Aquafaba literally means bean water — the water that’s drained off neutral-colored beans like chickpeas, white beans and cannellini beans.
Vegans have had limited choices when it came to baked goods. The existing substitutes did not have the chemical properties of eggs which made them integral for binding and leavening. But now there is the perfect substitute, and it’s aquafaba. And it’s blown open the world of vegan baking.
This collection of recipes, however, is not only for vegans. It is great for anyone who has an allergy to dairy and eggs. It’s proof that you can go egg-free and still enjoy delicious recipes. You will never miss eggs again. The general rule of thumb is 3 tbsp of aquafaba equals one egg. The protein in aquafaba, when mixed with some sugar and a pinch of cream of tartar, perfectly simulates egg whites. Neutral in taste, you don’t have to worry about your dishes tasting beany.
All your breakfast and brunch favorites are here–from omelettes, French Toast and pancakes to scones and crepes. You’ll enjoy satisfying and sumptuous Vegan Shepherds Pie, Vegan Mac and Cheese or for lunch or dinner. And you can once again enjoy Alfredo Sauce over your pasta. And the meringue desserts are not to be missed — Fruit Pavlova and Sweet Potato Pie to Lemon Meringue Pie. Chocolate Chip Cookies, S’mores Bars, Snickerdoodles and Chocolate Ice Cream are perfect for those children’s birthday parties where allergies are now a prevailing concern.
Now you no longer have to live without the culinary wonders that eggs and egg whites produce. All you need to do is open up a can of chickpeas, drain the water and you’re ready to go.
When it comes to levels of vegetarianism, some can be more extreme. I mean, you have those who still eat dairy and eggs, then you have the vegans, who eat only plant-based ingredients. For many people, veganism seems extreme in and of itself. But there’s another level, and that is raw vegan.
Raw vegans don’t eat any animal-based products (obviously), but they also don’t eat any food that has been cooked to a temperature that is more than 118 degrees F. That means they end up mostly consuming raw fruits and vegetables. However, it’s not as crazy as it sounds, as many foods that you might think would be inedible without cooking them (like beans or grains) actually become consumable by soaking and sprouting them. Additionally, raw vegans use dehydrators to “cook” some ingredients.
Why raw vegan? Well, when you heat food to above 118 degrees, it destroys some of the active enzymes in the food, so it’s thought to be an incredibly healthy, “living” diet that can clear up a host of health problems.
Vancouver doesn’t have a ton of raw vegan places to eat. Gorilla Foods was probably the most popular, but it’s now gone. I recently made the happy discovery of Tao Organics in North Vancouver. It’s an adorable spot in Lower Lonsdale, run by a lovely Quebecois lady, Agathe, and her daughter. Nearly everything there is raw vegan (with the exception of a soup), and delicious. And the choices? A huge variety–it’s actually very impressive, and not very restrictive at all.
I was there recently judging a plant based bowl challenge for Vancouver Foodster, and we had some delicious, hearty food, as well as some yummy desserts.
One dessert Agathe is serving is a raw, vegan crepe, and that got my interest. So, I came home and started googling.
Turns out raw, vegan, gluten-free crepes are pretty easy to make if you have a dehydrator. There are literally two ingredients, and they just need a little time.
I filled mine with a combo of chia jam (which is vegan and gluten free but not raw), and of course fluffy dollops of aquafaba to take the place of whipped cream (again, vegan but not raw).
The texture surprised me, to be honest. I’m a huge fan of crepes, and I make them in many different varieties. I’ve done them sweet, vegan, gluten-free, savoury, Brazilian… you name it. But these raw, vegan, gluten free crepes mimic the texture of a regular crepe quite perfectly.
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can try doing this in your oven. I have a round, donut-shaped dehydrator, and while it worked perfectly to “cook” the crepes, it made them into a weird shape. I had to cut them with a pizza cutter after the fact to make them into little squares. A large, square dehydrator (more commercially available) would be a better choice, but they are much less common.
Just a note here about coagulants. You could technically use chia or flax for this recipe if you don’t have any psyllium. But I found while writing my cookbook that recipes that needed a finer texture (like the delicate crepe) benefitted from the fineness of psyllium. Having said that, if you don’t have any, feel free to sub in either chia or flax, they should work fine.
Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free Crepes
2 large or 3 small ripe bananas
1 tsp psyllium husk
Place the psyllium husk in a small bowl, and top it with 1/4 cup of water. Stir well and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel the bananas, chunk them up and place them in the bowl of your blender.
Scrape the psyllium/water mixture into the blender as well and then blitz it good for about 30 seconds to a minute. You want it to be nice and smooth.
Place the fruit tray/screen on top of your dehydrator tray, and pour (if it’s liqidy enough) or scoop the banana mixture onto it. You want to smooth it out with a spatula until it forms a thin, even layer, about 1/4″ thick. You may need to repeat with additional trays (when I made this recipe it filled two trays). Just note, you cannot pour this directly onto your dehydrator tray, the holes are too big. I have a fruit roll up insert and a herb insert, and I found the herb one worked the best, though the fruit roll up one was pretty successful. I have the Salton DH1454 Collapsible Dehydrator.
Set temperature to 115 degrees, and dehydrate for about 3 hours.
Remove from the trays, cut into smaller pieces if needed, and fill with your favourite fillings: fresh fruit, coconut cream, maple syrup, nuts or granola.
Those of you who are regular readers of this blog will know that I try to pack as much probiotics into my diet as I can in the form of yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, and even fermented drinks like kombucha (or at least I’m trying with the booch).
I was recently introduced to shrubs, or drinking vinegars. Like kombucha, they are fermented beverages, but unlike kombucha, they aren’t fizzy. They’re made from apple cider vinegar, which is a popular supplement these days that many people are taking. These are concentrated, so you just add a tablespoon or so to a glass, and then top it off with water or sparkling water. People drink apple cider vinegar for its health benefits, which includes helping to lower your blood sugar, and of course, those probiotics, which can help to aid in digestion and strengthen your immune system.
You can buy them in a variety of different flavours, and they have that same puckery kind of taste that many people love kombucha for.
Now, you could obviously use these for health reasons. But I was curious as to what they would be like in a cocktail.
Probably my favourite cocktail is a classic sour. The idea is, you take a spirit, and then pair it with something sour/acidic, and balance that with something sweet. Sometimes there is also an egg white added to the mix, to give the cocktail a creamy consistency and a frothy head.
I normally use lemon or lime juice in my sours, so I was curious to see if the shrub could take the place of them in a cocktail. Turns out, it mades a delicious replacement!
I used aquafaba in my cocktails, as I’m not the hugest fan of using raw egg whites, but you can feel free to use them if you like. The aquafaba makes a great substitute, though.
The shrubs I’m using are from Route 18, a local business here in Vancouver that makes a variety of really fun flavours, including turmeric peach with ginger, raspberry and cherry cardamom. Uh, yum!
I made two different cocktails, based on the turmeric and the cherry shrubs.