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KatawaGrey's avatar

What is a good substitute for chicken?

Asked by KatawaGrey (21305 points ) December 9th, 2008

I am a vegetarian and a lot of good recipes have chicken in them. I would like to be able to use these recipes, but I need something that, for lack of a better term, acts like chicken when cooked.

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27 Answers

sillymichelleyoung's avatar

I have to be honest and say that I do not know, but I will ask my sister about it and get back to you asap (my sister is vegeterian).

tonedef's avatar

Seitan, when fried, is sort of similar to chicken. It’s really delicious. Also, sliced tempeh can do in a pinch. Nom nom nom.

PupnTaco's avatar

Frozen/thawed/pressed tofu is kinda of meat-ish and is a blank slate flavor-wise. But there is no substitute, really.

Harp's avatar

Quorn is very good, much better than TVP concoctions. It comes in lots of forms, including nuggets that can easily be tossed into any recipe where you’d use chunks of chicken.

melly6708's avatar

tofu.. or you could just substitute some good veggies.

forestGeek's avatar

The Quorn works really good. Garden Burger makes a fake Chicken patty (not the breaded one) that can be cut into slices and used.

Also, if you drain all the water from firm or Extra firm tofu, then freeze it, it becomes more chicken-like. You can marinate it with fake chicken flavoring. It’d experiment with this tofu freezing first, because though I like it this way, some people I know don’t.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Quorn is good. I’m not a vegetarian and I don’t mind it.

However, the vegetarian food I like the best is the stuff that isn’t pretending to be something else. Get a proper veggie cook book and try some of the recipes. I bet the results will taste better and be more healthy than fake chicken what ever.

cooksalot's avatar

Very firm tofu. I like to use those pre-marinated tofus that are available now. I know it’s nothing like chicken but growing up we also used a things like kabocha squash to replace the meat in dishes when there was a death in the family.

syz's avatar

I too am a quorn fan.

DandyDear711's avatar

I have used Health Wealth chicken free nuggets and patties in a simple “chicken” parm sort of thing. Worked well. I’m gonna watch this Q cuz I am a one year pesctarian and still have lots to learn! I did not have luck with tempah the one time I tried it…

laureth's avatar

Quorn is tasty, but if you’ve never had it before, it pays to make sure you’re not allergic to the fungus it’s made out of. Sometimes people fall sick after eating it.

I like tempeh and seitan myself, as well as Yuba which is a soybean product (formed from rolling up the “skin” that forms on top of the water when soybeans are processed). Sounds gross, tastes good!

Also, for large amounts of whatever chicken stuff you’re making, you may consider a Tofurky or UnTurkey.

greylady's avatar

I have used mock crab with Alfredo sauce and egg noodle casserole, or just the mock crab cooked with butter. We all like it, and it is pretty versatile – good in cold salads, too.
http://www.cooks.com/rec/search/0,1–0,mock_crab,FF.html

KatawaGrey's avatar

@greylady: thanks for the suggestion, but I don’t eat any meat, including seafood. Maybe it will help someone else out. :)

@all: there are a lot of good suggestions here and I really appreciate it. I had considered using tempeh and/or tofu, I just wasn’t sure if they had the same consistency as chicken.

forestGeek's avatar

@KatawaGrey – greylady is talking about fake crab, as in not real meat, 100% vegan. It can be found at some Asian markets. Good stuff!

laureth's avatar

Most “mock crab” that I see is based on wheat flour and whitefish. I’ve never seen a vegan one. Is there a brand name? I’d be interested in knowing more.

greylady's avatar

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mock_crab

I am not sure that Alaskan Pollock or white fish is “sea food”, but here is a link.

laureth's avatar

Vegan means that there are no animal products in it, though – not even wool or honey. Since Alaskan Pollock and Whitefish are both kinds of fish (seafood), they would not be vegan.

They are pretty good tasting, though!

forestGeek's avatar

These might not be available in every city, but here in Seattle, and obviously NYC, we have Vegan seafood galore. A few stores in the International District here sell these. Here’s a link to order them online. They have crab, prawns, lobster, salmon, tuna, chicken and much more.

I’ve tried quite a few of them and they are definitely not all great, but worth trying. The ham, prawns and lobster are all particularly great IMO.

The ham, baked with pineapple rounds, are to die for!!!

La_chica_gomela's avatar

I LOVE Quorn. I’ve eaten it twice today (fake chicken nuggets at lunch, then fake chicken bits in soup at dinner), and I’m not a vegetarian at all. It comes in breasts, both breaded and not, and breaded topped with gruyere, nuggets, tenders, and little bits that look like cubed of chicken breast and are perfect for soups, “chicken” salad, stir frys, cassaroles, and lots of other stuff. So so very yummy.

I also buy Morningstar Farms brand fake chicken stuff. It’s also pretty good. It’s a little less expensive than Quorn, and sometimes I like to change it up. It comes in nuggets, “buffalo” nuggets (which are hot as hell, I don’t buy them after I tried the first nugget), patties, and a few other forms. I can’t remember right now. They come in a green box. (They’re fake corn dogs are not half bad either!)

These are both frozen, and I’ve seen at least a few products from both companies at just about every type of grocery store. Sometimes they’re on the “Natural/Organic” type of aisle though.

sillymichelleyoung's avatar

my sister recommended “Veggie Chicken Strips… :) Morningstar Farms makes them… They actually taste like chicken… :)”

emilyrose's avatar

I vote for seitan, made from wheat gluten. There is a kind that comes in a blue box that is already shaped into meaty looking bites. Delicious though not easy on the stomach for lots of people cuz of the gluten. Very very tasty. I have never heard of quorn!

Knotmyday's avatar

Pronouncing “seitan” makes funny dinner conversation. “We’re having seitan for dinner tonight!” “Who?”

DandyDear711's avatar

@emilyRose – if you have some nearby, would you post the brand please?! Many thanks!!

greylady's avatar

Thanks, Laureth.

SandyN's avatar

Depends on what you’re trying to make. My daughter is a vegetarian and I make “Broccoli Braid” (from the Pampered Chef cookbook) without using chicken. I substitute extra veggies and add in water chestnuts—they give a wonderful crunch as well as adding to the taste. I am presently wanting to make chicken spaghetti, sans chicken. I have decided to simply add some grated carrots and whatever other veggie sounds good at the moment and I will substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth and cream of mushroom soup instead of cream of chicken. I think it will turn out great. Yeast rolls on the side. My daughter does not want anything that resembles chicken or meat in her food.

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