What with the COVID-19 outbreak shuttering restaurants and encouraging social distancing, I’ve suddenly found myself spending a lot more time in my kitchen. I’ve also been on the lookout for protein-packed meals that will store well in case, you know, the worst happens.
So it comes as no surprise that I was excited to sample the JUST’s new plant-based “folded egg” product this week. The eggs — which are made of mung beans — resemble a small square omelet. I received a shipment of them in a refrigerated insulated box (such packaging waste!), and were packaged two-together in shrinkwrapped plastic (more packaging waste!). These were pre-production samples that were shipped directly from the company, so there will presumably be far less packaging once the eggs are available at the grocery store this April.
Taken out of the package, the eggs really do look like, well, eggs. They have a spongy texture and light yellow hue of countless BEC (bacon, egg and cheeses) I bought from corner bodegas in New York, or the filling of fast-food breakfast sandwiches. So far, so good.
The eggs came with a guide which outlined three options for cooking. I could heat the omelet in a toaster for 6. 5 minutes, toast in a toaster oven for 15 minutes at 350 F (or presumably a conventional oven), or microwave it while wrapped in a paper towel. I don’t have a toaster oven that has an option to cook something for 6.5 minutes, so I went with the microwave. The grocery store having been out of paper towels for days, I had to microwave mine without — for 30 seconds per side — and it turned out perfectly fine; warm throughout and pliable.
I first took a bite of the heated omelet by itself. While the texture definitely reminded me of dry omelets (that’s not a bad thing, per se), the taste was distinctly beany — almost chemical-y. In short, not like eggs at all. I thought that the JUST Egg scramble I’d tried in the past did a far better job of approximating the almost sulfuric flavor.
However, when I made the omelet into a breakfast sandwich featuring toast, (vegan) butter, kale, and hot sauce, I would definitely not have known it wasn’t the real thing from a chicken egg. The patty had the same texture as a reheated omelet, and the beany flavor didn’t come through against all the other ingredients. I gave half of the sandwich to my roommate who devoured it and was shocked to learn that the egg inside was not, in fact, an egg at all.
The JUST omelet won’t fool anyone when eaten on its own, but it’s clearly not meant to be. The folded egg is the perfect shape and size to go into sandwiches, burritos, etc, to add a plant-based layer of protein that can be ready in mere minutes (and doesn’t require the cooking skills of a perfect egg omelet).
The JUST folded egg will be sold in boxes of four starting this April. According to the company, it’ll debut in the freezer section of 5,000 retailers nationally and will sell for the MSRP of $4.99. That’s pricey compared to a dozen regular eggs, but I think the convenience factor of the JUST omelets make them a worthy buy — especially if you’re trying to eat more plant-based products.
We don’t know what the quarantine situation will look like come April, but if you’re able to safely make it to your grocery store to pick up a pack of JUST folded egg omelets, I’d say they’re worth adding to your shopping cart.