Vegan Chicken: What It's Made Of, How to Make It, and Brands to Try
Meatless meals just got easier with vegan chicken. Here's what it's made of, brands to try, and a vegan chicken recipe to make at home.
Plant-based meat has come a long way over the years. There are now plant-based meat alternatives for everything, from beefless burgers to fishless fillets to vegan chicken.
While all of these animal-less proteins have made strides in terms of taste and texture, vegan chicken is now an option that can fool even the biggest meat-lovers in your life. Here's everything you should know before taking a bite, including how to make your own vegan chicken at home.
What Is Vegan Chicken Made Out Of?
Both homemade and store-bought vegan chicken are typically made with the same plant-based ingredients. You can easily get the same texture using tofu, jackfruit, pea protein, or seitan.
Those base ingredients, along with other filler ingredients (like flour, seasonings, and oils), are then shaped into chicken patties, chicken nuggets, and other chicken products. You can also find specialty items, like drumsticks and roasts.
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Is Vegan Chicken Healthy?
Not only is vegan chicken more sustainable, but it also tends to be healthier, as it's made primarily from plants and contains less saturated fat than animal products. With that being said, there are certainly store-bought vegan options that fall more along the lines of junk food, just like with traditional chicken-based products, that should be enjoyed in moderation.
Use your best judgment when looking for the right vegan chicken options for you. Some options to consider include those from the brands Daring, Upton's Naturals, Field Roast, Dr. Praeger's, Gardein, Tofurky, and No Evil Foods. You can also make your own vegan chicken at home using the instructions below.
How to Make Vegan Chicken
If the word "seitan" conjures images in your mind of devil horns and fire, think again. There are no pitchforks necessary—only real forks—when gobbling up this two-ingredient vegan chicken recipe that’s sure to please both you and the planet.
TikTok user Future Lettuce shared how to make his vegan chicken recipe in a video that has garnered more than 1.8 million likes. And it's safe to say most people are a mix of confused and amazed at how much something made with a base of flour and water gives you a final product that closely resembles the real deal.
Here's a little secret: He starts with water and flour, but his technique creates seitan. (Which is actually pronounced "say-tan," BTW.) While it's new to thousands of people who watched the video, it's been used as a plant-based meat alternative in Japan and China for centuries, where it was originally created by Buddhist monks. You start with a glutinous dough, but by the time you season it with spices and pan-fry it, you'll be left with a flavorful, crispy chicken texture.
More complex versions of this vegan chicken recipe exist, like making realistic chicken wings by wrapping the dough around a pasta "bone." (Genius, right?) But for a quick fix or a novice in the kitchen, this is a great place to start.
Follow along with Future Lettuce's instructions below to try the vegan chicken recipe for yourself.
2-Ingredient Vegan Chicken Recipe
Adapted from Future Lettuce's recipe
1. Combine plain flour and water in a bowl, using a 2:1 ratio. Knead until you form a ball of dough.
2. Cover and let the dough rest for one hour at room temperature.
3. Add fresh water to the bowl, kneading again. Rinse, then knead again. This gets rid of the starch. Continue this process until the water is nearly—but not fully—clear.
4. Set your dough on a clean plate and add seasonings to your liking. He used salt, pepper, garlic, and paprika.
5. Cover and rest for one hour at room temperature.
6. Either twist and knot the dough to make a chicken breast, like in the video above. Or, break it up into smaller pieces.
7. Simmer in a few cups of vegetable broth for 45 minutes, allowing the dough to absorb the flavor and develop a chicken-like texture.
8. Pan-fry it to create a crispy "skin," air-fry it, or prepare it however you please.
9. Enjoy your vegan chicken recipe!
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