Is there nothing aquafaba can’t do? In this series I will be exploring the almost suspicious versatility of this ingredient that is little more than the leftover liquid from a drained can of chickpeas. Fortunately for us someone diplomatically came up with the Latin translation “aquafaba” so we don’t have to go around talking about “bean water” which doesn’t sound nearly as elegant. Something about the protein-rich properties of this aquafaba means that it behaves in a very similar manner to egg whites — both in terms of its binding properties and its voluminous, air-trapping abilities. This has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for vegans and there are a zillion innovative recipes out there. I plan to both bring you original recipes and to test out those that are full of promise and promises, to see how far this bean water can take us.
Aquafaba was a game-changer in itself, and today’s recipe is based on a further game-changer. Though I accept it’s useful to have around, I just can’t get on board with the flavour of margarine, and am yet to find a product that meets my expectations. I’ve tried homemade vegan butter before and have been very happy with the results, but this is next level. Often named “Nina’s Vegan Butter” after its Danish creator, this is creamy, rich, spreadable, so delicious, and genuinely buttery. That magical aquafaba emulsifies and gives it body, and coconut oil lends richness and a solid texture.
I have adapted Nina’s recipe very slightly here, but I do recommend you check out her original post, where she troubleshoots and answers questions with admirable patience. This butter is best for spreading and enriching — perfect for mashed potatoes, sauce, or a simple piece of toast.
Homemade Vegan Butter
- 3 tablespoons aquafaba (chickpea brine)
- ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- Pinch salt, to taste
- ½ cup refined coconut oil, melted
- 1 tablespoon rice bran oil, or other good plain oil
- Pinch nutritional yeast
- Pinch turmeric (optional, for color)
- Combine the coconut oil and other oil together in a small measuring jug, for ease of pouring.
- Place the aquafaba, vinegar, nutritional yeast, turmeric (if using) and salt in a small, narrow bowl. Begin to blend it using a stick blender.
- Slowly drizzle in the oil, a very small quantity at a time, with the stick blender running continuously. Don’t add more oil until the previous quantity is blended in. The mixture will start out liquidy, but will eventually thicken and resemble mayonnaise.
- Once the oil is completely incorporated, taste to see if it needs more salt. Spatula the mixture into a small, clean jar or container and refrigerate uncovered until firm. Once the butter is firm, seal the container and use within five days.
- You can use unrefined coconut oil, however the coconut flavor will be more pronounced, while refined coconut oil gives a particularly buttery flavor. You can also use olive oil instead of plain oil, again, this will affect the flavor.
- If you don’t have a stick blender, you can make this in a small food processor, drizzling the oil through the feed tube. You can make it in a blender, but you’ll have to stop and take the lid off repeatedly to add in the oil. It’s worth the effort!