Lasagna is a traditional Italian dish packed with rich tomatoey, cheesy goodness, all layered between thin sheets of pasta.
This hearty dish is popular and a favorite on dinner tables across the country.
While traditional lasagna doesn’t use eggs, modern chefs have added them to the recipe to increase the stability of the dish. Lasagna is more structurally stable with eggs, so it holds those incredible layers when you plate it.
But what if you are vegan or allergic to eggs? Or what if you simply run out?
You can still make your lasagna using one of the many egg substitutes listed below. Read on to learn about all the different ingredients you can use instead.
A béchamel sauce, also known as a white sauce, is one of the base sauces in classic French cuisine.
It is made of equal quantities of butter and flour and then thinned with milk. While this sounds simple enough, it can be a little tricky to master.
The technique to make it perfectly smooth is described below:
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat and add the same flour.
- Use the whisk to mix the flour into the butter. The butter will bubble, and the flour will become fragrant.
- Slowly pour warm milk in a slow stream while continuously whisking so no lumps form.
- The flour and butter mix, also known as a roux, will thicken the milk
- Season with salt and pepper.
To turn this into a cheese sauce, add shredded mozzarella or any other soft cheese that will melt smoothly.
When making lasagna, use 1/4- to 1/3-cups of white sauce to the cheese mix. It will act as a binder and hold the layers together. But do not use too much, as it can give your lasagna a rubbery texture.
You can even make lasagna with just white sauce, meat, vegetables, and cheese, a fun spin on the classic recipe. For this, when you are assembling, start with a sheet of pasta, as the white sauce can burn.
Greek yogurt is a thicker, creamier yogurt with lower water content than regular yogurt. It has a slightly tangy taste that works very well with the rich flavors of lasagna.
Mix 1/3-cup of Greek yogurt to replace each egg into your cheese mixture to make it stick together and become smoother. Always use the full-fat version; otherwise, it will make your lasagna watery.
Heavy cream is also another popular option when you don’t want to use egg. To replace one egg, you can use 1/4 cup of cream.
But don’t add it directly to your cheese mixture because when it bakes, it will loosen and make your lasagna soupy. It needs a thickening agent to stop the cream from thinning out too much during the baking process. You have a couple of options:
- Cornstarch: Beat in a tablespoon of shifted cornstarch to each cup of heavy cream added.
- Potato starch: Beat 1 tablespoon of potato starch to 1 cup of heavy cream.
- Arrowroot Powder: Beat a couple of tablespoons of arrowroot powder into a cup of heavy cream.
Note, be careful not to over whip your cream, or else it will turn into butter.
Vegan eggs have become increasingly popular choices when it comes to baking and cooking.
While you could use the prepackaged stuff on the shelves, these options below are healthier, natural alternatives that won’t break the bank.
When you grind flaxseed, the fibers break down to release a sticky substance mixed with a little water to create a substance that can bind baked goods just like an egg. You don’t need any tools or heat. Just follow this simple recipe to replace one egg. You need:
- 1 tbsp flaxseed, ground
- 2 1/2 tbsp water
When adding it to your cheese mix, you will need to add a couple tablespoons of oil or butter to mimic the fat content of a regular egg.
Chia Seed Egg
Chia seeds bloom in water to create a gelatinous substance that can help hold your cheese mix together. It doesn’t have any flavor, and despite still having the seeds inside, it doesn’t affect the texture of the lasagna either.
To replace one egg, you need:
- 1 tbsp chia seeds, dry
- 1 1/2 tbsp water
Basil Seed Egg
These seeds are larger and rounder than chia seeds, but basil seeds also bloom in water to create a gel-like substance. To replace one egg, you need:
- 1 tbsp basil seeds, dry
- 1 1/2 tbsp water
Another popular vegan egg substitute is aquafaba. It is very easy to make, and you probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry. It is basically the liquid that is leftover from cooked chickpeas.
