Food & dining

FabaButter, a nondairy butter substitute that spreads, cooks, and melts like dairy butter

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The thought of upcycling the liquid from a can of chickpeas at first sounds absurd, but then really brilliant. The viscous water can actually froth and whip-up like egg whites. Indiana software engineer Goose Wohlt heard about this several years ago and tried to use that technique — successfully — to create meringues. He popularized the technique through Facebook and coined the name aquafaba (bean water in Latin). Now, business partners Aidan Altman and Andrew McClure of Fora in Brooklyn uses aquafaba for their FabaButter, a nondairy butter substitute that spreads, cooks, and melts like dairy butter. Coconut oil adds fat and gives its creamy, buttery texture. You can use FabaButter for a hollandaise sauce or to bake croissants. It browns well and actually has a higher smoke point than regular butter. It’s a coup for vegans and plant-based dieters. The entrepreneurs use water from hummus producers around the East Coast, who would otherwise just send it down the drain. Altman and McClure, both vegans, learned about aquafaba through social media. “It’s an ingredient that has a cult following and a community around it,” says Altman. The two held jobs in the food industry and came to realize there is a need for more sustainable products in the marketplace. They saw a niche for a new, more versatile plant-based butter. “We really didn’t like the old school vegan products that really don’t function like butter,” says Altman. Chefs have been quick to catch on. It’s a win-win for everyone. Available at Eataly, 800 Boylston St., Boston, 617-807-7300.

ANN TRIEGER KURLAND

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