The last few weeks I’ve been pretty busy trying (and failing) to stick to my new years resolutions and focus on work, so blogging has been somewhat put on the back burner. But then I discovered something that was so life changing, the need to blog grew greater that the need to do any of the things I should actually be doing. This life changing substance is an ingredient that we’ve all been mindlessly throwing away – chickpea water, also known as Aquafaba .
Ellie, my house-mate, has a very convenient hummus addiction so we spend quite a lot of time draining chickpeas and other various beans (wild, I know). Being the party girls that we are, we spent Saturday night playing around with a whisk and some icing sugar. The results have blown our minds, sending Ellie and I into a frenzy of chickpea-mania. So much so that we’ve successfully freaked out everyone who’s come over to our house by on rambling on about the endless possibilities of aquafaba while we clap with delight. It turns out that the best replacer for egg whites is the brine that we’ve all been laboriously draining away to get to the protein-filled balls of..chick? I recently realised I had no idea what chickpeas even were… a pea, a bean, a legume, a pulse? Food is confusing. But aquafaba is not. Aquafaba is oh so simple.
It’s interesting how a substance we’d previously given no thought what-so-ever can suddenly hold such a high value. This transformation from an irrelevant waste product to a critical ingredient may have been a minor change, but it represents how readily our preconceived notions about food can be altered. This really echoes the ideal behind ‘Nudges’ – that small changes in behaviour promote long lasting results. People generally don’t like change. It can be overwhelming, requires a great deal of willpower, a finite resource, and importantly, it feels abnormal. So rather than drastic and unsustainable diet plans that will inevitably fail, psychologists advise smaller, permanent changes. By replacing one item for a slightly more healthy option, such as honey for sugar or quinoa for rice, the change feels manageable and has a higher chance of success. This doesn’t only apply to dietary changes, but any self-improvement across the board. Take the stairs instead of the escalator on the tube to work; procrastinate by doing the crossword instead of scrolling through Daily Mail; substitute coke for a cup of tea. With infrequent, almost infinitesimal steps, you can alter a lifetime of bad habits without even realising it.
I’ll wrap this one up now as I do realise that fawning over glorified brine doesn’t make for the most intellectual or enlightening blog post. So, without further ado, I present to you meringues made with chickpea water.
All you have to do is whisk the brine in the same way you would egg white and you get perfectly white and shiny meringues. Aquafaba, like egg white, really just provides the structure of a meringue and is masked by the added sugar and I’ve since learned you can substitute egg whites with chickpea water for most recipes, meaning you can make vegan mayo, hollandaise, macaroons pies and pretty much any baked good of your choosing. My next feat will be to try aquafaba ice cream. This does mean, however, that our house is now plagued with a high volume of opened tins of chickpeas. I’ll apologise in advance if next week’s recipe features an extortionate amount of chickpeas, I will most likely be too busy drowning in a vat of hummus to care.
Vegan meringues with peanut and chocolate filling:
1 tin (400g) chickpeas
8 tbsps caster sugar
4 tbsps peanut butter
1 tbsp cocoa
5 tbsps icing sugar
- Drain chickpea water into a bowl, set chickpeas aside (and use them in whatever recipe you desire).
- Whisk the chickpea water for 10-15 mins until stiff peaks
- Add sugar a little at a time
- On a baking sheet, spoon small circles circles of meringue.
- Bake at 120 C for 1 hr and 20 mins.
- Meanwhile, mix the filling ingredients in a bowl. Make sure to sieve the cocoa.
- When the meringues are ready, spread the filling between two equally sized pieces to make delicious vegan sandwiches!