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.
I love pancakes, but I also have specific opinions about them. I think the ideal number of people to be cooking pancakes for is three, maximum — any more than that and you’re stuck being the short-order cook while everyone else gets to tuck in. I also think pancakes are more fun for dinner than breakfast. Too much admin in the morning, but a thrillingly autonomous treat in the evening to remind yourself that you’re an adult and you can do whatever you want.
This recipe uses beaten aquafaba folded into a simple batter to make super fluffy, light pancakes. They are tender and airy, with a hint of vanilla, and absolutely delicious. You could consider adding some blueberries or chocolate chips, some lemon zest or chopped walnuts — but they’re also perfect just as they are, stacked up cartoonishly high and dripping with syrup. Maple is the obvious choice, but I used Apple Honey and it was a wonderful combination.
Fluffy Aquafaba Pancakes
Makes around 10 pancakes using a ⅓ cup measure to scoop the batter.
- ¾ cup aquafaba
- One tablespoon vegetable oil, plus extra for frying
- One teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- One ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- One cup of your preferred plant milk
- Two teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Two cups plain flour
- Using electric beaters, whip the aquafaba on a high speed in a mixing bowl for about six minutes or until it’s white and aerated and forming soft peaks when you lift the beaters out of the bowl. If you don’t have electric beaters you can use a whisk, but be prepared to be beating it for a good ten minutes or so. It’s definitely do-able though!
- In another large bowl, mix together the vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract, milk, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Stir in the flour and aquafaba alternately, about half a cup at a time, then fold in the remaining aquafaba. The air bubbles in the aquafaba can stand up to some fairly brisk mixing, but take care nonetheless — I find using a spatula and making a rough figure eight motion while stirring combines it quickly but gently.The batter should be quite thick but airy. Don’t worry if it looks a little lumpy — this is fine.
- Heat a small amount of oil — a couple of teaspoons — in a nonstick pan, and drop scoops of batter into the pan to cook. How big you want the pancakes to be is entirely up to you — I used a ⅓ cup measure to scoop out the batter. Once holes have appeared across the surface of the pancakes, carefully flip them using a spatula or other kitchen implement. Cook for another couple of minutes on the other side then transfer to a plate.
- ¾ cup is the standard amount of aquafaba in one tin of chickpeas, if your quantity is slightly above or below that is fine.
- If you have metal cooking rings you can use them to make the pancakes super uniform and cute!