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Opinion 35 vegan ‘chicken’ recipes: comfort meals made meat-free

Kitchen Tips
Liv's author bio image

Author: Liv Published: March 28, 2024

Easy plant-based recipes for chicken schnitzels, nuggets, curries, roasts, fried chicken, stir-fries, pies, indulgent pasta dishes, and more.

If you enjoy the taste of a classic chicken dish, but have decided you love chickens more, you’re far from alone in wanting to leave these sweet animals off your plate 🐔💕

As many as 1 in 3 Aussies these days are choosing to cut back on meat or go completely meat-free, and the delightful knock-on effect of this increased demand is that there are now more plant-based options available in stores and online than ever!

You can find delicious vegan versions of chicken fillets, nuggets, schnitzels, Kievs, chicken burgers, roasts, and chicken strips in most major supermarkets these days 🍗🌿

Plant-based meat products have been shown to have a healthier nutritional profile than conventional animal meat and make brilliant 1:1 swaps when cooking – so you can still enjoy all the flavours you love, while making a positive difference for animals, the environment, and your health.

And of course, there are countless ‘meaty’ recipes you can make from scratch using veggie-based ingredients, too!

Here you’ll find some of our all-time favourite chicken-inspired vegan recipes – remember to bookmark your favourites so you can find them easily the next time you feel like something chickeny, minus the chicken.

Make these ‘meaty’ plant-based chicken dishes at home

There are heaps of innovative recipes out there that make use of versatile plant-based ingredients – like banana blossom, seitan, tofu, jackfruit, mushrooms, and soy curls – to recreate the meaty texture of chicken. 

Try these on for size:

Banana Blossom Butter Chicken 

Overhead image of a creamy plant-based butter 'chicken' with a side of rice and naan.This vegan take on traditional butter chicken uses banana blossom (you can find this canned) to recreate that familiar meaty texture – and somehow it just works! The result is perfectly rich, aromatic, and packed with plant-based goodness.

Seitan Chicken Schnitzel

Close up of two vegan schnitzels on a plate with a side of lettuce.
Image: The Edgy Veg

What would this list even be without a crispy, golden-brown schnitzel? You can make this delightful vegan alternative from scratch with the magic of seitan, and from there, the meal possibilities are endless.

Succulent Vegan Roast Chicken

Overhead image of an oven dish with juicy vegan roast 'chicken', potatoes, garlic, and rosemary.
Image: School Night Vegan

You might recognise this dazzling centrepiece from our list of ‘meaty’ festive mains, but it would be a tragedy to make this only for the holidays! From date-night to dinner party, it’s a worthy go-to for any occasion where you’re out to impress.

Crispy Tofu Chicken Nuggets

A close up of a plate of crispy tofu nuggets with a creamy dipping sauce visible in the background.
Image: Jessica In The Kitchen

Crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside – these tofu nuggets are irresistible, not to mention packed with protein. Fold them into a wrap or enjoy them on their own with some tomato sauce or vegan aioli.

Korean BBQ Bowl with Oyster Mushroom ‘Steak’ 

Overhead shot of a bowl of Korean-style BBQ chicken on a bed of rice.

The title may say ‘steak’, but this recipe is also a great stand-in for crispy, flavour-packed Korean BBQ chicken. And the plant-based version is just as addictive! Oyster mushroom is the hero of the dish thanks to its surprisingly meaty texture and spot-on BBQ marinade. 

Vegan Tofu Chicken Piccata

Overhead image of a bowl of vegan 'chicken' piccata: pan-seared tofu fillets in a creamy lemon and caper sauce.
Image: From My Bowl

Treat yourself to the mouth-watering taste of Italy with this tofu-based version of chicken piccata, featuring that iconic combo of lemon, (vegan) butter, and caper sauce. 

Southern-Fried Jackfruit Drumsticks

A side profile of two vegan 'chicken' drumsticks'.

Unlike some Colonels people, we’d never dream of gate-keeping our secret blend of herbs and spices – have at it! These jackfruit-based chicken drumsticks are utterly delectable, and even have an edible ‘bone’ made out of cauliflower.

Versatile Vegan Chicken Meat

A close up of chunky plant-based roast 'chicken' is being held to camera on a fork.
Image: School Night Vegan

If there’s one recipe you bookmark from this list, make it this vegan chicken meat – it’s easy-to-make, delicious, and wildly versatile. A must-have in your plant-based repertoire!

Quick & Easy Vegan Chicken Pieces

Close-up image of vegan 'chicken' bites in a pan soaked in a rich marinade.
Image: It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken

This seitan chicken recipe only takes 20 minutes and 7 ingredients to whip up. A great option for when you feel like adding a chickeny touch to your dish, but don’t want to go to the shops or spend too long in the kitchen. 

Crispy Southern Fried Tofu

A bowl of perfectly crisp tofu bites at a table setting with several condiments to the side.

