March 19th is National Poultry Day, a day when people celebrate their love of dishes made with chickens, turkeys, and their eggs. At One Green Planet, we would celebrate the beauty of these animals instead. Chickens are smart, affectionate, and feeling animals who love to cuddle.
The truth is, we don’t need chickens to make our favorite chicken dishes in a more compassionate and healthier way. Pretty much, any dish you loved with chicken, you can make it with plant-based ingredients and it will taste like chicken. It’s all about getting the right texture and flavors and that has everything to do with the herbs, spices, and cooking methods you use.
So we say “Screw National Poultry Day.” Instead, make these 25 badass recipes that don’t need chicken in them to be amazing.
1. Un-Chicken Salad
This Un-Chicken Salad, made with texturized vegetable protein, is unbelievable. Red onions, celery, pecans, and sliced grapes add so much texture and flavor. Put it on a sandwich, eat it in a wrap, in a salad, on crackers, or just straight out of the bowl. This un-chicken salad will become a staple your home.
2. Chicken-less Burgers
If you liked those fast-food chicken burgers, you’ll love these Chicken-less Burgers. Made with chickpeas and vital wheat gluten, these are simple to make. Poultry seasoning (which is vegan) gives the burgers the familiar flavors you know and love. Stack these with lettuce, tomatoes, vegan mayonnaise, and vegan bacon for the ultimate “chicken” burger.
3. Vegan Fried ‘Chicken’
In this Vegan Fried ‘Chicken’, texturized vegetable protein slices stand in the for the chicken. The slices are wrapped in rice paper wrappers, which makes an awesome crispy skin. These are weirdly and amazingly awesome. Anyone who is or was a fan of fried chicken will love this dish.
4. Orange ‘Chicken’ with Mixed Vegetables and Brown Rice
Soy curls can stand in for chicken in any recipe, like this Orange ‘Chicken’ with Mixed Vegetables and Brown Rice. This dish is sweet, spicy, sticky, and delicious. Served with a side of brown rice and variety of sautéed vegetables, it’s a meal that’ll keep you full and satisfied. It’s sure to be declared a household favorite, so you know you’ll be making it again and again.
5. Kung Pao ‘Chicken’
A veganized and gluten-free version of a Chinese takeout classic, this Kung Pao “Chicken” makes use of soy curls to give the dish a chewy, satisfying bite. There are plenty of veggies, the sauce is rich and thick with peanut butter, and just the right amount of heat.
6. Buffalo BBQ ‘Chicken”
This Buffalo BBQ ‘Chicken’ takes your two favorite sauces – barbecue sauce and Buffalo sauce – and combines them to create one incredible dish. The sauce is spicy, smoky, and decadent that covers the vegan chicken to make one heck of a knock-your-socks-off meal.
7. Asian Soy Curl Salad
This Asian Soy Curl Salad is a vegan version of the well-known Chinese chicken salad served at restaurants. The flavors and textures in this salad are out of this world. The almonds and sesame seeds add a nutty flavor, while the dressing is balanced with sweet, savory, tangy, and spicy. The red cabbage is crunchy, the greens are soft, the almonds are toasty, and the soy curls … well, the soy curls are just crispy and delicious. It’s definitely the salad to make if you have guests and want to impress them. This is on par with the big, beautiful salads you get in restaurants, but better.
8. Cauliflower Buffalo Bites
These Cauliflower Buffalo Bites are a crowd-pleaser for any event. Chicken wings will never be missed when you can have these baked cauliflower bites that are chewy, spicy, and delicious. Serve these with celery sticks, carrots, and vegan blue cheese dressing.
9. Buffalo Avocado Wings
Wings are for flying and these Buffalo Avocado Wings are for … well, eating. You are only four ingredients away from indulging in this amazing dish. Bonus: they’re baked, not fried. They take maybe 15 minutes to make, and only a few hot seconds to gobble up. Maybe you should double the batch.
10. Orange Soy Maple Sticky Tenders
When you crave something sweet and sticky, you’ll want to make these Orange Soy Maple Sticky Tenders. They’re really fast and easy to make – just combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a small saucepan and cook, until thickened. Toss browned vegan chicken tenders in the sauce and let cook until it becomes a glaze. That’s it. Now eat.
11. Chick’n Style Seitan Cutlets
If you need a delicious replacement for chicken in your recipes, then look no further than these vegan Chick’n Style Seitan Cutlets. They have a substantial texture and the subtle, salty flavor that is reminiscent of the real thing. Baked until crispy, these are just waiting to be served with mashed potatoes and gravy for a comforting dinner.
12. Orange Cauliflower
Cauliflower knocks chicken out of the park with this Orange Cauliflower dish. Cauliflower is battered and fried until crispy and then coated in an orange sauce that’s simply divine. Serve with rice and no one will ever question cauliflower love again.
13. Jackfruit Pot Pie
If you haven’t tried cooking with jackfruit yet, let us suggest you start with this Jackfruit Pot Pie – the plant-based pot pie of your dreams. Creamy, warm jackfruit takes the place of chicken, and along with veggies, is encased in a delicate puff pastry crust. Make this recipe and your tummy will be so happy.
