As more people transition toward plant-based diets, demand for vegan alternatives to ‘essential’ ingredients like milk and eggs rises. This increased demand has unleashed the creativity of chefs around the globe, who, much like the great sonneteers of the Renaissance, use the limitations of their craft — in this case vegan ingredients — to let their genius shine.
The latest marvel that has vegans around the world donning their aprons and shouting for glee is aquafaba — literally “water-bean” — a remarkable egg replacement made from the brine of legumes that was discovered by Joël Roessel and Goose Wohlt.
Because it has properties similar to those of egg whites, this miracle liquid can act as an emulsifier, leavening agent, and foaming agent in an endless variety of recipes. And while most of us have fortunately moved away from expensive and unhealthy chemical powders to replace our eggs, choosing instead flax or chia gel or even fruit purees, aquafaba trumps all of these options. It’s cheap, it’s versatile, and it doesn’t add unwanted textures or flavours.
Using liquid straight from the (organic, BPA-free) can is the easiest way to get aquafaba, but you can also prepare beans yourself and use the cooking liquid. According to The Vegan Society, even water from packaged tofu and peas is aquafaba!
The key to using aquafaba is getting the right consistency — if your bean water is too thin, you’ll need to reduce it until it achieves the same consistency as egg whites. And the general rule of thumb is to use 3 tablespoons of aquafaba per egg, but there may be exceptions.
One more tip, courtesy of The Vegan Society: “If using aquafaba to make fluffy things like Yorkshire puddings and light cakes, remember to whisk it first until it turns white and foamy, then fold it into the batter using a metal spoon to keep those bubbles from popping.:
Who knew that all these years we were pouring liquid gold down the sink?
1. Vegan Meringue
It may sound like an oxymoron, but vegan meringue is a real thing and it’s surprisingly easy to make — all you need is some chickpea brine, sugar, and a hand mixer to achieve this light and creamy goodness.
2. Homemade Wagon Wheels
Healthy wagon wheels? Who knew! These low-sugar puppies are well worth the effort, and once you’ve mastered vegan marshmallow fluff, you’ll surely be finding all kinds of uses for it (or commence eating it straight from the bowl).
3. Chocolate Dipped Meringues
If you’ve ever had a traditional meringue, you’ll know the joy of this light-as-air delicacy. And because this recipe uses maple syrup in place of icing sugar, you don’t have to subject your body to an injection of processed sugar to enjoy it.
4. Totally Easy Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies
Fluffernutter: you learn a new word every day! These dessert sandwiches utilize your now-mastered vegan marshmallow fluff skills to take salty and sweet peanut butter cookies to the next level. Did I mention they’re gluten free?
5. Raspberry Rose Macarons
Macarons are the king of French desserts in my books — light and airy, crispy and creamy, all at the same time — and I never imagined they could be made without eggs! These particular macarons are beautifully floral and oh-so-pretty. You’re probably going to want to make extra.
6. 3 Ingredent Aquafaba Chocolate Mousse
It really doesn’t get better than chocolate mousse, but the traditional kind is made with heavy cream and leaves you feeling even heavier. This version is rich and light all at the same time, and way healthier. Even if you’re not vegan, you should make this mousse! With only 3 ingredients, there’s no excuse not to give it a go.
7. S’mores Brownies
Need I say more? These brownies are gluten free and vegan, and boast nutrient-rich ingredients like buckwheat groats, medjool dates, and coconut oil. And because the recipe calls for coconut sugar instead of cane, your blood sugar won’t be hitting the roof two minutes after consuming them.
8. Raspberry and Elderflower French Macarons
More macarons! If you’re never had elderflower liqueur, you’re in for a real treat for the senses.
9. Banoffee Ice Cream Bars
These ice cream bars are the deconstructed version of the famous pie, and use aquafaba for the creamy meringue. Can anyone say perfect summer dessert?
10. Rooibos Tea and Homemade Ice-Cream Float
This may not be the healthiest dessert on the list, but it definitely gets points for nostalgia. If anything can make you feel like a kid again, it’s an ice cream float, and this one is all grown up with rooibos tea instead of pop and aquafaba and fruit standing in for traditional ice cream.
11. Mini Vanilla Bean Pavlovas With Coconut Whip and Raspberries
Another brilliant vegan meringue creation that looks as beautiful as it tastes. Between these pavlovas and the macarons, you’ve got yourself the makings of a pretty incredible vegan tea party. (Fancy hats not included.)
12. Homemade Marshmallow Fluff
Return this dessert to its traditional roots with this recipe for vegan marshmallow fluff, which uses real marshmallow root instead of gelatin and, of course, aquafaba instead of eggs.
13. Chocolate and Strawberry Mousse Pie with Graham Cracker Crust
Gluten free, not too sweet, and sure too impress — this vegan dessert has it all! It pairs salty and sweet with chocolate and orange (courtesy of a little Grand Marnier) and the result is spectacular.