Enjoy the experience of Southern fried chicken in a vegan-friendly form with this moreish tofu recipe. Crunchy beyond belief and deliciously seasoned, these little nuggets are sure to be a hit at any gathering.

Vegan Korean Fried Chicken 

Close-up image of a plate of Korean-style fried 'chicken' garnished with spring onion and sesame seeds.
Image: The Cheap Lazy Vegan

Soy curls are yet another remarkably convincing (and affordable) meat substitute. Learn how to make them shine with this Korean-inspired fried ‘chicken’ recipe. If you don’t have an air fryer, a frying pan will work too.

Try these veggie-based alternatives to classic chicken dishes

If you’re looking for something that hits the same spot as a comforting chicken dish, but feels lighter and more whole-food based than ‘meaty’, look no further than these delicious veggie options:

Buffalo Button Mushrooms

Close up overhead image of tempura-style button mushrooms.

A kinder alternative to chicken nuggets, these addictively crunchy buffalo button mushrooms are also an incredible appetiser in their own right. The perfect finger food for any occasion! 

Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Nuggets

Overhead image of crispy, tempura-style cauliflower in a bowl, with several plates in shot.

Fire up your taste buds with these hot buffalo nuggets, made with melt-in-your mouth pieces of battered and fried cauliflower. They’re a dream served with vegan aioli or mayo.

Super Crispy Broccoli & Cauliflower Hot Wings

A diner-style bowl is filled with crumbed and fried broccoli and cauliflower bites, with a side of a creamy sauce and crunchy pickles.

Because you simply can’t have too many variations of this concept… Crispy, crunchy, and ridiculously easy to make, these spicy hot wings pack a real punch. Serve them with vegan sour cream, chopped chives, and cucumber for a refreshing contrast.

Cheesy Eggplant Bake 

A rich and saucy eggplant bake sits in a skillet with a hand in shot topping the meal with vegan cheese.

A lighter, veggie alternative to the classic chicken parm, this indulgent bake features rich layers of roasted eggplant, tomato sauce, fresh basil, breadcrumbs, and melty vegan cheese.

Teriyaki Tofu Skewers 

A plate of teriyaki tofu skewers, with capsicum, zucchini, mushroooms and rice.

These flavoursome, protein-packed teriyaki tofu skewers are an easy direct swap for chicken kebabs at your next BBQ. They’re just as satisfying and even more nutritious.

Sticky Lemon Tofu

Overhead image of two plates of sticky lemon tofu nuggets served on a bed of white rice and a side of Asian greens.
Image: Vegan On Board

Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and bursting with citrusy goodness, this dish offers all the sweetness and stickiness of lemon chicken, but with tofu instead.

Buffalo Cauliflower Wings 

Overhead image of deep-fried buffalo cauliflower bites with a side of ranch.

Oh, you thought we were done with buffalo cauliflower? Never, and for good reason! This one’s different, we promise – the wings are extra crispy, and they’re coated in the most faithful version of a fiery, savoury buffalo sauce that you can make at home, and best enjoyed dunked in this tangy vegan ranch. 

Portobello Mushroom Kiev

Two crispy Kievs sit atop a bed of broccoli and charred lettuce.
Image: Great British Chefs

This plant-based version of a Kiev features juicy portobello mushrooms filled with a creamy, cashew-based bechamel, and crusted with a nutty, herbed breadcrumb topping.

Add store-bought vegan chicken to these comfort meals

Most major supermarkets these days offer a wide range of plant-based chicken products, and there are heaps available for delivery from online retailers as well – which makes it easier than ever to swap out the meat in all your favourite recipes for a healthier vegan alternative.

We highly recommend trying a few different brands of vegan nuggets, fillets, schnitzels, and chicken pieces to discover your new favourites.

These meals are all mouth-watering enough already, but would taste great with a plant-based product like Birds Eye Chicken Strips thrown in too:

Creamy Mushroom Alfredo 

A bowl of creamy pasta alfredo is ready to serve, garnished with parsley.

This cashew-based alfredo has to be tasted to be believed! It’s ridiculously wholesome, light, and creamy – the perfect complement to garlic-infused mushrooms or some seared vegan chicken.

Herby Mushroom Rigatoni

Close-up image of a bowl of a creamy mushroom rigatoni, garnished with herb crumb.

Another mushroom-centric pasta, only this one’s a bit richer, with deeper and more indulgent flavours and plenty of aromatic herbs. Even without adding any plant-based meat, this is comfort food at its finest.

Cosy Mushroom & Leek Pie 

Overhead image of a beautifully decorated flaky pastry pie with leaf detailing. A portion of the pastry has been broken into with a fork to reveal a creamy leek and mushroom filling.

Is there any combination more cosy than mushroom, leek, and flaky puff pastry? Each bite is perfectly tender, with a dairy-free bechamel-style sauce tying the whole thing together. Mix in some faux chicken pieces for an even heartier filling.

