking section of many other natural food stores. Vegan bonus: Several brands are B-12 fortified.

8 ounces (½ block) firm tofu, pressed to release excess water and blotted dry

1 stalk celery, diced

1 tablespoon scallion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise

½ teaspoon nutritional yeast

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

1 teaspoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, mash tofu with a fork until the tofu is crumbly but still has some texture.

Add the celery and scallion. Stir in vegan mayonnaise, nutritional yeast, turmeric, mustard, lemon juice or vinegar. Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste. Recipe doubles easily.

Per serving: 84 calories (53 percent from fat), 5 g fat (1 g saturated, 1 g monounsaturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 6 g protein, 4 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 92 mg sodium.