Blog, Vegan

Vegan Meringue

I have already written about meringues.
What I have not done is experimented with vegan meringues. The main ingredient in a meringue is the egg whites. And if anyone can remember from those school biology classes, egg white contains a water-soluble protein called albumen. It is this structure that allows for egg whites to be whipped up easily into meringues.

Beans are high in protein and can be eaten fresh or from a can. Most kitchen shelves will have a tin of beans somewhere. If you had to open a can of beans you will find a combination of beans and a bean liquid. The bean liquid is known as aquafaba and contains protein released by the beans. It is this protein-based liquid that can be used as an egg white substitute. 

Aquafaba does not contain as much protein as an egg white. Whatever levels of protein it does have is enough to whip up a billowy meringue.

Making meringues out of aquafaba is similar to when using egg whites. There are some slight differences.

use a pale bean liquid like chickpeas or broad beans

Tips to remember when using Aquafaba

  • Because of the lower protein content, the aquafaba does take longer to whip up. Be prepared to wait for up to 15 minutes to get your meringue to stiff peak stage.
  • The aquafaba does have a scent of beans initially. Once beaten and flavoured with sugar and an extract, (vanilla, almond etc) it loses all traces of bean.
  • Any shape can be piped with the aquafaba as with the egg white.  In my experience, I did find the aquafaba meringue to be somewhat slimmer once baked.
  • Only use the paler bean liquid like chickpeas or broad beans. A darker bean like red kidney beans will stain the liquid while in the can. This colour will not be particularly attractive to make meringue.
  • Aquafaba, once beaten, becomes as white as when using egg whites.
  • Aquafaba meringue can be tinted with gel food colour.
  • Besides making meringue, aquafaba can be used for pavlova and as a vegan frosting.
  • Once the bean liquid has been drained, it can be refrigerated and used 2-3 days later.
  • When whipping up the aquafaba, make sure the mixing bowl is free of any grease. Wipe the insides of the bowl with some vinegar or lemon juice to remove any grease. Grease will prevent the aquafaba from properly whipping up into meringue.


Ingredients for meringue

  • Bean liquid from a 400g can of chickpeas or broad beans.
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla or  almond extract
  • 1 1/4 c granulated sugar

Method to make meringue

  • Preheat oven to 110 degrees celsius.
  • Drain the fluid from a can of chickpeas or broad beans.
  • Add liquid and cream of tartar to  a large  mixing bowl. 
  • Using the whip attachment of a hand-held or stand mixer, start whipping the mixture on medium speed till soft peaks form.
  • Add the sugar, a heaped tablespoonful at a time, gently to the whipped meringue. This way, the meringue does not lose its voluminous consistency.
  • Add the extract.
  • Keep beating till stiff peaks form. If you turn the bowl over, the meringue should not move. This will take up to 10 – 15 minutes.
  • If you wish to tint the meringue, divide into bowls, add the gel colour, and gently mix till the desired colour is achieved.
  • Pipe shapes using a piping bag and different nozzles. Alternatively, using a spoon, dollop small mounds onto parchment lined trays.
  • Bake for 35 – 40 minutes till the tops of the meringue are firm.
  • Leave to cool completely before removing from the trays. Meringue is very delicate and will break easily if handled while warm.


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