How chefs turn tomato-based purées into highly convincing vegan egg yolks

There’s a sudden craze for vegan egg yolks: On TikTok, they’re bursting out of benedicts at brunch. Meanwhile, tutorials are popping up around the internet to teach people how to make them at home. For Vice, Bettina Makalintal shines a light on the science behind these dupes and breaks down the many challenges of producing vegan yolks at a commercial scale. Vegan yolks are made possible through a process known as “spherification,” in which liquids—in this case, a tomato-based purée—are first mixed with sodium alginate, then plunged into calcium salt baths. This process creates a thin film around the original liquid, creating a yolk-like product that can be added in lieu of the real thing. Cool, huh? Because of the labor required to make even a single vegan yolk, the likelihood of mass production is far off at the moment. Until then, we’ll be playing videos of them popping on TikTok in a loop.

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