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You’ve heard the kid’s ditty that goes “Beans, beans, the magical fruit.” Now beans have some serious magic, in the form of aquafaba. Latin (sort of) for “bean water,” aquafaba is the translucent, viscous water in which beans have been cooked.
Because the proteins and starches in aquafaba are structurally very similar to the proteins in egg whites, it behaves very much like egg whites when whipped, becoming light in texture, opaque in color, and more than tripling in size. It can be used as a vegan substitute for egg whites in dozens of recipes-meringues, marshmallows, macaroons, mousse, and more. With a small amount of sugar and vanilla, it also makes a mean whipped cream. Just beat with a handheld or standing mixer as you would egg whites or cream.
Though any bean will work, chickpeas and white beans are best, since the water from pintos, black beans, and kidney beans tends to be darker in color. You can use the water from dried, home-cooked beans, but canned beans lend a thicker, more viscous liquid that tends to be more stable. And unlike coconut cream or other substitutes for eggs or cream, aquafaba is neutral in flavor, virtually fat-free, extremely low in calories (about three calories per tablespoon), and free from soy, nuts, gluten, starches, and artificial ingredients.