A new idea in the world of vegan cooking, or, blowing minds with brine
January 12, 2016 1:53 PM   Subscribe

Vegan Meringue Has Arrived thanks to aquafaba (bean water).

Complete with an aquafaba community as dedicated to learning about the failures as the successes:
At the beginning of March, Goose shared his discovery in the popular facebook group, What Fat Vegans Eat, and a new group, Vegan Meringues - Hits and Misses! was created by Rebecca August to oversee its development by the vegan community. Goose and the other admins nurtured discussion and experimentation in the group by sharing new discoveries as they unfolded, and encouraging others to do the same. By the end of March there was a fervent development community sharing preparation techniques, tips and tricks, and recipes for marshmallows, macarons, nougat, cakes, icing, mayo, cookies, ice cream, cheese, and standardized powders for commercial baking. Very quickly it became apparent that the community, the liquid and powders, and its philosophy all needed a name. The community settled on the new word that Goose coined, aquafaba, and the rest is, as they say, history.
posted by aniola (62 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
 
So this old AskMe is totally wrong, then.
posted by Small Dollar at 2:08 PM on January 12, 2016 [6 favorites]


Aquafaba? The leftover liquid from cans of beans? When I was a kid we called that "fart juice".
Hooray for branding, I guess!
posted by Elly Vortex at 2:10 PM on January 12, 2016 [9 favorites]


Er, vegan meringues arrived over a decade ago courtesy of the Adrias. There's also a recipe in the Khymos collection, here, page 19. Needs liquid nitrogen though ;)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:10 PM on January 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


I would be interested in hearing a frank and open description of this process from a mefite. As someone who has a lot of vegan baking experience, I know there's a certain amount of pressure to uptalk vegan baking innovations (chia seeds and their bitter aftertaste, for instance) and there's a lot of in-group pressure to pretend that certain things are as good/easy as non-vegan things when they aren't. I feel like subtlety of flavor and the avoidance of "off" notes are big challenges - subtlety when making "veganized" regular recipes because you lose the complexity of milk and eggs and replace it with one-note oils and flax seed, and off notes when you swap in a lot of tofu or applesauce.

I'm eager to try to make bean meringue, because it will be a huge help in making lofty cakes - although I'm wondering how the high sugar and salt content will affect the baking. To make non-vegan meringue, you can use very little sugar and no salt and then fold the result into batter.

But seriously, if this works even fairly well, it is going to make a genuinely light vegan mousse possible.
posted by Frowner at 2:12 PM on January 12, 2016 [22 favorites]


In fact, maybe I'll try this on Friday night, since I need to bake something for Saturday anyway.
posted by Frowner at 2:13 PM on January 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


Not vegan, but allergic to eggs: I've made "bean juice meringues" (I can't bring myself to say "aquafaba") a few times, and it's been spectacularly successful. One batch of meringue kisses, and two lemon meringue pies(with tofu-based lemon curd). Even if you don't care to bake the meringue, it's worth dumping the juice from a can of chickpeas into a stand mixer and setting it to high just to see what happens. The stuff whips up just like egg whites.
posted by Omission at 2:18 PM on January 12, 2016 [6 favorites]


Was just coming in here to say what Frowner did. I read this article a few months ago and my first thought was, "Oh, right, like the 'delicious' vegan cheese my one vegan friend raved over that one time?"

On the other hand, I recently had delicious vegan Ramen with a vegan egg that looked and tasted SO REAL. So I'm also prepared to believe in vegan food magic.
posted by Sara C. at 2:20 PM on January 12, 2016


I tried this last week (using the recipe from slate) - I'm not vegan, but the idea just seemed so crazy I wanted to try it. The bean juice whipped up very similar to egg whites - it went through soft peaks, then stiff peaks. It still smelled like beans, though, so I worried about how the meringue cookies would taste. It turns out, adding 1 cup of sugar to 3/4 cup whipped juice basically overpowers the smell. Adding vanilla makes it actually smell nice. Taking an uncooked sample actually tasted decent, although I don't think I have ever tasted uncooked egg meringue to compare. After baking, the cookies were basically indistinguishable from regular meringue cookies - a very authentic meringue texture. My wife, who was super skeptical when I told her what I was doing, was fascinated and shared the cookies with co-workers, none of whom believed it was from bean juice. And when she made hummus this week, she saved the juice to try in something else. I'm not quite sure why you would use this instead of eggs (I guess it is cheaper) but it certainly makes it easier for bringing treats to schools and things where you have a lot of dietary restrictions to manage. I think we'll try more cookies before doing anything more complicated, like cakes.
posted by babar at 2:26 PM on January 12, 2016 [19 favorites]