There are two ways you can get it:
- Reserve the liquid in a can of cooked chickpeas
- Boil chickpeas completely, remove them, and boil down the liquid that is left behind until it is thick and gel-like.
Next, whip this liquid with a pinch of cream of tartar for at least 5 minutes or until it reaches stiff peaks. This might take you a little longer if you decide to boil your own chickpeas.
To replace one egg, use 3 to 4 tbsp of aquafaba and mix it right into your egg mixture.
Similar to how a white sauce works, vegetable puree can be used as an egg substitute to bind your lasagna. These purees can also add another layer of flavor to your final dishes. For these purees to work properly, you need to steam your vegetables and mash or blend them.
You have a few options for these purees. Either mix it in with your cheese mixture or layer it directly between the pasta sheets, using about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Note that not all vegetables are equal here. You want to use the ones with less moisture as they will make your lasagna runny. It is always a good habit to wring your purees in cheesecloth to eliminate the extra moisture. Popular choices are listed below.
- Potatoes – you can also use instant mashed potato mixes
- Pumpkins – unsweetened canned purees also work well
If you are a fan of avocado (and who isn’t), then add it to your lasagna!
This is a great healthy option that can improve the nutritional value of your dish. It might give it a slight greenish tinge, but it is hardly noticeable.
Mash about a 1/4 cup of avocado to your cheese mix to replace an egg. Then, keep layering as usual.
This may seem crazy, but don’t knock it till you try it! Plain unsweetened applesauce actually works surprisingly well when it comes to replacing the humble egg in lasagna.
It doesn’t affect the taste because the subtle apple taste and aroma are drowned out by the other strong flavors of the meat sauce and cheese. Moreover, it works pretty well at thickening the cheese mix. You can use store-bought applesauce to whip up your own batch.
If you plan to go the homemade route, make sure to boil all the extra water. Otherwise, it will make your lasagna runny. A 1/4 cup of applesauce is enough to replace one egg.
Change the Cheese
Eggs are used to keep the cheese together because cheeses that are generally used, like ricotta and parmesan, don’t melt in the oven.
So why not just switch up the cheese?
Go for a better cheese that melts well and sticks together – like grated mozzarella, cheddar, provolone or fontina. You can skip making cheese mixture altogether and sprinkle these cheeses between the layers.
If you are out of eggs or don’t want to use any to make lasagna, don’t worry!
You have plenty of options at your disposal, from dairy choices like béchamel sauce, yogurt, and cream to vegan egg substitutes like chia seeds and flax seeds. You can bind and mix up the flavor by adding vegetable purees, avocados, and even applesauce.
On the flip side, you can forget the egg completely and change up the cheese. Whatever you decide to do, one thing is for sure – your lasagna is going to taste delicious.
What is lasagna?
Lasagna is a baked casserole dish that originates in Italy. It is made by layering a red tomato-based red sauce, a béchamel (or cheese) sauce, and cheese between layers of thin pasta sheets. Sliced vegetables such as mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, and bell peppers can also be added.
Why use an egg in lasagna?
Eggs are usually mixed into the cheese mixture that is layered between the sheets of pasta to help bind your ingredients and keep the layers in place. They do not affect the lasagna’s texture or taste.
Boiled eggs can also be added, either crumbled or sliced between the layers, to make the dish richer and more filling. Traditional eggs were never used in lasagna, and you can make a perfectly good one without them.
What is a Greek yogurt substitute?
If you don’t have Greek yogurt another option is to drain regular yogurt through a cheesecloth to remove all the extra water. This will tighten the consistency and make it just as creamy as Greek yogurt.
Are there lasagna sheets made without eggs?
Generally, most premade lasagna sheets don’t contain eggs. If they do, they will have pasta all’uovo (Italian for pasta with eggs) labeled on the box.
You can always check the ingredients to be sure, as all manufacturers are legally obligated to list the exact ingredients used. Another eggless choice is to try one of the many vegan lasagna sheet options available on the market.