14. Crispy Turmeric Tofu Nuggets
All that’s between you and these Crispy Turmeric Tofu Nuggets are just six ingredients. When you need to make a dish that’s guaranteed to please everyone, go for these crispy delights. These are great served on a bed of lettuce, or with a few simple sides and some dipping sauce.
15. Crispy Breaded Chickpea Cutlets in a Savory Mushroom Gravy
Who needs chicken cutlets when you can have these Crispy Breaded Chickpea Cutlets in a Savory Mushroom Gravy? These chickpea cutlets are coated with a gluten-free breading, then baked until crispy. Then they are served with a savory, homemade mushroom gravy. Chickpeas have the perfect flavor and texture for this meal that’s sure to win over anybody. Serve this alongside some fresh greens, or any vegetable of your choosing.
16. Gluten-Free Vegan ‘Chicken’
If you’re gluten-free and can’t eat seitan or vital wheat gluten, you’ll love this recipe for Gluten-Free Vegan ‘Chicken.” This is a plant-based version of chicken that’s sure to be the base for many vegan chicken recipes. From vegan chicken sandwiches to vegan chicken salad, it’s impossible that this gluten-free meat alternative won’t be a hit in your family.
17. Crispy Tofu Nuggets
These Crispy Tofu Nuggets are a vegan twist on a traditional favorite. Not only that, they’re something you can feel good feeding to your kids. If you don’t want to deep-fry them, you can also fry them in a skillet, until golden brown. The curry ketchup is a unique dipping sauce that packs a punch and perfectly complements the dish.
18. Chicken-Free Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce
OMG! This Chicken-Free Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce has layers of yumminess. These amazing, flavorful chicken doppelgangers are covered in a marinade of sweet, salty, spicy, and citrus that’s grilled to a caramelized perfection. That same marinade gets incorporated with coconut milk and peanut butter into a dipping sauce that is rich and creamy. Serve with pickled cucumbers, brown rice, and greens for a festive and fun meal!
19. The Best Vegan ‘Chicken’ and ‘Sausage’ Gumbo
Gumbo is a Southern dish and this ‘Chicken’ and ‘Sausage’ Gumbo turns the classic upside-down! Vegan chicken and vegan sausage are cooked with okra, tomatoes, peppers, and onions. There’s even sassafras in it, so you know this is good. Serve with rice for a new take on a classic dish.
20. Chicken-less Pot Pie Soup
Comfort food doesn’t have to have meat in it. This Chicken-less Pot Pie Soup is the proof. The classic chicken pot pie is made over with vegan chicken and lots of veggies. It’s packed with protein and nutrients. This cross between a pot pie and a soup is incredibly filling and it makes for great leftovers.
21. General Tso’s Tofu with Steamed Broccoli and 5-Spice Brown Rice
Forget take-out and make your own General Tso’s Tofu at home. The tofu is crispy and flavorful, the sauce is not too sweet and not too spicy — just thick and rich, the way you love it. Served with crunchy broccoli and five-spice brown rice, this dish is made to order. Sorry, we don’t deliver. You’ll have to make it yourself.
22. ‘Chicken’ Green Chili and Hominy Posole
This simple, flavorful and robust ‘Chicken’ Green Chili and Hominy Soup is sure to become a comforting favorite. Seitan stands in for the chicken in this dish. It’s filled with deep and smoky flavors and spices, like smoked paprika, oregano, cinnamon, and cilantro. Chiles give it kick, while hominy makes this a filling and satisfying meal.
23. Vegan “Butter Chicken”
Butter chicken is an Indian classic, but here it’s made without the chicken or the butter. This Vegan “Butter Chicken” uses tofu and seitan for the meat, while cashews and non-dairy yogurt help make the marinade and sauce. This dish captures all the sweet, spicy, richness of butter chicken by using whole food, plant-based ingredients.
24. Vegan Spinach ‘Chicken’ Curry
Not only is this Vegan Spinach ‘Chicken’ Curry a more compassionate version but it’s also healthier. A plant-based chicken substitute is cooked with spinach and all the bold, warm spices you love in Indian food. Almonds help make the curry sauce rich, thick, and luxurious.
25. Cauliflower Piccata
Picatta dishes are usually made with chicken or veal, and vegan versions are made with tofu or seitan. This Cauliflower Piccata uses vegetables instead. Cauliflower steaks are roasted to a tender, golden-brown perfection, and topped with the classic lemony garlic-caper sauce. Serve with pasta, rice, or veggies for a lovely Italian dinner.
Chicken dishes aren’t really about the chicken. They’re all about the textures and flavors you add to the chicken. So who needs the chicken at all? Add those flavors and textures to healthy, compassionate, plant-based ingredients. That’s how you really celebrate chickens.
Lead image source: Crispy Breaded Chickpea Cutlets in a Savory Mushroom Gravy