My wife made these once after I had sent her the recipe. She said it took a lot longer to beat but from the finished product it was pretty much the same as if she had made them from eggs. So it does work. (We eat eggs so it isn't like we've lost all memories of what meringue is supposed to be like, which I think is what happens a lot of the time when people give some vegan alternative for a food)

Comparing the cost of a juice from a can of chickpeas to half a dozen eggs makes this recipe much, much cheaper. I also like that you aren't left with a bunch of egg yolks at the end.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:40 PM on January 12, 2016 [5 favorites]


Also, from when I looked into this they hadn't been able to make an angel food cake using the bean water so it can't do everything (yet).
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:43 PM on January 12, 2016


I also like that you aren't left with a bunch of egg yolks at the end.

ummm custard sabayon creme brulee aioli....
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:48 PM on January 12, 2016 [9 favorites]


So this old AskMe is totally wrong, then.

Now i'm wondering if people who make these with the can of "fart juice" are making lovely fart meringues.
posted by Karaage at 2:51 PM on January 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't think I have ever tasted uncooked egg meringue to compare.

Beaten egg whites basically taste like nothing.
posted by kenko at 2:52 PM on January 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


I saw the recipe back in March and actually thought about making an FPP out of it, but didn't think I should until I tried making the recipe myself. Since then I have actually made real egg-white meringues twice, so I can't say I haven't had the time, and we certainly have the chick peas. I just... haven't. Yet.

In other words: Thank you for making this post. Now maybe I'll actually do this.
posted by Mchelly at 2:53 PM on January 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Can confirm. Meringue cookies made from that viscous left-over chickpea juice genuinely taste identical to egg white meringue cookies.
posted by pickles_have_souls at 3:01 PM on January 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


I also like that you aren't left with a bunch of egg yolks at the end.

ummm custard sabayon creme brulee aioli....


Yeah, what usually happens is that I end up making creme brulee. Which I love and is great but is a bit too indulgent if I'm already making meringue cookies.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:07 PM on January 12, 2016


Make aioli, grill some veg with lashings of olive oil, and feel virtuous that you are eating vegetables! Then gorge on meringues.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:13 PM on January 12, 2016 [6 favorites]


kenko: "I don't think I have ever tasted uncooked egg meringue to compare.

Beaten egg whites basically taste like nothing.
"

Slimy nothing.
posted by Splunge at 3:14 PM on January 12, 2016


I have used this when cooking for events that will be attended by a friend of mine who's deathly allergic to eggs and lactose intolerant as well. Not as meringue, just in baked goods instead of eggs, and whipped the hell out of them hoping to mitigate some of the...denseness...you can get with vegan baked goods. I won't say I got 100% the lift of actual eggs, but it was certainly not as flat as using applesauce or oil.

And I have had aquafaba meringues made by a very accomplished home baker, and they tasted and felt like the meringue drops I've made myself from eggs.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:15 PM on January 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


I can also confirm that they taste exactly the same. Two days later, we used chickpea juice in place of an egg white to make gingerbread house frosting, and it worked perfectly.
posted by hopeless romantique at 3:17 PM on January 12, 2016


Oooh! You made Lemon Fartcake! my favorite!
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:18 PM on January 12, 2016 [10 favorites]


There are a couple of Facebook groups devoted to people posting about their experiments with Aquafaba.
posted by larrybob at 3:24 PM on January 12, 2016


I don't like meringues at all, but I do like the idea of using bean-juice for something good. My stepmother used to make a cake with lots of nuts in a meringue "dough" - would that work with the aqua-faba?
posted by mumimor at 3:25 PM on January 12, 2016


"Aquafaba and the Vegan Meringue" is the name of my next band.
posted by eriko at 3:27 PM on January 12, 2016 [7 favorites]


You vegans, always overthinking a can of bean water
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:29 PM on January 12, 2016 [15 favorites]


Yeah, every time I hear about the 'new vegan x, just as good as regular x,' it makes me think of this Kenji article from his Vegan Experience series.

I think pretty much every vegan knows that no matter how great those new soy-burger patties are, they'll never compare to the real thing in flavor. My question is, why even bother? ... Fact of the matter is, vegan "meat" is never going to taste like real meat. Even the best is still a shadow of the real deal, something that must be settled for, not picked. Where I come from, mediocrity is not something that should be tolerated. I'm not happy with what I'm eating unless my food is the best it can possibly be. This pretty much precludes mock meats from my diet.

