Who knew that you can make a delicious dessert from something you’d normally pour straight down the sink? This entirely Vegan Chocolate Mousse is made using the liquid from a tin of chick peas – something I normally rinse away without a second thought. It turns out it’s not necessarily a waste product – rather this slightly cloud liquid has been given a name: “aquafaba”. It’s a bit of a recent discovery (so a quick Google search informs me) but has been popping up in recipes all over the place as a Vegan substitute for egg whites.
I’ve not read too much into it but presume what looks like murky water is in fact a protein-rich solution thanks to the chickpeas it once surrounded. You can easily harvest it from tinned chickpeas – but if you don’t like canned food there’s an option out there for you, as I’ve seen plenty of sites touting ways of making your own from dried chickpeas instead. There’s a lot of bedtime reading out there if you want to know more.
Whatever the back story, the most important question has to be “does it actually work?”. The nice and simple answer, at least in the case of this Vegan Chocolate Mousse recipe, is yes. As you can see from the picture below, which was taken after 10 minutes of whisking, the aquafaba has significantly increased in volume and taken on a light, aerated texture.
I’ve whisked it to a firm peak stage here and it made a surprisingly stable foam that didn’t seem to sink at all whilst I was checking on the melted chocolate. I don’t know if I’d want to whisk it up significantly in advance, just in case, but for 10 minutes or so I didn’t see any evidence of the texture collapsing back into a liquid form.
There was the inevitable deflation that took place once the molten chocolate was added, even with my most cautious of folding, but I think that happens with egg whites too. I avoid these issues when I normally make chocolate mousse, as I follow Nigella Lawson’s Instant Chocolate Mousse method. It uses melted marshmallows for the texture and a lot of cream for body – though that wasn’t an option here as our guest, Lee, was unable to have anything containing Cow’s Milk…
The good news is that even though it looked like the texture was going to be a bit of a disappointment it was anything but. After a couple of hours in the fridge the end result was a rich, chocolatey mousse with a light texture and plenty of little bubbles of air. As you can see from this close up picture of the leftovers the following day.
If you have any friends coming to dinner who are consciously avoiding animal byproducts or who are lactose-intolerant then this Vegan Chocolate Mousse is a great dessert to serve. It’s easy to make, it can be prepared well in advance and it tastes great (though obviously that may depend on your choice of chocolate). Oh and it only contains 2 main ingredients – chocolate and aquafaba – with a little bit of sugar added to your preferred level of sweetness.
In the words of Ina Garten… “How easy is that?”.
Vegan Chocolate Mousse
Light, fluffy and full of flavour, this vegan chocolate mousse is simple to make and uses just three main ingredients... Though you'll just need to find something else to do with the chickpeas, as you only need the liquid from the tin.
- 200 g Good Quality Vegan Chocolate
- 2 400g Tins of Chickpeas
- 1 tbsp Caster Sugar
Meanwhile, break the chocolate into chunks and put into a large heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Allow the chocolate to melt - try to avoid stirring it until it's all melted if you can.
When the chocolate has melted remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, drain the chickpeas - keeping the liquid as this is what you'll be using to make the chocolate mousse. This liquid is known as "aquafaba".
Put the aquafaba into a large mixing bowl. Whisk for 10-15 minutes until light and fluffy. You want to get it to a stiff peak phase, so depending on your mixer it may take a little longer. Add the sugar in the last minute or so, whisking until well combined.
Pour the melted chocolate into the whisked aquafaba and fold gently to combine using a metal spoon. Try to maintain as much volume as you can, though the mixture will deflate as you mix it.
Divide the mixture between 6 to 8 small bowls or glasses, the refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
It's important to note that there isn't much published nutritional information about aquafaba as far as I am aware. The nutritional information shown below is based on the data provided at http://aquafaba.com/nutrition.html combined with the published information for the other ingredients.