Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Incredible Edible ... Aquafaba?!

I'm putting on my half-assed vegan hat today to talk about eggs, or rather life without them. For various reasons a lot of people cannot eat eggs. They might be vegan, or allergic, or have to watch their cholesterol.

Like my half-assed vegan status, I'm half-assed off eggs. Once in a while I will order them when I'm out for breakfast, but I have cut my egg consumption down to almost nothing. It's kind of like what happened when I started cutting back on eating meat, I started losing my taste for it. And with a diary allergy, I have to watch how they are prepared.

Tofu quiche with hash brown crust
There are lots of premade egg substitutes out there, but did you know you already have egg replacements in your pantry? It's true. Applesauce, banana, and cornstarch can all be used to replace eggs in cooking depending on the recipe.

Looking for an egg-free scramble or omelet,? Look no further than tofu. I make a lot of tofu based scrambles, frittatas and quiches. All yummy and pretty much identical in taste to the egg-made counterparts. And tofu based dishes like this reheat better than the same items made with eggs.

The trick with a lot of these tofu "egg" dishes is to use some turmeric, which makes it look like eggs. After all, we eat with our eyes first. Next is to season it well. Some tofu scrambles have you make a sauce which you then stir into the cooked veggies and tofu for seasoning, and some have you blend the tofu and seasonings in a blender until its a chunky batter, then cook it. I've done both and both work. It depends on what your making. If I'm just looking to make a scramble, I prefer adding the sauce separately near the end of cooking. The Internet is filled with tofu based traditional egg dishes.

As far as baking goes, most vegans use flax eggs in place of real eggs. A flax egg is 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed combined with 3 tablespoons of water. Stir well and let rest for 5-15 minutes until it becomes a sticky egg-like consistency. You can also do this with ground chia seeds.

But if you're like me, you don't have ground flax or chia seeds hanging around. I might if I baked more, but I don't. And this brings us to the fun portion of this program:

The Amazing Aquafaba!

I'll bet you think this is some kind of fancy prepackaged egg substitute, 

Bzzzz - Wrong!

Aquafaba is something that is sweeping vegan baking and it's something most of us have right in our pantry. You see, aquafaba is just a fancy word for garbanzo/chickpea juice or liquid. That's right, the stuff you pour down the drain when you open a can of garbanzo beans!  Trust me, a lot of vegans and half-assed vegans are now saving that stuff and using it in baking. You can even freeze it.

I use a lot of garbanzo beans. It's one of my favorite proteins in my vegan cooking and there's almost nothing you can't do with or to them, but even I was surprised when I learned this.

Generally, 3 tablespoons of aquafaba replaces 1 egg. If the liquid from canned garbanzo beans seems too watery, it can be reduced down slightly until it is a little thicker and the consistency of a raw egg. I reduce mine down a little, cool it, then freeze it for later use.

I have used aquafaba as an egg replacement in pancakes and baked goods with great success. It's not something you can scramble up like real eggs or tofu, but it has a gazillion uses. And you can't even taste it in these recipes.
  • Raw: Fluffs, whips, nice creams, and drink and pie toppings
  • Baked: Meringues, macaroons, and pavlovas
  • Confectionery: nougat, marshmallows, fudge and icing
  • Savory: cakes, waffles, cookies, mayo, burgers, cheese, butter, breads, etc
Garbanzo juice - who knew?!

Meringue made with aquafaba
The official aquafaba site FAQ

And there are a couple of groups on Facebook where you can learn more:
Vegan Meringue (vegan use/discussion only)
Aquafaba Everything


Crafty Damn Hero said...

I wonder who the first person was to look at a can of chick peas and say to themselves "You know what? Egg replacer". lol. This is a great idea though! I don't like eggs so we don't buy them often. I usually end up having to wing it when I need an "egg" for something.

Thank you for sharing all this wonderful information!

Anonymous said...

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