For my next “Convert Recipe” tip I wanted to talk about how to replace chicken in recipes that you love. I have to make sure my options are soy-free and I also feel better when it’s minimally processed. Although those soy chicken breasts that are in the fridge/freezer sections are really great! It’s one of my secret indulgences, but it leaves me feeling bloated and run down afterward. So, how do I replace chicken?
These techniques can be used for any meat replacement but some things, like garbanzo beans, have a chicken-like flavor. So when you are looking at a chicken recipe you want to veganize, test out these options and see what best fits your recipe. I will be doing a post about how to make seitan chicken eventually, but until then, I wanted to show you simple ways to replace chicken.
Plant-Based Chicken Replacements:
“Chicken” Bouillon/Poultry Seasoning
This doesn’t have to be said that you can use “chicken” bouillon or vegetable broth to replace chicken broth, but it is good to remember that it’s there and you can simmer some of the plants listed below in water and the “chicken” bouillon cube so that it absorbs and carries the flavor – for the most part.
If you can’t find a vegan “chicken” bouillon you can always add poultry seasoning to any liquid and use that to simmer or add to soups to help add the chicken-like flavor.
Like I said above, chickpeas have a chicken-like flavor. I’ll use them the most to replace chicken in my recipes, especially recipes that call for chopped chicken. And as a side note, I think chickpeas are addictive. The more I eat them the more I want them. And the more I want them, the more I try to find ways to eat them, and before I know it they are in or added to at least one meal a day. Glad it’s healthy!
Baked Chickpeas – If I bake James a chicken breast to have with a veggie and some mashed potatoes, I’ll take a drained can of chickpeas or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas in whatever the chicken is tossed in (separately), whether it’s BBQ sauce, buffalo wing sauce, honey mustard sauce, etc. and bake them. He has his baked chicken and I have baked chickpeas with my potatoes and veggies. Simple as that! Still a different look and texture but for a similar taste and that goes with any sauce, it’s a great replacement!
Chickpea Salad Sandwiches – I don’t know why I haven’t posted my go-to chickpea salad recipe yet. Seriously. I used to make a batch of it all the time and have it in the fridge for a few days for lunches. But whatever you would use in your chicken salad recipes, you can use in your chickpea salad. Just make sure to chop up the chickpeas using a food processor or pulse in a blender. I usually make a chickpea salad and blend it completely with the condiments and spices until it looks creamy like hummus and then add in the chopped veggies and fruit. You can eat it really well with crackers, or like me, just with a spoon, but it can also be eaten like a sandwich if you don’t make it too thin. My basic chickpea salad recipe will be coming soon! But until then, I made a Pineapple Chickpea/Chicken Salad that you can see here.
Cold Salads – If I have time I’ll bake the chickpeas, like the above stated, or I’ll just use unseasoned chickpeas with whatever else I’m tossing the salad in. Same thing with the baked chicken, chickpeas I find to be just as versatile.
Soups – Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans really do taste like boiled chicken. That’s probably the closest flavor and texture of them that I can tell you. So I use them to replace chicken in soups, and no need to tear anything apart, they are already bite size. : ) One of the recipes I have posted to show you is my Kale & Chickpea Udon Noodle Soup.
Casseroles – I use a can of chickpeas or 1 1/2 cooked cup chickpeas to replace 1 lb. chopped chicken in any casserole recipe. Just throw it in whenever it tells you to throw in the chicken. Although it wasn’t chicken I was replacing, I was trying to replace tuna, you can see how I used chickepeas in a casserole in my Chickpea Noodle Casserole.
Hearts of Palm & Jackfruit
Shredded Chicken – Hearts of palm, or Jackfruit (young, green) usually come in a can with brine. So because of the brine taste, sometimes it’s not the best to use. But, if you pull hearts of palm or jackfruit it will be in shreds and look like shredded chicken. The Jackfruit has more of a pink look to it, so I usually use it to replace pork if I’m really looking for the look of it. Then you can simmer it in vegetable broth with poultry seasoning or use water and a “chicken” bouillon cube and simmer with whatever spices. You can see how I used it in my Green Chili Enchiladas. I would not use it in soups just because the flavor will be lost in the liquid, but if you are putting it in tacos, in a sandwich, or enchiladas it carries the flavors you simmered them in, and mainly gives you the pulled chicken texture. I haven’t tried to make a chicken salad/sandwich with using hearts of palm or jackfruit because I love using the chickpeas, but I’m sure it will come out fine!
Although you could just chop the hearts of palm and use that instead of garbanzo beans, remember it will have the brine flavor. So unless whatever you are cooking will go with the brine flavor, I wouldn’t use it. Shredding it and simmering it helps to get rid of the flavor, but chopping it, it will still be very much there. I tried using jackfruit to make a chicken substitute for sesame chicken one night, and all I could taste was the brine… I can still taste it. *Bleh*
Wings – I’m sure you’ve all seen it – cauliflower wings. Use the cauliflower florets and toss them in wing sauce/batter and bake it. It is tasty, and I have to say, a great and easy substitute for hot wing lovers. But I’m not a huge cauliflower fan. I like it, I eat it, but still not a huge fan. It’s definitely worth a try and I’m going to try to make some myself and see how I can make them the way I’ll devour them. ; )
Grilled – Another good thing about cauliflower is that you can slice it and grill it. If you are wanting a grilled flavor, you can always soak the cauliflower for a few hours with a dissolved “chicken” boullion/broth in the fridge and then grill it when it’s ready. Seasoning with poultry seasoning, or any sauce you’d like.
Remember to have fun, Convert your favorite chicken recipes, and have a happy, healthy, With or without Chicken Kitchen!