These easy ingredient swaps make egg drop soup vegan-friendly

It's hard to go to a Chinese restaurant and not order egg drop soup. This classic dish is simple and delicious. Scan a few recipes like the one from Gimme Some Oven or Simply Recipes and you will find that its ingredients are not complicated. Traditionally this soup is made with chicken or vegetable broth, a little cornstarch to thicken, beaten eggs that are dropped into the broth as it boils and that cook into little "ribbon" like threads, along with some scallions and seasonings, which might include ginger. Egg drop soup really doesn't leave a lot of room for substitutions. Or does it?

What if you are vegan but love this comforting soup? How can you reimagine this recipe without changing it into a completely new dish? Luckily, for those of us who eschew eating anything made with animal products, a creative culinarian and writer at The Hidden Veggies has done just that. By swapping just a few key ingredients in this warm and savory dish, you can make your favorite egg drop soup into a vegan-friendly version that still has the "authenticity" of the original recipe, tastes delicious, and adheres to dietary guidelines vegans choose to follow. Here's how.

Chickpea flour and potato starch can help you make vegan egg drop soup

The writer of The Hidden Veggies blog notes that she didn't use tofu — which seems like an easy substitute for the egg — because then she would just be making tofu soup. Fair point. Instead, she experimented to find a way to make a "chicken" vegan broth and a vegan egg substitute so eaters can still experience the same flavors and textures that they love when it comes to egg drop soup. 

The broth was not the seemingly difficult part of this recipe. She used Not-Chick'n Edward & Sons Bouillon Cubes, but there are several vegan chicken broths out there, such as Organic Imagine No Chicken Broth or Ocean's Halo No Chicken Broth. So, once you figure out which one gives you the umami flavor you desire, you're on the road to perfect vegan egg drop soup. Additionally, she uses potato starch as the thickener instead of cornstarch.

But what is truly clever about this recipe is how she creates her egg substitute. The writer uses chickpea flour and potato starch, along with a little yeast, water, and black salt to recreate the egg ribbons. She cautions that you will need to stir the broth after each spoonful of "egg dropping" so it doesn't turn into a mushy, clumpy mess at the bottom of your soup pot, but also warns not to stir it with too much passion or the ribbons will break apart.