Vegan Chicken Recipe
This vegan chicken recipe is a great vegan chicken substitute for use in any recipe calling for chicken, or even just sliced for cold-cut sandwiches. If you’ve ever had Tofurky deli slices, you’ll love this.
A few years after I first went vegetarian, I remember trying to make seitan for the first time. I mixed and cooked it according to the recipe instructions. It came out nothing like I had hoped or wanted, it wasn’t very good. I then gave up trying to make seitan for a long time.
But that changed when I learned a great recipe and technique for making seitan, and why it needs to be done a certain way, and it was everything I’d been looking for.
I learned that, for the chicken-like texture that I wanted for mock meat, I had to use a food processor with a blade attachment and texturize the dough. That the longer you process the dough in a food processor or by kneading it, the more shreddy and meatier it gets. This is how fake meat brands add texture to their products for things like vegan chicken nuggets.
The best way for cooking this seitan is to steam it. This is for several reasons: steam is a hotter temperature than simmering water, you can’t really burn it with steam and it’s not losing moisture from baking in an oven. And, if it’s wrapped up, it won’t soak up any of that water and get soggy.
I like to make a big triple batch of this over the weekend, it usually lasts me most of the week. This vegan chicken recipe makes about one pound of vegan chicken. If you were to buy that much in prepackaged vegan turkey deli slices or frozen vegan chicken strips at the store, it would cost you around $10. This recipe typically costs me less than $3 a pound in ingredients. It’s very cost-effective to make yourself, which, in my opinion, justifies the expense of getting the equipment to make it. I also think it tastes better and has a better texture than the store-bought stuff. I use this recipe to make thinly sliced “turkey” sandwiches, I’ve shredded it for vegan pulled pork sandwiches, you can make Southern Vegan Fried Chicken, and I also use it for Vegan General Tso’s Chicken. The texture is what makes this seitan work great for those things.
What Is Vegan Chicken Made From?
Vegan chicken is a plant-based, high-protein, mock-meat substitute made from the protein(gluten) of wheat. For this reason, you sometimes might hear it referred to as wheat meat. It can also be called seitan. If made right, it’s delicious. It can have an amazing texture. It’s great for slicing, and shredding and makes awesome cold-cut sandwiches, stir-fries, and Vegan Fried Chicken.
For those that don’t have celiac disease, sensitivities, or allergies to specific ingredients it can be very healthy. It’s some of the leanest protein that you can eat, as it is very high in protein and low in fat and carbohydrates. If you’re allergic to soy, seitan is also a great soy-free option.
What Do You Need To Make Seitan?
- A gram scale to weigh the ingredients.
- A food processor that can handle making seitan.
- A way to steam it: I like to use a Ninja Foodi 14-in-1 Pressure Cooker, but you can also use Stackable Steamer Pots.
- Parchment paper and aluminum foil to wrap the seitan.
Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This means I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post, at no additional cost to you. This just allows me to continue sharing great recipes with you guys.
Other Seitan Recipes You Might Like
How To Make Seitan
To make this recipe, it’s just as much technique as it is ingredients so just follow these instructions step-by-step and you’ll have some awesome vegan chicken.
Start by whisking together the vital wheat gluten and pea protein. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flavoring mixture ingredients.
Add the liquid flavoring ingredients to the protein powder mixture and mix using a wooden spoon or your hand until it looks like the photo above. The goal here is just to mix the ingredients together.
In the next step, we are going to texturize the dough in smaller batches so as to not overwork your food processor.
Work in small batches and give the machine a break if you need to, seitan can be hard on food processors and if you’re not careful you can burn out the motor.
For your reference and to make an informed decision, I use a 15-cup 550-watt food processor and it sometimes even seems to struggle a bit. I don’t recommend using anything lower. If you’re shopping for one, I recommend getting one that is higher wattage than mine.
Break the seitan dough into smaller pieces, and add it to the food processor. Run the machine on high for about 30-45 seconds. You should notice a significant difference in the texture of the dough before processing, and after. The above is a picture for comparison, the dough on the left is before processing and the dough on the right is after.
You can texturize it however long you like, I recommend at least a minute on high. The longer you process it here the more shreddy and meat-like the seitan will be.
