From left to right: Andrea Lauridsen, Reem El-Moussa og Sarah Nyrup. Photo: Mikal Schlosser

Chickpea cooking water recycled to make a vegan dessert

Monday 20 May 19



A vegan mousse based on chickpea cooking water—aquafaba—won the competition for innovative and sustainable foods.

A vegan dessert based on reusing chickpea cooking water won first place in DTU’s food innovation competition Ecotrophelia. Vegan desserts are a rarity, and the winning mousse—Vegan Delicious, with raspberry or chocolate flavour—will be the first of its kind to hit the shelves if the students decide to market their product.

“The project arose out of a very simple desire—that we’d like to be able to buy a vegan mousse in the shops. It hasn’t reached the shelves yet, but it has been a fantastic process creating a brand new product. The most important lesson we’ve learned is that you have to be persistent in pursuing your own ideas,” says Andrea Lauridsen, who is studying for an MSc Eng in Food Technology at DTU, and one of the four students behind Vegan Delicious.

The development of the dessert has taken place under the auspices of DTU’s innovation programme the Blue Dot project, where students spend three months working on a project from concept development to production and marketing.

The Blue Dot project presentations and exam closely resemble product presentations as part of the Ecotrophelia competition. Five teams participated in this year’s competition, and were assessed by judges from DTU Skylab FoodLab and DTU Food.

Andrea Lauridsen says that the innovative part of the project has involved finding good vegan products to replace the gelatine derived from boiled animal bones which is normally used in conventional mousses.

Aquafaba can easily be whipped into a foam, but as the foam collapses after a short time, the challenge has been finding other ingredients to support it. The choice fell on the vegan jelly agent agar, which is extracted from seaweed, and the team managed to create a product which, unopened, can be kept in the fridge for 10 days and for five days after opening.

In the Vegan Delicious group’s 10-minute pitch for the Ecotrophelia competition, the students said they could buy 1,000 litres of aquafaba from Urtekram (Scandinavia’s largest organic wholesaler), and thus produce 50,000 desserts in the first year alone.

At the DTU competition, it was obvious that the vegan mousse had been well received by the three-judge jury panel, although one of them suggested the students reduce the amount of added sugar, because that is one of the parameters in the European Ecotrophelia competition. Here, the students will represent Denmark in October, and compete for a first prize totalling EUR 5,000.

Blue Dot Projects

DTU Blue Dot is a three-month programme in which the students work as engineers. They work across semesters, curricula, and study programmes with a task which goes beyond the individual curriculum or semester, and which is potentially of great benefit to society.

Students’ engineering skills come into play when participating in a Blue Dot project, where they tackle all the various steps from concept development to production and use. The projects bring theory into play, and develop the students’ technical and personal competences.

The Blue Dot projects are largely driven by the DTU students themselves, who volunteer their time and commitment to the assignment, which span everything from developing eco-cars and synthetic biology to foods, beer production, and an annual competition with robots.