If neither of these descriptions apply, you still may want to know about this shocking egg substitute because it works extremely well as a mimicker of egg, egg yolk and egg white in so many different recipes. What is this magical substance? I’m talking about aquafaba.
If you love to make homemade mayonnaise or meringue pies, then you might be shocked to find out that aquafaba enables you to make both without any egg-derived ingredients whatsoever. I was skeptical myself at first, but once I saw the results of aquafaba in action, I can tell you that it really does work!
What Is Aquafaba?
Aquafaba is a vegan egg substitute made from bean water, like chickpea water. If you’ve ever drained out the liquid from a can of beans or seen the water that results from cooking dried legumes at home, then then you are actually already familiar with aquafaba. The name “aquafaba” comes from “aqua,” which is Latin for water, and “faba,” which is Latin for bean so the name makes perfect sense. (1)
Aquafaba is said to have first been discovered by Joël Roessel, a French tenor singer, who in 2014 was trying to figure out a vegan egg white replacement. He tried using the “vegetal foam,” a.k.a. the liquid that typically gets thrown away from a can of beans, and the results were extremely impressive. Roessel saw how it was possible to get the results of egg whites without any eggs! Experienced chefs and bakers all agree that this intriguing ingredient is extremely close in consistency to raw eggs whites. This is why aquafaba works so incredibly well for recipes like meringues.
The liquid from chickpeas and other legumes is made up of carbohydrates, proteins and plant solids that have been left behind in the water after cooking the beans. The complex nature of aquafaba lends itself to having so many valuable attributes for cooking and baking. Aquafaba has unexpected yet reliable foaming, emulsifying binding, gelatinizing and thickening abilities. (2)
I think this aquafaba recipe is definitely worth adding to your list of egg substitutes. So is aquafaba healthy? I would say that aquafaba is quite neutral. Aquafaba is typically used in small amounts and in small amounts, it is not loaded with nutrients. However, it also doesn’t contain significant amounts of things that people are often trying to reduce like calories, fat and sodium.
One tablespoon of plain aquafaba made from chickpea water without any additives contains about: (3)
- 3 calories
- 0 grams fat
- 0 milligrams sodium
- 0 grams fiber
- 0.2 grams sugar
- 0.2 grams protein
- 1.1 milligrams calcium
How to Use Aquafaba
The most common way to use aquafaba is as a replacement for egg whites in a recipe, but it can also be used to substitute for egg yolks or whole eggs.
Aquafaba substitution guidelines:
- 1 egg yolk: 1 tablespoon aquafaba
- 1 egg white: 2 tablespoons aquafaba
- 1 whole egg: 3 tablespoons aquafaba
Wondering how to use aquafaba? The Vegan Society has a lot of suggestions including: (4)
- Chocolate mousse
- Ice cream
- Soy-free cheese
So it is actually possible to make everything on this list without any eggs. Hard to believe, but true!
Bartenders are now also using aquafaba for cocktails that call for egg whites, like a gin fizz or pisco sour. One bartender in charge of a vegan bar program says that aquafaba is the only egg white substitute he will use in his cocktails. After a 100 hours plus of studying aquafaba, he says “”If you fill two glasses, one with egg whites and the other with aquafaba, you wouldn’t even know the difference,” he said. “The only telltale sign is the smell: Egg whites smell like wet dog and chickpeas have no smell whatsoever.” (5)
How to Make Aquafaba
Aquafaba isn’t hard to make at all. You just need to make sure you have a hand mixer. The entire recipe takes under 10 minutes to create and then you have yourself an awesome egg substitute.
The most essential ingredient you’ll need to have for this recipe is the aquafaba. You have two options for this ingredient. I recommend using the water from cooking your own organic legumes at home. However, if you don’t have the time or you don’t have dried beans on hand, then it is an option to use the liquid from a box or can of beans.
If you have to opt for the quicker route then it’s best to choose a box of organic chickpeas. Last resort: a BPA-free can of organic beans. You can use the water drained off from a different variety of beans, but chickpea water is definitely known to work well. (6) If you’re not a fan of chickpeas, then cannelini beans are another great option.
I want to make an important note: This recipe for aquafaba works best with sweet or savory recipes since it includes maple sugar and cinnamon. If you are looking for an unsweetened aquafaba (which is definitely the way to go with things like mayonnaise), then simply leave out the maple sugar and cinnamon. If you want to leave out the salt, that’s perfectly fine too. Just whipping up the chickpea water will create a perfect aquafaba to use as an egg substitute.
First, using a hand mixer, beat the bean water until hard peaks are formed. This usually takes about 7 minutes.
Next, you’ll start folding in the maple sugar, cinnamon and salt. If you want an unsweetened aquafaba, then only add the salt leaving out the maple sugar and cinnamon. If you don’t want any added sugar, salt or flavor then you’re already done with this easy recipe!
Continue folding in the maple sugar, cinnamon and salt until mixture is well-combined.
Use your homemade aquafaba in place of egg, egg yolk or egg white in your favorite recipes.
- ½ cup maple sugar*
- ⅓ cup aquafaba
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon*
- sea salt to taste
- *remove if not making sweet aquafaba
- Using a hand mixer, beat the aquafaba until hard peaks are formed, about 7 minutes.
- Fold in the maple sugar, cinnamon and salt until well-combined. (Only fold in salt if not making sweet aquafaba.)