My favorite recipes are the ones with totally new ideas that require invention, that require science. A few weeks ago I went totally nuts when I read this blog post on the Kids with Food Allergies website about egg-free meringues made from bean brine. I had just come from a speaking engagement where I told the audience that none of the egg replacers I was discussing (flaxseeds, applesauce, chemical egg replacers) could be used to make meringue. Could it be possible that making meringues from bean brine actually works?
The answer is a resounding yes!!
And it’s easier than you might expect (it worked on the first try).
My version of the recipe is a bit different than in the Kids with Food Allergies post. But first, what exactly is bean brine? It’s the liquid in a can that the beans have been soaking in. I discovered that in the vegan world this is commonly referred to as “aquafaba.” Lousy word, but maybe it will grow on me.
Here’s my version of aquafaba meringues:
½ cup of aquafaba (the liquid from a can of beans)
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Use the whisk attachment on your mixer. Beat the aquafaba on high, for about 5 minutes, until it is foamy. Add the cream of tartar, vanilla, and sugar. Beat on the highest speed for 10-12 minutes until the mixture is thick and holds its shape. (The peaks will not stiffen as much as they do with egg meringue – think of them as soft peaks.)
Drop spoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 225 for 1 hour and 20 minutes (until the bottoms are light golden) and then turn off the oven. Let the meringues sit in the oven for another 40 minutes.
Aquafaba meringues are lighter and fluffier than traditional meringues. They melt in your mouth like cotton candy.
After making meringues I wondered… what else might I use aquafaba for? Could aquafaba be the next new egg replacer? And I immediately thought of mayonnaise. When I developed Flaxseed Mayonnaise for The Allergy-Free Pantry, I tried many foods as the base, but I hadn’t yet discovered aquafaba. I opened a can of garbanzo beans just so I could have the liquid to try aquafaba mayonnaise. (We’re probably having beans for dinner tonight.)
I know you are dying to know, so I will spill the beans (pun intended) and tell that it does work. What could be cooler than flaxseed mayonnaise? It just might be aquafaba mayonnaise.
The method to make aquafaba mayonnaise is exactly the same as with flaxseed mayonnaise, but considerably more oil is needed when using aquafaba – about two times as with flaxseed mayonnaise. (In flaxseed mayonnaise I used two flaxseed eggs to ¾ cup oil – here I am using the equivalent of one “aquafaba egg.” And aquafaba seems to have a citrusy flavor as is – hence just a little bit of acid is needed.
¼ cup aquafaba (the liquid from a can of garbanzo beans)
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon mustard
¼ teaspoon lemon juice
¾ cup oil
Combine the aquafaba, salt, mustard, and lemon juice in a working glass with an immersion blender. Add the oil in a slow trickle while continuing to run the immersion blender until all of the oil is incorporated.
This mayonnaise is a bit more akin to a milk mayonnaise than it is to flaxseed or traditional egg mayonnaise – it has a smoother, lighter, almost frothy consistency. I expect it will work quite well in salad dressings (wheels turning).
And of course, this gives those who are allergic to flaxseeds an alternative!!
I’m never throwing away the juice from the bean cans again.