Aquafaba is Aqua-fabulous!

 

IMG_6237

 

Whether or not you are vegan, if you enjoy baking to any extent, there is bound to be someone at sometime amongst your guests who is vegan, or cannot handle eggs. And one of the biggest challenges for vegan bakers and cooks is finding the perfect egg substitute. For years bakers have been trying their hands at various egg substitutes including commercially produced combinations of starches, baking soda and baking powder, or ground flax mixed with water, but my favourite go-to egg replacer is aquafaba.

Aquafaba is the term given to the liquid that remains after draining a can of beans- chick peas, black beans and so on. The name is literally is the combination of the two Latin names for water and bean, coined by a software engineer from Indiana named Goose Wohlt who now runs his own vegan cookery website.

 

from plantified.com

from plantified.com

 

The beauty of aquafaba is that it does so many wonderful things and is essentially free, that is to say you won’t find it on store shelves, selling for top dollar. For years we have been throwing out this stuff unaware of its many uses; as a binder in baking, a thickener for soups and stews, as a gelling agent and emulsifier, and-wait for it-it can also be whipped, just like egg whites, into meringue that can be baked, or used to top your lemon meringue pies, or used by hipster mixologists who normally would use egg-whites in those trendy cocktails.

 

aquafaba whisky sour

aquafaba whisky sour

 

You can even make an omelette out of the stuff!  However, when it comes to nutrition, aquafaba is not exactly a powerhouse. One tablespoon has about five calories and not much more of anything else. But as a wrap-like omelette containing other goodies, why not?

 

 avirtualvegan.com

avirtualvegan.com

 

Now it is true that the bean water from a can of black beans is indeed quite dark, so you would probably just want to use this for darker cakes and muffins and brownies. Aquafaba from white beans and chickpeas has the same viscosity but is of course much lighter in colour, so use this in light coloured cakes, or for meringues.

 

black bean aquafaba on the top, chick pea aquafaba on the bottom

black bean aquafaba on the top, chick pea aquafaba on the bottom

 

To use aquafaba instead of eggs, just substitute 3 tablespoons per medium egg, or 4 tablespoons of aquafaba for 1 large egg. You likely won’t want to open a can of beans every time you want to cook with aquafaba, so it is best to plan ahead. After draining a 19 ounce can of black beans I got exactly 1 cup of aquafaba, 16 tablespoons. Pour this into ice cube trays; each cube is a tablespoon so this can essentially yielded the equivalent of 4 large eggs! Freeze the trays, then pop them out of the tray and put them in a freezer bag. When you’re ready to cook, just take out however many you need for your recipe. You can melt it on the stovetop or in the microwave and it won’t alter its efficacy! You can’t do that with an egg!

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