It’s finally here, vegan chicken! If you love Tofurky, you are going to love this recipe! The result is a super tender “Chick’n” with a very meaty and fibrous texture, this plant-based chicken recipe will blow your mind! Get ready for something meaty Plant Based Chicken Recipe!
After taking a look at the ingredients of Tofurky, I found out they were using tofu as the second ingredient. Tofu actually does a lot, it makes the seitan less chewy, more tender, and gives it a better texture overall.
The thing with seitan is that the final texture can be completely different based on how you knead it and how you cook it. For this recipe, you absolutely want to knead it for a long time to develop a fibrous texture, and then cook it wrapped in foil so it doesn’t expand or develop a spongy texture.
There are many recipes that call for chickpeas or navy beans to add tenderness to seitan, the thing is I didn’t want to add beans because I find them a bit hard to digest sometimes. So I stick to wheat gluten + tofu + seasonings + a secret ingredient to replace the beans: jackfruit!
🍗 How to Make Vegan “Chicken”
This plant-based chicken recipe requires just 6 ingredients! Here is what you will need:
- Tofu – It helps a lot with the texture, making the seitan slightly less elastic, and more tender.
- Jackfruit – Use young green jackfruit. It is sold in cans in most Asian stores, or can be found online. We are not using jackfruit for its texture here since it will be puréed with the other ingredients. Jackfruit adds tenderness to the seitan and makes it less chewy, which is usually a problem with seitan.
- Vital wheat gluten – Wheat gluten is essential to get a fibrous and meaty texture!
- Oil – For richness, and to prevent the dough from being too sticky.
- Salt – For flavor.
- Seasoning – I only went with onion powder, but feel free to add chicken or poultry seasoning.
Preparing the dough
The first step is to blend the tofu with the water, jackfruit, salt, and a couple of tablespoons of oil until very smooth.
Next, transfer the mixture to a stand mixer and add the vital wheat gluten. You want to knead the seitan for at least 20 minutes for it to develop a fibrous texture. If you don’t knead enough, the seitan won’t have that meaty texture.
Note: I highly recommend using a stand mixer, do not use a food processor, please! I broke the blade of mine when testing this recipe. The dough is very elastic so it won’t work well in a food processor.
Cooking the Seitan
Once your dough has developed a nice texture, it’s time to cook it. I’m sharing two ways to do so: in a pressure cooker or in the Instant Pot. Wrap the dough tightly in two sheets of aluminum foil and pressure cook for about 30 minutes. A quick note: the seitan is pressure cooked in water, not steamed.
Once your seitan chicken is cooked, let it cool completely before shredding it, or cutting into the desired shape. I highly recommend letting the seitan cool in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before shredding it.
You can shred the chick’n by simply pulling the seitan with my hands, cut it into pieces, or make “chicken breasts” if you prefer!
Look at that fibrous and meaty texture!
At this point the chicken is not flavored, so you will need to add flavor with a marinade. I’m sharing 6 marinades in the notes, but feel free to experiment!
This chick’n is super tender, very meaty and has that fibrous texture that is so similar to chicken! Thanks to the tofu and seitan, it is also very high in protein (28g per serving!).
🥪 Where to Use Vegan Chicken
This vegan chick’n is extremely versatile, it can be baked, sautéed, or grilled. You can use it:
- In salads: Simply shred it and add it to your favorite salads.
- In curries: Add shredded chick’n at the beginning of cooking if you want it to soak up the flavors of the sauce and become very tender. Add at the end if you want a slightly firmer texture.
- In pasta dishes: Finely shredded, sautéed, and added to spicy noodles, yum!
- In stir-fries: Marinade your chick’n before adding it to stir-fried vegetables.
- In sandwich: Thinly sliced, and combined with lettuce, vegan mayo, or paté.
- To make vegan chicken nuggets:
- In soups (hey vegan chicken noodle soup!), bakes, and so much more!
- Which type of tofu should I use for this recipe? For the best results, you want to use a medium tofu.
