This vegan shredded chicken is the most versatile, convincing, omnivore-approved meat alternative that can go in any dish. It’s made from a combination of vital wheat gluten, tofu, jackfruit, and texturized vegetable protein for the best texture. Season up this vegan seitan chicken with poultry seasoning and whatever sauce your heart desires for a protein-packed delicious meal!
why we love this shredded vegan chicken
My family and I love to buy meat alternatives to add texture and protein to our meals. But we don’t love the price tag that often comes with those processed alternatives. Some vegan meats can cost upwards of 8 to 10 dollars for 4 servings…that’s crazy! I knew there was a cheaper, less processed way to get the protein and texture I wanted in my recipes. And alas! After much testing, I’ve found it. Today, I’ll show you how to make the perfect vegan chicken.
the vegan chicken ingredients
First, let’s go over the core ingredients in this recipe. I use 3 important ones to help achieve the stretchy, chewy, and tender texture I’m going for. They are:
- Vital Wheat Gluten
- TVP, or Texturized Vegetable Protein
- Green Jackfruit
- Firm Tofu
the vital wheat gluten
Let’s start with Vital Wheat Gluten. I’ve used Bob’s Red Mill in the past, but recently I’ve been using Anthony’s since I can buy it in bulk (cheaper, woohoo!) online. Wheat gluten is the main ingredient in seitan and is close to 80% protein. You know when you’re kneading dough for bread, and the dough becomes super-elastic? That’s because of all the gluten in the flour. Vital Wheat Gluten is made by washing away all the starch of the wheat and leaving behind the gluten. In this recipe, wheat gluten gives the chick’n an irreplaceable stretchy, almost sinewy texture, similar to real meat.
Next is Texturized Vegetable Protein, or otherwise known as TVP. When I was doing a little reconnaissance for this recipe, I inspected all the ingredients on my favorite store-bought chick’ns. I found that all of them contain TVP or some sort of ‘soy protein’. The TVP I use (also by the brand Anthony’s) is made from defatted soy flour. It’s also very high in protein and helps give the vegan chicken a spongier yet fibrous texture.
Lastly, is the almighty jackfruit. I get mine from Trader Joe’s where it’s only a few dollars for a can. This recipe uses green (unripened) canned jackfruit that is stored in a brine. I absolutely love the soft texture and color of jackfruit. It pulls apart easily and naturally has the appearance of shredded chicken. If you’re going for a more realistic “meat”, this will help give it a lighter, and dare I say, ‘fleshier’ color.
how to make the vegan shredded chicken
Okay, so let’s get started on how to make the perfect vegan chicken. I promise it’s actually very easy! To make things extra easy on myself, I like to use a stand mixer to knead the dough, but you can hand knead it if you don’t have a stand mixer.
Step one is combining all the dry ingredients together (this includes the TVP and the wheat gluten but not the jackfruit and tofu) in the bowl of your mixer. You’ll want to combine these well to make sure the seasonings we’re using are distributed through the mixture.
An important note: for this recipe, I’m not rehydrating my TVP beforehand. When testing, I tried rehydrating the TVP, but found the dough was much too wet and didn’t have the texture I wanted after cooking.
making the seitan dough
This recipe doesn’t call for a ton of seasonings, just enough so the chick’n isn’t bland. This is so the chick’n remains as versatile as possible, and so it can take on any flavorings or marinades you’d like to put on it.
Once all the dry ingredients are combined, you’ll want to add in the wet ingredients (the pre-shredded jackfruit, tofu, soy sauce, oil, and water). I knead this in my stand mixer with my dough hook for about 3 minutes. If you’re hand kneading, you’ll want to sprinkle some extra wheat gluten on a clean surface and knead for about 5 minutes.
The dough should come together easily. It should also be soft and a little wet. I form my dough into 4 equally sized loaf shapes…which honestly looks a little brain-like before it’s cooked. (See image above)
cooking the seitan
Now when it comes to cooking the dough, there are a few methods usually used. Traditionally seitan is boiled, steamed, or roasted. Each method produces a different texture. For this recipe, I recommend steaming. I’ve tried boiling before, but water always seems to find its way into my dough, no matter how tightly I wrap it.
I prefer using a bamboo steamer, and I wrap the dough pretty tightly in aluminum foil to help retain moisture.
Once the chick’n is done, it should be slightly darker in color on the outside. I let mine cool for a few minutes before unwrapping it.
This vegan chicken is excellent shredded, but you could also slice it or form it into patties or nuggets (future recipes to come!). It takes on any flavorings you add to it- BBQ sauces, marinades, or rubs.
Once shredded or shaped into whatever form you desire, I highly recommend doing a second cooking method to achieve an absolutely perfect texture. After this vegan chicken is finished steaming, I like to think of it as ‘raw chicken’ that is now ready to be used in any dish you’d like!
I suggest pan-frying with sauces, baking, roasting, or even air frying. This is the best chick’n to go on top of pizzas, in dumplings or buns, or in chick’n salads.
Looking for more recipes to use this vegan shredded chicken in?
- The Best BBQ Chick’n Pizza
- Vegan Pomegranate Walnut Stew (Fesenjān)
- Vegan Buttermilk Air Fryer Chicken
Did you make this vegan shredded chicken? I’d love to know! Leave a rating or comment below!
- 1/4 cup texturized vegetable protein, 26 grams *
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten, 160 grams
- 1/2 tsp salt + pepper
- 2 tsp vegan poultry seasoning
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Pinch smoked paprika
- 6.5 oz canned jackfruit, this is about half a standard can
- 1/4 cup firm tofu, 2.25 oz, drained
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup +1 tbsp water
- Combine all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir together until well combined.
- In a food processor, pulse the jackfruit until it is shredded into very small pieces (but not into a paste).
- Pulse the tofu in the food processor until it becomes a paste.
- Add the shredded jackfruit, tofu, soy sauce, oil, and water (see notes) to the dry ingredients.
- With a dough hook, knead the mixture for about 3 minutes. *
- Transfer the dough ball to a cutting board floured with more vital wheat gluten and shape into 4 equally sized loaves.
- Wrap each loaf of dough tightly with aluminum foil.
- Steam in a steamer basket or bamboo steamer for 20 minutes. *
- Remove from the steamer and let cool while still wrapped in the foil.
- Let cool for about 10 minutes beforehand shredding or shaping the dough.
- This chicken is best if followed up with a secondary cooking process. Once the vegan chicken is steamed, I like to think of it as if it were 'raw chicken'. I recommend pan-frying with 1 tbsp of olive oil to brown the sides (about 10-15 minutes). You could also bake the shredded chicken at 375 degrees for 15 minutes until browned.
- Do not rehydrate the TVP. Doing so will result in a wetter dough, and the texture is less desirable.
- Make sure most of the liquid is pressed from the tofu
- The amount of water you add to the recipe will depend on how liquidy your tofu and jackfruit are. Start with 1/4 of a cup of water. If the dough isn't coming together, add another 1 tbsp at a time until you can shape it into a ball.
- If not using a stand mixer, hand knead the dough for 5 minutes until it comes together into a ball.
- I highly recommend steaming versus boiling or roasting. This will help keep the dough moist and pliable, but not too wet once it's done cooking.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 300Total Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gSodium: 277mgFiber: 3gSugar: 1gProtein: 20 g
Nutrition info is an estimate.
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