I was always a huge fan of chicken Parmesan when I was a kid, and have made vegan versions. Last spring, I was thinking about how awesome a vegan spring “Chicken” Parmesan would be. With a springy pesto instead of marinara. With lots of lemon for brightness. So I made sure that before spring came around this year I would work on just that. This vegan “chicken” is super easy to make and everything is just thrown in a food processor. While the “chicken” patties bake, you can wipe out the food processor and make a quick spring pesto. With arugula and green onions, not just basil. Spread that on the baked “chicken,” top with vegan mozzarella and parmesan. It’s everything I dreamed of and more.
What You Need For This Springtime Goodness:
- Tofu: This is one of the bases of the “Chicken.”
- Vital Wheat Gluten: This is really important and creates the meaty, stretchy texture that makes the “chicken” so good. I often order mine in bulk on Amazon.
- Olive Oil, Soy Sauce, Vegetable Broth: These flavorful liquids are processed with the tofu and vital wheat gluten to make the perfect “Chicken” seitan.
- Panko: My secret ingredient for the best seitan and to crust the outside.
- Poultry Seasoning, Italian Seasoning and Nutritional Yeast: These flavor the seitan and the crust.
- Vegan Mozzarella and Vegan Parmesan: To top the “chicken.”
- Basil, Arugula and Green Onions: Are the base of the spring pesto.
- Almonds, Garlic, Lemon, Vegan Parmesan: Make up the rest of the pesto with oil and broth too.
I know making your own seitan can be intimidating. But this is probably the easiest recipe ever. You literally add everything to a food processor and process it until it is smooth and has formed a nice dough ball. No need to knead! It is the perfect texture and no steaming. Just form the patties and bake for 30-35 minutes. They are firm, but still tender. Crispy on the outside and the spring pesto is a really good compliment. My favorite vegan Mozzarella is Violife brand. It gets pretty melty and has a really good flavor! This vegan spring “Chicken” Parmesan is worth the extra work to make everything from scratch!
Why Should You Make This “Chicken” Parmesan?
- Each part of this meal is so good on its own. The “chicken” and the pesto are amazing.
- The perfect way to start working on your seitan skills. This recipe would be hard to mess up.
- I love some good comforting spring time meals and this one is the best.
- This recipe makes 6 large “chicken” patties, so it will feed a crowd.
- It is just too delicious not to taste!
Vegan Spring "Chicken" Parmesan
- 1 Block(15oz.) Extra firm tofu
- 2 Tablespoons Olive oil
- 2/3 Cup Vegetable broth
- 1/4 Cup Soy sauce
- 1 Cup Vital wheat gluten
- 1 1/3 Cup Panko
- 1 teaspoon Poultry seasoning (usually contains Thyme, Sage, Rosemary and Nutmeg) or vegan chickenless seasoning from Trader Joe's
- a pinch of Salt and pepper
For The Crust
- 1 Cup Panko
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 Tablespoons Nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Black pepper
- 1 1/2 Cups Vegan Mozzarella, I used Violife
- 1/3 Cup Vegan Parmesan, I used Follow Your Heart
- 2 Cups Fresh basil
- 1 Cup Arugula
- 3 Green onions, trimmed
- 1/4 Cup Almonds, roasted
- 3-4 Cloves Garlic
- 1/4 Cup Vegan Parmesan
- 1/4 Cup Olive oil
- 1/4 Cup Vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons Lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon Lemon zest
- Pinch of Salt and pepper
- Pinch of Red pepper flakes
- Make the seitan "chicken" first. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees(F).
- Drain the tofu, and squeeze some of the liquid out of the block of tofu over the sink. As much as you can, it is fine if the tofu starts to crumble. Then add the tofu to a food processor.
- Then add the olive oil, broth, soy sauce, vital wheat gluten, panko, poultry seasoning and a pinch of salt and pepper to the food processor. Process until everything is completely smooth(make sure there are no tofu chunks) and it will start to form a dough ball. Let the dough ball process for a minute or until it is very stretchy. You can check by pulling on the dough.
- Remove the dough ball from the food processor and separate into 6 equal portions. Press them flat in a chicken breast type shape. Set aside.
- Now mix together the crust ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the panko, Italian seasoning, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
- Take a "chicken" breast and push it down into the crust on each side until it is fully coated. Place on a sheet pan sprayed with non-stick spray or lined with a silicone mat.
- Repeat with all the "chicken". Spray the tops of the "chicken" with non-stick spray to help with browning. Or you can brush the tops with a little oil.
- Bake for 15 minutes, flip and spray again with non-stick spray. Bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown and firm. They will puff a little, but they will go down once you take them out of the oven.
- While the "chicken" bakes, make the pesto. Wipe out the food processor. Add all the pesto ingredients to the food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.
- Once the "chicken" has baked for 30 minutes, remove the sheet pan from the oven. Spread the pesto evenly on the top of each piece of "chicken". Then sprinkle vegan mozzarella and vegan Parmesan on top of the pesto.
- Put the "chicken" back in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is as melted as possible.
- Serve with pasta if desired. I just like to toss some in olive oil and fresh lemon juice.