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, and jackfruit for the best, shreddable, chewy texture.
Season up this vegan seitan chicken with poultry seasoning, BBQ sauce, or any of your favorite sauces!
Originally Published: August 11, 2020 | Updated & Republished: February 18, 2023
Why You’ll Love This Homemade Vegan Shredded 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 shredded chicken which is a great addition to a vegan diet.
⭐️ This shredded vegan chicken is:
- Chewy, tender, and moist: this seitan recipe is made with tofu, vital wheat gluten and jackfruit for the best chicken-like texture.
- ~20 grams of protein per serving: unlike vegan shredded chicken made from only jackfruit or oyster mushrooms, this recipe is PACKED with plant-based protein to keep you full longer.
- 10 ingredients (not including water 🙂): this recipe is simple, with just enough seasonings to help flavor the vegan chicken but not too many to be overwhelming.
- Versatile Recipe: this recipe is seasoned minimally very intentionally. This is so you can add it to a variety of dishes from Italian-inspired to Asian-inspired cuisines.
This recipe doesn’t call for a ton of seasonings, just enough so the chick’n isn’t bland. This is so the vegan shredded chicken remains as versatile as possible, and so it can take on any flavorings or marinades you’d like to put on it.
Below are the ingredients you’ll need to make it!
- Vital Wheat Gluten
- Green Jackfruit
- Soft or Firm Tofu
- Neutral Oil: like canola or vegetable
- Soy Sauce
- Dry Seasonings: garlic powder, poultry seasoning, paprika
the vital wheat gluten
Let’s start with Vital Wheat Gluten, the key ingredient in this recipe. 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. You can also find vital wheat gluten at health food stores.
Wheat protein 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. I have a beginner’s guide to seitan if you’d like to learn more!
Vital Wheat Gluten is made by washing away all the wheat’s starch and leaving the gluten behind. In this recipe, wheat gluten gives the chick’n an irreplaceable stretchy, almost sinewy and meaty texture.
This recipe uses green (unripened) canned jackfruit that is stored in a brine. I get mine from Trader Joe’s where it’s only a few dollars for a can.
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 color and more ‘meaty’ texture.
Texturized Vegetable Protein
Originally, I had made this recipe using a bit of Texturized Vegetable Protein, otherwise known as TVP.
This was because 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’. TVP is very high in protein and helps give the vegan chicken a spongier yet fibrous texture.
As of Feb. 2023, I have since decided to omit the TVP in this recipe to make it simpler. And while it added texture, I no longer feel the additional cost of the ingredient outweighs the additional texture added…if you know what I mean.
If you’d like the original recipe that included TVP, feel free to shoot me a message!
- Water: I chose to use water in this recipe to help keep the seitan dough lighter in color. You can swap water with vegetable broth for more flavor, however it will make the dough darker.
- Soy Sauce: this recipe uses just a touch of soy sauce for an umami flavor but it can be subbed for Vegan Worcestershire Sauce or more oil.
- Tofu: while I haven’t tried this substitution in this exact recipe, you could try swapping the tofu for the same amount of white beans (navy beans or cannellini beans) by weight.
- Seasonings: garlic powder can be swapped for onion powder and poultry seasoning can be subbed for another seasoning blend of choice.
- Neutral Oil: this can be subbed for olive oil, however, it will make the dough a darker color.
Can I make this gluten free?
Because vital wheat gluten is a main ingredient, this recipe can’t be made gluten-free.
For a gluten-free and vegan substitute, you could try Butler’s Soy Curls instead of making this recipe.
- Large Mixing Bowl or Stand Mixer
- Rubber Spatula: opt for a silicone utensil over wood for easier cleanup! Seitan sticks to wood very easily.
- Steamer Basket or Bamboo Steamer (with parchment paper)
- Food Processor or Blender: to blend the tofu and finely shred the jackfruit
Step By Step Instructions
Okay, so let’s get started on how to make the perfect vegan shredded chicken. I promise it’s actually very easy!
To make things extra easy on myself, I sometimes like to use a stand mixer to knead the dough, but you can hand knead it if you don’t have a stand mixer.
making the seitan dough
STEP 1: Combine all the dry ingredients together (the vital wheat gluten and spices) in the bowl of your mixer or a large bowl. Make sure they are well mixed!
STEP 2: Gently pat the jackfruit and tofu with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Pulse the jackfruit in a food processor until finely shredded (but so it retains some texture). Remove from the food processor, then, add the tofu and blend until smooth.
STEP 3: 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). Mix until combined or until no more vital wheat gluten can be incorporated with the spatula.
STEP 4: Knead the seitan dough. If using a stand mixer, use your dough hook and knead for about 3 minutes. If you are hand kneading, knead the dough ball in the mixing bowl or on a clean surface for about 5 minutes.
📌 TIP: 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. (See image below).
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. I’ve tried boiling before, but water always seems to find its way into my dough, no matter how tightly I wrap it.
For this recipe, I recommend steaming. I usually love baking seitan, but since we need to shred the dough, steaming is a better option here.
It will yield a tender and very moist dough that makes shredding super easy. I’m working on developing a vegan chicken recipe that doesn’t require steaming. Once it’s developed I will link to it here!
STEP 5: I prefer using a bamboo steamer with parchment paper but you can use a metal steamer basket. Lay the seitan in a single layer in the steamer basket. Steam for 20 minutes!
STEP 6: Once the chick’n is done, it should be slightly darker in color on the outside. Let it cool for 30 minutes- 1 hour in the fridge before shredding it.
This vegan chicken is excellent shredded, but you could also slice it after steaming or form it into patties or nuggets prior to cooking. Throw it into a quick stir fry or on top of a salad for extra protein. It takes on any flavorings you add to it- BBQ sauce, marinades, or rubs.
Once shredded or shaped into whatever form you desire, seitan requires 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.
FRIDGE: This vegan shredded chicken can be stored in the fridge for about 5 days.To store in the refrigerator, place it in an airtight container.
📌 TIP: Seitan has a tendency to dry out in the fridge. If you plan on storing it longer than 5 days, I recommend freezing it.
FREEZER: Store in the freezer for up to three months. To store in the freezer, wrap the seitan in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and then place it in a freezer bag.
Helpful Tips to Make The Best Vegan Shredded Chicken
Here are a few tips to help you make the best seitan shredded chicken:
- Use a digital scale to measure ingredients: I highly recommend using a digital scale to avoid any issues. If you don’t have a scale, use the spoon and level method to measure the vital wheat gluten.
- Knead the dough for about 4-5 minutes: This will ensure that the gluten is activated which we want so we can shred it! Try not to knead more than this or it will result in seitan that is too chewy!
- Finely shred the jackfruit: but make sure it still has some texture (don’t blend it into a paste)! This will help give the vegan shredded chicken the BEST texture.
- Drain and lightly press the tofu prior to weighing it: for the best results, weigh the soft or firm tofu after you drain it.
More Mock Meats & Seitan Recipes You’ll LOVE!
- Vegan Steak with Garlic Butter
- The BEST Vegan Beef
- Simple Homemade Seitan Recipe
- Vegan Nashville Hot Chicken Wings
- Crispy Panko Coated Vegan Shrimp
- Glazed Vegan Ham
- BBQ Seitan ‘Ribs’
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