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Opinion Best vegan chicken products you can buy in Australia

Kitchen Tips
Liv's author bio image

Author: Liv Published: November 28, 2023

Plant-based chicken products make it easy to veg-ify all your favourite chicken dishes. The only hard part? There are too many amazing brands to choose from!

If you’ve been thinking of trying one of the many plant-based chicken products available in stores these days, but aren’t sure which ones are the best, we’re here to help!

Here’s our pecking order for the best vegan chicken alternatives you can buy in Australia. 

** Indicates our top picks for each category – but don’t let that stop you from trying them all!

Plant-Based Chicken Strips & Fillets

A close up of vegan chicken on a barbeque, with tongs reaching in to rotate.

Whether you prefer them grilled, baked, fried, or pan-seared – these un-crumbed plant-based chicken pieces can do anything actual chicken can do! 

If you’re in a transition phase of trying to introduce more plant-based meals, try subbing them into any of your usual ‘meat and 3 veg’ style meals.

We’d also recommend throwing them into a pan with teriyaki sauce, pre-cooked rice or noodles, and a few cups of frozen stiry-fry veg. Easiest weeknight meal ever! 

Plant-Based Crumbed Chicken Tenders & Schnitzels

A hand reaching over a takeaway container grabbing a vegan chicken tender and dipping it sauce.

Crispy, crunchy, meaty deliciousness … This might actually be our favourite category – plant-based schnitzels and chicken tenders make such an easy starting point for a comfort meal. 

Devour them as-is with your choice of dipping sauce, or make a fancy plant-based parmigiana by layering them up with homemade napoli sauce and gooey vegan cheese.

Plant-Based Popcorn Chicken & Nuggets

A serving platter full of popcorn chicken with a side of dippins sauce and lemon wedges.

The day vegan popcorn chicken and nuggets arrived on the scene, we knew we’d made it to plant-based nirvana. And these products are genuinely incredible – not only addictive and easy to whip up, but also generally a bit lighter-feeling on your stomach than their meat-based counterparts.

These pop-in-your-mouth delights are an especially easy win with kids, but let’s be real, does anyone really ever grow out of nuggets? 

Plant-Based Chicken Burgers

A close up of a chicken burger being held up to camera.

Burgers of all kinds are ridiculously easy to veganise, with everything from brioche burger buns to plant-based bacon – to faux beef patties, melty vegan cheese, and egg-free mayo all readily available in stores.

Here are our favourite options for crumbed chicken-style patties that absolutely nail the brief of being perfectly crispy and satisfying in a salad-packed burger:

Plant-Based Chicken Deli Meat

A close up shot of a chicken and salad wrap.

When we say the plant-based section has everything covered these days, we mean it! 

There’s a small but mighty range of deli-style chicken slices that really hit the spot – ideal for pairing with a vegan cheese board, shredding into a salad, or filling a sandwich for your little one’s plant-based lunch box. 

Plant-Based Chicken Sausages

Close up image of chicken-style sausages skewered and topped with lime and pineapple.

Nestled among the seemingly endless array of vegan pork- and beef-style sausages, there are some mouth-watering chicken-style snags, too!

You’ll usually find them under the plant-based banner in the meat section, or the refrigerated vegetarian section of Coles. If you can’t find these brands in stock at your local, try vegan specialty stores online.

Plant-Based Roast Chicken

An overhead image of roast chicken sliced on a plate, with a side of mash and greens.

We know, we have to pinch ourselves too sometimes when we think about the fact that entirely plant-based roast ‘chickens’ exist! Here we are, living in the future ✨ 

These hearty roasts make great centre-pieces for a vegan feast – but are equally delicious sliced up in any dish that usually calls for leftover roast chicken, like a sandwich, pasta, or salad.

Plant-Based Chicken Ready-Meals

Overhead image of a pasta dish topped with roasted chicken tenders on a colourful orange checked tablecloth.

Why not pop a few of these in your freezer as a gift to your future self? That way, you’ll actually be excited the next time you’re too busy to cook – because one whirl in the microwave, and these meat-free ‘chicken’ meals are ready to go!

Plant-Based Chicken Pies

A close up image of a pie cut in half, oozing creamy cheese.

Unlike classic meat pies, vegan chicken pies are still a bit of a rare breed in stores – but honestly, these online gems are all you could ever want anyway. Funky Pies just know what they’re doing!

You could, of course, also try making your own pies using some of the chicken products on this list 👀

Plant-Based Chicken ‘Kits’

Image from above of three bowls of butter chicken and rice, with a box of Deliciou plant-based chicken lying to the left.

This category of plant-based chicken products is still emerging, but boasts some pretty nifty options already. 

The Deliciou ‘kits’ contain pre-seasoned dry mixes that you bring to life at home by adding warm water or veggie stock. Then you just shape the chicken ‘dough’ into whatever shape you’d like, fry up as usual, and enjoy!

The Nature’s Kitchen packets are slightly different – they contain dehydrated ‘chicken’ pieces that plump up in hot water and are a bit more of a blank canvas, so you can season them however you like. They’re brilliant for anyone wanting to boost their protein intake, containing a whopping 26.5g per serving!

And that’s not all …

No doubt you’ll find even more plant-based chicken products as you start exploring. The happy reality is that there are just so many options on the shelves today – with new arrivals constantly waiting in the wings – that it’s impossible to make a truly exhaustive list!

We suggest pecking around not only your local supermarket, but also the freezer sections of any health food stores and Asian grocers you have nearby. You never know what secret nuggets (of ‘gold’, but also literal nuggets!) might be hiding in the back. 

And if you find yourself cooped up – maybe sick and in desperate need of vegan chicken soup, for example – you can also order a wide range of plant-based products online from suppliers like the Vegan Grocery Store and Vegan Perfection, and they’ll be delivered straight to your door!

To find more stores who can deliver plant-based meat to your city or state, check out our directory of vegan-friendly online retailers.

A delicious way to make a difference

It’s true switching to plant-based chicken can improve your health and protect the planet, but the ones this choice impacts the most are, of course, the chickens! 

A side profile of a hen outdoors, with greenery in the background.

In terms of sheer numbers, the chicken meat industry is the biggest cause of animal suffering in the world today – which is exactly why switching to plant-based chicken makes such a powerful difference.

Millions of Aussies now are choosing to eat less meat – a choice which has the potential to protect these sweet animals from cruelty. 

Did you know that chickens love listening to music, are super smart, and can fondly remember the faces of both their animal and human friends?

What better incentive to go and treat ourselves to some chicken-friendly vegan nuggets right now … As if we needed any excuse 😉

Keen to discover more meat-free options? We’ve got a list of our favourite plant-based pork, ham, and bacon alternatives here if you’re interested in exploring some pig-friendly plant-based meat products too! 🐷

Header image: © Sunfed

 

Liv's author bio image

Meet Liv!

Having grown up in a “meat and 3 veg” kind of household, Liv’s embarrassed to admit that she was a bit of a one-note chef until she began exploring the world of plant-based food. Vegan cooking has given her a whole new appreciation for the symphonies of flavours that simple, nourishing wholefood ingredients can create. (Even eggplant, once her greatest nemesis, is now — in a delicious, miso-glazed redemption arc — her all-time favourite veg.)

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