This is the best vegan chicken recipe because it’s so easy to make and boasts a fantastic texture and flavor. Serve it as fillets or as part of your plant-based dinners like stir-fries, and more!
There was a day when making my own vegan chicken meat seemed impossible. Then my plant-based cooking school covered seitan. Now I’m on the other side of that learning curve, and I’m happy to say it’s easier than you think. In fact, this recipe comes together so quickly, it’s amazing. The hardest thing about vegan chicken recipes is finding the vital wheat gluten, and I’ve got a link in the recipe that has you covered!
- Adding chickpeas to the base creates a moist texture to every bite
- Nutritional yeast flakes combined with poultry seasoning add a savory umami flavor.
- Wrapping the loaf in foil before baking prevents the vital wheat gluten from expanding as it cooks, creating a compressed loaf with the perfect firm texture.
What is Vital Wheat Gluten?
Gluten is the main protein of a wheat berry found in the endosperm. When gluten is separated from wheat, you’re left with vital wheat gluten, a flour-like substance that is used in a lot of vegan and vegetarian recipes. It is referred to as “wheat meat” because of it’s similar texture to meat. As a result, it’s often used to make vegetarian meat substitutes. It can also be added to yeast breads to improve the texture and volume of yeast breads.
What You Need
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
Here’s the simple list of ingredients for this recipe:
- Canned chickpeas — We’ll be using cooked chickpeas to add both structure and flavor
- Bouillon Base + water — If you have a preferred, high-quality vegetable broth, then go for it — however, I recommend Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base (see link in recipe) because it delivers consistent high-quality broth
- Nutritional yeast flakes — I love using this for the flavor (here’s more on nutritional yeast flakes, including where to buy it)
- Olive oil — adding just a touch of olive oil adds tenderness and moisture to this plant-based meat
- Onion + garlic powder — this savory duo adds delicious flavor
- Poultry seasoning — believe it or not, there is no poultry in poultry seasoning. It’s simply a delicious combination of spices
- Vital wheat gluten — it’s quite possible you’ve never worked with vital wheat gluten before, but it’s a simple flour-like substance used to create vegan meat products. You can usually find it at health food stores like Sprouts and Natural Grocers or online.
How to Make Vegan Chicken
It’s easier than you think to make your own plant-based chicken.
Here are the steps to make it:
- Create the base by pulsing chickpeas, water, oil, bouillon, onion powder, garlic powder, and poultry seasoning in a food processor until smooth.
- Stir together the base and the vital wheat gluten. Gently “knead” the mixture in the bowl, only until just combined.
- Shape the dough into a loaf and cut it into four pieces. Wrap the pieces in foil and bake for 45 to 50 minutes.
- Use tongs to remove them from the oven when they’re done.
- Once they’re cool enough to handle, remove the foil. Place on a cutting board and cut each to create 8 fillets.
Here’s more detailed step-by-step instructions:
Step One: Create the Chickpea Paste
We’re going to be making a chickpea paste to serve as the base. To do this, add chickpeas to a food processor with water, oil, bouillon, onion powder, garlic powder, and poultry seasoning.
Process this mixture for about 30 seconds and then use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then blend again in pulses until the mixture is smooth.
Step Two: Add Vital Wheat Gluten
Transfer the chickpea mixture to a bowl and add the vital wheat gluten. Use a rubber spatula to stir the ingredients together. That will work at the beginning but eventually, it’s best to use your hands to make sure it’s well combined.
You’ll be “stirring” and gently “kneading” the mixture in the bowl until it’s just combined and none of the powdery vital wheat gluten is visible.
Step Two: Create Loaves
Turn the dough out onto a cutting board and shape it into an oval loaf. Use a serrated knife to cut it into four pieces. Next, wrap the four pieces in foil and use tongs to place them in the oven. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.
Once they’re done, use tongs to remove them from the oven. They are still pretty hot, so leave them in the foil and set them aside to cool.
