You’ve opened up a can of chickpeas for a big Three-Bean Salad with Arugula. The recipe calls for rinsed chickpeas, so you’re about to do just that. But wait! Did you know starchy liquid you’re moments away from dumping down the drain is culinary gold?
Aquafaba is the thick, starchy liquid left over from cooking chickpeas. This byproduct is rich in protein and has the ability to act as an emulsifier or a stabilizer, and it can even make its own foam. And though it's great for adding body to soups or binding together meatballs, its uses go far beyond savory applications—use it to bake the lightest cakes and muffins or whip it up for the airiest mousses and meringues.
So, before you dump the whole can into a colander and wash all that liquid down the drain, here are 11 aquafaba recipes that show many different ways to use it.
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1. Five-Ingredient Creamy Chickpeas and Roasted Garlic Soup for One
When in doubt, dump the entire can of chickpeas (aquafaba and all!) into the pot. It adds richness to an otherwise simple dish like this creamy chickpea soup. Here, aquafaba provides silky body, and showcases the garlic, parsley, and lemon juice rather than dulling the bright flavors.
2. Chana Masala
Similarly, adding canned chickpeas along with the liquid adds a lot of body to this chana masala. The finished dish is bursting with flavor, and has a gorgeously luxurious texture.
3. Greek Spinach and Chickpeas
Greek Spinach and Chickpeas is another example of the benefits of adding chickpeas, liquid and all, to a dish. Aquafaba works in conjunction with a little chicken broth to produce a slightly-thickened sauce to accompany garlicky spinach and savory (and a bit spicy) chickpeas.
4. Vegan Lentil and Mushroom Burgers
Many veggie burgers call for an egg, but we found that aquafaba mixed with panko bread crumbs served as a perfect substitute in these hearty plant-based burgers. (And it didn't impart a muddy flavor as ground flaxseed did.)
5. Vegan Spaghetti and Meatless Meatballs
Let aquafaba be the binder of your dreams in this meatless spaghetti marinara dish. A little kneading will bring the plant-based crumbles, umami-maximizing mushroom powder, and spices together for a delicious, cohesive meatball.
6. Chickpea Cakes
Make your next batch of chickpea patties completely plant-based, but still able to hold their shape by using aquafaba. The pulsed chickpeas and herbs cook up with warming spices like coriander and cayenne for an ultra-flavorful bite.
7. Vegan Yellow Layer Cake
Aquafaba is a vegan baker’s dream. For a traditionally buttery, eggy confection like yellow cake, we needed something that could provide lift without distracting from the light vanilla notes. We folded whipped aquafaba into our batter to create a fluffy treat with no off-flavors.
8. Vegan Blueberry Muffins
9. Vegan Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
Rich, dark chocolate cupcakes with a light fluffy crumb can be yours thanks to aquafaba. Simply whip it up and stabilize it with a little cream of tartar and you’ll have the perfect texture for these decadent double chocolate cupcakes.
10. Vegan Chocolate Mousse
Aquafaba adds creamy richness to this chocolate mousse recipe, replacing both dairy and eggs (typically the cornerstones of a good mousse). And unlike eggs, you don’t need to worry about lengthy cooking time. In a mere 20 minutes, this chocolatey, gossamer-light dessert can be on your table.
11. Vegan Aquafaba Meringues
Take the guesswork (and the egg whites) out of normal meringue whipping times with a delicate batch of aquafaba meringues. You’ll still get the chewy texture and glossy finish of traditional meringues—the eggless part can be your secret.