The Versatile Palouse Chickpea–Aquafaba!

Our larger family farm here on the Palouse is one among many family farms that grows heaps of chickpeas every year. This brain shaped legume, also called a garbanzo (Spanish for chickpea), is such a versatile bean. It’s the main ingredient in hummus, it’s delicious as a cooked bean in salads or soups. But did you know it’s also an egg substitute? That’s slightly misleading, as the bean itself is not the egg substitute, rather the water it’s cooked in.

Aquafaba! Aqua meaning water, faba meaning bean–aquafaba is that gooey liquid you drain out of a can of chickpeas. Or if you cook the dried beans at home it’s the water you use to soak and simmer the beans. It can be whipped into a meringue, used to make vegan mousse, or substituted for eggs in baked goods. Here’s the ratio:

3T aquafaba = 1 egg

2T aquafaba = 1 egg white

Aquafaba can store in the fridge for up to a week, but if you don’t see yourself using it that quickly, you can freeze it too. Try pouring it into ice cube trays–if your trays are big enough, measure them out in 2 or 3 tablespoon amounts. When they’re frozen through, pop the cubes out and store them in a freezer bag. Whenever you’re short an egg, voila! You’ve got a stand in.

Since it’s a bit time consuming to cook beans, I prefer to cook a large amount at a time and freeze the beans to use later. Scroll down for a pro tip on freezing beans.

To make your own aquafaba (and chickpeas):

  1. The night before, measure out your desired amount of dry chickpeas into a large pot. Rinse them over with water and drain.
  2. Cover the beans with plenty of water. Remember the beans will absorb the water and double in size, at least, so make sure you add enough water. For example, if I want to cook 4 cups dry chickpeas, I’ll add 8-10 cups water.
  3. Cover the pot and let sit overnight. The beans can easily soak for 24 hours, but if you leave them longer than 8 hours, drain the water and replace it with fresh water.
  4. When you’re ready to cook them, be sure there’s enough water to cover all the beans. You don’t want too much liquid here or else it won’t reduce enough for aquafaba. Just enough that all the beans are covered with 1/2″ water
  5. Place the pot on the stove and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and let cook uncovered for 25-30 minutes, or until the beans are tender and cooked through.
  6. Drain the beans, reserving the water in another pot or bowl. It should be thick and gooey, like an egg white.
  7. To store the beans, you can put any amount of beans you plan to use in the short term in the fridge.
  8. PRO TIP: To freeze the beans for use later, fill a large ziploc freezer bag about halfway full. Seal the bag and lay it flat on a cookie sheet, spreading the beans out into a single layer. Put the cookie sheet and bag of beans in the freezer. When the beans are frozen you can remove the cookie sheet. When your’re ready to use the beans, it’s easy to break off a piece of the block and get just what you want.
  9. For the aquafaba, reserve any amount you plan to use in the short term in the fridge.

Check out my blog post for a chive cornbread recipe that uses aquafaba instead of eggs.

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