Updated: Jul 13, 2018
If you're a habitual insomniac like myself, you may have resorted to external measures to help your eyelids droop. ASMR has been a real godsend in recent years since there are so many niche specific you tubers who have created a variety of relevant content; this includes food ASMR; recipes, mukbangs you name it! I recently came across this amazing ASMR video, showing everyone how to make a vegan lemon meringue pie-with the most unexpected ingredient (well for a non-vegan like me); Aquafaba! Otherwise known as chickpea juice. After doing some research, here are 5 uses for Aquafaba, vegan or not, this will be a treat for all!
1. Egg White Substitute:
Everybody loves a good summer pavlova or a light chocolate mousse, mostly because of the airy texture that egg whites give. I always wondered how a vegan version of the above would turn out since I was blissfully ignorant to aquafaba. By straining a can of chickpeas over a bowl, you can transfer it into a saucepan and bring to a boil and reduce to get the consistency of egg whites before adding some organic vanilla extract and whisking it like you would, normally! Better yet, you can make the aquafaba from scratch by soaking dry chickpeas in water overnight, rinsing and putting them in a large pot with water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 1 hour (until beans are soft). Remove cooked chickpeas with a slotted spoon and what’s left in your pot is aquafaba. You'd be amazed at how similar both products look and taste. Enjoy spooning it over a lemon meringue pie, mixing it into an angel food cake and more.
2. Homemade Mozzarella Cheese:
The perfect component to a delicious pizza, or a hearty salad, mozzarella cheese is notoriously rich, leaving many to give it up completely. By using aquafaba, you can make your own vegan cheese that you can slice or grate over pasta, pizza among other dishes.
Here's the recipe!
1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or boiled for 15 minutes 1 cup aquafaba (preferably chickpea or other light colored bean) 2 tbsp tapioca starch 2 tsp kappa carrageenan
1 tsp lactic acid-(You can substitute with 1 tbsp lemon juice, but the lactic acid tastes better) 1 tsp nutritional yeast 3/4 tsp salt-(You may need to adjust the salt level a bit lower if using salted aquafaba) 6 tbsp refined coconut oil, melted
1. Blend softened cashews and aquafaba in a blender/food processor until as smooth as possible. Strain through a sieve to remove any large particles and return to blender.
If there are still a few cashew particles, you may be using a lower quality blender or food processor so remember to strain.
2. Add tapioca starch, carrageenan, lactic acid, nutritional yeast, and salt and pulse in a blender to combine.
3. Add coconut oil and blend again very briefly. Mixture will be smooth and a little thick.
4. Heat in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat while stirring regularly. It will look like quite lumpy as the tapioca starch activates.
It will eventually turn glossy and smooth, like melted cheese. When it reaches 170°F, it is done. You will see it begin to bubble around the edges and maintain its thickness.
5. Pour into a mold, or scoop balls into ice water for buffalo style mozzarella. Refrigerate for a few hours to fully firm up the cheese before slicing or grating.
6. Alternatively, if you have a Vitamix or other high speed blender, the ingredients can all be blended together until heated thoroughly (over 170°F) and poured into a mold to set. This is currently my preferred method.
3. Vegan Mayo:
Mayo is definitely one of my guilty pleasures (probably because it's so rich and has an alarmingly high fat content) By making this substitute at home, you'd essentially be creating a healthier cupboard standby that would last longer due to the fact that it is no longer a dairy product. Nevertheless, it will still go bad eventually so keep it in the fridge for best results. It thickens even more in the fridge which is the consistency that is required for mayo.
1/4 cup aquafaba
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp brown rice syrup* (or sub stevia to taste, cane sugar, or OR maple syrup)
3/4-1 cup sunflower oil* (a neutral oil is important here for flavor // avocado also worked well and we've heard canola does, too)
Add aquafaba to a tall glass jar along with the ground mustard, sea salt, apple cider vinegar, and brown rice syrup. Blend on high with a high powered blender for 30 seconds until frothy.
Measure the oil in a liquid measuring cup. Then, with the blender on its highest speed, slowly stream the oil in over the course of 1-2 minutes. Doing so aids in the emulsification. (If using a Magic Bullet or something similar, add all the oil at once and blend on high until a thick, creamy sauce is achieved - up to 4-5 minutes, scraping down sides / shaking as needed.)
If it's looking too thin, add more oil. The more oil you add, the creamier, thicker, and denser the texture will become. You shouldn't need more than the recommended amount.
