By Erin Janus| So, if you’ve seen my YouTube videos, by this point you might think I’m a crazy chicken lady. But I’m not, although I am a passionate vegan. And I used to like eating chicken— before I knew what that actually entailed. And living in Ontario, Canada where nearly half of the year is freezing cold and snowey— you’d think the only option I have is to just eat meat. Wrong!
Just because you aren’t eating the actual flesh of a chicken anymore, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy all the same seasonings, textures, savory signature flavors and dishes you once enjoyed. All of the following chicken alternatives are available in select health food markets and grocery stores, as well as on several websites like Amazon and Vegan Essentials where you can order them to your door. In no particular order, here are 5 amazing vegan chicken alternatives you didn’t know existed:
1) Amy’s No-Chicken Noodle Soup
This tastes exactly like chicken noodle soup. The smell, taste and texture is almost identical. Instead of chicken, Amy’s uses organic non-GMO tofu, which is a neutral-tasting complete protein, made from soybeans. Due to it’s neutral taste and texture, tofu (or soy) is what makes many meat alternatives so awesome.
And what makes this vegan soup smell and taste just like real chicken noodle soup has everything to do with the combination and key ratios ingredients and plant-based seasonings. There are also many home-made no-chicken noodle soup recipes online, too: you check out some here.
2) Chickenless Pot Pie
Before going vegetarian, (and then vegan), I was also a big fan of chicken pot pie. I discovered Veggie Paradise‘s vegan ‘chicken pot pie’ at a natural food market I was working at. Veggie Paradise is a Canadian artisan company, so for all you living through cold Canadian winters, this is available to you! One pie is a satisfying 350 calories, with a perfectly comforting fluffy crust and generous chunks of non-GMO tofu which totally replaces what chicken offer in this infamous dish! (Without the risk of salmonella and bad karma!)
If you can’t locate this particular one, Amy’s also makes this vegan pot pie which can be found in the natural frozen section of select stores! And for you chefs out there, there are so many awesome ‘chickenless’ pot pie recipes online to explore!
3) Gardein Crispy Chick’n Sliders
These may be the best sliders you will ever have, real chicken or not. (But it’s best for the animals, the planet and your own health if you don’t eat real chicken). These bad boys come packaged with the buns, which is awesomely convenient! The seasoning, texture and overall is 5 stars, and they taste great topped with vegan mayo, tomato and lettuce, or whatever toppings and condiments enjoyed on classic chicken burgers. They are great as appetizers, comforting, delicious, and— just try these. Trust me.
4) Chickenless Tenders (Gardein & Beyond Meat)
Sorry to be redundant and mention another gardein creation, but its no wonder these things have won awards. They are everything comforting, crispy, and don’t worry— they are fully meat-free and vegan. These have even fooled my meat-loving family members into thinking it was real chicken strips! And to boot, Gardein uses non-GMO soy in their meat alternatives! (Source)
Oven-baked, these crispy tenders go great in wraps, sandwiches, cut up in salads, or just as comforting finger food! They taste great dipped in plum sauce, sweet n’ sour sauce, ketchup, or mustard (for you mustard-freaks out there). And kids love them, too! You can check out gardein’s full selection of meat-free chick’n on their website. There really is no need to eat real chicken ‘fingers’ or strips when you have these.
Beyond Meat also makes awesome ‘Beyond Chicken Southwest Style Tenders’ that are also non-GMO, and provide 13 grams of protein per serving!
5) Orange Tofu
When ordering chinese food or thai food, I always order tofu to replace chicken and eggs in rice, chow mein and other dishes. One of my favorite things to enjoy is orange tofu, sesame tofu, or curry tofu! Kung Pao chicken is one of the most popular chinese food dishes, and it is often an option to order Kung Pao tofu instead! Many chinese and thai food restaurants will have either curry tofu, kung pao tofu or some other type of gourmet tofu you can enjoy instead of chicken.
While tofu is used in many pre-seasoned meat alternatives, many people are oblivious to just how many ways tofu can be pressed, seasoned, and cooked. There are SO many different textures, flavors and types of tofu to try— so explore and find the type of tofu you love! As I mentioned above, it is a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids in a favorable ratio. If you are allergic to soy, there is now hemp tofu which can be purchased at many natural food markets! The most popular one is by Living Harvest’s ‘tempt’ line of foods. (Hemp is also a complete protein!)