This vegan chicken parmesan is a classic Italian-American dish made veggie-friendly! This recipe has crispy herb crusted seitan chicken, a rich tomato sauce, and creamy dairy free cheese on top that becomes golden brown when baked.
Originally Published: April 2021 | Updated: February 2024
Why We Love this Vegan Chicken Parmesan Recipe
I grew up in an Italian-American household, which meant, well… a lot of Italian food! This dish is nostalgic and a classic that hits that classic chicken parmigiana craving. This dish has seitan chicken that’s breaded and smothered in a savory tomato basil marinara sauce (or your favorite store-bought red sauce).
It’s topped off with lots of my favorite vegan parmesan cheese by Violife. I love how chewy the homemade seitan is and that it adds TONS of protein to this dish. Here are a few more reasons why we love this recipe and you will too:
- Hearty and Crispy Baked Vegan Chicken Cutlets: The primary component of this dish is the the plant-based seitan chicken. It’s crusted in a herby parmesan breadcrumb coating and baked until golden brown and crispy.
- Homemade Creamy Vegan Mozzarella Cheese Sauce: To get that authentic chicken parmesan look, this recipe includes a simple homemade plant-based cheese sauce to spread on top of each vegan chicken cutlet.
- High Protein with the Perfect Texture: Seitan gives this dish a chewy ‘meaty’ texture that is also super high protein (about 38g per serving)!
This vegan parm recipe is fairly easy, so don’t let the list of ingredients scare you off! Most of the ingredients are seasonings, so this dish is PACKED with flavor. It’s made of 4 main components: the vegan seitan chicken, the breading, the pasta, and the sauces.
If you don’t have time to make seitan, you can use store-bought vegan chicken (like Gardein) and your favorite store-bought marinara sauce.
To make this recipe, the main ingredients you’ll need are the following:
- Vital Wheat Gluten
- Firm Tofu
- Italian Seasoning
- Vegan Parmesan– I’m using Violife Vegan Parmesan
- Bread Crumbs
- Vegetable Stock
- Salt & Black Pepper
- Marinara Sauce– I used Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce (my favorite…it’s so affordable and delicious!)
- Thin Spaghetti, or pasta of choice
- Fresh Basil, or other Italian herbs like fresh parsley
For the Vegan Mozzarella Cheese Sauce:
- Dairy Free Milk
- Vegan Butter
- All Purpose Flour
- Vegan Mozzarella Cheese– I used Violife’s Just Like Mozzarella Shreds
- Seitan Cutlets: Feel free to sub in Gardein’s Chicken Scallopini Cutlets for the seitan chicken recipe. This will make the recipe super quick and easy. Just follow the same breading and baking instructions below.
- Bread Crumbs: If you don’t have regular bread crumbs, you can use Panko bread crumbs instead.
- Firm Tofu: You can use extra-firm tofu if you can’t find regular firm tofu. The tofu will have a slightly coarser texture in the seitan.
- Large Mixing Bowl: for making the seitan dough
- Pots and Skillet: for simmering the seitan, boiling pasta and making the vegan mozzarella sauce
- Shallow Bowl: for mixing up the breading
- Baking Pan & Parchment Paper: for baking the vegan chicken recipe
Step By Step Instructions
Seitan can be quite intimidating the first time you make it but don’t worry, the process is actually quite simple and I’ll walk you through the steps here! There’s also a video tutorial in the recipe card down below! 🎥
STEP 1: Combine the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. This includes the vital wheat gluten and spices.
STEP 2: Then, make a well in the center and add the wet ingredients (the blended tofu, oil, veggie stock). You’ll stir all this to combine, and then gently knead the dough by hand until it forms a ball.
STEP 3: Divide it into 4 equal-sized balls. For this recipe, I’m making vegan chicken breasts, so shape the dough into a filet or cutlet like shape.
STEP 4: To cook the seitan, we’re first going to simmer it in veggie stock, and then we’ll bake it with the herbed breading. To simmer the seitan, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Then, add in 1 cup of the veggie stock and bring it to a simmer. Add in the seitan, cover the pan, and cook for 15 minutes.
About halfway through cooking, flip the cutlets and add the remaining 1/2 cup of veggie stock, so the seitan doesn’t dry out.
Breading the Vegan Chicken
STEP 5: To get a crispy herbed exterior, I’m coating this seitan in a breadcrumb mixture. Dip the seitan cutlet in dairy free milk to wet it slightly. Then, mix together all of the dry breading ingredients in a shallow dish, and dip the seitan in the breading mixture.
STEP 6: Press the breading into both sides and place the seitan on a parchment lined or greased baking sheet.
Baking the Breaded Vegan Chicken
STEP 7: Drizzle with olive oil or spray with cooking spray. Before baking the seitan, feel free to grate some extra vegan parmesan on top or sprinkle with a bit of nutritional yeast.
STEP 7: Then, bake the seitan for 20 mins at 425F. Halfway through cooking, flip the seitan, spread marinara sauce on top and spoon the vegan mozzarella cheese sauce on top. Return to the oven and continue baking until the vegan cheese is bubbly and golden!
📌 TIP: Decrease temperature for the last 5 minutes if the seitan is browning too much.
Since the vegan seitan chicken needs to bake, this is a perfect opportunity to prep the other components of this dish. I’m using thin spaghetti in this recipe. You’ll want to prep your pasta according to the box’s instructions.
Once the vegan chicken is done baking, plate it on top of the cooked spaghetti with the marinara sauce mixed in. Spoon a bit of marinara sauce on top of the vegan chicken, sprinkle cheese on top and top it all off with fresh basil. The more vegan cheese the better!
This is seriously the best vegan chicken parmesan. The seitan gives this dish so much texture. The marinara is tomatoey, herby, and full of Italian flavor. And of course, the Violife vegan parmesan is so cheesy and salty!
Keep the leftover seitan in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. The seitan will firm up when refrigerated, but will soften when reheated. For the best texture, I recommend reheating in the oven or toaster oven.
You can eat the leftovers as is, or use them in parmesan sandwiches!
Helpful Tips For The BEST Vegan Chicken Parm
If you don’t have time to make homemade ‘chicken’ with seitan, that’s totally okay! You can substitute store-bought vegan chicken and follow the same steps below to bread and bake it. I recommend using Gardein’s Chick’n Scallopini since it isn’t already breaded.
The vegan chicken I’m using in this recipe is made of vital wheat gluten, tofu, and spices. This creates a chewy, ‘meaty’ texture that holds up well to baking. Vital wheat gluten is the main ingredient in seitan which is a high protein meat substitute that mimics chicken in this recipe.
Vegan chicken is not an exact match to real chicken in taste. It’s made with vital wheat gluten, and in this recipe I’m seasoning it with Italian seasoning. The texture is what helps this vegan chicken feel and look like real chicken. Vegan chicken, similar to tofu, takes on the flavor of whatever you season it with. I’ve found that poultry seasoning and garlic powder help give it a great flavor.
Looking for more vegan Italian comfort food? Check out these recipes!
- Vegan “Chicken” Parm Stuffed Shells
- Meatless Baked Ziti
- Basil Bechamel Lasagna
- Creamy Vegan Alfredo
- Vegan Baked Mac & Cheese
- Spinach Pesto Gnocchi
Did you make This Vegan Chicken Parmesan Recipe?
I’d love to know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating and comment below!
⭐️ Want to save this recipe for later? pin this image to pinterest! ⭐️
Disclosure: This page contains some affiliate links. Please know that I may receive a percentage or commission from a link included on this page, at no cost to you. I will only recommend a product or service that I have used or believe has substantial value to my readers.