If you have never experienced the miracle that is aquafaba — whipped chickpea cooking water — this is the recipe to start with: in just about 15 minutes, you will see chickpea water transform into stiff, glossy peaks, ready to be folded into anything you please. I suggest chocolate. This vegan chocolate mousse is so light, so tasty, and so satisfying!

A tray of vegan chocolate mousse made with whipped aquafaba.

My French Canadian neighbor, Isabelle, is an experienced nurser of babies with food intolerances. Her youngest, a 6-month old with the most squeezable thighs, a tuft of dark curly hair that fades to baldness, and cheeks as big as grapefruits, will not, at the moment, allow her to eat dairy or eggs. Such a rascal! (The most adorable rascal I will add.)

But, she told me one day, she can indulge in chocolate mousse, as long as it’s made with chickpea water. Excuse me? Francois, her husband, piped in: It’s really good.

Of course, I asked for the recipe, made it immediately, then spent the rest of the evening marveling at the miracle that is whipped aquafaba—a name coined by an Indiana software engineer, a combination of the Latin words for water and bean.

With about 15 minutes of vigorous beating, chickpea water triples in volume, resembling in the end whipped egg whites. It can be baked into a meringue or whipped into mayonnaise, and when it’s folded into a mix of melted chocolate and almond milk, it makes the lightest-textured chocolate mousse, which, as Francois noted, also is delicious. What’s more, it comes together more quickly than any I’ve ever made.

Before I made it again, I did some online research, and, shocker, discovered I had missed the onset of the ongoing aquafaba craze that seems to have begun with two French cooks, but has been popularized by chefs, Facebook groups, and big websites: the Kitchn, Slate, Food52.

I’d never paid much attention to this “waste” product, I suppose, because I generally don’t have canned chickpeas on hand. And as exciting as this discovery was, I found myself thinking: Knowing what canned aquafaba can do, would I now have to stop cooking chickpeas from scratch? Or would homemade aquafaba whip up just as beautifully?

I gave it a try. I soaked my chickpeas overnight, then transferred them to a pot the following morning, soaking liquid and all, and cooked them without any seasonings—not even salt—until they were done. Then I stored them in their cooking liquid in the fridge for several days, thinking perhaps that a few days of chickpea-in-water togetherness might strengthen the powers of my homemade aquafaba.

When I dumped my chickpea cooking liquid into the mixer, I crossed my fingers, then watched the water transform: first into froth, then into foam, then, amazingly, into stiff, glossy peaks. Success!

The next step will be to brine the beans and cook them as I always do with salt, thyme, onions and garlic. Maybe a savory mousse is in my future? Or an eggless soufflé? I’ll keep you posted.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone. I hope it takes you to aquafaba chocolate mousse and beyond.

A can of chickpeas.
The bowl of a stand mixer filled with whipped aquafaba.

Whipped aquafaba:

A bowl of melted chocolate and whipped aquafaba being folded together with a spatula.

Gently folding the whipped aquafaba into the chocolate mixture:

A bowl of melted chocolate mixed with aquafaba.

All folded in:

A spoonful of vegan chocolate mousse made with whipped aquafaba.
A spoonful of vegan chocolate mousse made with whipped aquafaba.
A tub of from-scratch cooked chickpeas.

Chickpeas cooked from scratch:

A stand mixer bowl filled with whipped homemade aquafaba.

This is the whipped aquafaba made from cooked-from-scratch chickpeas:

A sheet pan of bowls filled with homemade vegan chocolate mousse made with homemade aquafaba.

And the homemade aquafaba chocolate mousse:

A cup of homemade vegan chocolate mousse.
A spoonful of vegan chocolate mousse made with homemade aquafaba.