This vegan chicken salad is made with soy curls instead of chicken but has the same flavors and textures you know and love. It requires minimal ingredients, is easy to make, gluten-free, packed with protein, and makes for the ultimate quick and easy meal.
Chicken salad was always a comfort food for me growing up. It’s reminiscent of picnics, school lunches, and beach days with the family in the summer. I might be biased, but my mom made THE BEST chicken salad.
Here’s What You Need for This Vegan Chicken Salad:
Soy Curls: One of the most underrated plant-based substitutes, in our opinion. Soy curls are easy to cook with and have an unbelievably chicken-like texture. Soy Curls can sometimes be hard to find in stores, but you can also get them online here. If you can’t find them you can just use diced vegan chicken strips for this recipe.
Onions: Red onion is ideal to use in this recipe. It provides a little bit of zest and gives the chicken salad a desirable crunch. If you’re not a fan of red onions, you can also swap them for green onions.
Celery: Celery is a vital component of a classic-style chicken salad. It provides the perfect crunch but has a mild flavor, so it doesn’t overpower the other ingredients in the recipe.
Vegan Chicken Broth: To infuse as much flavor into the soy curls as possible, we recommend soaking them in vegan chicken broth. You can also use vegetable broth if you don’t have access to vegan chicken broth, but the former helps add that sought-after chicken-like flavor. We like to use the Better Than Bouillon No Chicken paste.
Mustard: To add some extra flavor, we like to add dijon mustard to our chicken salad. If you don’t have dijon mustard, you also use spicy or stone-ground mustard.
Spices: The spice blend for this chicken salad is straightforward. You need garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper.
Ways to Enjoy This Vegan Chicken Salad:
Now that we have the essential components of our vegan chicken salad outlined let’s figure out the best ways to enjoy it.
Sandwiches: This is probably our favorite way to enjoy this chicken salad. We recommend using toasted whole-grain bread for something a little heartier or keeping it classic with toasted white bread.
Salads: Salad on a salad? Serving this chicken salad over a bed of greens is a great way to get some extra veggies into a meal. We like to serve it over romaine, spinach, or mixed greens.
Dip: Serving this chicken salad with various crackers and using it as a dip is another great option. You can also use carrots, peppers, or celery as vessels for this salad.
Wraps: If you prefer tortillas over sliced bread, making a wrap with this vegan chicken salad is a great option. Throw in some lettuce, tomato, and a slice of dairy-free cheese, and have a delicious meal.
As is: If all else fails, this recipe is great to enjoy on its own!
So, What are Soy Curls?
Soy Curls are, in our opinion, one of the most underrated meat substitutes available.
They’re popular here in the Pacific Northwest because the main producer of soy curls, Butler Foods, is located in Oregon.
Soy curls are made from a single ingredient, non-GMO soy. They come packaged dehydrated and require a quick 10-minute soak with boiling hot liquid to bring them back to life.
You can infuse flavor into soy curls by soaking them in different broths, and once cooked, slather them in your favorite sauces.
Soy curls are made from whole soybeans, which means they’re packed with fiber and protein.
They’re the perfect minimally processed plant-based substitute that can take on the flavor of chicken, beef, turkey, or pork, depending on how they are seasoned.
After they’re rehydrated, we like to cook our soy curls on a cast iron skillet to give them a crispy outer skin and a chewy inner texture.
Vegan chicken salad is made with soy curls instead of chicken but has the same flavors and textures you know and love. It requires minimal ingredients, is easy to make, gluten-free, packed with protein, and makes for the ultimate quick and easy meal.
Bring vegan chicken broth (or vegetable broth) to a boil.
Add soy curls to a large bowl and pour over the broth, allowing them to rehydrate for about 10 minutes.
Once hydrated, heat a large cast-iron skillet with oil over medium heat.
Begin scooping in the soy curls, squeezing/shaking off any excess liquid (but do not discard!). Cook for 2 minutes, or until they begin to brown.
Add in ⅓ cup of the broth and cook. Once the first batch of broth cooks off, add in the next and continue this process until you have cooked off all of the liquid. Make sure you cook off the full ⅓ cup before adding in the next batch!
If needed, add a little more oil to the pan and continue to cook the soy curls until they start to get golden and char a little.
Remove the soy curls from the skillet and roughly chop them.
In a large bowl add the soy curls and the remainder of the ingredients and mix until uniform.
Serve on bread, as a dip, in a wrap, or over greens. Enjoy!
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