Playing with Aquafaba

When I first switched to a vegan diet in 2017, one of the first vegan food recipe videos I watched on YouTube referenced aquafaba as a replacement for eggs.  Of course I quickly googled it and was surprised to learn what it was:

Canned chickpea liquid.

If you use canned chickpeas, you must begin experimenting with this magical stuff.  And if you don’t use canned chickpeas…why the hell not? They are amazing in just about everything. Anyway, back to aquafaba…

What I found most intriguing about aquafaba was that it can be used to make meringues. Imagine, meringues made out of something you’d normally dump down the drain! Now mind you I had made meringues out of egg whites exactly once when I was a meat eater, but the fact that I could make them out of aquafaba blew my mind.

So of course I had to try it.

With my KitchenAid mixer, I whipped the aquafaba from one can of chickpeas with cream of tartar, vanilla and a little sugar and ended up with a whole bowl full of what looked like whipped egg whites.  I spooned half of the mixture into little piles on a baking sheet, popped them in the oven and ended up with a million meringues to enjoy.  

After eating about a half dozen, I was over them.  But I wasn’t over aquafaba!  

I wasn’t sure what to do with the remaining fluffy stuff so I decided to freeze it to see what would happen.  After a few hours I checked it and found that it froze beautifully and could be eaten like ice cream after warming for a few minutes at room temperature.  That led to a period of aquafaba ice cream making. I would find excuses to use chickpeas so that I could experiment with flavors. I stirred cooled fruit compote into some batches. Mixed cacao powder and maple syrup with a little almond milk for smoothness and stirred it into the fluff for a chocolate ice cream.  Swirled peanut butter and chocolate chips through some batches. All for very low calories, but little nutritional value.

I haven’t made aquafaba ice cream in quite a while now, but have found other uses for it that take less effort.

One is to use it in hummus, as you can see in my hummus recipe.  When whipped with the chickpeas it makes the hummus light and fluffy.  It eliminates the need for oil resulting in a healthier, creamy hummus.

Another way I use aquafaba is in baking as a replacement for eggs.  Three tablespoons of the stuff is the equivalent of one whole egg, while two tablespoons is the equivalent of one egg white.  I find that lightly whisking it until it’s foamy helps add fluffiness and moisture to baked goods. I used it in these light Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Bars for a cake-y effect.

I’m continuing to experiment, so don’t be surprised if you see aquafaba pop up in a few more of my recipes. Next on my list is to try making chocolate mousse…stay tuned!

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