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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Homemade Vegan Omelet Recipe From Red Lentils and How to Make a Sneaky Cheap Omelet

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Vegan zucchini omelet. I'm a terribly impatient
 omelet flipper, vegan omelet or not.
Ever since posting why it's generally cheaper to use egg replacements, even for egg heavy dishes like quiches, I was hoping we'd lower our egg usage in our house, but to be honest, our egg usage didn't go down tremendously. Last month alone, we spent $29 just on eggs, but mostly just for omelets. Reason being- omelets are a quick meal for when I haven't gotten anything ready, and it's something my kids will agree to eat without a fuss. But I'm usually in a lurch then, because I don't feel like cooking up another protein just for me, but I don't do well with eggs....

I played around with making vegan omelets with chickpea flour, but I wasn't in love with the results, mostly because of how they made me feel afterwards. Just using plain old chickpea flour gave me a stomach ache after- because, like all beans, chickpeas should be soaked before using to reduce stomach discomfort. I mean, if I soak the chickpea flour with water and something lightly acidic for 12 hours before using, I don't get the same stomach ache... but that takes advanced preparation, and the whole reason for omelets is because I hadn't thought in advance about supper and need something I can get on the stove and out to the family in less than 10 minutes...


After recently grinding some red lentils into flour, I tried experimenting in stretching the eggs with some red lentil flour and water, and found out that when I did so, using half eggs and half red lentil/water mix, my kids couldn't tell that there was anything different about the eggs and enjoyed them just as much. This saved a lot of money, because my husband and kids together can eat 7 to 10 eggs in one meal, and at over 30 cents an egg, that was between 2 and 3 dollars for the protein for my family's meal, without even figuring in what protein I'd be eating and how much it would be costing.
On the other hand, when I stretched it with red lentil flour, I could do it about half half, and make 4 eggs and use half a cup of red lentil flour, which cost me around 30 cents, and making the equivalent of 10 eggs, making it only $1.50 for the meal instead of 3... So if you want to stretch your eggs and make sneaky cheap omelets, just add half a cup of red lentil flour and 1 cup of water to 4 or 5 eggs, and maybe a drop of paprika for color to mask the slightly more orangey color that will result from the red lentil flour.

Since I had so much success with the stretched omelets, I decided to see if I could make a purely vegan red lentil omelet... and it worked beautifully! I can't say the taste is identical to regular egg omelets, but they have a pretty eggy texture, taste very yummy, not "lentilly" in my opinion, and work very well to make regular omelets, veggie omelets, scrambled eggs, etc... and don't have tofu/soy in it, like many of the other vegan omelet/scrambled eggs recipes I've seen. And best of all- no stomach aches, since red lentils are some of the few legumes that don't irritate most people's stomachs, even without being sprouted or soaked.

So- cost comparison- for an omelet the equivalent of a 3 egg omelet, I used 1/2 cup, or 90 grams of red lentil flour. Since I buy my red lentils at anywhere between $1.27 and $1.80 per pound, and then grind them into flour, that makes that half a cup be anywhere between 25 and 35 cents, making it cost on average around 10 cents per "egg", or a third as expensive as a real egg omelet. (If you're in the US, I found red lentils being sold pretty cheaply per pound here, but you may find a cheaper source.) I can't compare between the cost of store bought red lentil flour turned into omelets versus eggs, because I don't know where they sell red lentil flour online, other than a few random places, and I don't know where you can buy red lentil flour in person, though I suspect that Indian stores are probably your best bet for finding red lentil flour cheapest. But if you have a grain grinder, or even a coffee mill, making your own red lentil flour is cheapest.

You can also make vegan omelets just by soaking red lentils in water overnight, then blending until smooth, and then watering down. That works, but it doesn't solve my need for quick omelets....

Now I am really excited- I'll try to see if my kids will enjoy my vegan omelets... and if not, I'll stretch their eggs as I have been doing successfully until now, and now I have a good omelet recipe I can make for myself when everyone else is having eggs!

P.S. I put baking powder in my omelets, because I find vegan "omelets" tend to be flat and pancakey, instead of fluffy like egg omelets usually are...

Homemade Vegan Omelet Recipe

Ingredients:
1/2 cup red lentil flour
3/4 cup water
Pinch baking powder
Salt
Spices (optional)
Veggies (optional)
Oil

Instructions:
1. Heat the oil in your frying pan, and then if you'll be adding veggies, saute them in the oil until soft.

2. Whisk together the red lentil flour, water, a pinch baking powder, salt, and whatever spices you want. If you want to add some nutritional yeast, it probably would make this taste even more authentic, but I found it totally not necessary. I just added onion powder and garlic powder to mine, as I like in my egg omelets.

3. Pour the batter into the frying pan, and let it cook. This will take probably a few more minutes than a regular egg omelet, but not much longer. If you're making an omelet instead of scrambled eggs, give it a few minutes to set before trying to flip it (otherwise you'll have a less pretty omelet, like in my picture above). You can cover the frying pan while waiting for it to set, but it's not necessary. If scrambling, just mix right from the start, until it's all fully cooked.

4. If making an omelet, flip over, and let cook on the other side.

5. Serve as you would any other omelet!

Enjoy!

Have you ever seen red lentil flour being sold locally or online? How much did it cost? How much do you pay for lentils where you live? How much do you pay per egg? If you're vegan or egg free, do you make any vegan omelets? What do you put in yours? Does this look like a recipe you'd try?

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7 comments:

  1. In the US, eggs are pretty inexpensive. For extra large eggs we pay less than 20 cents per egg. I don't purchase the cage free eggs anymore because I noticed that more often than not, there are usually anywhere from 2-4 eggs with specks of blood

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    1. Those "specks of blood" are fertilized eggs, which is common with cage free birds.

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    2. The speaks of blood just mean the eggs have been fertilized. The chickens being cage free and all, that makes sense. There is nothing wrong with the eggs at all and some people even say they are more nutritious (like my mom). Personally, it kinda freaks me out so I don't like fertilized eggs either. I just wanted to let you I know what was going on with those eggs!

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  2. This is a really interesting vegan alternative to eggs! I should try it sometime.

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  3. Can you use regular lentils and/or regular lentil flour (they are kind of brown in color)??

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  4. How unique is this! I cannot eat eggs anymore, so this could be a GREAT SUB for me!!!! I do have to say that I miss my eggs though :(

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  5. Wow. I'm intrigued by putting flour in omelets. At first I was thinking that would be pretty gross. But as I read on I got to thinking about quiche.. And there's flour in that I think. So now you've got my interest peaked!
    I'm in the US, but buy my eggs at a german grocery chain (Aldi) they have hands down the cheapest milk and eggs around. Eggs are 1.39 for a dozen large. So about 11 cents per egg I think. Also, my mother has about 50 hens we get eggs from too.
    Even though eggs are economical for me, I am a huge fan of throwing beans into anything and everything I can get away with. I'm the number one fan girl of dry beans. I'll have to google how to make flour from them.
    I already add pureed white beans (any kind) to my deviled eggs to reduce the amount of fat and cholesterol in them. I use only a third of the yolks, and replace the other two thirds with the beans, add mustard and fat free mayo and call it yummy :) nobody at get togethers has ever noticed the difference.
    I'm going to look into this. Thanks so much for posting this!

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