The Case for Vegan Chicken-Style Seasoning
It can be challenging to find a good-tasting plant-based alternative for chicken broth that contains ingredients you’re comfortable eating.
Sometimes you want a chicken-style flavor:
- as a substitute in a recipe that calls for chicken broth
- when making soups and gravies
- when making a chicken-style sandwich spread
- when vegetable broth isn’t the right flavor
- when plain salt doesn’t fit the desired flavor profile
Product Review: Chicken-Style Seasonings
Edward and Sons Not-Chicken Bouillon Cubes
Ingredients: Sea salt, organic palm oil, yeast extract, organic cane sugar, organic garlic, maltodextrin, organic mace spice.
Serving size: 1/2 cube (For 1 cup broth dissolve 1/2 cube in 1 cup hot water)
Sodium: 810 mg
Notes: Packaged in individually wrapped cubes. Must be dissolved in water.
Available from Amazon.
Bill’s Best Chick’Nish Vegetarian Seasoning
Ingredients: Soy flour, salt, food yeast, onion, garlic, parsley, celery, plus our unique blend of vegetables and herbs (organic ingredients).
Serving size: 1 teaspoon (For 1 cup broth: 1 rounded teaspoon to 1 cup hot water)
Sodium: 242 mg
Notes: The label states: No black or white pepper, sugar, MSG, fat, dairy products, or fillers.
Orrington Farms Vegan Chicken Flavored Broth Base and Seasoning
Ingredients: Maltodextrin, salt (includes sea salt), yeast extract, onion powder, spice [includes white pepper, celery seed, turmeric (spice and color), rosemary], carrot powder, garlic powder, dextrose, natural flavor, parsley, spice extract.
Serving size: 2 teaspoons (makes 1 cup broth)
Sodium: 750 mg
Notes: Recommended by America’s Test Kitchen for a vegan broth.
The label states: produced with genetic engineering.
McKay’s Vegan Special Chicken-Style Instant Broth and Seasoning
Ingredients: Dextrose, salt, potato flour, pure vegetable oil (safflower seed oil), celery, turmeric, onion powder, garlic powder, sunflower lecithin, spices, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate.
Serving size: 1 teaspoon(For 1 cup broth: 1 teaspoon to 1 cup water)
Sodium: 550 mg
Notes: The label states: no MSG added. Gluten-free. Non-dairy. Not GMO. No hydrogenation.
The Vegetarian Express Veggie Chick Seasoning
Serving size: 1 teaspoon
Sodium: 520 mg
Notes: The label states: All natural ingredients. No artificial anything. No hydrogenated fats. No refined sugar.
Available online from The Vegetarian Express
Additional Vegan Chicken-Style Seasonings
There are other brands available but I haven’t addressed them here because I can’t speak about them from personal experience. Some also contain wheat or large amounts of hydrolyzed vegetable protein–a highly processed source of excitotoxins.
How to Choose a Vegan Chicken-Style Seasoning to Buy
If you prefer the convenience of a purchased vegan chicken-style seasoning, pay close attention to the ingredients first.
After you find the ingredients that align with your nutritional priorities, narrow it down to the one(s) that taste the best. Try them side-by-side and in recipes to find what works best for you.
Sometimes you can’t find what you’re looking for in a ready-to-purchase product. That’s why it’s helpful to know how to make your own.
DIY Vegan Chicken-Style Seasoning
Here’s why I like to make my own chicken-style seasoning:
- No unpronounceable ingredients
- No ingredients that usually keep company with MSG. I’m talking about you—disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate. To learn more read this at Be Food Smart
- Sugar is a minor ingredient and can be omitted
- I can control the amount of sodium
- I can eliminate ingredients if I need to accommodate a food allergy or intolerance
- It costs much less
- It contains the antioxidants and nutrients of a wide variety of vegetables and herbs
- No vegetable oil
Ingredients: nutritional yeast flakes, sea salt, dried red bell pepper flakes, onion powder, granulated sugar, turmeric, dried parsley, garlic powder, celery seed, paprika, sage, marjoram, thyme, tarragon, rosemary
Serving size: 1 teaspoon (For 1 cup broth: 1 teaspoon to 1 cup hot water)
Notes: This recipe is adapted from Delightfully Vegetarian by Sharlene Lindskog-Osorio. Unfortunately, the cookbook is now out of print.
“Are You Sure It’s Not Real?”
My friend, Diana, who shared this recipe with me told that she made vegetarian “chicken” noodle soup with this seasoning. She took it to work in her lunch. Her coworker knew she was vegetarian and was curious about it.
“Can I have a taste?”
“Yes, of course.”
“Are you sure it’s not real?”
That’s an impressive confirmation about the taste of this homemade chicken-style seasoning from someone whose husband was a meat cutter!
Step 1: Assemble the Ingredients
The ingredient list is long, but you likely already have most of the herbs. The rest can be purchased in small quantities where bulk seasonings are sold.
The hardest-to-find ingredient is dried bell peppers. Look for dehydrated red bell peppers online were bulk herbs are sold.
Step 2: Grind the Ingredients
Step 3: Use it to Season
To make 1 cup broth: Use 1 teaspoon Vegan Chicken-Style Seasoning to 1 cup water. Or use it to season soups, gravies, scrambled tofu, popcorn, or chicken-style sandwich filling [coming soon].
Vegan Chicken-Style Seasoning
- 1½ cups nutritional yeast flakes
- ¼ cup sea salt
- 2 tablespoons dried red bell pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon celery seed
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried sage
- ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary
- Place all the ingredients in a blender and process until finely ground. (Or grind in batches in a spice grinder).
- Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Makes 1 cup.
- After blending the seasonings together, wait for a minute or so to let them settle before opening the lid.