vegan chicken chunk with sesame seeds

Try not fried, not chicken, and love this meat free version.

Not Chicken

One of my favourite vegan ‘meat’ alternatives has to be chicken. Now, I’ve not actually eaten real chicken for over 30 years so I’m guessing I actually have no idea what it tastes like and I just like vegan chicken! I can eat it any way – sliced plain, tikka style chunks, breaded, battered, and anything inbetween. A burger or a chicken burger? I’ll have the vegan chicken burger please! There are so many companies nowadays who make ‘fake chicken’ and some are really good, but others leave a lot to be desired. Plus of course, as with most processed foods, the salt content of these can be extremely high. Hence, I have been experimenting in making my own.

3 chicken nuggets on a white square plate.
Homemade vegan chicken nuggets

What makes vegan chicken?

If you are wondering how to make ‘vegan chicken’ at home, the secret ingredient (sorry for all my gluten free readers), is vital wheat gluten. It looks like flour however, this ingredient is what is left when all the other ingredients are removed from the flour, so all you have left is the gluten. This ingredient is used in vegetarian and vegan meat alternatives and makes the food known as seitan. I have added a link below if you want to purchase some.

lemon chicken with sesame seeds
Vegan seitan chicken Chinese style lemon chicken

The Seitan Chicken Recipe

Vital wheat gluten on its own does not carry much flavour, so when preparing seitan, you need to incorporate the flavours into it. I have tried to make this recipe using ingredients which you probably already have at home. What you cook the seitan in is also important – I have tried to make it simple again, by just using soy sauce. Once you have your seitan vegan chicken, you can then bread it or batter it to add even more flavour. Here is the base seitan chicken recipe.

Seitan chicken

Vegan chicken substitute base for creating your favourite not chicken dishes.

Course: main
Keyword: meat free monday, meat substitutes, not chicken, seitan, vegan chicken
Created by:: Laurena @LifeDietHealth
  • 400 g tin chickpeas (approx 200g drained)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 250 g vital wheat gluten
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun spice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 200 ml hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion granules
  • For cooking: Soy sauce and water
  1. Drain the chickpeas and put in a large bowl. Mash with a fork until there are no whole peas left. Add the apple cider vinegar.

  2. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl – nutritional yeast, vital wheat gluten, garlic, cumin, Cajun, pepper and salt.

  3. Using your hands, mix everything together. Then mix some more. You should end up with shreds of 'meat'. When you squeeze a handful together, it should almost hold its shape and stay together.

  4. Measure the water into a mug, then dissolve the onion granules in it. Add this to the mixture then mix until you have a ball of elastic dough.

  5. Cut the mixture into as many pieces as you would like – they will grow when cooking. I usually make around 36 nugget size pieces. Roughly shape the pieces into balls, nuggets or strips.

  6. It is easiest to cook these in batches. Bring a pan of water to the boil and add a good glug of soya sauce. Add several of the chicken pieces with space between them. Cook until they have grown in size (almost double), and are rising to the surface, then remove with a slotted spoon.

  7. You can use the chicken as it is, or you can allow them to cool and coat them in batter or breadcrumbs. The chicken is very versatile and once coated can be baked or fried until the coating is cooked.

  8. Enjoy!

What do I need?

You can (as with most of my recipes), make this seitan as easy or complicated as you wish! Make it exactly to the recipe, then just serve the seitan chicken with your favourite vegetables and gravy, or throw in a sandwich with salad and mayonnaise. Alternatively, go all out and make it KFC style with a spiced batter coating, or how about a plain batter then coat it with a lemon dressing for chinese style lemon chicken!

If you are new to cooking or your kitchen needs a refresh, here are a few useful things for this recipe. I receive a small commission if you click and purchase through these links (this is at no additional cost to you)!


This seitan chicken can be served hot or cold. You can serve it with vegetables and gravy or salad and mayonnaise. You can bread it, batter it, marinate it, bake it or fry it. This chicken can also be added to dishes such as curry, casseroles, or pies, anywhere chicken would be used, you can substitute for seitan. Your chicken, your choice. I am going to add some to my enchiladas, put some with salad and coleslaw in a socca style wrap and try it added to some pesto pasta.


This will store well, either in the fridge for up to five days or in the freezer for up to three months. If freezing, portion or separate with greaseproof paper, label and freeze. When defrosting the texture will be slightly different and you may find there is extra liquid, but the taste will still be good.

chicken strips on a plate with sesame seeds
Battered seitan chicken strips with lemon sauce, sesame seeds & spring onions


I really hope you make time to have a play with vital wheat gluten and make some delicious chicken seitan. What will you do with yours? Coronation chicken? Sweet & sour chicken? Roast chicken dinner? Also, what other meat substitute products would you like to see me make? I am working on my ‘beef’ burger recipe and I’m planning on a wellington dish too! I love seeing your adaptions and interpretations of my recipes and I’d love to see your photos so please share!

Post your pics and tag me @LifeDietHealth or using #LifeDietHealth on InstagramPinterest,  Facebook or Twitter.

Leave me a comment below… I love to chat!

I hope to speak with you soon

Laurena x


  • tulips79 18th November 2021 at 16:23

    Wow, 30 years meat-free- good on you👍I can still remember what chicken tastes like (was eating KFC Zinger burgers in 2013, blame hubby lol)

    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 24th November 2021 at 23:41

      Thanks Eva. Ooo, I might try and recreate a Zinger burger! This base chicken recipe is so good and would be perfect for you to make lemon chicken with!


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