Waste Not: Chickpea Juice for Dessert

During this strange, strange time in our collective history, one smart way to make each shopping trip stretch just a little bit longer is to reroute some previously discarded food scraps into future meals.

You know, like turning your once-wasted kale stems into pesto or pickles. Or saving your carrot peelings and onion skins in a freezer bag to simmer into stock. Or, if you’re a die-hard thriftster like me, collecting the three tablespoons of rock salt at the bottom of the jumbo-sized pretzel tub and using it as a finishing salt on savory dishes. Don’t judge me.

She’s judging me, isn’t she.

But there are some throw-away food scraps that simply can’t be turned into palatable dishes, like banana peels. Or egg shells. Or the “juice” from a can of chickpeas. OR SO I THOUGHT. *dramatic mic drop*

Folks, as crazy as it may sound, the leftover water from in a can of garbanzo beans is the perfect ingredient for making – stick with me here – super decadent chocolate mousse.

I know, right?

Canned chickpea juice, smartly rebranded as “aquafaba,” or bean water, by a savvy marketing team somewhere, has been a staple of vegan pastry chefs for years. Because of its texture and the way it whips into peaks, it’s an easy substitute for eggs in dishes needed air bubbles and lift.

I’d been hearing about aquafaba for some time, but it wasn’t until a global pandemic forced me to double down on my depression-era frugality and I finally put it to the test. And man, was it worth it.

I basically followed this recipe, except I didn’t have cream of tartar, so I swapped in a half teaspoon of lemon juice to help stabilize the stiff peaks. The second time I made it (proof that it was good enough to repeat!), I used freshly squeezed orange juice instead.

Here’s how it worked:

  1. Melt almost a cup of chocolate chips/chunks in a double boiler. I used dark chocolate ones, but milk would probably work. Let it cool, for real, like 20 minutes.
  2. Whip the liquid from a can of chickpeas in a stand mixer if you have one (will take 4-5 minutes) with 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, or, if you’re me, a half teaspoon of citrus juice. Mix until it turns white and forms stiff peaks (i.e. you can flip the bowl over the stuff doesn’t fall out.) You can also do this with a hand mixer but it will take a whole lot longer, the internet tells me.
  3. Add the melted chocolate to the mixer on low. Scrape down the sides to mix it together.
  4. Pour into bowls and cool in fridge an hour+.
  5. Amaze your friends.
6. Lick bowl.

Now if only I couldn’t figure out how to reuse those banana peels.

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