Yup, you read that right—meringue in a vegan recipe. In December 2014, French chef, Joël Roessel, discovered that the liquid from canned beans such as chickpeas has a chemical composition that mimics the functional properties of egg whites. Hence, aquafaba (“water from beans”) was born and the word coined by Goose Wohlt.
There is so much buzz on the internet about this amazing discovery that I couldn’t possibly reiterate it here, but I will say that some people find that unsalted chickpeas work better than those that are salted; I haven’t necessarily found that, but there you have it.
Liquid from 1 can (15 ounces or 425 g) of chickpeas (about ¾ cup or 180 mL)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
⅛ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (150 g) white granulated sugar, made fine by first pulsing it in a coffee grinder
Preheat the oven to 200 °F (100 °C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone liner, and set aside.
Drain the liquid from the can of chickpeas, and add it to a mixing bowl along with the vanilla extract, cream of tartar, and salt. You may use a hand-held mixer or a stand mixer (using the whisk attachment). (Mixing by hand will only wear out your wrists and not give you the peaks you’re seeking.)
Set your mixer on high, and slowly pour in the sugar as the beater is running. Beat for 10 to 15 minutes, though you may need to stop once or twice to scrape down any sugar that sticks to the side of the bowl.
After 10 minutes or so, check the meringue. You’re looking for the stiff peaks characteristic of meringue. There have been times these peaks have formed after only 6 minutes, so just keep an eye on it.
At this point, if you’d like to add any food coloring gel, spoon a portion of the meringue into a separate bowl, and carefully fold in the coloring.
Use a pastry bag or a spoon to dollop the meringue onto the prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 1-½ hours, then turn the oven off. If you want a crisp outside and chewy center, this is essential. You may open the oven door just a smidge, but leave them in the oven for at least an hour — up to 24 hours.
Store in a cool, dry place. They are best eaten the day you make them, but if your environment is very dry (not humid), they can last a few days in an airtight container.
For Your Edification
Aquafaba is not only the liquid from canned chickpeas but from chickpeas made from scratch, as well.