This vegan cordon bleu is made with chewy seitan chicken stuffed with savory plant-based ham slices and creamy dairy-free Swiss cheese. This homemade seitan cordon bleu is coated in Panko breadcrumbs, pan-fried in vegetable oil, and then baked for the crispiest exterior and a tender, melty interior.
why you’ll love this vegan cordon bleu
- tender, flavorful seitan chicken: this recipe is made with vital wheat gluten for the BEST convincing chicken texture.
- crispy, golden brown crust: the seitan chicken is coated in breadcrumbs for a crispy, crunchy bite
- easy and convenient: since we’re using homemade vegan chicken, opting for store bought vegan ham and cheese slices makes this recipe quick and convenient.
what is cordon bleu?
Traditional chicken cordon bleu uses chicken breast that is stuffed with meat wrapped around a cheese filling. It is usually breaded and then deep fried until cooked through and crispy. It’s similar to schnitzel which is fried meat without any filling inside. If you’d like to learn how to make schnitzel, Jacqui from the Simple Sprinkle has a fabulous Vegan Schnitzel recipe!
Today, we’re veganizing this dish by using homemade plant-based chicken stuffed with vegan ham & cheese slices!
the Main ingredients
To make this recipe you’ll need to gather the following main ingredients (plus some spices to flavor the seitan)!
- Vital Wheat Gluten: this gives the vegan chicken its chewy texture
- Silken Tofu: this helps create a tender texture and lightens the color of the seitan
- Olive Oil: oil adds some necessary fat and moisture to the seitan
- Vegan Worcestershire: this adds lots of flavor to the vegan ‘chicken’
- Panko Breadcrumbs: to give the exterior a perfect, crispy crust
- Yellow Mustard and Vegan Mayo: to add flavor, keep the vegan chicken moist in the oven, and help the breadcrumbs stick to the outside of the cordon bleu
- Vegan Ham Slices: I used Tofurky Ham Slices
- Vegan Swiss Cheese: I used Chao Creamy Original Slices
vital wheat gluten
The brand I use in this recipe is Anthony’s Vital Wheat Gluten. You can buy this brand in bulk making it super affordable (plus it lasts a long time).
You can also find vital wheat gluten in most grocery stores. Usually Bob’s Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten is the brand I see in stores. It comes in smaller bags and is much more expensive than Anthony’s.
Vital wheat gluten is the ingredient that gives the vegan chicken its chewy, stretchy texture. Vital wheat gluten is different from wheat flour or wholemeal flour. It’s the main ingredient in seitan and is close to 80% protein.
- Seitan Chicken: to make this recipe even easier, you can use storebought vegan chicken fillets instead of making seitan chicken. You can slice the storebought vegan chicken in half to stuff it.
- Water: feel free to sub in vegetable broth for the water. This will give the vegan chicken even more flavor but it will also make the seitan darker in color.
- Yellow Mustard: you can sub in another mustard for the dredge, like dijon mustard.
- Vegetable Oil: you can use another neutral oil for pan-frying the vegan chicken like sunflower oil
how to make seitan cordon bleu
STEP 1: Blend the silken tofu and wet ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor. Mix the dry ingredients together, then add the wet. Mix them together to form a moist dough.
STEP 2: Divide and shape the seitan into 4 equal-sized chicken breasts or fillets.
STEP 3: Cut the vegan cheese slices in half. Place a slice of vegan cheese on one piece of seitan, then layer on a slice of vegan ham. Repeat 2 more times, for a total of 3 vegan cheese slices and 3 slices of vegan deli ham.
STEP 4: Mix together the vegan mayo and mustard in a small bowl. Spread a generous layer of the mayo and mustard mixture onto both sides of the seitan.
STEP 5: Place the seitan into a shallow bowl with the Panko bread crumbs. Coat both sides with the Panko.
STEP 6: Heat vegetable oil for a couple of minutes on medium heat in a large frying pan. Lay the coated seitan into the hot pan with the oil. Pan fry each side for about 3 minutes until golden brown.
STEP 7: Place the fried vegan cordon bleu on a wire cooling rack. Place the wire rack onto a baking sheet and bake the vegan chicken for 22-25 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes then serve.
alternative cooking methods
Although pan frying and then baking gave the best results and the crispiest exterior, you can prepare this vegan cordon bleu a few other ways.
If you’d prefer not to fry the seitan cordon bleu, no worries, you can just bake it for longer!
I’ve had success baking the seitan in a glass baking dish covered with aluminum foil for 25 minutes at 375F and then uncovered for another 25 minutes (for a total of 50 minutes).
Be sure to spray the exterior with cooking spray prior to baking.
While I haven’t tested this particular recipe in the air fryer just yet (I definitely will soon!), I do have my Vegan Buttermilk Airfryer Chicken recipe to use as a baseline. In this recipe, the seitan chicken is cooked for 16-20 minutes in a preheated air fryer at 375F.
Because this vegan chicken cordon bleu is thicker than the seitan in my Buttermilk Airfryer ‘Chicken’ recipe, the cordon bleu will need to be air fried longer to cook all the way through.
It will most likely need 20-25 minutes at 375F, flipping halfway. If the exterior looks like it is browning too much, cover the vegan chicken with aluminum foil. I recommend brushing the exterior with oil prior to air frying for the best results.
