What is a Vegan Substitute for Chicken?
The nice (and lets admit a little frightening) thing about chicken is- it’s very easy to dress up as an 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:
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 for Options for Chicken:
- Almond milk
- Oat milk
- Soy milk
- Cashew milk
- Tonys seasoning (or other cajun seasoning)
- Cayenne pepper
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Hot Sauce
- Vegan Ranch
- Vegan Mayo
Vegan Dry Sauce Options for Chicken:
- Wheat Flour
- Chickpea Flour
- Garlic Powder
- Cajun Seasoning
Do yourself a favor. Don’t try to get too “healthy” here.
Chicken is fried in oil, thus so are our chicken imposters!
Save yourself the misery of “the healthiest vegan fried chicken on the planet!” Really? Does that even sound appealing?
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:
- Iron (Important for vegans)
- Folic Acid
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D (one of a few plant based sources).
Oyster mushrooms are low in calories and have fiber to aid in digestion.
While the mushrooms themselves are a great source of nutrients, it is important to note that some of these nutrients can be lost in frying.
It is also important to note if cajun seasoning is used, they will likely be high in sodium. This is totally A-Okay if these are consumed in moderation!
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 or health reasons.”
Faux meats can be a great source of nutrients including fiber to aid in digestion. They are typically lower in calories, fats and saturated fats than their meat counterpart.
Most importantly, I think vegans choose fake meat as a tasty reminisce of times past, while remaining face free and nutrient dense!
Does Vegan Meat Taste Like Meat?
The simple answer is-most of the time. This is if the entree is created properly.
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 a strong flavored marinade. Make sure the cooking method matches the desired result.
For tofu, ensure that all water is pressed from the tofu to make sure the flavor is captured.
One important thing to note about vegan meat is sometimes we are intending to ONLY match the texture OR the flavor of a meat product.
This doesn’t mean the dish will come out less than superb, it just means that it might be a bit different. However it can be equally satisfying as the original meat dish.
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.
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 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, fying pan etc).
One thing that I want to caution of when creating this chicken is that the cajun seasonings are FILLED with sodium, I learned this the hard way by adding a bit much the first time. Pieces should be flipped midway through to ensure even cooking.
While the “chicken” tasted great, it was just too salty!
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!”
When you win a non vegan vote I think we can call it a successful imposter dish!
Vegan Fried Chicken
- frying pan
- Freezer Bag
- 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
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tbsp tonys seasoning
- ¼ cup garlic powder
- 9-12 oz oyster mushrooms
- 4 cups canola oil
- 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.