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white beans soaking in waterHave you heard of aquafaba? This trendy new ingredient is actually a staple item in many of our pantries, although most of us tend to toss it down the drain. Aquafaba is the combination of two Latin words: aqua (water) and fava (beans). It is the liquid from canned beans, which, for years, nutrition professionals have recommended consumers drain, rinse and discard. However, a couple of years ago, a vegan American software engineer discovered that aquafaba could be whipped and used as an egg replacer in meringues, macaroons and mousses. Now, aquafaba is popular not only among the vegan community; it appeals to:

  • Individuals with egg allergies
  • Individuals trying to reduce food waste
  • Individuals with compromised immune systems – aquafaba poses a lower food safety risk than eggs because it is less likely to be contaminated with Salmonella, and it does not need to be baked prior to consumption
  • Individuals trying to reduce calorie intake – each tablespoon of aquafaba contains only 3-5 calories (although dietitians point out that it also contains minimal nutrients compared to the higher calorie egg)

a whisk in a bowl of icingAquafaba can also be used in place of eggs in various dishes- from pancakes and waffles to baked goods, quiche and mayonnaise. Like eggs, aquafaba acts as a binder, thickener and emulsifier in cooking and baking.

When using aquafaba as an egg replacement, roughly three tablespoons is equivalent to one whole egg, and two tablespoons is equivalent to one egg white. The following tips can also contribute to your success when using aquafaba in place of eggs in your cooking:

  • If using aquafaba as a binder or to replace whole eggs (as in a quiche or most baked goods), whip the liquid with a fork until just foamy prior to use.
  • If making a meringue or mousse, whip the liquid with 1 teaspoon cream of tartar for 5–10 minutes until stiff peaks form.
  • Keep in mind that if you or someone in your household is sensitive to bean sugars, aquafaba may not be the best ingredient for you. Although the amount of aquafaba in most recipes is minimal, it may still cause gastrointestinal distress or flatulence and should be used cautiously by those with bean sugar sensitivities.

bowl of chocolate mousseReady to give aquafaba a try? Just substitute for eggs in your favorite dish- or, for a special treat, see this recipe for aquafaba chocolate mousse from the Michigan State University Health4U program.

 

Written by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Sources:

Aquafaba Admin (2016). The Official Aquafaba Website. http://aquafaba.com/

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach (2017). Aquafaba… The Magical Bean Juice. https://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/wellness/2017/11/14/aquafabathe-magical-bean-juice/

Levinson, J. (2017). Aquafaba’s Versatility. Today’s Dietitian; 19(9), 36. http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0917p36.shtml

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