New vegans often struggle with giving up commonly consumed meats like chicken. After all, not many know that there are vegan replacements for most non-vegan foods, including chicken.
Vegan chicken has a similar texture as real chicken, making it easier to transition into this diet. Making vegan chicken is surprisingly easy, and many delicious plant-based chicken recipes can satisfy your taste buds.
This article provides the steps for making vegan chicken and also speaks of why vegan chicken may be a healthier option than regular poultry chicken.
How to make vegan chicken at home?
Vegan chicken, also known as plant-based “chicken,” is a popular vegan alternative to animal-based poultry chicken. It usually consists of a combination of plant proteins such as seitan, wheat gluten, and soy products that have been seasoned and formed into the shape of a traditional chicken cutlet or nugget.
There are many options when it comes to preparing vegan chicken, including seitan, tofu, chickpeas, white beans, and jackfruit.
Seitan, which is made from wheat gluten, is probably the most popular option as it has a texture that resembles real chicken and can be cooked in various ways.
A vegan chicken step-by-step guide
Step 1: Gather the ingredients you need to make the base- seitan (wheat gluten).
- Vital wheat gluten
- Nutritional yeast flakes
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Salt and pepper
- Vegetable stock or water to bind the ingredients together.
- Olive oil
Step 2: Make the seitan dough
Once you have your ingredients gathered together, mix them into a dough. Start by combining the vital wheat gluten with nutritional yeast and spices until they are evenly distributed throughout the mixture. Then slowly add in either vegetable stock or water until a dough forms. Add 2 tbsp of oil and knead the dough for about five minutes until it forms an elastic texture. You can add the mix to a food processor instead of kneading it with your hands.
Step 3: Shape your vegan chicken
Now that you have your seitan dough, shape it into something resembling a piece of chicken breast or cubed thigh meat.
To make it appear like chicken breast, flatten the dough, fold one side over the other, and seal the edges.
To make it look like cubed chicken thigh meat, use your hands to roll the dough and cut the pieces into small cubes.
Step 4: Cooking the vegan chicken
Use a sheet of foil to wrap the pieces of “chicken,” and place them in a steamer for 30-35 mins.
After it is cooked, remove it from the steamer and let it sit out for a few mins. Remove the foil carefully and use the cooked seitan, as chicken is normally used.
Easy vegan chicken recipes
Here are some of the best vegan chicken recipes you can make using your homemade seitan:
1. Vegan chicken nuggets
This vegan chicken recipe is simple and easy to make. Tofu is high in protein and low in saturated fat. Although traditionally, nuggets are considered unhealthy, making them with tofu can make it a great healthy and kid-friendly appetizer.
For the nuggets:
- 1 package of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed.
- 1 cup cornflakes.
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder.
- ½ teaspoon onion powder.
- 3 tablespoons of soy sauce.
- 3 tablespoons of cornstarch.
- 1 cup of cornflakes
- 1/2 cup of any plant-based milk of your choice.
- 1 cup of rocket leaves.
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- 50gm of vegan mayo (or any other dip of your choice.)
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a baking sheet with some oil.
- Cut up the tofu into small nugget-sized pieces.
- Mix the garlic powder, onion powder, soy sauce, cornstarch, salt, pepper, and plant-based milk in a bowl until it forms a thick batter.
- Dip each piece of tofu in the batter and let it marinate for 10-15 minutes.
- Add the cornflakes, the remaining seasoning, and salt and pepper to a food processor.
- Pulse until the cornflakes are coarse.
- Place the cornflakes in a bowl/plate and roll the marinated tofu in it.
- Place the tofu on the greased baking sheet and bake each side for 10-15 minutes until fully golden.
- Serve with your favorite dipping sauce, or use vegan mayo.
- Use the rocket leaves as a garnish or have them as a salad on the side.
2. Vegan fried chicken cutlets
The vegan fried chicken cutlets are a great way to enjoy simple, delicious, and vegan-friendly fried chicken. It’s also packed with nutrition from the chickpea flour and quinoa used in this dish.
- 1 ½ cups of cooked quinoa.
- 1 cup of chickpea flour.
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder.
- 1 teaspoon onion powder.
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- 1 cup water.
- 1 cup breadcrumbs.
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
- 5 tablespoons of vegetable oil/ vegan butter.
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.
- Combine the quinoa, flour, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and spices in a bowl. Mix them until everything is evenly combined.
- Steadily add in the water to make it into a dough.
