The Best 4-Ingredient Vegan “Chicken”

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Here it is! I’ve been working on this vegan “chicken” recipe for just over 6 weeks! In that time I tried dozens of variations of seitan. My goal was to create a convincing vegan alternative for chicken that was as simple as possible. In this recipe, I’ll show you how to make The Best 4-Ingredient Vegan “Chicken”.

Vegan "Chicken" Ingredients

Ingredients in The Best 4-Ingredient Vegan “Chicken”

I bet you’re wondering how you can create vegan “chicken” from just 4 ingredients. Well, I’ll tell you. The ingredients shown in the image above are enoki mushrooms, vital wheat gluten, tofu, salt, and water. All of these ingredients are essential for making this recipe. I did not count water as an ingredient since water is not typically counted as an ingredient in recipes.

Each ingredient in this recipe plays a vital role in the successful outcome of this vegan “chicken”. The enoki mushrooms in this recipe give the “chicken” it’s texture. The tofu adds to the texture and moisture of this recipe. The vital wheat gluten within this recipe creates the chewy texture needed and also helps hold everything together. The salt adds a small amount of flavor. The water gives this recipe added moisture and helps with blending.

Enoki Mushrooms
Enoki Mushrooms
Enoki Mushrooms

How to Make The Best 4-Ingredient Vegan “Chicken”

Throughout this recipe I’ve carefully captured the exact step-by-step instructions for how to make The Best 4-Ingredient Vegan “Chicken”. The images shown are meant to act as a quick visual guide to help you make this vegan “chicken” as easily as possible. Now let’s get started!

Step 1 – Prepare the Mushrooms

Place the enoki mushrooms onto a cutting board and hold them together with one hand. Use the other hand to cut the dirty ends/roots off of the end of the mushrooms and discard. I usually cut about an inch off of the bottom of the mushrooms.

Rinse the mushrooms under cold water to remove any excess dirt before placing the mushrooms back on the cutting board. Hold the mushrooms together again with one hand while you use a fork to shred the mushrooms into thin strands with your other hand. Continue shredding the mushrooms until all have been broken up into thin, hair-like strands.

Enoki Mushrooms
Enoki Mushrooms

Step 2 – Cook the Mushrooms

Add the mushrooms to a small frying pan over medium heat along with a splash of water. Cook the mushrooms until they have broken down and become sticky. Continue cooking until the majority of the water has evaporated. Do not over-cook or burn the mushrooms. The mushrooms should still be sticky and somewhat wet when they’re done.

Can I Use Another Type of Mushrooms for This Recipe?

No. I would not recommend it. When I was creating this recipe I used different types of mushrooms and the enoki mushrooms worked best. I was not able to get the same results using portabella mushrooms or baby portabella mushrooms, for example. Enoki mushrooms work best for this recipe because the long, thin strands made from shredding the mushrooms help give the vegan “chicken” a chewy, meat-like texture that resembles muscle fiber.

Additionally, I would not recommend another type of mushroom for this recipe because of the preparation required. In this recipe you need to be able to add the cooked mushrooms to a food processor and have them hold together even after being blended. Using another type of mushroom will likely cause the mushroom to break up into small chunks instead of smaller strands.

Vegan "Chicken" Ingredients
Vegan "Chicken" Ingredients
Vegan "Chicken" Ingredients

Step 3 – Blend & Put It All Together

Add the tofu, water, and salt to a food processor and blend until smooth. Next, add the vital wheat gluten and pulse a few times until just combined. Do not over-mix the vital wheat gluten with the wet ingredients.

When the vital wheat gluten has been until just combined with the wet ingredients, add the cooked mushrooms. Blend the mixture together with the cooked mushrooms for 30 seconds to 1 minute to fully combine. Take a break after every 10 seconds of blending so your food processor does not overheat and break. The mixture should resemble a sticky dough when it is finished.

Vegan "Chicken" Ingredients
Vegan "Chicken" Ingredients
Vegan "Chicken"

What is Vital Wheat Gluten and Why Is It Necessary for This Recipe?

Vital wheat gluten, or wheat gluten, is made from wheat and is a common ingredient used in vegan cooking and in various types of baked goods. Many vegan recipes use vital wheat gluten along with spices and broth to make what’s known as ‘seitan’. Seitan is the result of cooking vital wheat gluten and is used as a popular meat-like substitute. This recipe is technically considered vegan seitan “chicken” since it also uses vital wheat gluten.