Brown Rice, Mushroom & Thyme Risotto 

Overhead image of a brown rice risotto, with mushroom and pine nuts.

A veggie-laden, brown rice-based risotto is super satisfying and nutritious – and the garlicky, herb-rich flavours the mushrooms are cooked in make them taste almost ‘chickeny’ already.

Garlicky Mushroom Vol-Au-Vents

Close up of a flaky pastry vol-au-vent that has been broken with a fork to reveal the creamy white sauce filling with garlic and mushroom.

You could totally sneak some finely chopped plant-based chicken into these vol-au-vents! It would add a subtle meatiness to the creamy filling, and a bit of extra bite to balance out the softness.

Veggie Satay Stir-fry 

A serving bowl presented nicely with a heaped portion of creamy veggie stirfry with vegan 'chicken' strips.

If there’s any dish that’s begging to be amped up with vegan chicken strips, it’s a satay stir-fry. Just toss them in before adding your veggies (to give the strips a bit of extra frying time) and you’re golden.

Zesty Lemongrass Tofu Stir-fry

Overhead shot of two bowls of tofu and veggie stir-fry served with brown rice.

Fragrant, filling, and packed with nutritious vegetables, this lemongrass stir-fry needs no improvement – whether or not you want to swap out the tofu for vegan chicken is purely a matter of taste!

Veggie Stir-fry with Coconut Red Curry Sauce 

Overhead image of two serving bowls of veggie stir-fry in a red curry sauce.

This red curry-inspired stir-fry can handle just about any vegetable you want to throw at it – and the same goes for plant-based meat. Vegan chicken or beef pieces would pair particularly well.

Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup

Overhead image of a vegan 'chicken' and noodles in a broth-style soup.
Image: Nora Cooks

There’s no going past this comforting classic. It packs all the nourishing, umami chicken soup flavours you remember from your childhood, only 100% plant-based.

Caesar Salad with Herb-roasted Chickpeas

A big serving bowl of salad with a portion taken out. Plenty of greens with cherry tomatoes and roasted chickpeas are smothered in a creamy dressing.

You definitely don’t need to add plant-based meat to make a vegan salad super satisfying – and here’s the proof – but when it comes to Caesar salad? It’d be rude not to 😉

Takeaway-style Vegan Lemon Chicken 

A bowl of lemon chicken pieces coated in a sticky, zesty marinade.
Image: The Foodie Takes Flight

Tangy, bright, and just the right amount of sticky, this zesty, take-away-style vegan lemon chicken is sure to hit the spot when you’re feeling peckish.

Vegan Chicken Cacciatore

Overhead image of a hand reaching in to grab a bowl of delicious looking vegan 'chicken' cacciatore.
Image: Rabbit & Wolves

This unbelievably easy-to-make pasta dish is as simple as dumping all the ingredients in a baking dish, and popping it straight in the oven! With vegan chicken as the star, it’s deliciously hearty and perfect for busy weeknights.

Vegan Pub-style Parmas 

A plate full of mini vegan parmas served with chips and a green side salad.

A deliciously vegan take on an Aussie icon – it’s true blue pub food, only plant-based! This classic parma recipe nails the gooey, cheesy tomatoey vibe of the original, and uses either TVP slices or a vegan chicken fillet to stand in for the meat. 

‘Chicken’ Stinger Burger

A burger sits on a plate with a chunky, perfectly crispy vegan 'chicken' patty, served with lettuce, tomato, onion and a zingy sauce.

Slathered in a zingy, mayo-based sauce and fried to perfection, this crispy vegan chicken burger is to-die-for. You can practically feel the crunch through the screen! There are so many options for the ‘meaty’ base: TVP slices, plant-based chicken patties, and oyster mushrooms all work beautifully. 

General Tso’s ‘Chicken’ 

Sweet and spicy marinated tofu cubes are served with Asian greens. A side of fresh chilli slices sit beside the plate.

PSA: The trick to achieving ‘meaty’ tofu pieces is to freeze and thaw your tofu first – a weirdly magic process that makes it chewier and more chicken-like! Pair this sweet and spicy recipe with some equally addictive noodles for a fully vegan Chinese take-away experience. 

Vegan Bourbon ‘Chicken’

Marinated and bourbon-infused chicken shreds are in a pan on the stove.

If you’ve never tried bourbon-infused chicken before, add it to the top of your to-do list pronto. This plant-based recipe is super hearty, a little spicy, and overall has such a rich depth of flavour that you’ll definitely want to add it to your regular rotation. 

Keen to explore more plant-based meals?

Browse our recipe hub for even more meat-free recipe ideas that take chickens out of the equation ❤️

If you’re interested in trying out egg-free cooking too, we can highly recommend our tofu scramble, egg-less salad sandwich, and vegan pavlova cups. So yum!

Check out these vegan chicken products you can buy in stores! They’re clucking delicious 😉

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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