My girlfriend's daughter is vegan and she politely asked me to stop buying fake meat products. She loves Kenji's black bean burgers, though, and also tofu and tempeh, just not 'meat' patties made from them.

I'll try this, though, because why not? We use a lot of beans and just pour out the juice. And hearing the term bean juice always makes me laugh because.
posted by Huck500 at 3:33 PM on January 12, 2016 [8 favorites]


At the Montreal Vegan Festival I went to in November, there was a p√Ętissier who made macarons from aquafaba and they were exquisite!
posted by Kitteh at 3:35 PM on January 12, 2016


"Aquafaba and the Vegan Meringue" is the name of my next band.

Pretty sure Smashing Legumes used that title back in the 90s.
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:38 PM on January 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


any portmanteau in a storm - Also, from when I looked into this they hadn't been able to make an angel food cake using the bean water so it can't do everything (yet).

8 hours ago on Vegan Meringue - Hits and Misses!
So what happens when you combine the foaming quantity of soy whey and the foaming strength of some Ener G egg replacer. It feels like Angel Food Cake, it cuts like Angel Food Cake and it tastes like Angel Food Cake.
No chick peas involved though.
150 soy whey
30g Ener-G egg replacer
112g caster sugar
150g gluten free plain flour (Doves Farm)
1 tsp vanilla essence (oil free)
1/4 tsp Xanthan Gum (the Doves Farm plain flour had none included)
It looks like Goose is experimenting with vegan nougat, which means I may be able to make some nougat for my vegan friend who made normal egg based chocolate nougat for everyone last Christmas. She hasn't tasted it.
posted by asok at 3:47 PM on January 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


As someone who loves to cook, I am inordinately pleased at the strides vegan food has made even in 10 years! It's really very cool.
posted by Kitteh at 4:07 PM on January 12, 2016


I've had these! They were... fine? I found them chewy, not as crisp as I'd have wanted. But maybe they were underbaked.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:19 PM on January 12, 2016


We made aquafaba meringues last summer, right before we moved into our new apartment, and right after.

At the new place, the oven's minimum temp is 300, and they all burned.

At the old place, they came out perfectly, according to my non-vegan partner and all the housemates. (I had never had meringues before. I thought they were squishy. I was very surprised.) After a day the outsides got sorta sticky, though.
posted by you could feel the sky at 4:52 PM on January 12, 2016


On the other hand, I recently had delicious vegan Ramen with a vegan egg that looked and tasted SO REAL.

Does anybody have a recipe for that?
posted by amtho at 4:54 PM on January 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


I, too, came across this concept a while ago, I was excited as I love to bake and have friends with severe egg allergies - and no go, cause both of them also have legume allergies, and can't have garbanzos/chickpeas. I wasn't making meringues at that point though, but chickpea cinnamon blondies. I ended up eating them instead. I really liked them, but my kids were less than impressed. So anyway, for those thinking about allergies and schools, make sure to let people know you are bringing something made with chickpeas.
posted by dawg-proud at 4:57 PM on January 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yum, whipped BPA! Delicious AND good for you.
posted by bgribble at 4:57 PM on January 12, 2016


At the new place, the oven's minimum temp is 300, and they all burned.

Wedge the door open with a wooden spoon.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:00 PM on January 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yum, whipped BPA! Delicious AND good for you.

Make your own.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:24 PM on January 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


I made the aquafaba meringues for a formal kosher dinner with both omnivore and vegan guests, The aquafaba meringues were indistinguable form the egg ones, aside from the foam being a bit more fragile and sweet. Aquafaba takes proportionately more confectioner's added-cornstarch sugar to be stiff enough to pipe, not just pour.

Tried with pistachio dacquoise, again, the aquafaba was less robust, but worked well enough.

It doesn't work in angel food cake at all, and was so-so for Chinese salt-whipped coatings. The salty meringue coating just wouldn't volumize as when adding sugar.

