Veganism or being vegan is a healthy trend that is taking over the world these days. Though it was coined by Donald Watson in the year 1944, veganism is gaining significance only today 1. Being vegan is much easier today, as you can witness many options even outside your home. Many vegan stores and restaurants are opening worldwide, catering to this specific type of audience.
Do vegan desserts exist?
However, there are many diet restrictions and food groups that vegans have to cut down. The main reason why I have hesitated in being a vegan is because of desserts. Can vegan desserts be made, and if so, will they have the same taste as their non-vegan counterparts. Today I am going to break down if macarons, a popular dessert item, can qualify as a vegan dessert? And if not, how can it be made so.
Are Macarons vegan?
Macarons 2 are supposedly an easy recipe first made in France. It is basically a tiny cookie that is made by creaming egg whites and sugar and then mixed with almond flour and a nice flavoring agent like coconut 3. Their delicious and delicate nature causes these cookie-like snacks to melt right inside your mouth. Traditionally, a macaron is made with egg whites, butter, sugar, almond flour, vanilla extract, and cream of tartar and these ingredients are far from being vegan. The first step is to whip the egg whites along with a bit of sugar to form a meringue texture that is beaten to stiff peaks. This stage is crucial to forming the structure of the macaron. I wonder if any replacement to egg whites will give such stiff peaks. And there seem to be many vegan pastry chefs trying to do so 4 5. A unique ingredient called Aquafaba (or chickpea water) is the replacement for egg whites in a macaron.
What is Aquafaba?
Being a home-taught pastry chef myself, I recently bumped into Aquafaba and its preparation. And I tried it as well. Aquafaba is a recent exciting discovery and a perfectly healthy ingredient that you can use in your dessert. This is the starchy liquid that gets formed while cooking chickpeas in water. This liquid contains the maximum health benefit as the proteins from the chickpeas get drained into this. Being rich in protein, Aquafaba is a perfect replacement for egg whites. But more importantly is the fact that this ingredient when whipped can form soft high peaks, making the vegans all the more excited. 5 However, making aquafaba is not as simple as breaking an egg and separating its white. It requires time, effort, and a lot of patience.
The next most significant part of a macaron is its filling. To make a vegan filling, you have to use the cream from soaked cashews, along with coconut cream and maple syrup. Vanilla bean, lemon juice, and some salt are also used for flavoring it. This cream is devoid of the unhealthy fats from dairy cream and is also bustling with nutrients from the cashews and coconut cream 6.
Macaron alternative: Vegan pastry shops
If all this is too tough or time-consuming for you, you can always order from your bakery. Here is a list of boutiques that made vegan macarons. Pastreez in California 7, Karmacarons in New Orleans 8, Poeme Macarons in Colorado 9 have some incredible products and are delivering across the USA.
The final note
Well, in the end, when you are following a vegan diet, you have to put in an extra effort to prep your meals, source the right ingredients, check the product labels and find alternatives to popular recipes. And in the long run, your efforts will definitely pave off. So whether you are a vegan by choice because of diet issues, or a moral vegetarian trying to imbibe good environmental practices and end the suffering of animals, you should be really happy as macarons can be converted into a vegan delicacy. All it requires is Aquafaba and lots of patience.
Is veganism a sustainable concept?
Veganism is a really sustainable concept not just for your health but for the health of the planet as well. A plant-based diet and food choices are nourishing for the body, easily digestible, and the ones that give the ultimate energy source for your daily needs. Going vegan also helps in caring for the lives of animals, and minimizes the dangers of unethical animal husbandry. Animal rearing also depends on the increase in land use, an increase in fodder crops requirements, an increase in water requirements, and also greenhouse gas emissions. What you eat from your plate does impact the planet in a big way 10.
What will your choice be?
After checking out all these pros, will you switch to a vegan diet? Well for me, the pros are far too tempting, and the switch will happen, but at a pace that I am comfortable with. And I think each one is left to make their own choice. If you can make the switch today, you should and if you cannot, you can take your time, but at the end of the day, when we want a healthy body and a healthy planet, we should definitely look at VEGANISM.
- Watson, Donald (November 1944). “Issue No. 1”. The Vegan News. Archived from http://www.ukveggie.com/vegan_news on 13 April 2017. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
- Macaron Recipe. Preppy Kitchen, Accessed from https://preppykitchen.com/french-macarons/. Retrieved 21 March 2021
- Definition of Macaron, Merriam Webster Dictionary, Accessed from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/macaroon, Retrieved 21 March 2021
- Vegan Italian Macarons with Aquafaba, Cooking on Caffeine, Accessed from https://www.cookingoncaffeine.com/vegan-italian-macarons-aquafaba/ Retrieved 21 March 2021
- Aquafaba Meringues,Great British Chefs, Accessed from https://www.greatbritishchefs.com/recipes/aquafaba-meringues-recipe Retrieved 21 March 2021
- Vegan Macarons, Okonomi Kitchen, Accessed from https://okonomikitchen.com/vegan-macarons/ Retrieved 21 March 2021
- Pastreez, Accessed from https://pastreez.com/products/vegan-macarons, Retrieved 21 March 2021
- New Orleans Opens New French Vegan Macaron Shop! One Green Planet, Accessed from https://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/new-orleans-opens-new-french-vegan-macaron-shop/ Retrieved 21 March 2021
- Poeme Macarons, Accessed from https://poememacarons.com/ Retrieved 21 March 2021
- Why going vegan is one of the best things you can do for the environment, Forks over knives, Accessed from https://www.forksoverknives.com/wellness/vegan-diet-helps-environmental-sustainability/, Retrieved 21 March 2021