Eggs in meatballs serve an important purpose as they contribute to the dish’s texture, color, flavor, and consistency. Without eggs, meatballs can be dry or flavorless.
However, there are many cases where you cannot use eggs in recipes due to allergies, a special diet, or simply because you have run out of eggs.
Fortunately, there are plenty of choices for egg substitutes in meatballs that you can use.
Why Use Eggs in Meatballs?
The first reason you will use an egg is that the egg is a binder that keeps the meatballs in a spherical shape and prevents the pieces of meat from falling off. With its glue-like capacity, almost any type of meat, be it pork, beef, turkey, chicken, or mutton, will keep its shape.
Additionally, eggs also make the meatball more moist and spongy, regardless of whether you cook, fry, or grill them. Without eggs, the meatballs may come out dry and cracked, even the pieces can fall off, or the ground meat becomes hard to eat.
Added to that, eggs also contribute to creating the flavor, color, and consistency of meatballs.
Top 4 Eggs Substitute In Meatballs
The milk from cows and other animals, such as goats or sheep, is the main ingredient in buttermilk. The milk can be fresh or fermented heavy cream produced through the whipping method.
The buttermilk has a pale yellow color that gradually turns to white. You will find the milk familiar because it is often served with bread, prepared for desserts, or used in cooking to replace cooking oil.
This is a perfect substitute for eggs as it contains similar content. Scientists have shown that 14 grams of dairy contain 100 calories and 11 grams of fat, and other nutrients like vitamin K and fatty acids.
Besides, buttermilk has a creamy taste similar to eggs, though not quite 100% alike. It also has good adhesion and helps keep your meatballs moist even without eggs.
A small note is that you need to choose the right type for your no egg meatball dishes, as some types of sour buttermilk are available in grocery stores can cause fermented and spoiled taste to meatballs. Trust us when we say you definitely don’t want that.
2. Plain Yogurt
Just like buttermilk, plain yogurt is an excellent eggs substitute in meatballs.
Yogurt is known as a food with high nutritional value and good for health because it contains many substances such as proteins, glucose, lipids, and mineral salts, especially calcium and vitamins, especially vitamins A and B.
Similar to eggs, when cooked, they become the texture frame to form meatballs and act as a leavening.
Fat inside the yogurt also reduces the gluten fibers in the breadcrumbs, making the meatballs softer. Besides, it helps the meat mixture have a delicious brown color.
It would be best to use plain yogurt, as the flavorful and sweet varieties can substitute your meatball recipes’ flavor. Furthermore, the glucose in sweetened yogurt will often be converted to lactic acid, resulting in meatballs’ sour taste without egg.
You can use a quarter cup (60 grams) of plain yogurt to replace one egg.
3. Ricotta Cheese
Ricotta cheese is a cheese that originated and produced in Italy. You can find it easily at every local grocery store. In fact, ricotta cheese is also used in most similar Italian dishes from ground beef like lasagna or pasta with marinara sauce.
Ricotta is fresh and not greasy like other cheeses, making it the best for egg replacement in meatballs due to its delicious taste, moderate fat, and good combination with pork.
A high percentage of water in the ricotta cheese will help retain a certain moisture in your vegan meatballs. This product also works like baking powder and nutritional yeast because it contains air bubbles that will expand and puff your dish.
Depending on the amount of meat, you will use the appropriate amount of ricotta cheese to achieve the standard flavor and color. There are exceptions, of course.
4. Unsweetened Applesauce
Applesauce is another great vegan egg substitute for creating super moist, soft, and moderately delicious meatballs. Applesauce is a product made from cooked apples. It is often sweet or flavored with other spices like cinnamon, brown sugar, and nutmeg.
Apples are also gluten and dairy-free, making these fruits a great choice for those with a lactose intolerance or egg allergy.
Three tablespoons of applesauce should be enough to replace an egg in your recipes. It would be best to choose unsweetened applesauce to reduce the sweetness and not affect the flavor.
When cooking, you should also mix applesauce with a bit of olive oil to keep breadcrumbs and other ingredients from falling apart.
1. Meatball health benefits
Meatballs are typically made from meat,containing a high proportion of pork and beef, to be molded into spheres of meatball. And, it brings many benefits to our body and health.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, the meatball is a rich source of high-quality protein and essential amino acids. Protein is a necessary element for growth and development, helps boost bone health, contributes to healthy gastrointestinal functioning, and assists with cells.
Additionally, meatballs help our brain grow because they contain a variety of good for brain intelligence vitamins. People who often eat meatballs will have better intelligence and long-term memory than those who rarely eat meatballs.
Meatballs also contain fat that is considered a store of energy and energy. The fat contained in meatballs plays a role as a stable energy source for the human body and makes us have more prolonged satiety.
The tips of some cooks are adding eggs in the meatball; this will add extra nutrients like vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, folate, and zinc needed by the body.
With some of the above information, we quickly know that the delicious taste of meatballs and rich in nutrients for our bodies. Therefore, some doctors advise us to consume meatballs three or four times a week.
2. How to make meatballs without eggs?
There are several ways to replace eggs in your dish. However, the recommended meat deli recipe often includes buttermilk, plain yogurt, ricotta cheese, and applesauce as an egg replacer.
In particular, if you are lactose intolerant or currently on a special diet that requires dairy-free products, go for the applesauce.
Remember that these substitute recipes are only approximate. Even if you follow the amount in the meatball recipes without eggs correctly, your food may still not be as delicious as when you used eggs.
Influencing factors such as dairy ingredients, sugar content, and protein amount also significantly differ in the flavor of the egg-free meatballs.
It would be best if you used a variety of Italian seasonings such as pepper, sauces like marinara sauce, or canned coconut milk so that your cooked meatballs will not be overwhelmed by the egg substitute flavors.
3. Why do my meatballs without eggs fall apart?
The first reason for this may be that you choose meat that is too low in fat. When cooked, the fat in the pork or ground beef will melt and create a sticky consistency, preventing the meat mixture from falling apart on your baking sheet.
Too low-fat content can’t be able to bind the ingredients together, creating cracks on the surface of your cooked meatballs.
Or maybe you made the mistake of cooking meat mixture right away without letting them rest in the refrigerator. Chefs recommend freezing meat for about 1 to 2 hours until it is as hard as frozen liverwurst. Only then will the vegan meatballs be pliable, elastic, and not broken.
4. How long to cook meatballs in sauce after frying?
After high heat frying, you should simmer the meatballs in the sauce for about 1 hour at medium heat.
This, although it might be time-consuming, will allow the sauce to absorb deeply into the meat, creating a rich flavor for your dish. Furthermore, it also helps avoid constant exposure to high temperatures, causing meatballs to burn outside but undercooked inside.