Best Vegan Chicken recipe made of a perfect mix of seitan and tofu for the most tender and meaty texture. Incredibly delicious fried as cutlets or nuggets and toped with a luscious Piccata sauce. Serve with mashed potatoes as a vegan Thanksgiving turkey alongside a green bean casserole and stuffing, or anywhere you would use chicken breast.
This flavor packed protein rich chicken substitute is made from the perfect ratio of wheat gluten aka “seitan” and silken tofu. The meatless but meaty mixture is then shaped into thin cutlets that resemble chicken breast, steamed, coated in panko bread crumbs and pan fried until golden crispy.
It’s particularly lovely served with a Piccata sauce over mashed potatoes as a festive dish but could also be used as “vegan turkey” or “chicken parmesan” with a nice homemade tomato sauce alongside vegan fettucine Alfredo. It’s also great in tacos, fajitas, stir fries, a sandwich, added to a big salad, on top of the best mac and cheese or fried rice.
- Wheat Gluten – otherwise known as wheat meat and wheat protein, a fine flour-like powder that is mostly gluten and no starch. Legend has it that it was discovered by Buddhist monks and used to encourage people to adopt a meat-free diet.
- Tofu – I used this silken firm one but any silken tofu will work here. You’ll need about 1.5 cups and there’s no need to press it at all, just crumble it.
- Spices – a simple mix of savory nutritional yeast, onion and garlic powders + just the perfect amount of sea salt.
- Panko – if you want an extra crispy cutlet you have to use panko bread crumbs. Regular ones are ok but panko are magical.
- Piccata Sauce – unless you are going to make a sandwich with mayo, lettuce and tomato, you really want to prepare this sauce. In a nutshell it’s butter infused with garlic and simmered away with white wine and capers until reduced to a silky heavenly emulsion. Worth every single calorie!
How To Make the Best Vegan Chicken Breast
- Prepare the Seitan in the bowl of a food processor by combining the vital wheat gluten, tofu, nutritional yeast, garlic and onion powder + salt. Blend until a smooth dough is form. Transfer to a cutting board and divide into 6 pieces.
- Shape each piece into a thin 5 to 6 inch long oval that resembles chicken breast. If you prefer you could shape it into tenders, patties or nuggets.
- Place the cutlets in a steamer basket, cover with a lid and steam for 25 minutes flipping them half way so they cook evenly. Transfer to a plate and allow to cool off completely or refrigerate for later use.
- Prepare the batter and panko coating. Dip each cutlet in the batter and coat in the panko bread crumbs.
- Fry in hot vegetable oil until golden crispy on each side.
- In a medium sauce pan make the Piccata sauce with the butter, garlic, capers and white wine. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon and serve with the crispy cutlets and mashed potatoes.
The seitan cutlets can be prepared and steamed in advance then cooled and refrigerated up to one week. It’s a great item to prep for the holidays and have ready to coat and fry in no time.
Vegan Chicken Breast
- 1/2 cup vegan butter (I used Miyoko’s European)
- 5 cloves garlic grated
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 Tbsp capers brined
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup Italian parsley roughly chopped
Make the Vegan "Chicken" Cutlets
- To the bowl of a food processor add the cutlets ingredients: crumbled tofu, wheat gluten, 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, onion and garlic powders + sea salt. Process using the pulse button until a smooth dough ball is formed. If the mixture seems too sticky just sprinkle in a little more wheat gluten but take care not to over process. (Alternatively if the dough seems a little dry just add 1 Tbsp water).12.3 oz silken tofu, 1 1/3 cup vital wheat gluten, 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast, 4 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp sea salt
- Remove the dough from the food processor and divide it in 6 pieces. Sprinkle with some wheat gluten if needed to prevent sticking. Roll each piece into a ball then flatten and stretch into 5 to 6 inch long ovals that are about 1/2 inch thick or so. (I prefer them thinner as they will puff up again during steaming)
- Bring 2 to 3 inches of water to a simmer in a large pot and place the steamer basket inside of the pot. Brush the cutlets with some oil and place them inside the steamer basket without touching each other. Cover with a lid and steam the for 25 minutes flipping them half way.
- Transfer the cutlets to a plate and allow to cool off completely. At this point they can be refrigerated for later use.
Make the Piccata Sauce
- Preheat a medium sauce pan over medium low heat. Add the vegan butter and as soon as it has melted stir in the garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds or so just until fragrant. Pour in the white wine and bring to a simmer. Add the capers and continue cooking until de sauce is reduced by half. Hit it with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, remove from heat and stir in the fresh parsley.1/2 cup vegan butter, 5 cloves garlic, 1 cup dry white wine, 2 Tbsp capers, 1/2 lemon, 1/4 cup Italian parsley
Batter + Fry the Cutlets
- In a medium bowl whisk together the milk, flour, onion, garlic powder and paprika. Place the panko breads on a plate and season with a pinch of salt.3/4 cup cashew milk, 3 Tbsp all purpose or whole wheat flour, 2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp paprika
- Dip each cutlet in the batter and allow and excess to drip. Place in the panko coating and make sure to pack well all over pressing with your fingers where more coverage is needed. Repeat the process until all cutlets are breaded.2.5 cups panko bread crumbs for coating
- Heat up 1 inch of vegetable oil in a heavy bottom skillet. Carefully place each breaded cutlet in the hot oil and fry for about 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown to your liking. Transfer the cutlets to a cooling rack or a plate lined with paper towels.
- Serve hot with the garlic butter Piccata sauce over a bed of fluffy mashed potatoes. Finish with a light drizzle of olive oil and garish with fresh parsley.
- Make Ahead - The seitan cutlets can be prepared and steamed in advance then cooled and refrigerated up to one week. It's a great item to prep for the holidays and have ready to coat and fry in no time.
- Panko - if you want an extra crispy cutlet you have to use panko bread crumbs. Regular ones are ok but panko are magical.
- Piccata Sauce - unless you are going to make a sandwich with mayo, lettuce and tomato, you really want to prepare this sauce. In a nutshell it's butter infused with garlic and simmered away with white wine and capers until reduced to a silky heavenly emulsion. Worth every single calorie!
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