Thanks to four brilliant students at the University of Udine, Italy – Francesca Zuccolo, Greta Titton, Arianna Roi and Aurora Gobessi – something that seemed impossible to veganize has now been perfected: the hard-boiled egg. There’s a number of ways you can substitute and replicate eggs in vegan cooking: you can use flax eggs for baking; you can put Indian black salt on scrambled tofu to make it taste just like eggs; and you can even whip up a chickpea salad sandwich using some vegan mayo and spices; but until now, hard-boiled eggs have been impossible to truly replicate.
If you really spend some time thinking about how one might go about making a vegan hard-boiled egg, you’ll easily start to realize what a challenge it is. Sure, you could sprinkle some black salt on a cold piece of firm tofu and call it a vegan hard-boiled egg white, but it wouldn’t be that convincing, and what about the yolk? It’s the yolk that’s really tough to imitate; not just in flavor, but also in texture and characteristics. I’ve seen some food bloggers make visually impressive vegan egg yolks, but just because something looks like a runny yolk doesn’t mean it tastes or behaves like a real egg yolk.
All told, it took the Udine students – graduates working on their master’s in food science and technology – one and a years to perfect their plant-based product. So, what is their vegan egg actually made of? All we know is that it is a combination of various legume flours, vegetable oils, and a gelling agent. Oh, and salt, of course; because who wants a hard-boiled egg without salt?
The students secured a patent for the product and are now shopping it to companies who might be willing to purchase the process from them. When the vegan eggs hit the market, they will come as a ready-to-eat product, and presumably no peeling, other than the packaging, will be required.