Vegan chicken made from scratch with vital wheat gluten aka seitan. Super flavorful, high in protein and perfectly spiced with wonderful texture.
So how’s this? You can make your own vegan chicken.
And it tastes…. like chicken. What is this sorcery?
Well, you’re not going to be confusing it with actual chicken, don’t worry about that.
But it has that perfect chewy seitan texture and it’s spiced and flavored to be similar to chicken, but not exactly.
It is super damn delicious in its own right though.
And it’s actually really easy too. There are a couple of things to get the hang of, but on the whole, easy peasy. If you like vegan ‘meats’ then check out our vegan bacon, vegan sausages and vegan salami too.
How to make Vegan Chicken
I was inspired to make this after making our vegan steak, though it took me a while to get around to it. The steak was so easy and so good, and I thought well, vegan chicken can’t be too hard to make in that case and I was totally right.
In fact, it’s even easier to make this vegan chicken recipe because it has fewer ingredients and fewer steps than the steak does.
You start off by adding some chickpeas, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, coriander powder, dried sage, vegan chicken spice or vegan poultry seasoning and dijon mustard to your food processor. Then you add in some vegan chicken stock.
Then you just blitz that in the food processor.
Top Tip: I found it really easy to get vegan chicken stock and vegan chicken spice. The one I used is a local brand called Ina Paarman’s but if you read the ingredients of whatever you have locally you might be surprised to find that more than a few are vegan already.
Pour it out into a mixing bowl and add some Vital Wheat Gluten. This is what creates that amazing texture.
It can also be called gluten powder or gluten flour in some countries.
Mix it in quickly with a spoon and then right away get in there with your hands and knead it into a big ball. Don’t knead for too long. We’re talking kneading it just a few times in your hands until it goes from soft and sticky to just starting to get firm.
Flatten it out on a cutting board and cut it into 4 pieces. Wrap each piece loosely in foil (they expand while they cook) and steam for 20 minutes.
When they are steamed, you’ll notice they are nice and fat and puffed out.
This works great for vegan steak but for our chicken it’s better to be a bit thinner, so then you slice them lengthways along the middle so that you have 8 vegan chicken fillets.
Vegan Chicken From Scratch!
Rub some vegan chicken spice into the fillets. Just eyeball the amount. I just sprinkled on a little and used my hands to rub it in on both sides of the fillets.
Then add some vegan butter to a frying pan – you can also use oil but I liked the taste of vegan butter for this – and fry them a few minutes each side until golden brown and crispy on both sides.
I did it in two batches and my pan is quite large, so I reckon you will likely need to do two batches as well.
Add some more vegan butter to the frying pan before doing the next four fillets the same way. And then you’re ready to serve.
Vegan Chicken Recipe Q&A
How do you serve these vegan chicken fillets?
Serve them with some fresh lemon and chopped parsley. A little sprinkle of salt and black pepper is great too. Jaye likes a little vegan mayo with his as well. Absolutely delish!
If you want to cut them up so you have vegan chicken strips to put into a wrap or something like that, then that works great too.
Can I make these gluten-free?
Unfortunately not this particular recipe. The vital wheat gluten is a crucial ingredient here and creates the texture. If you are gluten sensitive then try this recipe from One Green Planet for gluten-free vegan chicken.
How long do they last?
At least a week in the fridge.
Can I freeze them?
Yes you can! However, it might be best to freeze them after steaming (let them cool first), and then thaw in the fridge, and then rub in the spice and fry them up as usual in the vegan butter.
Mine tasted good but they were quite tough and chewy. What did I do wrong?
You kneaded the dough for too long.
You want to literally just knead it a few times, like a few flips over and presses with your hand until it forms a ball of dough that has just begun to firm up.
Pressing the dough down onto your board so you can cut it into four pieces also counts as ‘kneading’ in a sense, so you just want to tread lightly in the kneading department so that you get a good texture here that is not too chewy.
The opposite is also true, if your fillets end up too soft and you’d like the texture to be a little more firm, then knead the dough a little bit more the next time.
More Vegan ‘Meat’ and Seitan Recipes
- 3/4 cup Canned Chickpeas (123g) Drained
- 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast (15g)
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
- 1/4 tsp Coriander Powder
- 1/2 tsp Dried Sage
- 2 tsp Vegan Chicken Spice or Vegan Poultry Seasoning
- 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
- 3/4 cup Vegan Chicken Stock (180ml)
- 1 and 1/2 cups Vital Wheat Gluten (225g)
- Vegan Butter or sub oil
- Vegan Chicken Spice to rub into fillets
- Fresh Lemon
- Fresh Parsley
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper
- Add the chickpeas, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, coriander powder, sage, vegan chicken spice and dijon mustard to the food processor along with the vegan chicken stock and process until well mixed.
- Pour this out into a mixing bowl and add the vital wheat gluten. Stir it in with a spoon and then almost immediately get in there with your hands to mix it properly and knead just a few times. You just want it to go from soft and sticky to just starting to become firm.*
- Transfer to a cutting board and flatten it out before cutting into 4 pieces. Wrap these 4 pieces in foil (loosely, they expand while steaming) and place into a steamer and steam for 20 minutes.
- When they have finished steaming, let them cool for a few minutes and then unwrap them from the foil.
- Cut each fillet lengthways down the middle (see photos) so that you have 8 fillets.
- Sprinkle them with vegan chicken spice and rub in with your fingers.
- Heat some vegan butter* and then fry the fillets in the butter, turning over regularly until browned and crispy on both sides. Depending on the size of your pan you will likely have to do this in two batches.
- Serve with fresh parsley and fresh lemon, and a sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper.
- It's okay if there is a little vital wheat gluten left at the bottom of the bowl that doesn't mix in. Definitely don't knead too long just because you're trying to get everything mixed in.
- I used 1 Tbsp vegan butter per batch and I fried them up in 2 batches, you might want to use more or less, you can also substitute for oil but I really like the flavor blend with vegan butter.