To serve the dish, you can top the plant based cordon bleu with a spritz of lemon juice and lay the seitan slices on a bed of mashed potatoes or alongside garlicky potato wedges.
You could also make a vegan gravy or another creamy sauce to pour on top of it.
I chose to serve mine with parsley and fresh peas on the side for some vibrant green color on the plate.
Because this is a breaded and fried dish, it is best served fresh and hot so the exterior is crispy and the interior is melty.
However, you can store leftovers in the fridge. To store the cordon bleu, place it in an air-tight container and keep it in the fridge for about 2 days.
NOTE: Seitan has a tendency to dry out in the fridge. To reheat it, I recommend, pan-frying in a bit of oil to help create a crispy exterior again.
- Pat the tofu dry to remove moisture: use a few paper towels to remove any excess moisture from the tofu after draining it.
- Weigh the tofu with a digital scale: because tofu holds onto moisture, accurately measuring it is critical to the texture of the seitan.
- Be generous when coating with the mayo mixture: this is what keeps the seitan moist while baking.
- Let the vegan cordon bleu cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing: the seitan will continue to cook once it’s removed from the oven. It will be soft straight out of the oven, but will firm up and become chewier once it cools.
No, cordon bleu is not plant based or vegan. Its primary ingredient is either chicken or veal. However, this recipe is a vegan adaptation of traditional chicken cordon bleu.
The vegan chicken in this recipe is made from seitan. Seitan is a protein-rich food that is an excellent meat replacement. Its main ingredient is vital wheat gluten.
You can make vegan cordon bleu by using a plant based seitan chicken, vegan ham slices and dairy free cheese. The seitan chicken is homemade, and to make this recipe easier you can use store-bought vegan ham and cheese (although you could make them from scratch as well if you’re feeling ambitious).
Looking for more vegan seitan recipes?
- How to Make the Best Vegan Beef
- Vegan Salami
- Vegan Shrimp
- Air Fried Vegan Buttermilk Chicken
- Vegan Seitan Steak with Garlic Butter
Did you make this vegan cordon bleu recipe? I’d love to know! Leave a star rating and comment below!
Vegan Seitan Chicken (see notes for Store Bought):
- 3/4 cups, (160 g) silken tofu, drained, patted dry (see notes)
- 2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce, like Annie’s
- 1/4 cup (50g) water
- 2 tbsp (11g) olive oil
- 1 cup (120g) vital wheat gluten
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp vegan poultry seasoning
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp nutritional yeast
- 4 Slices Tofurky Ham Slices, folded in half
- 3-4 Slices Vegan Swiss-Like Cheese cut in half, like Chao Creamy Original
- ¼ cup vegan mayo, like Hellman’s Vegan Mayo
- ¼ cup yellow mustard
- 2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
*How to video is below the notes section*
To Make the Vegan Chicken:
- In a blender, add the tofu, vegan Worcestershire, water, and olive oil. Blend until smooth.
- In a small bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (vital wheat gluten and spices). Make a well in the center. Pour the blended wet ingredients into the well.
- Mix the wet and dry together to form a dough. Use your hands to knead the seitan so it comes together into a moist ball. If after kneading for a minute or two, the dough appears dry, add 1 tbsp of water at a time until it comes together into a ball (see pictures in the post above).
- Divide into 4 equal size pieces.
- Flatten the pieces into fillets that are about 3 inches wide and 5 inches long.
Filling the Seitan:
- Cut the slices of vegan cheese in half, so they are slightly smaller than the flattened seitan pieces.
- Place cheese on the seitan fillet. Then place a vegan ham slice (fold it in half if you need to) on the cheese. Layer on the 2nd slice of cheese, a 2nd slice of ham and then a 3rd slice of cheese. Place the other seitan chicken fillet on top.
- Use your fingers to pinch the edges shut. Make sure that the edges are sealed completely shut.
- Preheat the oven to 375F or 190C. Prep a baking sheet by placing a wire cooling rack on top of it.
- Mix the vegan mayo and mustard together in a small bowl. Spread mayo & mustard mixture onto both sides of the vegan cordon bleu.
- Coat both sides well in Panko breadcrumbs.
- Heat 1-2 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan over medium high heat. Fry the seitan in hot oil for 3-4 minutes on each side.
- Place the fried vegan cordon bleu on the wire rack on top of the baking sheet. Bake at 375F for 22-25 minutes.
- Let cool for 5-10 minutes on the baking sheet. Then, slice and serve warm with peas, roasted/mashed potatoes and garnish with parsley.
Vegan Chicken Notes:
This recipe can also be made with store bought vegan chicken to make it even easier!
You could try using Gardein’s Ultimate Filets or Gardein’s Chick’n Scallopini.
Thaw the filets enough to slice them in half. Then, stuff them with the vegan ham slices and cheese. Lightly coat the exterior with the mayo and mustard mixture and roll them in the Panko. Cook them according to the instructions above.
For best results, weigh the tofu with a digital scale. Since the tofu retains liquid, too much will make the seitan spongy and too little will make it dry out in the oven.
Make sure to pat the tofu dry after draining with a few paper towels.
Cooling the Cordon Bleu:
Let the vegan cordon bleu cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing- the seitan will continue to cook once it’s removed from the oven. It will be soft straight out of the oven, but will firm up and become chewier once it cools.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 457Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gSodium: 817mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 6gSugar: 2gProtein: 30g
Nutritional info is an estimate.
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