What Is Aquafaba?
Aquafaba is the liquid found in a can of chickpeas or resulting from cooking chickpeas. It is often used as an egg substitute in vegan and allergen-free recipes. The name “aquafaba” came from the Latin words for “water” and “bean,” roughly translating to bean-water. This trendy substitute is quickly finding its way into many dessert and beverage recipes to give them an eggless twist.
What is Aquafaba Made Of?
Aquafaba is mainly made from chickpea water. Because of its clear color, it most closely resembles egg whites. However, aquafaba isn’t only made from chickpeas. It can be made of liquid from any legume can or legume cooking process, such as white bean water and lentil water.
Aquafaba vs Egg Whites
Although egg whites and aquafaba are similar in color and function, they do have several nutritional differences. Here are some differences between aquafaba and egg whites.
- Eggs have a scent, while aquafaba does not.
- Eggs are a good source of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, while aquafaba does not offer any significant nutritional value.
- Eggs typically have 77 calories, 6 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fat, while aquafaba is extremely low in calories, protein, and fat. Aquafaba will typically only have 3-5 calories per tablespoon.
- Aquafaba is vegan, while eggs are not.
Chickpeas may be packed with protein, fiber, and nutrients, but those nutrients do not significantly enrich chickpea water during the cooking and storage process.
How to Make Aquafaba
If you plan to bake with aquafaba, you can either drain the water out of a can of chickpeas or make the liquid from scratch. It can be tricky to get the process just right. For example, your aquafaba can end up too thin or too time-consuming to make. If you are new to aquafaba, it is recommended to start with the canned version. If you are up for making your own, here is an aquafaba recipe with instructions to get you started.
This recipe will produce approximately 65 ounces of aquafaba.
- In a large bowl, soak 3 lbs. of dry chickpeas (also known as garbonzo beans) in enough water to cover them.
- Let the chickpeas soak and expand for a minimum of 8 hours or overnight. They can soak for 24 hours, but you’ll want to change the water every 8 hours.
- Strain and discard the water. After rinsing the chickpeas, place them in a large pan and cover them with fresh water.
- Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, letting the chickpeas cook with the lid on for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Check the chickpeas occasionally and top them off with water if the water level falls below the top of the chickpeas. Skim off and dispose of the white scum that may appear on the surface of the water.
- When the cook time is up, drain the cooking liquid that is left into a container. This is aquafaba.
Can You Freeze Aquafaba?
Aquafaba and chickpeas can both be stored in the freezer for 6 months if you do not intend to use them right away. Pour the aquafaba either into a freezer safe container or into ice cube trays for easy-to-use portions. Aquafaba will also keep for up to a week when stored in the refrigerator after it is prepared.
How to Whip Aquafaba
The most popular use for aquafaba is to whip it until it has a foam-like consistency for foods like vegan meringues, waffles, and light and airy macarons. Here are some tips for making your own whipped aquafaba:
- Use a powered mixer if possible. The aquafaba can take around 10-15 minutes of whisking to achieve stiff peaks.
- Use a large bowl. The aquafaba will expand as you whisk air into it, sometimes expanding to 5 times its original volume.
- Add cream of tartar. Once you achieve your stiff peaks, cream of tartar can help firm up the peaks.
- Stop whisking once you have stiff peaks. Although aquafaba is harder to overwhisk than eggs, you can still deflate your peaks by whisking for too long.
Aquafaba first came on the scene in 2015 and is now an extremely popular substitute in vegan recipes. If you are wondering how to use aquafaba, these are some of its most common uses:
- Egg substitute in vegan and vegetarian cooking and baking recipes
- Egg substitute in allergen-free cooking and baking recipes
- Shelf stable egg substitute when eggs are not available
- Egg white substitute in cocktails to prevent foodborne illnesses
- Foam for dairy-free lattes
- Non-dairy substitute for milk or butter in some recipes
When using aquafaba as an egg replacement, you’ll want to make the following conversion:
- 1 Tbsp. aquafaba = 1 egg yolk
- 2 Tbsp. aquafaba = 1 egg white
- 3 Tbsp. aquafaba = 1 whole egg
Get creative with some of these aquafaba-based recipes!
- Vegan meringues and mousses
- Vegan waffles and pancakes
- Allergy-friendly whiskey sours
- Vegan mayonnaise and aioli
- Dairy-free whipped cream
- Aquafaba marshmallows
- Eggless bread
- Dairy-free butter
- Vegan cakes and muffins
It may take some trial and error when it comes to baking with aquafaba. The final product can be impacted by the consistency of the chickpea water, so you may need to play around with the thickness of your aquafaba.
How to Make Aquafaba Meringues
Making vegan meringue is one of the most popular uses for aquafaba. Make your very own aquafaba meringue by following the simple recipe below:
Aquafaba Meringue Recipe
Yields: 50 - 60 meringues (dependent on meringue size)
Time: 2 hours
- 1 cup aquafaba (approximately the amount in a 15 oz. can of chickpeas)
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 to 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
- Food coloring (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius).
- Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
- With a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the aquafaba, vanilla extract (1 tsp. if you prefer a stronger vanilla flavor), and the cream of tartar in a medium to large bowl. Beat on high to achieve soft peaks. (Should take around 3-5 minutes)
- Switch mixer to medium speed and gradually add one spoonful of sugar at a time until all of the sugar is incorporated. Keep beating for another 5-7 minutes until stiff peaks are achieved. *Add any food coloring at this point if you choose to color your meringues.
- Pipe or spoon the meringue mixture onto the parchment sheet in one inch rounds (approximately 1 Tbps.).
- Bake for 1 to 2 hours, checking the meringues every half hour, until they are dry to the touch. If you prefer a chewy meringue, take out the meringue sooner rather than later. If your meringues start to brown, lower the oven temperature. Remove one meringue from the baking sheet and allow it to cool in order to check the texture.
- Once you are satisfied with the texture, remove the meringues from the oven and allow them to cool completely before eating.
Aquafaba is a new addition to the food industry but is anticipated to become a rapidly growing food trend in the years to come. From cocktails to brownies, mayonnaise to pancakes, you can expect to see more aquafaba alternatives popping up on fine dining menus and in your local grocery store.
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