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Vegan Fried Chicken

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What is a Vegan Substitute for Chicken?

The nice (and lets admit a little frightening) thing about chicken is- it’s very easy to find a suitable imposter!

Haven’t you ever heard the term “tastes like chicken” which tends to be all inclusive for food choices that in all reality we’re actually just unsure of how to describe the taste? 

In vegan world, this works to our advantage!  

Vegan Chicken Substitute Options Include: 

Oyster Mushrooms on Gray Cutting Board
  • Sietan
  • Tofu
  • Mushrooms
  • Chickpeas 
  • Cauliflower
  • Eggplant

Basically the main tool for creating the perfect “vegan” chicken is to find a porous imposter that can adopt any flavor.   

The major variant with these choices that will determine “to chicken” or “not to chicken” will come from cooking method and types of seasoning/breading. 

What is Vegan Fried Chicken Made of?

Today we’ll make this vegan fried chicken with oyster mushrooms. While there is no “right’ or wrong way to make non-chicken fried chicken (okay there’s actually probably a lot of wrong ways but who’s counting)- oyster mushrooms just get me excited. 

Why excited you ask?  Oyster mushrooms have a crazy look and feel that just screams “I’m a fresh batch of fried chicken” when it’s truly just a pleasant little plant. 

Oyster mushrooms also REALLY take on the flavor of a chicken marinade when constructed properly. 

How Do You Make Fried Chicken (Vegan Style) From Scratch?

Making vegan fried chicken goes through much of the same process that meat fried chicken does. 

You will need a wet sauce and a dry sauce. Here are some combinations you could choose for both. 

Vegan Wet Sauce Options

  • Almond milk
  • Oat milk
  • Soy milk 
  • Cashew milk
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Tonys seasoning (or other cajun seasoning)
  • Cayenne pepper 
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder 
  • Paprika
  • Hot Sauce
  • Vegan Ranch 
  • Vegan Mayo

Vegan Dry Sauce Options 

  • Wheat Flour
  • Chickpea Flour
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cajun Seasoning 
  • Cornstarch

 You will then fry these bad boys in a heaping pan of canola, vegetable oil, or shortening.  

Do yourself a favor. Don’t try to get too “healthy” here.l;p[90o

Save yourself the misery of “the healthiest vegan fried chicken on the planet!” Really? Does that even sound appealing? 

Wet Mix Ingredients
Oyster mushrooms in marinade
Oyster Mushrooms in Marinade

Is Vegan Chicken Good For You?

We have a rule in my dietetics practice that we don’t use terms like “good’ and “bad” to describe food. 

What that means is- essentially every food on the planet has nutritional value.  It all just depends on if the value matches your need at a given time! 

This vegan fried chicken is full of nutrients like: 

  • Calcium
  • Iron (Important for vegans)
  • Folic Acid
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D (one of a few plant based sources). 

Oyster mushrooms have fiber to aid in digestion. 

Why Do Vegans Eat Fake Meat?

Do vegans really need to eat fake meat to stay healthy? Not at all!  

However, we are humans on the planet earth.  In American culture, meat products, including fried chicken are a common staple growing up. 

We develop both an emotional and taste preference for meat flavored entree’s and this should be honored rather than repressed. 

Faux meats are a great way to say “we’ve got emotional history with these entree’s- even if we choose to no longer choose chicken for ethical reasons.” 

Mushrooms in flour
Mushrooms in flour “dry mix”
Fried Oyster Mushrooms
vegan “chicken” frying

Does Vegan Meat Taste Like Meat?

Most of the time.

Believe it or not, many authentic meat products themselves  are not excessively tasty all on their own.  Most of the time we have to create a hearty marinade or rub to flavor a meat.  

To make our vegan meat taste like meat make sure you are choosing the right marinade or rub.  

We should also make sure the cooking method matches the desired result. 

What is Vegan Meat Called?

There are many names for vegan meat. Some of the most common names are: 

  • Faux meat
  • Meat Alternative
  • Impossible Meat
  • Mock Meat
  • Imitation Meat
  • Plant-Based Meat

The substance that makes up the vegan meat does not determine the term that is used. Pick up all the faux meat options using my plant based grocery guide.  

garlic powder and spice in flour
Dry Sauce Ingredients
vegan fried chicken

What Are Some Vegan Chicken Variations?

You can do all sorts of cool things with this recipe. Here’s a few creative ideas: 

  •  Create a cajun inspired vegan fried chicken by throwing in a little extra seasoning or spice.
  •  Make it spicier by adding in additional cayenne, hot sauce or actual hot peppers to the marinade. 
  • Add in a smidge of lemon 
  • Change up the oil used to create change level of “crispiness.”
  • Change up cooking method (deep fryer, frying pan etc). 

One thing that I want to caution of when creating this chicken is that the cajun seasonings have a strong salt flavor.  I learned this the hard way by adding a bit much the first time.  

Pieces should be flipped midway through to ensure even cooking. 

This was a favorite of my daughter’s who is 15 (and also by the way hates mushrooms). 

She is not vegan, so when she tasted it initially she said “this tastes just like the fried chicken I had at grandmas a few minutes ago!” I knew I had a winner.

vegan fried chicken
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Vegan Fried Chicken

Savory chicken made from vegan ingredients.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: vegan fried chicken
Servings: 6 people
Cost: $11.50

Equipment

  • frying pan
  • Freezer Bag

Ingredients

Wet Sauce

  • 3.5 cups almond milk or other plant based milk
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp tony's seasoning or other cajun seasoning
  • ¼ cup cholulua
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

Dry Sauce

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp tonys seasoning
  • ¼ cup garlic powder
  • 9-12 oz oyster mushrooms
  • 4 cups canola oil

Instructions

  • Break oyster mushrooms apart until you get the size you desire for your "vegan chicken." I find medium sized pieces work well and still give the "chicken" feel.
  • Wash mushrooms
  • Pour all wet sauce ingredients into ziplock bag. Add mushrooms.
  • Marinate for at least 5 but no more than 24 hours.
  • Coat each mushroom heavily in dry sauce ingredients. I find a mixing bowl or cake pan works well for this.
  • Heat oil on medium high heat in fying pan. Add mushroosm to oil once reaches a good temperature (not too hot).
  • Cover mushrooms. Simmer in oil for about 25 minutes. Flip once around 15 minutes.

Video

Notes

Mushrooms in flour
Mushrooms in flour “dry mix”
Oyster mushrooms in marinade
Oyster Mushrooms in Marinade
Fried Oyster Mushrooms
vegan “chicken” frying
vegan fried chicken
Vegan Fried Chicken Final Product

Shena Jaramillo. Registered Dietitian

Hi I'm Shena. I'm an eating disorders dietitian in Washington state. I hold bachelors degrees nutrition & dietetics, cultural anthropology & psychology. I believe in honoring your hunger, having your cake whenever you want it, and that critically analyzing diet culture can change the world!

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