Soy Curls may become your new best plant-based friend.
Soy Curls, along with green jackfruit, give this vegan chicken salad an amazing texture.
What are Soy Curls?
They are a versatile, naturally gluten-free, minimally processed meat substitute. These strips of soy protein contain only one ingredient: whole non-GMO soybeans. Well, two ingredients, if you count the water for cooking.
Soy Curls are made from whole soybeans that have been slowly cooked, extruded into strands, and dehydrated at a low temperature.
Similar to textured soy protein but better. No soy protein isolate. No hexane. No defatted soy flour—just the whole bean and nothing but the bean.
Similar to vegan “chicken” strips but better. No long string of twenty-one ingredients that make you ask: what is that? how do I pronounce that?
When rehydrated they have a meat-like texture. (That’s what I am told. As a life-long vegetarian/vegan, I can’t speak from personal experience.)
Soy Curls’ ability to absorb flavor makes them a versatile meat substitute. Their mild flavor means you can take them any direction you want. Chicken-style. Beef-style. Fajitas. Teriyaki. Barbecue. Stir-Fry. Make-it-your-way style. And don’t forget backpacking.
Where to Buy Soy Curls
How to Store Soy Curls
Because Soy Curls are made from whole soybeans and do not contain any preservatives, store them in the refrigerator or freezer to keep them fresh. I like to buy them in bulk and divide them into zip-top freezer bags that each contain 4 ounces.
Tips for Making Vegan Chicken Salad
Measure the Soy Curls
- I don’t usually use a liquid measure for measuring dry ingredients. Because of their elongated shape, Soy Curls don’t fit neatly into a dry measuring cup. It’s most accurate to weigh them or to use half of a bag. The photo shows what 4 ounces looks like–in case you don’t have a kitchen scale.
Rehydrate the Soy Curls in hot seasoned water.
- Heat the Soy Curls, water, and vegan chicken-style seasoning in a saucepan. Then drain it and squeeze the excess moisture out with a spatula or my hands–depending on how moist you want the end product to be.
Buy unripe or green jackfruit.
- Young canned jackfruit will be packed in water or brine. It is available at Asian stores, Trader Joe’s, and some natural food stores. Do not buy ripe jackfruit in syrup.
- When shredded, jackfruit has a texture similar to shredded chicken, which adds more texture to this vegan chicken salad.
Squeeze Excess Moisture Out of the Jackfruit
- After draining and rinsing the green jackfruit, squeeze the excess water out with your hands, like you would a sponge.
Leave Some Texture When Chopping
- Don’t chop the Soy Curls and jackfruit too fine. Leave some texture.
Add Texture and Flavor
- Add texture with chopped celery. Add flavor with chopped chives or green onions, fresh parsley, vegan mayonnaise, lemon juice, and homemade vegan chicken-style seasoning.
If Time Allows, Refrigerate Before Serving
- If time allows, refrigerate for 1 hour or longer before serving to allow the flavors to meld. Serve on a bed of lettuce, as a lettuce wrap with butter lettuce, in a gluten-free wrap, or with gluten-free crackers or whole-grain sandwich bread.
Experiment with Variations
- Look at the end of the recipe for variations, including a soy-free version that uses chickpeas instead of Soy Curls.
- Add your own twist to the recipe. And let me know how it turns out for you.
- Please take a minute to come back to this post and rate the recipe.
Vegan Chicken Salad
- 4 ounces Soy Curls about 2 heaping cups
- 1¼ cups water
- 1 tablespoon chicken-style seasoning
- 1 20-ounce can green jackfruit, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup vegan mayonnaise
- 1 celery rib minced
- 2 green onions chopped or ¼ cup chopped chives
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon vegan chicken-style seasoning to taste
- Stir Soy Curls, water, and chicken-style seasoning together in a small saucepan. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes.
- Use your hands to squeeze excess moisture. Transfer to a food processor. Pulse until chopped into small pieces. (Don’t over process).
- Use your hands to squeeze excess liquid out of jackfruit (like squeezing a sponge). Add jackfruit to the food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
- Transfer to a bowl and stir in mayonnaise, celery onion, lemon juice, parsley, and chicken-style seasoning until well mixed. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- If time allows, refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld.
- Cover and refrigerate up to 1 week. Makes 4 cups.
- Vegan Chicken Salad with Pecans: Add ½ cup chopped toasted pecans.
- Vegan Chicken Salad with Almonds: Add ½ cup toasted sliced almonds.
- Vegan Chicken Salad with Tarragon: Add 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon.
- Vegan Chicken Salad with Jackfruit and Chickpeas: Substitute 1 (15-ounce) can drained and rinsed chickpeas (garbanzos) for the Soy Curls. Omit the water and 1tablespoon chicken-style seasoning. Reduce the chicken-style seasoning to 1-2 teaspoons, to taste. [soy-free]
- Vegan Chicken Salad with Chickpeas: Substitute chickpeas for the jackfruit.
- Vegan Chick(pea) Salad: Substitute 2 (15-ounce) cans drained, rinsed, and mashed chickpeas (garbanzos) for the Soy Curls and the jackfruit. Omit the water and 1 tablespoon chicken-style seasoning. Reduce the chicken-style seasoning to 1-2 teaspoons, to taste. [soy-free]
- Waldorf Vegan Chicken Salad: Add 1 cored and diced red apple, and 1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts.
- Curried Vegan Chicken Salad: Add 1/3 cup golden raisins and 2 teaspoons curry powder. Substitute cilantro for parsley.
- If you don’t have a food processor, chop the Soy Curls with a knife. Use a grater or knife for the jackfruit.
- Serve as a lettuce wrap with butter lettuce, on a bed of lettuce, or on gluten-free crackers or whole-grain sandwich bread