Egg Salad, Lightened Up

by in Meal Makeovers, May 21, 2009


Egg salad is a classic sandwich stuffer, but with gobs of mayo mixed in, it can be high in fat, cholesterol and calories. Try these new takes on the traditional recipe.

The Heavy Hitters
An average deli egg salad sandwich can have more than 550 calories, 30 grams of fat and 445 milligrams of cholesterol — yikes! Where does all that come from? Well, the main ingredients: eggs and mayo. The biggest issues with these foods are cholesterol and saturated fat. Both can clog arteries and contribute to high-cholesterol levels when you’ve got too much in your diet.

Eggs are actually loaded with many healthy nutrients including protein, omega-3 fats and vitamin B-12. One large egg also contains 2 grams of saturated fat, about 210 milligram of cholesterol and 70 to 75 calories. Those with high cholesterol or a family history of heart disease want to stick to 300 milligrams or less of cholesterol per day. Lots of folks skip the egg yolks to reduce cholesterol. Yolks have the same amount of protein as the whites, but most of the other nutrients are in the yolk. (Read more about eggs’ nutrients in our other post: “Eggs: Good or Bad?”)

Mayonnaise, which is made mostly from oil and eggs, is a high-cal condiment. One tablespoon has 90 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat and 5 milligrams of cholesterol. Most egg salad recipes I come across have way more than 1 tablespoon in them.

What’s An Egg Salad Lover To Do?
No worries, eggs and mayo can still be a part of your egg salad mix — just use less and add flavor with other fresh ingredients. The easiest thing you can do is switch to small amounts of a light or reduced-fat mayo. Then, use less egg salad and pile fresh vegetables like lettuce, tomato, cucumber or radishes on your bread slices, wraps and salads.

But there’s way more you can do. I like to be creative by adding flavorful, lower calorie ingredients like Dijon mustard, fresh herbs, sweet pickle relish, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, cayenne pepper or curry powder. My favorite diner in New York City makes an egg white salad with fresh herbs, a touch of mayo and chopped spinach; they also make an egg-less version with tofu. Kristine, our compadre here, swears by her special mix of spicy and Dijon mustard (with a splash of apple cider vinegar) to replace the mayo’s creaminess.

When I make egg salad at home, I use 4 eggs, 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of non-fat Greek yogurt, lots of fresh chopped celery, herbs (basil, dill or parsley), salt, pepper and pinch of smoked paprika. My recipe makes enough for at least 3 sandwiches.

You can also save more calories by making an open-faced sandwich (using only one slice of bread), serving on a whole-wheat English muffin or using lettuce leaves as a wrap.

[Photo: Breezytoo / Recipezaar]

TELL US: What’s your secret ingredient for healthy, flavorful egg salad?

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Comments (24)

  1. Brenda Whitfield says:

    I adore egg salad. It’s been my favorite comfort food since I was a little girl. The calories weren’t comforting though, so they had to go. I use the mayo that has olive oil mixed right in. Aside from being deliscious and wonderfully creamy, it saves about half the calories over regular mayo. Then I like to add onion, celery, and red bell or pimientos. For flavor, I add a bit of salt and garlic with lots of freshly ground black black pepper. Then you can take it anywhere you want to travel that day. Feeling south of the border? Add cumin, chili poweder, paprika, and a squeez of lime. Thai your thing? Do it up with ginger, sesame seeds, Thai peppers, lemon and lime, bean sprouts instead of lettuce and it’s hello Bangkok! I’ve been to every corner of the world thanks to egg salad!

  2. diane gossman says:

    I do something similar when I make egg salad, using the lighter mayo. But what I do is use only half of the egg yolks. You still get great taste but less cholesterol. I punch it up with a little mustard too.

  3. nora says:

    add a lil bit of curry powder. it gives a magical lift to the taste :)

  4. Amiyrah says:

    I recently made a batch of my famous deviled egg salad but I used half mayo and half greek yogurt. Hubby couldn’t place the new “tang” in the mix but gobbled it up. Egg salad and tuna salad are a summer staple here when it come to light dinners, so I can’t wait to use the yogurt trick again!

  5. Krikri says:

    Eggs, calories and cholesterol. The danger is always there but we like them.You did well with the suggestions. At least, we can have some eggs. But the stats and nutritional information about eggs are important. Over consumption or improperly managed diets can be bad.

  6. PB says:

    I adore egg salad. It’s been my favorite comfort food since I was a little girl. The calories weren’t comforting though, so they had to go. I use the mayo that has olive oil mixed right in. Aside from being deliscious and wonderfully creamy, it saves about half the calories over regular mayo. Then I like to add onion, celery, and red bell or pimientos. For flavor, I add a bit of salt and garlic with lots of freshly ground black black pepper. Then you can take it anywhere you want to travel that day. Feeling south of the border? Add cumin, chili poweder, paprika, and a squeez of lime. Thai your thing? Do it up with ginger, sesame seeds, Thai peppers, lemon and lime, bean sprouts instead of lettuce and it’s hello Bangkok! I’ve been to every corner of the world thanks to egg salad!

  7. jill says:

    I use mashed avocado mixed with a little EVOO instead of mayo for my egg salad!

  8. Janet Sabol says:

    I like to boil eggs and remove the egg yolks cut them in half and fill with your favorite humus. Delicious!!!

  9. karen says:

    I mix my egg and tuna salads with nonfat plain yogurt, dash of garlic, dash of onion powder and a tbsp of sweet pickle relish. Salt and pepper to taste. Sometime I may had a dash of hot sauce. My family thought I had bought a new mayo

  10. Barbara says:

    That was a GREAT egg salad!

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