We all know that chickpeas are a fiber-filled addition to soups and salads, but have you ever thought about the ingredient that you’re leaving behind in a can of chickpeas? That thick, cloudy liquid that typically gets poured down the drain when chickpeas are drained. That liquid id called aquafaba, and it might just be the ingredient your baked goods and cocktails are missing.
Aquafaba is the liquid that’s leftover when dry chickpeas are cooked, and it is the brine that canned chickpeas soak in to maintain freshness while sitting on grocery store shelves. You should save it because it’s an excellent vegan egg substitute that can be used in baked goods, to emulsify vegan mayonnaise to add a foamy element to your favorite cocktails, and so much more.
To use aquafaba shake it in a cocktail shaker for an extra frothy espresso martini or whisk it alongside a thin stream of olive oil for a vegan aioli. Although the liquid from other beans (like black beans and kidney beans) could work just as well, chickpeas don’t give off any color, so the resulting clear, yet slightly cloudy, liquid is much more versatile. Another nice thing about aquafaba is that you don’t need to use too much of it. Generally, three tablespoons of aquafaba will replace one egg.
Aquafaba has a mild buttery and bean like flavor, but it easily takes on the flavor of what it’s added to and tends to cling to other flavors quite well, which explains why it works well in mayonnaise and in cocktails. Aquafaba should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Aside from the benefit of replacing an animal-based product with a plant based product, aquafaba doesn’t have a lot of nutrients, and it certainly has less protein than an egg does. It’s low in calories and carbohydrates, but it’s also pretty low in vitamins and minerals. If you aren’t vegan then there aren’t a lot of health benefits to using aquafaba over regular eggs. It is a good step in preventing food waste, though.
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