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Book Review: Aquafaba: Sweet and savory egg-free vegan recipes using the magic of bean water

by Nicold Rivard

 

If you consider yourself an experienced food activist/vegan chef and haven’t heard of the ingredient aquafaba, don’t feel bad. The bean liquid produced while cooking chickpeas that is now being celebrated by vegans as a miraculous egg substitute for its ability to be turned into meringues and other foods vegans have avoided for years didn’t even have a name until a little over a year ago.


But Zsu Dever’s Aquafaba: Sweet and savory egg-free vegan recipes using the magic of bean water, the first aquafaba cookbook available Oct. 4, brings it to the forefront and provides everything one might need to get started working with the mysterious ingredient.
Dever publishes the blog Zsu’s Vegan Pantry and is also the author of Vegan Bowls and everyday Vegan Eats.


The foreword is written by Goose Wohlt, a U.S. software engineer, who was asked to make meringues for his mother’s vegan seder and stumbled upon an online video posted by two French chefs who used the foam made from a can of chickpeas and chocolate to make a chilled mousse. He boasted about his nearly perfect meringue substitute on the Facebook group, “What Fat Vegans Eat,” a vegan food-centered group that now has 76,313 members, and it became a sensation.


The beauty of Dever’s book is the aquafaba recipes range from easy to more complex. It begins with an aquafaba primer and then is broken up into chapters including condiments, breakfast, lunch and dinner, sweets from the pantry, sweets from the oven, and ingredients and equipment. The book also includes a chapter filled with recipes that use the chickpeas and beans that remain after making aquafaba.


I have never baked a pie in my life, but I was eager to see what all the aquafaba fuss was about so I attempted the lemon meringue pie recipe with the graham cracker crust. I have to admit it was quite thrilling to see the meringue come to life and hold firm peaks just by whipping together the aquafaba (I used aquafaba from canned beans, I did not make my own), cream of tartar, sugar, water and agar powder. In about 15 minutes, I had a pretty impressive meringue to spread on my pie, as well as the confidence and desire to put this magical ingredient to the test in other recipes in this cookbook.


Who knew the bean liquid that we used to throw away could be one of the most astonishing culinary discoveries of the decade and at the same time keep animals off of people’s plates?

Available on Amazon and
Barnesandnoble.com.
$21.95 / 123 pages

 

Act•ionLine Autumn 2016

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