Taste and adjust flavour as needed, adding more sweetener of choice for sweetness (just keep in mind that the more maple syrup you add, the less thick the final product will be), vinegar for tanginess, salt, or ground mustard for an extra kick.
Use immediately or transfer to a sealed container in the refrigerator until cold - about 4 hours. It will thicken even more in the fridge.
*This recipe is NOT freezer friendly.
4. Aquafaba Brownies:
Indulgence doesn't need to have guilt attached to it anymore since you can use aquafaba to make some kickass brownies that will prove to be a hit to whomsoever you serve!
2 tbsp flax / chia meal OR 3 tbsp reduced aquafaba
220 g / 1 ¾ cup white plain cake (as opposed to bread) flour
¼ tsp baking soda
6 tbsp / 3/8 cup raw cocoa powder
110 g dark chocolate (I used 70% cocoa)
¼ tsp salt
60 ml / ¼ cup espresso + 75 ml / 5 tbsp boiling water
200 g / 1 cup caster sugar
80 ml / ¼ cup + 1 tbsp + 1 tsp mild olive oil
30 g pistachios, chopped (optional)
If using flax or chia, prepare them by mixing 2 tbsp of ground seeds with 3 tbsp / 45 ml of water. Put aside in the fridge to allow it to thicken.
Pre-heat the oven to 180° C / 350° F. Line a standard 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake liners or line the bottoms with circles of baking paper and insert a strip of baking paper into each hole to be able to take them out easily. Oil the sides of each muffin hole.
Weigh your flour, add baking soda and mix the two together, sift. Set aside.
Chop your chocolate very finely. Put it into a big mixing bowl, with cocoa powder and salt. Stir well.
Boil a kettle of water and make an espresso. Make sure you time it so that they are both ready (and hot) at the same time. Pour 75 ml / 5 tbsp of boiling water and 60 ml / ¼ cup of hot espresso into the bowl with chocolate. Stir it well until chocolate dissolves into hot liquid. Do not add any more liquid.
Add in sugar, flax / chia egg (by this time it should turn all sticky) or cooled aquafaba and olive oil. Using a hand mixer, blend the mixture until it’s smooth.
It’s time to add flour and the baking soda mixture. Add a little at a time and stir it into the chocolate mixture with a spoon. Do not be tempted to use an electric mixer as it will overwork the batter and spoil the brownies. Stir gently and just enough until there are no flour pockets any more, but no more than that.
Spoon the batter (it will be quite thick) into the muffin tin. Smooth it with a spatula and sprinkle chopped pistachios on top. Bake on middle shelf for about 11-12 minutes. The top should be nice and crispy, but the inside gooey. Remove them from the oven and let them sit in the tray until they are cool enough to remove. If you try to remove them too quickly, they might fall apart.
5. Aquafaba Coffee Ice-Cream:
The great thing about ice-cream is that you don't need an excuse to eat it! Let's be honest I sure as hell don't wait around for Summer just to tuck into a generous heaping of Vanilla Ice-cream. Using aquafaba can enhance the flavour and make the final product that much more enjoyable.
3 cups full fat coconut milk (2 cans)
¼ cup aquafaba
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup coconut sugar
¼ cup instant coffee granules
¼ - ½ tsp sea salt
Place coconut milk cans in the fridge overnight.
In a large bowl (or you can use a KitchenAid), whisk aquafaba mixture until fluffy and soft peaks appear.
Add the coconut milk, vanilla extract, coconut sugar, and instant coffee to the large bowl. Fold into the aquafaba mixture until combined. Taste test the mixture and add up to ½ tsp of sea salt, if necessary. The sea salt brings out the sweetness in the coconut sugar. You will not need it if your aquafaba came from a can with salted chickpeas.
Add the mixture to your ice cream maker which should have been in the freezer, overnight, to become cold and mix for about 15-25 minutes until your ice cream turns into a soft serve consistency. Do not over-mix (if you notice your ice cream has begun to melt it is time to freeze it) or else your ice cream will become icy and will not be as creamy.
Scoop ice cream into a glass dish (or loaf pan lined with parchment paper/plastic wrap), cover and freeze for an hour or two until the ice cream is completely frozen. Scoop onto an ice cream cone, garnish with coconut sugar and instant coffee.
There you have it! 5 uses for aquafaba; the miracle ingredient I have only now across from one particular sleepless night.