Once the loaves are cool enough to handle, remove the foil. Place each loaf on a cutting board and cut each down the middle, lengthwise, to create 8 fillets.
Once your vegan mock chicken is done, wrap the fillets in waxed paper or foil, or store them in a sealable container. Keep this in the fridge for up to 4–5 days. Or they can be frozen for up to 2–3 months.
What is vegetarian chicken made of?
Vegetarian chicken is made from a variety of ingredients, but the most popular recipes call for vital wheat gluten or ‘wheat meat.’ It creates a great texture and is a low-calorie, low-carb ingredient to work with.
Is Vital Wheat Gluten bad for you?
Vital Wheat Gluten is created when wheat flour is combined with water and kneaded to activate the gluten. After that, the starches are rinsed away to reveal only the gluten. What’s left is vital wheat gluten, a relatively healthy, low carb, and low-calorie product that can be transformed into vegan meat.
Here’s my favorite way to serve vegan chicken fillets.
Lemon Herb Sauce
- Add vegan butter to a skillet over medium heat. Once the butter melts, add the fillets and sauté for about 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Then use tongs to transfer them to a plate.
- Add some more vegan butter to the skillet and add minced garlic. Cook for a minute until the garlic is tender. Then add broth, lemon juice, and lemon zest. You can also add thin lemon slices too.
- Stir to the sauce ingredients and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the top and use a spatula to stir it into the sauce until it thickens.
- Add the vegan fillets back to the skillet, spooning the sauce over the top. Cook this all together for a few minutes until they’re heated through.
More Serving Ideas
You can use these vegan chicken fillets in other recipes that call for chicken. For example, you can cut them into strips and make this vegan taquitos recipe. You can also chop it into chunks and make it into meatless chicken salad.
You can also bread the fillets into vegan parmesan cutlets and serve it over pasta. As you can see, there are so many ways to use seitan chicken recipes!
Great Vegan Sides
Serve these tasty vegan side dishes with any of vegan chicken fillets:
Vegan Chicken Fillets
Lemon Garlic Sauce
- 3 tablespoons vegan butter divided
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (1 – 2 cloves)
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon Better than Bouillon Vegetarian
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon dried chives
For the Vegan Chicken Fillets
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Add chickpeas to a food processor with the water, oil, bouillon, onion powder, garlic powder, and poultry seasoning. Blend for about 30 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl and blend again until smooth.
- Transfer the chickpea mixture to a bowl. Add vital wheat gluten. Use a spatula to stir the ingredients together. To make sure it's all equally distributed, use your hands to gently "knead" the mixture in the bowl, only until just combined and none of the powdery vital wheat gluten is visible.
- Turn the dough out onto a cutting board. Shape it into an oval loaf. Cut it into four pieces. Wrap the pieces in foil and use tongs to place in the heated oven. Bake for 45–50 minutes.
- Once they're done, use tongs to remove them from the oven. Leave them in the foil and set them aside to cool.
- Once cool enough to handle, remove the foil. Place on a cutting board and cut each down the middle, lengthwise, to create 8 fillets. You can refrigerate the fillets for up to 4 days or freeze them for up to 2 to 3 months.
For the Garlic Herb Sauce
- To serve, add 1 tablespoon of vegan butter to a skillet over medium heat. Once the butter melts, add fillets and saute for about 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Use tongs to remove fillets from the skillet. Transfer to a plate.
- Add remaining vegan butter to the skillet. Add minced garlic and cook for about a minute, until the garlic is tender. Add water, bouillon, lemon juice, and lemon zest. You can also add optional thin lemon slices too. Stir to combine. Cook for 2–3 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the top and use a spatula to stir it into the sauce. Cook and stir over medium heat until the sauce thickens.
- Add vegan fillets back to the skillet, spooning the sauce over the top. Cook for a few minutes until the fillets are heated through. Serve fillets warm. Sprinkle with chives.
(The products above contain sponsored links to products we use and recommend)
The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.