The next big thing in vegan eating? Two words, people: chickpea water.
Professional and home chefs — as well as bartenders and bloggers — are currently pretty excited about the potential of the ingredient Grub Street recently dubbed “the next kale.” They’re using what basically amounts to the liquid you pour down the drain when you open a can of chickpeas as an egg-white substitute to whip up everything from meringue to mayonnaise to whipped cream and ice cream.
Here are a few things to know about chickpea water:
1. It has another, arguably catchier, name: aquafaba, a combination of the Latin words for “water” and “bean.”
2. The guy who came up with the moniker “aquafaba” was a vegan software engineer from Indiana named Goose Wohlt, who, in 2015, was intent on coming up with a way to make vegan meringues for his family Seder, The New York Times reports.
3. Here’s the Times describing Wohlt’s “breakthrough” moment:
“One night, his wife mentioned that she had seen a video of two French cooks using the liquid from a can of chickpeas to make chocolate mousse. He decided to try the technique for meringues.
“Bingo. The liquid whipped up instantly into a snowy white foam. When he added sugar, it turned shiny and glossy, just like egg whites. In March, Mr. Wohlt, 41, posted his discovery to a Facebook group called ‘What Fat Vegans Eat,’ and caused a small sensation.”
4. Aquafaba now has its own dedicated website, where you can read about its history, the science behind it and news coverage of the ingredient. (And it has gotten a great deal of news coverage recently.)
5. Some restaurants, including NYC’s Nix and Blue Hill, are embracing and helping to drive the aquafaba trend, using the ingredient in desserts and dressings. Mixologists are using it as an egg-white alternative in fizzes and sours.
6. The ingredient is going big-time and mainstream. Condiment maker Sir Kensington is introducing a new vegan mayonnaise substitute called Fabanaise this month that will sub in aquafaba for eggs — using chickpea water from a hummus company (Ithaca Hummus) and turning what would have been waste into a useful ingredient. Gotta love that.
Want to make your own vegan meringue using chickpea water? Try this recipe.
Photo courtesy of iStock