I look forward to more vegan creativity. Vegan/vegetarian food whouldn't have to be crazy labor-intensive or contain weird non-nutritive ingredients, only to be mediocre.
posted by Dreidl at 5:33 PM on January 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm glad to know this is good in real-world experience (more than just some food blogs saying it works) but I'm still way too horrified by the thought to try it myself. However, if you send me some, I will totally eat them.
posted by darksong at 6:08 PM on January 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


amtho: It's not the recipe described, but Serious Eats' vegan ramen recipe is probably the most amazing dish I've ever made. (Do note, though, that it's an all-day recipe.)
posted by Ian A.T. at 6:45 PM on January 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


Fact of the matter is, vegan "meat" is never going to taste like real meat. Even the best is still a shadow of the real deal, something that must be settled for, not picked. Where I come from, mediocrity is not something that should be tolerated. I'm not happy with what I'm eating unless my food is the best it can possibly be. This pretty much precludes mock meats from my diet.

I think I've mentioned this on mefi before, but Gimme Lean brand faux-sausage is absolutely fantastic; I used it one Burns Night for scotch eggs when I had some no-dietary restrictions friends, one kosher friend, and a couple vegetarian friends over. To accommodate everyone, I made some of the scotch eggs with pork sausage, some with beef, and some with Gimme Lean. The vegetarian version was absolutely everyone's favorite!

Thanks for this post; I'm interested in trying this!
posted by Greg Nog at 7:16 PM on January 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


At the new place, the oven's minimum temp is 300

That surely violates some kind of habitability law.
posted by kenko at 7:39 PM on January 12, 2016


So is there a recipe collection or most popular dishes they've created on their site?
posted by polymodus at 7:47 PM on January 12, 2016


The aquafaba website says they're working on making a non-facebook forum, but in the meanwhile there's a file section with some recipes on their facebook group.
posted by aniola at 7:58 PM on January 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


I have made some of these recipes. I did not enjoy them. I'll admit, I was astonished that I was able to create a whipped product that had the look and feel of a good swiss meringue, but it was almost impossible to flavor in such a way that it was palatable on the sweet side of things, and the savory meringue/macaron type cookies we tested were equally not terribly good.

I'm not a beginner to meringues, so I was really excited to be able to try some of my signature recipes for my vegan friends. But even the teenage boys mindlessly playing xbox wouldn't eat them. I'm pretty sure those boys would eat wood chips, but they gave a big ol pass on every recipe we tried. To be fair, fresh out of the oven, they liked the chocolate ones, but once they cooled, they became really rock hard, and chewing them was a sticky unpleasant mouthfeel.

That said; I may try again, it may have been a factor of the brands I used. The chickpeas made some awesome hummus though, so it wasn't a complete loss.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:36 PM on January 12, 2016


So, if this doesn't work for angel food cake, does that mean it also doesn't work for macarons or macaroons?

I've never been a huge meringue fan, though I'd make this just as an experiment. But I get coconut macaroon cravings for days.
posted by Sara C. at 8:43 PM on January 12, 2016


I think I've mentioned this on mefi before, but Gimme Lean brand faux-sausage is absolutely fantastic

I've eaten vegan/vegetarian faux-meats since I was a non-veg*an kid and always liked the taste, so I've always liked the slightly-off taste of faux meats - but as far as I can tell, now that I am vegan, most vegan sausage is indistinguishable-or-better than real sausage. All of the flavor, none of the gristle. Gimme Lean brand is great sliced and fried; Amy's breakfast sausage links, on the other hand, are shockingly awful.

Some brands (Kroger's own-brand, surprisingly enough, sold in California as Ralph's "Simple Truth" label) of faux-chicken is so realistic as to be slightly disturbing. As above, their sausage rounds are on point, too - omnivore tested and approved. A lot of hype was made of Beyond Meat's chicken, which is... fine.

I've heard of aquafaba (I didn't realize it was a term coined on a Facebook group) and tried to think of ways to incorporate it into recipes, but I've always hated meringue, so I haven't been able to come up with a good reason to try it. But if macarons could be made, maybe I'll give it a shot. I'd never had one before I went vegan, but they look so *good*.
posted by notnamed at 8:57 PM on January 12, 2016


I like that they care about the science behind it as well and have theories as to why various aspects of bean juice work the way they do.
posted by aniola at 9:59 PM on January 12, 2016


As a former vegan still in to vegan baking this gives me hope - living in a country where many of the standard 'vegan substitutes' are not available (as in US standard - a lot of stuff listed in US recipes I couldn't get in the UK without extreme difficulty, so in Turkey my chances are next to nil) it is always great to see easy/standard/not speciality alternative ingredients.
posted by Megami at 10:07 PM on January 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


So anyway, for those thinking about allergies and schools, make sure to let people know you are bringing something made with chickpeas.

White bean (navy beans, Cannellini) liquids also work (same legume allergy caution applies of course).
posted by girlhacker at 10:45 PM on January 12, 2016


- It's bean water.

