Aquafaba A New Low Calorie Egg Substitute
The minute I read about aquafaba, aka bean water, I was intrigued by this plant water. Could aquafaba be a new low calorie egg substitute, one suitable for dieters as well as vegetarians and vegans?
Aquafaba is the liquid in canned beans that people usually discard or the leftover liquid when cooking dried beans. Some people add the liquid to a soup base, but mostly it seems to end up down the drain. After all, the slightly goopy remains from a can of beans doesn’t look too appetizing.
But apparently it can be! Recently there has been a growing interest in using aquafaba to replace egg whites in recipes, including cakes and cupcakes, pancakes, cookies, nougats, mayo, whipped creams, breads, meringues, and more.
What is aquafaba?
The exact origins of aquafaba are a little murky (similar to the looks of bean water), but here’s one version. (It’s also possible some unknown grandmother somewhere in Romania or Indiana dreamt up the idea long ago, but that’s another story.)
In 2014, a French gourmet named Joel Roessel whipped up the water from chickpeas, added a few ingredients, and made a chocolate mousse and several other desserts. He published his results on his website, Revolution Vegetale, and soon thereafter two other Frenchmen posted a YouTube show demonstrating a similar process, and it was seen by Goose Wohlt, a software engineer who had been experimenting with vegan meringues.
That’s when things started rolling along, and now aquafaba has been picked up by enthusiasts around the world. A December 4, 2015, article in PhillyNews.com reported how “eggless baking options have been less than perfect” and “If only there were one solution that was animal-free, gluten-free, cholesterol-free, worry-free and, well…free!”
Aquafaba is the answer to all of these requests. Based on the raves from bakers noted in the article as well as from consumers who have tried aquafaba and shared their results online, this bean water is a winner.
Why aquafaba is a winner
Thanks to bean water enthusiasts and some dedicated scientists, consumers now have more information about aquafaba. According to the Aquafaba website, this egg substitute is unique among others in this category because it has some characteristics of both egg white and the yolk, making it a good candidate as a thickener, emulsifier, foaming agent, binder, and more.
If you want to know the nitty gritty about aquafaba, a nutritional analysis of aquafaba was conducted by the Norwegian Food Research Institute. You can see details of the analysis here.
The report noted that the bean water consists mostly of proteins and starches, which greatly mimic the proteins found in egg whites. Aquafaba also contains just 3 to 5 calories per tablespoon, which is clearly less than the number in one egg. Three tablespoons of aquafaba can be substituted for one egg in recipes.
For more information about aquafaba and recipes, you can visit the Facebook page called Vegan Meringue—Hits and Misses. This is purely a vegan website, so no animal products are used in the recipes. Aquafaba Everything is another Facebook page that supports all dietary choices. In addition, there are four foreign Facebook pages; you can link to them here.
Now there’s no need to dumb the bean juice from the can or from cooking dried beans down the drain! Aquafaba is a new low calorie egg substitute that can be used in a wide variety of foods. Enjoy!
Philly.com. One solution for all egg-free baking needs
Image courtesy Photo Public Domain and Pixabay