Seitan
Seitan

Step 4 – Wrap It Up

Take the dough mixture out of the food processor and quickly roll/knead it into a small loaf. This recipe makes two servings of dough so make sure to separate the mixture into two loaves.

Place the dough mixture onto a sheet of aluminum foil and roll/fold it tightly so that the dough loaf is covered twice around with foil. Do not wrap the dough more than twice around or it will not cook all the way and it will still be raw in the center.

Seitan
Seitan

Step 5 – Cook the Vegan “Chicken”

Add the wrapped dough to a pressure cooker along with water and steam for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, flip the wrapped dough over and steam for another 15 minutes.

Note: If your pressure cooker comes with a steam basket, use that when steaming the wrapped dough. If your pressure cooker does not come with a steam basket, place the wrapped dough on the bottom of the inside barrel of the pressure cooker and steam.

Vegan "Chicken"
Vegan "Chicken"

Step 6 – Finish It Up

When the “chicken” is done cooking, let it sit at room temperature until cooled. Next, add the “chicken” to an airtight container and place it in the fridge to chill for an additional 4 to 6 hours or overnight. When the “chicken” is done chilling remove it from the fridge and pull it apart with your hands to create “chicken” shreds or cut it up into whatever shape you’d like.

Vegan "Chicken"

How to Use This Vegan “Chicken”

Use this vegan “chicken” in the same way you would use regular chicken. You can batter and fry it, cook it in sauce, add it to soup, and much more! Below is an example of how I used this vegan “chicken” after pulling it apart. I added it to a sriracha maple sauce and cooked it until the sauce had thickened, then I served it alongside some quinoa and steamed broccoli!

Seitan Dinner

Final Thoughts

I am very proud of this recipe. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, it took me 6 weeks of testing different ingredients and methods for cooking seitan until I landed on this one. This recipe checks off all of the boxes for me in terms of meat-like quality and simplicity of ingredients and cooking. I sincerely hope you love this recipe as much as I do. I will be using this recipe in the future as a base for many other “chicken” recipes to come!

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Vegan "Chicken"

The Best 4-Ingredient Vegan “Chicken”

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes + 4 – 6 hours of chilling
  • Yield: 4 cups of “chicken” 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Make The Best 4-Ingredient Vegan “Chicken” as an easy meat alternative! This recipe is oil-free and makes 4 cups of vegan “chicken”!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 oz. Firm Tofu, Drained*
  • 7 oz. Enoki Mushrooms
  • 1 1/4 Cup Vital Wheat Gluten
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Salt

Instructions

Prep and cook the mushrooms:

  1. Cut the dirty ends off of the mushrooms and discard.
  2. Rinse the mushrooms under cold water to remove any excess dirt.
  3. Place the mushrooms onto a cutting board and use one hand to hold them together. Shred the mushrooms with a fork using your other hand. Continue shredding the mushrooms until all have been separated into fine hair-like strands.
  4. Add the mushrooms to a small frying pan over medium heat. Add 1 – 2 tbsp. of water and cook for 3 – 5 minutes or until softened and most of the liquid has evaporated. The mushrooms will look slimy and stick together. Set the cooked mushrooms aside.

Put it all together:

  1. Add the tofu, water, and salt to a food processor and blend until smooth. Scrape the inside of the food processor with a spatula and continue blending to make sure everything is well incorporated.
  2. Add the vital wheat gluten and pulse a few times until just mixed.
  3. Add the cooked enoki mushrooms and blend for 30 seconds to 1 minute to fully incorporate. Give your food processor a break every 10 seconds to avoid overheating or breaking it.
  4. Remove the mixture from the food processor and quickly roll/knead to form a smooth ball.
  5. Wrap the mixture in aluminum foil twice around. Do not over-wrap the mixture or it will not cook properly and it will still be raw in the center.
  6. Add the wrapped mixture to a pressure cooker along with 1 cup of water and steam for 15 minutes.  Flip the wrapped mixture over and steam for another 15 minutes. You can add the wrapped mixture to a steam basket if your pressure cooker has one or place it on the bottom of the pressure cooker if you do not have one.
  7. When the “chicken” is done cooking, let it cool at room temperature before placing it in the fridge to chill for 4 – 6 hours or overnight.
  8. After chilling, cut or shred the chicken and use it in your favorite recipes as you would with regular chicken. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Notes

*Tofu: 8 oz. of tofu is approximately 1 1/8 cup, small cubed.

Vegan Chicken

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