Top 11 Vegetarian Substitutes for Chicken

Vegetarian Substitutes for Chicken
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Do you want to increase the number of people who find your cuisine appealing, particularly vegans and vegetarians? Or possibly individuals who have an extreme fondness for chicken but are unable to consume excessive quantities of it.

All you need is vegetarian substitutes for chicken. Our post will provide a list of vegetarian substitutes for chicken that are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Even if the flavor of these vegetarian substitutes for chicken might not be identical to that of genuine chicken, you can use them to season your food instead of mankind’s favorite meat, and the food will still be delicious.

1. Seitan

Seitan is first on our list of vegetarian substitutes for chicken. It is referred to as “wheat meat” due to the fact that it is a cake that is compacted and made of essential wheat gluten. 

Seitan, a type of soy-based meat substitute, has a flavor profile similar to that of chicken in that it is subtly savory but not overpowering.

It has a firm consistency that is ever-so-slightly chewy, and it is loaded with protein from wheat, sometimes as much as 7 grams per ounce! 

You can purchase a seitan in its natural state as a loaf by itself or select one of the several meat replacement products based on seitan.

Certain are already cut into strips or chunks for your convenience, and certain varieties may have a stronger flavor than others due to the amount of seasoning that was used. 

There are also goods marketed as “seitan chicken” that are made and seasoned with the explicit intention of serving as a substitute for poultry in culinary preparations.

It is important to keep in mind that seitan is not ideal for a diet that excludes wheat or gluten, regardless of how you choose to utilize this product.

2. Cauliflower

Cauliflower is also one of the vegetarian substitutes for chicken. We are pleased to inform you that cauliflower won’t lose its spotlight yet! 

In addition to being a viable alternative to rice due to its lower carbohydrate content, Cauliflower may also be used in many recipes as a suitable substitute for meat.

Cauliflower provides a perfectly mild flavor and delicious bite when used in places where meat is expected, such as in our Ranch Cauliflower Tacos or Air Fryer Cauliflower Buffalo Wings (shown above!). 

Although it does not quite meet the mark on protein level, these vegetarian substitutes for chicken give a perfectly mild taste and satisfying bite.

Not to mention the fact that the nooks and crannies of the cauliflower florets offer the ideal surface for soaking up sauces of any kind, be it sesame garlic, barbecue, or something else entirely!

3. Chickpeas

Chickpeas! Not only do these little legumes have a name that sounds a lot like chicken, but they also possess a wide variety of additional qualities that make them an excellent option for vegans looking for a chicken substitute.

Because they are a complete protein, which means that they include all nine essential amino acids, they have a moderate and slightly nutty flavor.

Because these vegetarian substitutes for chicken consistency are a little bit different than that chicken, you won’t be able to trick anyone into thinking that they’re eating the real deal when it comes to this dish.

If, on the other hand, your objective is to prepare a satisfying meal without meat, chickpeas are the solution you have been seeking.

4. Mushrooms

It is not a secret that mushrooms make a good alternative to meat, yet, many people have a tendency to associate their umami-rich flavor with a replacement for red meat, and they sometimes miss the utility of the fungi as vegetarian substitutes for chicken. We will have none of it!

When looking for an ingredient that may stand in for chicken in a recipe, mushrooms are an excellent choice.

They have a flavor that is not overpowering, a texture that is chewy, and a fat level that is not excessive. 

However, they do not include a sufficient quantity of protein; therefore, you should consume sufficient protein during your other meals or combine them with a different food item high in protein, such as nutritional yeast.

Nevertheless, because cooked mushrooms become savory and delicious, using them as vegetarian substitutes for chicken in recipes is a smart move due to the versatility of this ingredient.

5. Soy Curls

Soy curls are among the best soy products available today because they have an incredibly delicious taste and texture.

Still, their ingredient list is far shorter and less complicated than the component lists of many other vegetarian substitutes for chicken.

Tofu and TVP (textured vegetable protein) are both created from the same type of soy that goes into the production of both products, which is why their names give away their origin. 

In contrast to these other soy products, however, soy curls are manufactured using whole soybeans subjected to a specialized process that involves heating and drying.

Soy curls have a nutty, savory flavor on their own, but because this flavor is certainly not overpowering, they are able to take on the flavors of seasonings and sauces rather nicely. 

Because of their meaty, chewy consistency, soy curls are an excellent choice for replacing strips of chicken in dishes like stir fries, robust stews, and fajitas.

If you cannot locate soy curls in your local market or specialty foods store, you can buy them from many online sellers.

Since soy curls are not necessarily available in every local grocery store (yet!), You can also buy them online.

6. Tofu

This soy product has been recognized for a long time as one of the most significant and well-liked vegetarian substitutes for chicken that is derived from plants, and for a good reason.

Depending on the manner in which it is prepared, tofu can have a mouthfeel that is comparable to that of an actual chicken breast due to its dense and chewy texture when it has been cooked. 