- Can I substitute the jackfruit? Some readers had success using drained cooked navy beans (use about 7 ounces of drained beans).
- Can I add more flavorings to the dough? Yes! This recipe gives you a base and the result has a very mild flavor, allowing you to marinade and season it afterwards. However, if you want to add chicken or poultry seasoning directly to the dough, feel free to do so!
- Can I use this vegan chicken to make nuggets? Of course!
- Is the aluminum foil essential? If you don’t want the aluminum to touch the dough, you can first wrap the dough in parchment paper.
- How long does vegan chicken keep? Vegan chicken will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
The Best Vegan Chick’n
- ▢9 ounces medium tofu
- ▢1 20-ounce can young green jackfruit
- ▢⅔ cup water (for extra flavor, use vegetable broth and omit the salt)
- ▢2 tablespoon oil
- ▢¾ teaspoon salt
- ▢¾ teaspoon onion powder
- ▢¾ cup + 2 tbsp vital wheat gluten (I used vital wheat gluten with a 83% protein content)
- ▢¼ cup all-purpose flour
Drain and rinse the tofu. Pat it dry very well with kitchen paper towels. Add it to a high-speed blender. Drain and rinse the young jackfruit, remove the hardcore parts and discard. Add the jackfruit to the blender. Note: after removing the hardcore parts of the jackfruit, you should end up with about 7 ounces (200g) of jackfruit.
Add the water, oil, salt, and onion powder to the blender and blend on high speed for about 30 seconds, or until very smooth.
Transfer the wet mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater/paddle. Add the vital wheat gluten and all-purpose flour. Knead on speed 2 for about 5 minutes.
At first it will look very wet, that is normal. Keep kneading. Once it’s starting to turn into a dough, replace the flat beater with the dough hook and keep kneading on speed 2 for at least 20 minutes. This may seem like a long time but it’s essential to get a very fibrous texture. Make sure you stay near the stand mixer as it will probably move. The dough will be soft and slightly sticky. Again, this is normal, you don’t want the dough to be too firm.
Once the dough has a fibrous texture, divide it into two balls. Shape each balls into a log and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Wrap in a second layer of foil.
Fill a pressure cooker (or Instant Pot) with cold water to the ⅔ (about 3 liters). Place the seitan logs in the pressure cooker. The logs will be submerged in water.
If using a pressure cooker: heat over medium heat, once it is under pressure, cook for 30 minutes.
If using an Instant Pot: set to Manual Pressure Cook and set the time to 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, release the pressure. Carefully remove the seitan rolls from the cooker and let them cool completely.
Once cold, remove the rolls from the aluminum foil, transfer to a plate and cover with plastic film. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. I found out that chilling in the refrigerator for a few hours gives it a more fibrous, meatier texture.
Next, using your hands, shred/pull the seitan chicken into bite-size pieces (or larger pieces!). You can now use it in any recipe! I recommend preparing a marinade before stir-frying or baking to add more flavor.
Chick’n will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Marinades (For about 1 and ½ cup of shredded chick’n):
Olive oil & Thyme: Combine 2 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1 minced clove of garlic in a bowl.
Coconut Yogurt Curry: Combine ¼ cup coconut yogurt, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 2 teaspoon maple syrup, 1 teaspoon curry powder, ¼ teaspoon chili, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a bowl.
Teriyaki: Combine 2 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 tablespoon white rice vinegar, 1 minced clove of garlic, and 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil in a bowl.
Sesame & Peanut: Combine ¼ cup crunchy peanut butter, 3 tablespoon coconut milk, 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 1 teaspoon maple syrup in a bowl.
Five-Spice: Combine 3 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon coconut sugar, ½ teaspoon five-spice powder, ½ teaspoon Korean chili flakes, and 1 teaspoon oil in a bowl.
Smoky BBQ: Combine 3 tablespoon ketchup, 1 tablespoon coconut sugar, 2 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon white vinegar, ½ teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce, and 1 minced clove of garlic in a bowl.
I recommend you let the chick’n marinate for at least 1 hour, and up to 24 hours.