Here at Byrdie, health food trends (and yes, the occasional diet fad) are always worthy of exploration. So, when we started to see the unfamiliar term "aquafaba" popping up all over our favorite recipe boards on Pinterest, we knew it was time to investigate. Intrigued? Keep reading to find out why aquafaba is becoming the go-to ingredient of 2016!
Aquafaba is the water that results from cooking beans and legumes. Most often, the term refers to chickpea water. When you open a can of chickpeas and drain out the liquid, you're dumping out the aquafaba. The vegan community, however, discovered rather than pouring it down the drain, you can cook with it. It's a nearly perfect substitute for eggs. Just like eggs and egg whites, chickpea water can be used as an emulsifier, thickener, binding agent, leavening agent, and foaming agent.
As you probably already know chickpeas pack an impressive nutritional punch; aquafaba retains some of those nutrients. It's rich in protein, zinc, folate, calcium, and iron, which is good news for your skin, bones, muscles, and blood, if you're vegan. If you're not vegan, eggs deliver the better nutritional advantage, for about 70 additional calories.
The water itself can be stored in your refrigerator for up to 10 days, just pay attention to changes in odor and throw it out if it starts stink. Or you can freeze it. When cooking with it, three tablespoons of chickpea water is equivalent to one egg. It can be used to make butter or mayonnaise. You can also buy vegan mayonnaise made with aquafaba.
Aquafaba is more commonly used in baking, however. From meringues and macarons to cakes and cookies, it's a baker's dream. Ready to get started? Pick up some chickpeas ($12) and find all the recipes you could ever want in Aquafaba: Sweet and Savory Recipes Made Egg-Free With the Magic of Bean Water ($14) by Zsu Dever.
Have you ever cooked with aquafaba? Tell us below!