To add insult to injury, tofu has a taste that is extremely subdued and readily takes on the flavor of whatever else is going on in the meal.

This includes anything from rich marinades or seasoning mixes to curries and barbecue sauces.

You may judge for yourself by trying out our recipe for Boneless BBQ Buffalo Wings, which is based on tofu. 

Tofu is produced by pressing soy milk, and the texture of the finished product can range from “silken” to “super firm,” depending on the amount of liquid that is extracted during the pressing process.

In general, firm or extra-firm tofu provides the greatest meat replacement, and it adapts well to a number of cooking methods, including grilling, pan frying, deep frying, and stir-frying, among others.

7. Beans and Sprout

Beans and sprouts are next on our list of vegetarian substitutes for chicken.

Because of the great amount of protein they contain, beans and sprouts are two nutrients that taste excellent and fill up empty stomachs quickly. 

The most beneficial applications for beans and sprouts are found in stews and soups.

Beans and sprouts are good vegetarian substitutes for chicken due to each ingredient’s superb texture. 

Beans are frequently employed in preparing stews and soups by chefs specializing in vegetarian or vegan food. In the past, these dishes would have used bits of chicken.

8. Nuts

Nuts are an excellent source of protein and impart a satiety-inducing crunchiness to salads and a variety of other foods.

When creating vegetarian dishes, many chefs use them as vegetarian chicken substitutes.

The flavor and texture of cashews are a shockingly near alternative for chicken breast meat, making this one of the most prevalent uses of nuts (as a chicken substitute). Nuts are used in salads. 

On the other hand, groundnuts can be used with tofu or veggies to produce a dish that has a crunchier texture.

This works particularly well when you are creating conventional meals that are based on meat, such as burgers or items to be stir-fried.

9. Meat Derived From Plants

The term “plant-based meats” describes dishes that have the appearance and flavor of real meat but are derived from plants rather than animals.

Typically, legumes, grains, seitan, mushrooms, or vegetable proteins will be employed as some of the components in the production of plant-based alternatives to meat. 

The Vegetarian Butcher is a company that produces a variety of plant-based products using soy.

Some of these items are NoChicken Nuggets and NoMeatballs. This company is an example of plant-based meat.

This innovative new substitute for meat is fantastic for flexitarians, vegans, or vegetarians who wish to broaden their dietary horizons and try different kinds of food.

10. Potatoes

Potatoes can do a good job of imitating the texture of chicken if they are properly prepared.

One of the many wonderful things about potatoes is their versatility in kitchen preparation. 

Because of this, you can give your vegetarian cuisine a distinctive flavor profile by merely preparing the potato ingredients in a different way.

For instance, potatoes can be roasted, boiled, steamed, baked, or even grilled – the possibilities are unlimited.

Yet, each method of cooking works astonishingly well to bring out the exquisite flavor of the potato. 

Did you know that potatoes, when cooked properly, make fantastic vegetarian substitutes for chicken? Burgers, soups, casseroles, and other popular meat-based dishes, such as those on your menu, may be made vegetarian by substituting these ingredients.

11. Jackfruit

The jackfruit is the fruit of a specific tree that is a member of the mulberry family.

This means that it is linked to a number of other delicious fruits, like the breadfruit and the fig.

When it is fully mature, the flavor of jackfruit, like that of other tropical fruits, is quite sweet. 

However, when green and unripe, jackfruit has a basic flavor and a distinctive, stringy texture that makes it extremely suitable for imitating chicken in all your favorite recipes because jackfruit has a similar consistency to chicken when cooked. 

Because of their subdued sweetness, these vegetarian substitutes for chicken are ideal for soaking up savory sauces and flavors like dressings, marinades, soups, or stews.

Making shredded vegan chicken with jackfruit, which can be used in meals such as tacos or chicken salad, is one of the most effective uses for this fruit.

It is extremely common to use jackfruit in the preparation of sandwiches similar to those made with pulled pork or pulled chicken, such as our Pulled Jackfruit BBQ Sandwich.


There is bound to be a chicken alternative available that satisfies the requirements of all of your vegan and vegetarian meals, regardless of the recipe you use or the specific dietary choices of each participant.

If you place a high value on convenience, choose one of the excellent vegetarian substitutes for chicken options that are sold in stores, or open a can of chickpeas, give them a rinse, and put them back in the can.

If you find that you have a little extra time on your hands, you might try making vegetarian substitutes for the chicken listed above on our blog.

Make sure that you give yourself (and the people you are cooking for!) some time to adjust to the new method, regardless of whatever choice you ultimately decide to go with.

Even while these vegetarian substitutes for chicken are, in many respects, comparable to the real thing, most people will almost certainly be able to tell the difference between them and the real thing. However, in our eyes, being unique is a desirable quality. Enjoy!!!

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