After texturizing the dough in a food processor, wet your hands and shape it into a smooth dough ball. Leave it to rest, covered, with a kitchen towel for about fifteen minutes to allow the gluten proteins to relax before the next step.
While you wait, this is a great time to clean out the food processor before the small bits inside start to dry.
I made a triple batch here so that’s why there are three doughs.
Coat your hands with a generous amount of vegetable oil, then roll and stretch the dough into a log that is approximately two feet in length.
This helps to stretch the proteins into long fibers.
Carefully knot the dough a few times until you get to the ends. Then tuck the ends into any of the knots you’ve made.
This taut knotting helps to lengthen and retain the protein fibers in the seitan throughout the steaming process.
Wrap the seitan with parchment paper like a burrito by placing the seitan at one corner of a square piece of parchment paper, rolling it one-third of the way towards the opposite corner, tucking the sides over the log, then finishing the roll.
Roll the aluminum foil differently. Place the parchment-wrapped seitan in one corner and roll it all the way to the far corner. Press the sides flat. Then, starting from each side, carefully and tightly fold those sides towards the seitan log. Repeat this process for the remaining two logs. This is to prevent any moisture from getting in and sogging the log of the seitan.
If you plan to use a pressure cooker, add two cups of water to the pressure cooker and place the wrapped seitan on the steamer rack. Pressure cook on high for an hour and ten minutes.
If you plan to use stackable steamer baskets for stovetop steaming, bring water to a boil in a pot and steam the wrapped seitan, covered, for at least an hour and a half.
This seitan chicken recipe is finished cooking when it is no longer jiggly-soft and the protein fibers have set. Once finished cooking, allow the seitan to completely cool. It will still be somewhat soft until it cools completely, whereas the seitan will then be pretty hard to the touch.
I hope you enjoy this seitan! Let me know what you make with it in the comments. There are so many possibilities. Here are some of my favorites:
Top left shows vegan fried chicken with French fries, top right shows vegan teriyaki chicken with rice and broccoli, bottom left shows a vegan BLT sandwich on sourdough(used a different flavoring mixture for that — coming sometime in the future!), bottom right shows a torn vegan turkey sandwich on sourdough.
Vegan Chicken Recipe (Seitan Chicken)
Makes about one pound.
- 138 grams of vital wheat gluten
- 42 grams of pea protein isolate
- 265ml water
- 5 grams of instant potato flakes
- 1 tablespoon mushroom seasoning
- 1/2 Tbsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vegetable oil, plus more for stretching
Add the flavoring mixture ingredients bowl or liquid measuring glass.
Whisk the protein powders, then add the flavoring mixture and mix with a fork or your hand to combine into a dough.
Add the dough to the food processor, breaking it up into smaller pieces as you do. Process on high for about a minute until texturized. The longer you process it the more texture you add, but give the machine a break as needed to prevent it from overheating the motor of your food processor.
With wet hands, remove it from the food processor and shape it into a ball. Leave it to rest, covered, for about 15 minutes to relax the gluten proteins for the next step.
Apply a generous amount of vegetable oil to your hands, and using your hands, oil the seitan. Then, carefully roll and stretch the seitan into a log that is approximately two feet long. Knot it a few times with taut knots into a knotted loaf, then tuck the ends into any of the knots that you made.
Roll the knotted seitan in parchment paper, then again in aluminum foil (as shown in the video above.)
Steam the wrapped seitan, covered, for at least an hour and a half while occasionally checking on the water levels to make sure it hasn’t evaporated. Or, if using a Ninja Foodi or other electric pressure cooker, add two cups of water with the steam rack and steam on high pressure for 1 hour and 10 minutes. When the time is up, use the valve to quick-release the pressure. You’ll know the chicken seitan is done cooking when it’s no longer “jiggly-soft” or “gummy,” but the log has become slightly harder like a dense loaf of bread.
Once finished cooking, allow the seitan to completely cool. It will still be somewhat soft until it cools completely, and then the seitan will then be pretty solid after cooling. Use this seitan in place of chicken in your favorite recipes. Enjoy!
If you enjoyed this recipe it would mean a great deal to me, and be the biggest compliment, if you shared the link with your friends.
Get the latest recipes delivered right to your inbox!
Tried it and liked it? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments below, or tweet me at @SpicedPalate! I’d love to hear from you.