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Bean Water: Why You Should Save It and What to Do With It

Bean water
Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pexels - cottonbro

Bean water is a familiar ingredient in vegan cuisine. In this article, you can read all about why you should save bean water, which bean water is best to use, and find a few of our favorite recipes that use this ingredient.

Bean water refers to the water left over from cooking beans or chickpeas. Another term for the liquid that is now widely used is “aquafaba” (aqua = water, faba = bean). If you’re wondering what you can do with bean water and why you should save it, this article is for you.

Whether you are specifically looking to replace the egg whites in a vegan recipe or you are working on maintaining a zero-waste kitchen, bean water is a great option both because of its binding and emulsifying properties and because it can replace other ingredients that you won’t have to buy.

Important: Always remember that raw legumes like chickpeas and beans are toxic because of their high phytic acid content, which is why they always need to be cooked before you can eat them. This also applies to the water that you soak the beans in. The phytic acid amount is significantly reduced during the cooking process. Therefore, only use the water that the beans were cooked in. Canned chickpeas have already been pre-cooked, so this water is safe to use as well!

Why You Should Save Bean Water

Aquafaba
Don’t toss your bean water! It is nutritious, low in calories and you can use it for many different recipes. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - Ulrike Leone)

Not only can you reduce food waste and save on buying extra ingredients when using bean water, but you can also easily turn some of your favorite recipes involving eggs and other animal-derived products into tasty vegan dishes. What’s more, leftover bean water contains lots of proteins and is low in calories.

The bean water most commonly used in vegan recipes is leftover from cooking chickpeas or white beans because this water has the most neutral taste. As a rule of thumb, the darker the beans, the stronger the taste the bean water will have. In any case, the following recipes show you why aquafaba is a great addition to different dishes!

How to Use Bean Water

bean water
Just like egg whites, you can whip bean water so that you get a stiff, glossy foam. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - stux)

You can use bean water to make both sweet and savory dishes. You can use it to replace egg whites when you bake, but also as a substitute to thicken soups, broths, or sauces. Moreover, its emulsifying properties help bind different ingredients that don’t mix easily. Below you can find some ideas and recipes.

Baked goods and desserts

Aquafaba Meringues: For these vegan sweets you need very few ingredients. You could serve them with coffee or use them to decorate cakes or pies.

Macarons: Aquafaba is also a good replacement for egg whites if you’re making macarons. The cooking water from red or black beans also works as a natural food coloring that will give your macarons a rich color.

Vegan Chocolate Mousse: Aquafaba chocolate mousse is an absolute delight. This article shows you how to whip aquafaba to get the fluffy foam that makes this dessert so perfect: Aquafaba: What It Is and How to Make It.

Once you have a stiff foam, add 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 tsp. of vanilla extract and continue to stir. Add 7 oz. of vegan chocolate that has been melted and slightly cooled. Spoon chocolate mousse into glasses and chill for at least 3 hours.

Savory Soups and Sauces

Mayonnaise: You can use white bean or chickpea water not just for desserts, but also to make excellent vegan mayonnaise.

Pesto: You can switch out oil for aquafaba in any homemade pesto recipe. The result is just as tasty and low on calories.

Stock For Soup: You can use bean water to thicken all kinds of soups or sauces. For instance, you can sauté some vegetables, then add the leftover bean water and bring everything to a boil. You’ll get to enjoy a savory, nutritious meal.

Of course, why not go all in and use both beans and bean water to cook a hearty stew?

Here’s what you need:

  • olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tsp. mustard
  • 2 cups dry beans (try chickpeas, red, white or black beans)
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 tsp. salt

Simple bean stew recipe:

Remember to let the beans soak overnight before you prepare your stew. Here’s how to Cook and Soak Dried Chickpeas. Cooking everything in the bean water – rather than cooking the beans separately and throwing out the water – will give your stew a nice creamy texture.

  1. Slice the onion and dice the garlic clove, then sauté them in some olive oil.
  2. Stir in the mustard.
  3. Peel and chop the carrots.
  4. Add beans, water, carrots and salt and bring everything to a boil. Turn down the heat, put a lid on the pot and let everything simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. Next, sample a couple of beans to see if they are cooked through. If the beans are done, you can take the pot off the stove. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve the stew.

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