Vegan products masquerading as meats or other animal-based ingredients are hardly new. For years, companies have been turning tempeh into bacon or soy protein into cheese. But replicas rarely resembled anything close to the real thing. Then came the Impossible Burger—a plant-based beef substitute that came surprisingly close to ground meat. It even (kind of) “bleeds.” Restaurants bragged when they were one of the first to offer it.
Which brings us to Just Egg, a mung bean-based product meant to really look, taste, and scramble like an egg. “It’s not every day you see something that blows your mind,” José Andrés is quoted saying on Just Egg’s website. The San Francisco-headquartered company behind the product is promoting it in the same splashy and sustainability-focused way as the Impossible Burger.
Could this be the next viral vegan food?
Equinox Restaurant recently became the first East Coast location to carry Just Egg. The fine-dining spot from Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray is already 50 percent plant-based and hosts a weekly vegan brunch.
So, on to what you really want to know: just how do these scrambled mung beans translate on-plate? I recently attended a media preview to try them myself. On first glance, even the most carnivorous creature could be convinced this is a bonafide chicken product. When fried up and served omelette-style—like they will be at the restaurant’s brunch scramble station—you’d have no clue your plate is all legume. (Equinox will also serve Just Egg in grab-and-go breakfast sandwiches, too.)
But the product is more presentation than taste. Sure, if you’re a hardcore vegan who hasn’t touched an egg since the Kardashians hit puberty, you’d probably think it tastes pretty close to the real deal. But if you’re a regular egg eater, you won’t be sold. For a substitute, the consistency is vaguely similar, but it has a grainy, almost buckwheat-like flavor to it. Slap some chives and salsa on top and you’d probably be fine, but there’s little confusion—these are not eggs.
All in all, Just Eggs is probably as close as you can get to the real thing without actually, you know, eating eggs. It’s not eggs, and it’s not not eggs. It’s… just confusing.