Baking with bean water: how aquafaba is opening up a brand new world of meals and treats for vegans

Aquafaba can be used in sweets and desserts as well as in appetizers, salads, and mains as a replacement for egg whites

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      Culinary creatives have come up with all sorts of ways for vegans to enjoy hearty meals and delicious baked goods without the need for any animal products or any sense of missing out. Now, the use of aquafaba is opening up a whole new world of vegan eats.

      What is aquafaba, you ask? It means “bean water”, and what you see is what you get: it’s the water you drain from a can of beans.

      In cooking and baking, the liquid acts similarly to egg whites, binding dry ingredients together and adding lightness to batters.

      Vancouver food blogger Rebecca Coleman shares her favourite dishes with the substance in the just-released Aquafabulous!—100+ Egg-Free Vegan Recipes Using Aquafaba.

      And no, aquafaba will not make your cookies taste like hummus. Coleman, who discovered aquafaba via a Facebook group, explains in the book that the stuff is a neutral-tasting ingredient. You only need a small amount in most recipes, so other items, such as vanilla or chocolate, will mask its flavour.

      And while you could use the water from black or kidney beans, Coleman says that that from chickpeas, great Northern beans, and cannellini (white kidney) beans are best because of their colour. Water from packages of drained tofu also works.

      Among the recipes in Aqaufabulous! are those for cheese, meringues, shepherd’s pie, pulled jackfruit tacos, falafel, chocolate silk pie, strawberry shortcake, carrot cake, doughnuts, macarons, and more. Here's one from the cookbook for some extra-healthy muffins.

      Morning Glory Muffins

      Preheat oven to 350˚F (180°C)

      • 12-cup muffin pan, lightly greased


      1 cup all-purpose flour
      1 ⁄ 2 cup whole wheat flour
      1 ⁄ 2 cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided
      1 tsp baking soda
      2 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
      1 ⁄ 2 tsp salt
      1 ⁄ 2 cup shredded carrots
      6 pitted dates, chopped
      1 ⁄ 4 cup chopped dried apples
      1 ⁄ 4 cup chopped walnuts
      2 Tbsp aquafaba
      1 ⁄ 8 tsp cream of tartar
      1 ⁄ 2 cup vegetable oil
      1 ⁄ 2 cup unsweetened applesauce
      1 tsp vanilla extract
      1 ⁄ 2 cup packed brown sugar
      2 Tbsp quick-cooking rolled oats


      1. In a large bowl, combine all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) sugar, baking soda, 1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon and salt. Add carrots, dates, dried apples and walnuts; toss well to combine. Set aside.

      2. In mixer bowl, combine aquafaba, 2 Tbsp (30 mL) sugar, and cream of tartar. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes, then turn up to highest speed and beat until firm peaks form, about 4 to 6 minutes.

      3. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine vegetable oil, applesauce and vanilla.

      4. Using a wooden spoon or a spatula, make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour applesauce mixture into well. Stir until combined. Carefully fold in whipped aquafaba.

      5. In a medium bowl, combine 1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon, brown sugar and oats.

      6. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle oat mixture overtop.

      7. Bake in preheated oven until a tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for about 20 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely before serving.