Aquafaba: Replace Eggs with Bean Liquid (It’s a Thing)

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Vegan chocolate mousse with aquafaba
Photo Credit: Crazy Vegan Kitchen

By Jessica Hamlin

When you open a can of chickpeas to make hummus, do you discard the liquid that drains off? Sure, who doesn’t?

Turns out that liquid has a name, aquafaba—and a pretty strong social media following, too. And though it may sound odd or unappetizing, it’s become a popular egg replacer in recipes from meringue to cakes to cocktails.

“While soaking pulses, like chickpeas and lentils, some of the starches, protein, B-vitamins, zinc, and iron leach into the water,” registered dietitian and cookbook author Toby Amidor tells Clean Plates. “This results in a nutrient-rich liquid that can be used for gelatinizing, emulsifying, foaming, and thickening dishes.”

Though aquafaba technically refers to the liquid from all legumes including soy, lentils and pressed tofu, Aquafaba cookbook author Zsu Dever notes that chickpea aquafaba is the most popular due to its thickness as well as its neutral taste and color. You can whip it into cream or meringue just as fluffy as the traditional kinds, great news for vegans or people with egg allergies who have been missing some of their favorite dishes.

HOW TO USE IT
Here are Dever’s pro tips for getting the most out of aquafaba:

  • Use 2 tablespoons of aquafaba to replace each large egg white in a recipe.
  • Don’t use aquafaba for a recipe that calls for more than 3 egg whites, such as angel food cake.
  • Aquafaba made from dried chickpeas beats canned aquafaba in terms of concentration, strength and price, though either will work.
  • You can whip aquafaba into peaks, or use it in its liquid form as an emulsifier (think vegan mayo), or sub it in for eggs in cookies, quick breads and cakes.
  • Just as with egg whites, make sure that before whipping aquafaba, your bowl and whisk are impeccably clean and dry. Any oil or other fat will interfere with developing the foam.
  • Use cream of tartar to help stabilize the foam.
  • You can use coconut sugar in your aquafaba meringue, but be sure the sugar is finely ground and whip the mixture to stiff peaks. The meringue will be less stable with coconut sugar than with granulated, so avoid further-destabilizing alcohol-based extracts, and work with the mixture quickly and carefully.
  • For best results, bake your aquafaba meringue on parchment or silicon mats.

HOW TO PREP
If you’re using canned aquafaba, Dever recommends the following:

  • Drain the can of chickpeas using a fine-mesh strainer.
  • Add the liquid to a measuring cup and note the amount.
  • Pour it into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until the aquafaba has reduced by 1/3. This will concentrate it and make it more stable.
  • Refrigerate the aquafaba until completely cold.
  • Check the viscosity of the aquafaba once cooled; you should be able to pour it but it should have gelled to some degree. If it is completely gelled, then your original aquafaba was strong as it was and when using that brand of chickpeas in the future, you don’t need to reduce the liquid.

If you’re using dried beans:

  • Cook the beans in water until tender (but not mushy) and strain the beans from the aquafaba.
  • Refrigerate the aquafaba until completely cold.
  • Check the viscosity of the aquafaba once cooled; you should be able to pour it but it should have gelled to some degree. If it is very thin, cook it until it reduces somewhat and cool again, then check the viscosity.

Ready to try it? Check out this vegan chocolate mousse made with aquafaba from Crazy Vegan Kitchen.

 

BIO: Jessica Hamlin is an LA-born and bred journalist and editor and works as a freelance web editor for NPR affiliate KPCC. She’s written about healthier food and events for various publications including Eater LA and was an editor for AOL’s Patch, where she won an LA Press Club Award. In addition to a BA in journalism, Jessica completed the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s health coach training program.

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

  • Serves: 6
  • Total Time:4 Hours 15 Minutes
  • Active Time:15 Minutes
  • PRINT Print This Recipe

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces dark chocolate (make sure it's dairy-free for vegan diets), chopped
  • 1 cup aquafaba, at room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • Seeds from 1 vanilla bean pod
  • Raspberries, for garnish

Directions

  1. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water and cook, stirring occasionally, until melted. Remove bowl from heat and let chocolate cool.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, combine aquafaba and cream of tartar. Beat until soft peaks form, 5 to 15 minutes. Add coconut sugar and vanilla bean seeds and continue whipping for 1 minute longer.
  3. Drizzle chocolate into meringue and gently fold it in with a spatula. Fold until chocolate and meringue are completely combined.
  4. Pour into glasses and chill for at least 4 hours. Just before serving, garnish with raspberries.