This vegan whipped cream (can also be called a vegan meringue or whipped egg whites) is truly an amazing technique to learn for all kinds of cooking. You will see the slimy mucilage of the linseed (otherwise known as flaxseed) turn into a light fluffy and delicious whipped cream/meringue.
Now I have mentioned before that I am in no way vegan. But as an ardent carnivore, I recognise the importance for all of us to eat less meat products, and I certainly thank every vegan for taking the pressure off the high environmental impact and often cruel meat industry.
I also think it is important for us all to get more from our nuts, seeds and vegetables as the amazing foods that they are. This vegan whipped cream/meringue is a great method to use in all kinds of cooking in place of eggs and cream regardless of whether or not you are vegan or dairy free. And even though the linseeds are cooked it is also a very good method to use in raw recipes.
This recipe provides a product that is slightly different from the thing that it is trying to emulate but equally delicious and certainly as nutritious and more healthy for many who have to avoid dairy or high fat/cholesterol.
You may not know this already, but linseeds have an amazing property – if you soak them in water for a while you will notice the water thickening. This is because linseeds are covered in a mucilage that swells when it comes into contact with water and is designed to provide food and nutrients for the seed as it sprouts.
The mucilage is high in omega-3 forming DHA and contains calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and phosphorus. The mucilage also consists of a bunch of polysaccarides (long stands of sugars) that are chemically attracted to each other. This is what makes the linseed mucilage pretty much the same consistency as egg white and helps it hold your food together as good as egg white will.
The linseed mucilage does not have the same amount of protein as an egg white – which is the main thing that gives egg white (aka albumen) its structure when whipped. But surprisingly and amazingly the linseed mucilage can be whipped in pretty much the same way as an egg white to make a very similar product – a white airy substance that can be folded into baking.
The mucilage can also act as an amazing binder in cooking much like an egg white. The only real difference is that the whipped linseed mucilage will not really hold shape when heated. So the reference to meringue is in terms of an uncooked meringue. But add a little vanilla essence and sugar and I promise you that you will have a perfectly delicious and light vegan whipped cream.
Here is the method for vegan whipped cream/meringue:
- Add 9 times the volume of water to linseeds (for example add 3 cups of water to 1/3 cup of linseed) – you can also use chia seeds for this, although they are more expensive and harder to separate from the mucilage.
- Simmer on a low heat for about 10-15 minutes until it has lost 1/3 of its volume.
I have experimented just soaking linseeds in water for a couple of hours for those people who want to use this in raw recipes and are bothered by the cooking process (although very little nutrients are lost in this case). It is possible but you get far less mucilage from your linseeds. So you would add a water/linseed ratio of about 1:1 and even then you won’t get that much mucilage in the end result. But it is possible!
- Strain through a sieve and leave for a couple of minutes so most of the mucilage strains off from the linseeds. At this stage you should be left with a slightly brown see through slimy ingredient. This is the mucilage.
- Now start whipping the linseed mucilage. You really really need an electric beater for this. Trust me, I tried using a hand held beater the first time I tried this and it took me an hour and half of beating to get half way to the end result before I gave up. With an electric beater you will need to beat for about 25 minutes. This will be quicker if you have a powerful beater.
- By the end the mucilage will look much like whipped egg and have a soft peak. You can whip it another 5-10 minutes for a hard peak.
- Add a litte sugar and vanilla essence for a taste of whipped cream. Icing sugar will give you the most authentic taste, but I like to use coconut sugar which darkens the colour a little.
- The vegan whipped cream (or meringue) can be kept in the fridge for up to a week. It will need whipping again for about 5 minutes to bring it back to the right consistency if you have put in into the fridge.
- And a final tip for fussy people is not to taste the vegan whipped cream until it has reached a soft peak. Before this point it will have a slight slimy texture. But once it is done, I assure you, that this will be gone.
And there you have it, a super nutritious, fat-free vegan whipped cream that can be used to replace whipped egg whites in many recipes to give air to baking and help hold it together. I love using it in raw recipes to give some structure and lift to uncooked, wheat free desserts.