- Allow it to rest for 10 mins.
- Combine cornstarch and some water and make a slurry and keep it aside.
- Make small flat patties of the dough.
- Dip the patties in the cornstarch mix and coat them with the breadcrumbs.
- Form 8-10 cutlets from the mix (3-4 mm thick).
- Heat oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Add the cutlets to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
- Flip each cutlet over and cook for 2-3 minutes on the other side.
- Serve the vegan fried chicken cutlets with your favorite dipping sauce.
3. Seitan chicken stir-fry
Vegan chicken stir fry is full of flavors and loaded with nutrition from the delicious seitan, veggies, and garlic sauce. It’s a great meal to have when you are looking for something homely and healthy.
- 6 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
- 4 cloves garlic, minced.
- 1 cup seitan chicken cubes or thickly shredded seitan chicken.
- 2 cups mixed vegetables (carrots, peppers, mushrooms).
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce.
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar.
- 1 ounce of cashews.
- 1 cup of steamed rice.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add garlic and stir for 1 minute, then add the seitan chicken cubes/shredded chicken and cook until lightly browned.
- Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Heat the remaining oil in the wok and add vegetables and cashews.
- Add soy sauce and vinegar to the veggies.
- Stir fry it for 2 minutes until the veggies are lightly cooked.
- Add the seitan chicken back to the pan and stir-fry for 1 minute more.
- Serve with steamed rice or quinoa.
Note: If you don’t have seitan, you can use tofu as a vegan chicken alternative.
4. Vegan chicken breast with grilled vegetables
This vegan version of roasted chicken breast is a delicious and healthy way to enjoy the classic dish without any animal products. The vegetables provide a depth of flavor that perfectly complements the vegan chicken, making it an ideal Christmas meal.
- 1-2 vegan seitan chicken breasts.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- 2 tablespoons of rosemary and dried thyme.
- 2 cups assorted vegetables (zucchini, bell peppers, onion, leafy greens).
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Season the vegan chicken breast with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Place it in a shallow baking dish and season.
- Drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle with rosemary and thyme.
- Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat.
- Chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces, then add them to the hot pan and cook until lightly browned and tender.
- Remove the vegan chicken breast from the oven and top it with the grilled vegetables.
- Serve with a side of your favorite sauce or salad.
Is vegan chicken healthier than regular chicken?
Yes, vegan chicken is generally much healthier than regular chicken. This is because vegan chicken does not contain any cholesterol or saturated fat, unlike traditional chicken.
However, several other factors also contribute to making vegan chicken healthier:
Lower in calories
Vegan chicken is often made with plant-based proteins like tofu, jackfruit, and seitan which have high levels of nutrition and are low in calories. Thus, vegan chicken can provide a good source of protein without extra calories.
For instance, 100gms of chicken has 165kcal U.S. Department of Agriculture: Chicken, broilers or fryers, breast, meat only, cooked, roasted and 31gms of protein. In contrast, 100gms of tofu has 144kcal U.S. Department of Agriculture: Tofu, raw, firm, prepared with calcium sulfate and 17.3gm of protein.
Vegan chicken can be made with whole grains and legumes like soy, chickpeas, and white beans, which contain more fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than processed meat.
For instance, 100gm chickpeas have 7.6g of total dietary fiber U.S. Department of Agriculture: Chickpeas (garbanzo beans, bengal gram), mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt. In comparison, 100 gms of chicken has 0 gm of total dietary fiber. Fiber Mayo Clinic: Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet aids in digestion, weight management, and maintaining a healthy gut.
Regular poultry chicken is one of the primary causes of Salmonella Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Salmonella and Food infection. Vegan chicken products do not pose the same risk of Salmonella infection as regular chicken, making it a safer and healthier alternative.
Making your own vegan “chicken” at home is easier than expected. You can craft an authentic-tasting plant-based dish with just a few simple ingredients and creative shaping techniques. Ensure to follow the steps mentioned above.
With vegan chicken, the transition into veganism will become a lot easier. Meanwhile, you will also find your health benefiting from this change.
|↑1||U.S. Department of Agriculture: Chicken, broilers or fryers, breast, meat only, cooked, roasted|
|↑2||U.S. Department of Agriculture: Tofu, raw, firm, prepared with calcium sulfate|
|↑3||U.S. Department of Agriculture: Chickpeas (garbanzo beans, bengal gram), mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt|
|↑4||Mayo Clinic: Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet|
|↑5||Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Salmonella and Food|