I know. Your mouth is watering, tummy rumbling, because those two words placed side-by-side evoke utter deliciousness, amiright?
No? Just me?
Well what if I said aquafaba instead? Naturally this would be accompanied by an intense, piercing gaze and a completely over-the-top, arm-waving flourish of the hands. Because aquafaba is magic. And the magician of the moment is Zsu Dever.
Not to reveal the magician’s secret, but aquafaba is, in fact, bean water. Don’t for a second think that that humble detail makes it any less wonderful, though. In case you haven’t heard, aquafaba—the water leftover from cooking beans or the liquid that comes alongside them in a can—has some remarkable properties.
Once considered a waste product to be unceremoniously dumped down the drain, it’s gained much press and praise recently for its ability to function as a cheap and cruelty-free binder and emulsifier in vegan recipes. It’s perhaps best known for being whippable into fluffy, shiny white peaks that can then be baked into meringues and used to craft things like marshmallows and gorgeous French macarons.
In Zsu Dever’s new book, Aquafaba: Sweet and Savory Vegan Recipes Made Egg-Free with the Magic of Bean Water, she pushes the boundaries and exploits the versatility of this newly popular ingredient. Her creations run the gamut from desserts to condiments to hearty mains, and many are gluten, soy, and/or nut-free, or provide alternate instructions for making them so. There are doughnuts and waffles, meatballs and schnitzel, cookies and ice cream, and a whole chapter loaded with ideas for using up all those leftover beans when you’re done playing with the water you cooked them in.
Dever admits that aquafaba is something we don’t yet fully understand, and her book feels less like a definitive guide and more like a brave, pioneering exploration and an invitation to play. That’s not to say, however, that this innovative cookbook is lacking in know-how! Zsu has done her due diligence, and provides many tips and tricks to obtaining the most potent, effective aquafaba, as well as dos and don’ts for making sure your recipes yield the desired result.
Prior to receiving this book, I’d played around with aquafaba briefly once or twice. They’d been sweet applications, though, so I decided to tackle and share a savory one here. The Chile Relleno Quiche looked intriguing and the filling is both gluten and soy-free. I have family members with soy allergies/sensitivities, and so many vegan quiche recipes utilize tofu, so it was great to see a soy-free version!
Between roasting the peppers and whipping the aquafaba, it was admittedly a bit of work to bring this together. I also used aquafaba from canned chickpeas, which, unlike that from home-cooked chickpeas, Dever recommends reducing before using, so I had an extra step there as well. The result, however, was really nice—yielding a fluffy, creamy filling with a picante punch from the poblanos. The second night we had it, we sprinkled a little Kite Hill cheese over the top to cut the heat a smidge and it was great.
If you want to give this faba-ulous (sorry, I couldn’t help myself!) quiche a try for yourself, Vegan Heritage Press has given me permission to share the recipe with you. Not only that, but they’re offering one lucky reader a copy of this beautiful book!
Enter for your chance to win using the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway is now closed.
- ¾ cup raw cashew pieces
- ¾ cup plain unsweetened nondairy yogurt
- 4 medium poblano chiles
- ¾ cup aquafaba (see Note)
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 tablespoons refined coconut oil, just melted and at room temperature
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon oat flour (45 grams)
- 5 teaspoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 (9-inch) vegan pie crust, par-baked for 12 minutes
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Combine the cashews and yogurt in a blender and blend until smooth, scraping the sides as needed. If using a standard blender, allow the nuts to hydrate for 10 minutes and blend again until smooth. Set aside.
- Roast the poblanos directly over the flame of your burner or roast them in a cast iron pan. Cook until blackened and charred all over. Transfer the poblanos to a bowl, cover the bowl with a plate, and set aside to steam for 15 minutes. Peel the chiles (do not wash them) and remove the stems and seeds. Chop them into ½-inch cubes and set aside. You should have about 1½ cups.
- Add the aquafaba and cream of tartar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a whisk, vigorously whip the aquafaba for 10 seconds. Using the balloon whip attachment, whip the aquafaba on medium power for 5 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to whip for 11 to 13 minutes, or until it forms stiff peaks. Add the oil to the meringue in a very slow, steady stream, pouring it down the side of the bowl. This should take about 1 minute.
- Combine the oat flour, nutritional yeast, salt, turmeric, garlic powder, and black pepper. Mix well. Add the nut mixture and mix well with a whisk. Transfer about one-half of the meringue to the oat mixture and fold with a spatula to incorporate. Transfer the rest of the meringue to the tempered batter and fold until the batter is well mixed and the meringue is deflated, adding the chopped poblanos toward the end of the folding process. Pour the batter into the par-baked pie crust and bake for 40 minutes. Increase the heat to 425°F and continue to bake until the top is golden, about 5 minutes. Chill the quiche overnight in the refrigerator to firm up.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now that I have Zsu Dever’s Aquafaba on my bookshelf, I’m going to have to retrain myself to drain my beans over a bowl. I’ll certainly have no shortage of uses for that magical water and am so excited to play.
P.S. For additional sneak peek recipes and more chances to win your own copy, make sure to swing by the other stops on the Aquafaba blog tour.