- OK, but what is it now?

- Meringue.
posted by Segundus at 12:10 AM on January 13, 2016


Made some meringues with chickpea juice - delicious crisp fluffy huge ones that kept structure for days (when kept in airtight container), tried by ca. 5 non-vegan meringue lovers who confirmed it to be identical to the real thing and excellent.

About the taste: when you put in the sugar and the vanilla, any faint chickpea notes get unnoticeable (warning: unless like me, you eat several large spoonfuls of the raw, beaten mixture). After baking, the faint notes completely disappear.

(Also had good experience replacing eggs with aquafaba in pancakes)

Considering how much hummus I make, this is the culinary windfall of the decade to me.
posted by Deece BJ Pancake at 2:39 AM on January 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


does that mean it also doesn't work for macarons or macaroons?

It does, I had them in Montreal. But then they were made by a pastry chef who went through the normal channels of training but opened up a vegan patisserie after she graduated so, YMMV.
posted by Kitteh at 3:51 AM on January 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


I guess I'm not shocked that bean water and sugar end up tasting good together, given that bean pie is a thing (and a delicious thing at that).
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:38 AM on January 13, 2016


(Also, red bean paste desserts, etc.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:40 AM on January 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Aquafaba can be used to make other things, but meringue is usually an egg-intensive dish, so I'll use it as my example here.

The shock isn't that beans and sugar taste good together. You can't even taste the bean after the meringues are dried in the oven. The shock is that there's a simple ingredient already in our cupboards that can be used to make a decent vegan meringue.

I'm excited because I'm writing a vegan chocolate cookbook and I was going "how on earth am I supposed to make this dish vegan using reasonable ingredients? Maybe I'll omit it." (I know about applesauce and flax seeds etc) No longer!

(If anyone has any vegan chocolate recipes - food or dessert - that they want published, we'll totally give you credit. We're not expecting to make any money off the book, but you could still have a recipe in a book with an ISBN and that's kind of neat)
posted by aniola at 9:22 AM on January 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


This thread awakened an interest in trying more aquafaba recipes, and coconut macaroons were my choice.

Worked just fine. Will try almond macaroons next (the recipe that coconut macaroons are the less expensive substitute for).

Unfortunately... Aquafaba isn't kosher for Passover for Ashkenazi jews. Beans are not permitted, I'm guessing originally because they can be used to make delicious high-protein flours. Northern European rabbis weren't familiar with bean flours, so they continued the dried bean ban on grounds that beans caused flatulence, so, non-permitted fermentation. Alas, no beany vegan Passover treats for most of my friends.
posted by Dreidl at 11:44 AM on January 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


I want to try this with azuki aquafaba, because baked mochi with red bean paste is almost a staple here.
posted by salix at 9:29 PM on January 19, 2016


I'm trying it tonight! They're in the oven now, and while they did have a slight smell of bean (I used the salted kind of chickpeas, it turns out) they did indeed fluff up just like egg whites! In the kitchen aid, it took only a few minutes to get stiff peaks - longer than egg whites, but not disastrously long, considering I had a robot to do the beating for me.

So! I will check 'em out in like an hour and a half, while my wife is busy peeling the chickpeas for some hummus. Thank you for this thread, which educated me about this new possibility for vegan cookery!
posted by Greg Nog at 5:28 PM on January 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


They're good! A little tart, a tiny hint of a sourness, but just a bit, and a fine balance to the sweetness. No bean flavor to speak of. Texture is almost identical to egg-based meringues, though these feel a little quicker to melt down on my tongue as soon as I take a bite. I like the egg kind better, but these aren't bad.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:33 PM on January 26, 2016


It occurs to me that the sourness might be an overuse of Cream of Tartar, is all, not an inherent quality of the aquafaba. Next time, I think less sugar, less cream of tartar. Since I don't particularly love meringues or eat vegan anyway, this is currently just an interesting way to stretch cans of chickpeas, but perhaps if I get better at making these, they can be a standby treat for my vegan pals!
posted by Greg Nog at 1:37 PM on January 26, 2016


Sara C.On the other hand, I recently had delicious vegan Ramen with a vegan egg that looked and tasted SO REAL.

amtho: Does anybody have a recipe for that?

This video tutorial for vegan Loco Moco (Hawaiian dish) shows you how to make a vegan [fried] egg, including how to get the spherified yolk. It looks very fiddly but pretty neat! No idea how it tastes, though.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:42 AM on February 9, 2016


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