A passionate supporter of sustainable eating, I am sorry to say I haven’t the willpower to give up meat and dairy altogether. My compromise is to incorporate vegetarian and vegan food into my carnivore diet.
I recently came across vegan friendly meringues. Intrigued by the egg free concept, I researched this further. I was surprised to discover the ingredient replacing egg white was in fact the water from a can of chickpeas. More recently acquiring the name aquafaba, which joins the Latin words aqua meaning water and faba meaning bean.
So How Does It Work?
When egg whites are whipped, pockets of air become suspended in the liquid. This occurs because of the presence of protein. Aquafaba contains protein, starch and saponins ( a chemical foaming agent found in many plants). These all work together to achieve the same chemical reaction, which occurs in traditional meringues. Essentially the viscous water from most legumes can be whisked into meringue. Chickpeas are ideal because of their neutral colour.
Aquafaba Meringue Recipe
- 400g tin of cooked chickpeas
- 75g caster sugar
- Preheat the oven to 120°C/Fan 100°C/250°F/Gas Mark 1/2.
- Line a large baking tray with baking parchment.
- Drain the chickpeas and measure 150ml/5fl oz of aquafaba. The chickpeas and remaining aquafaba will keep covered in the fridge for 3 days.
- Whisk the aquafaba for 2-5 minutes until white, light and forming soft peaks, using a stand or hand whisk on a medium setting.
- With the mixer on high speed slowly add the sugar to the mixture. The sugar needs to be fully dissolved and the meringue firm and glossy. This can take about 5 minutes.
- Using a piping bag or two dessert spoons pipe/drop 14-16 large meringues onto the baking parchment.
- Bake for 2 hours and then cool in the oven.
- These meringues are best served the same day. They can be stored in an airtight container but will soften and become sticky the longer they are stored.