Technically, aquafaba is Latin for “bean water”. But if we're going to talk more literally, then it's the thing vegans are using at the moment as an egg-free substitute for eggs. Confused? So am I.
For as long as veganism has existed (so, not that long), vegans have suffered through the tedious task of egg-free baking. And now, they can just use the liquid from canned beans. Yep, that'll do it!
Depending on what you’re baking and how likely it is to throw a oven-induced hissy fit (which, for us, is always), sweet-tooths on a plant-based diet can still replace eggs with a combination of vegetable oils or raising agents. However, this is not the case for something like the meringue pictured above, which unfortunately for non-egg eaters, mainly consists of egg whites.
Until now, that is.
According to the aquafaba history website (I literally do not make this stuff up but I wish I did), the liquid from canned legumes like chickpeas has been trialled as an egg replacement in vegan cooking for long time. Yes, that viscous, gross part of the can that usually goes down the drain while you hold your nose is now being used to make meringues. YUM.
The water which the legumes are cooked in is able to mimic the properties of egg white once whipped. A stable emulsifier and foaming agent, this funky bean fluid can be used to make vegan-friendly nougat, macarons and egg-free egg white foam on cocktails.
With the price tag of a can of chickpeas, aquafaba is a lot cheaper than buying half a dozen eggs too. Hooray for science and vegans, I guess?
Image credit: Flickr