What Is Aquafaba? – Spoonful of Kindness
Aquafaba, or bean water, is the ultimate vegan substitute for eggs, that opens up a broader array of possibilities for vegan recipe creation than you ever thought possible. Learn how to make aquafaba to replace egg whites in your recipes.
When it comes to baking, I can sometimes be like a kid getting a new toy. I get way too excited over trying out a new recipe, and I need to try every single crazy thing that I read, or crosses my mind. But for some reason, I was reluctant to try out aquafaba.
After years of saying no, I finally decided to take the plunge, learn all there is about this new(-ish) cooking ingredient, and whip it up.
What Is Aquafaba?
In a sentence, aquafaba is the cooking water from chickpeas and other legumes that has very similar properties to egg whites. So similar, in fact, that it can be used as a direct replacement in most recipes. The rule of thumb is:
- 2 tablespoons aquafaba = 1 egg white
- 3 tablespoons aquafaba = 1 whole egg
What makes it even more special are its foaming properties, which means it can easily be whipped, just like egg whites, and used to create all the traditional meringue-based desserts.
Fun Fact: The word aquafaba was coined on March 13, 2015, and simply combines the Latin word for water (aqua), with the Latin word for bean (faba). The word was officially submitted to the Oxford English Dictionary on its first anniversary.
How To Whip Aquafaba
First, you need to get your hands on some aquafaba. You can do this in two ways:
- Drain a can of chickpeas and reserve the liquid
- Cook your own chickpeas and reserve the leftover cooking liquid. This is actually the healthier (more on that later), and more time-consuming version. The liquid will most likely be too runny at first, and you will need to thicken it a bit by simmering it on a low heat until it reaches the consistency of egg whites. Cool down before using.
Now it’s time to whip it. Whipping aquafaba is really no different to whipping egg whites, but it might take slightly longer to get to semi-firm peaks. It’s important not to get discouraged half way through, so I suggest using a hand or stand mixer. Whisking it by hand would simply take too long, and might not produce as good of results.
Watch How to Whip Vegan Meringue
Extra Tips and Tricks for Making Vegan Meringue
- Remember that aquafaba needs to be cold, and resemble the consistency of egg whites.
- There shouldn’t be any grease residue on your bowl or whisk that you’re using. Grease makes it harder to whip.
- Throw in some cream of tartar, just as you would with egg whites. This helps aquafaba whip up much faster, and makes the peaks firmer.
Best Aquafaba Recipes
When you use aquafaba as an egg substitute, no dessert is off limits. You can create everything from vegan meringue to vegan marshmallow fluff, and even savoury dishes, such as homemade vegan mayo and cheese. Here is a list of my top aquafaba recipes:
Pros and Cons of Aquafaba
- It’s the perfect vegan substitute for eggs whites, both in terms of flavour and texture.
- Easy to whip, as it’s impossible to overbeat it.
- If you’re using liquid from can, it’s almost certainly loaded with the industrial chemical BPA, which is known to interfere with our hormones.
- Oligosaccharides, complex sugars that are present in abundance in legumes, are next to impossible to digest by mammals, which often leads to gas, bloating and diarrhoea. Needless to say, bean water is saturated with oligosaccharides.
- Saponins, the part of aquafaba that is responsible for the egg white-like texture and foaming, are a toxic steroid derivatives that disrupt red blood cells. They may even contribute to development of leaky gut by damaging the gut wall. They are thermal sensitive and dissolve in water, which is actually one of the main reasons why we soak and cook beans, and discard the cooking liquid.
I made quite a few batches, because I wanted to: a) be sure that you can get the exact same firm texture every time, and I didn’t simply get lucky the first time, and b) see how useful aquafaba can actually be when baking.
So what’s my verdict? Aquafaba actually does solve a ton of problems for those looking for a vegan substitute for eggs. It’s really no different from egg whites when it comes to texture, and you won’t know the difference in taste when baked.
But aquafaba simply isn’t an ingredient I would want to use in my recipes. There are quite a few downsides to consuming discarded bean liquid. Most of all, I like to fill my plate with fresh food that is loaded with good-for-me nutrients, and aquafaba simply doesn’t have the nutritional value I look for when picking my ingredients.
Bottom line: if you’re not following a 100% vegan diet and looking to break up your routine, there’s really no reason for you to be replacing egg whites with bean water. But if you are, this is the miracle ingredient you’ve been waiting for. It does perfectly imitate egg whites both in terms of flavour and texture, and opens a ton of possibilities for vegan recipe creation.
How to Make Aquafaba – Vegan Meringue
Aquafaba, or bean water, is the ultimate vegan substitute for eggs, that opens up a broader array of possibilities for vegan recipe creation than you ever thought possible. Learn how to whip it to replace meringue in your recipes.
- 6 tablespoons aquafaba (chickpea liquid) (to replace 3 egg whites)
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)
Drain a can of chickpeas and reserve the liquid or cook your own chickpeas and reserve the leftover cooking liquid.
Whip aquafaba in the same way as egg whites, using either a handheld or a stand mixer. It shouldn’t take more than 12 minutes to get to firm peaks. Remember to stop every few minutes and scrape down the sides to make sure it’s evenly mixed.