Purdue University reports that we consume 8 billion chickens per year in the United States.
As an on-again-off-again vegetarian, I’ve experimented with my fair share of chicken meals, but I prefer to stay away from meat and have found there are plenty of recipes out there that emulate meals typically served with chicken.
Whether you crave chicken and dumplings or live off chicken salad, you can easily make these meals without the meat. The following “chicken” dinners deliver an explosion of flavors and guarantee you won’t miss the poultry.
Chicken-and-dumpling soup is a hearty dinner that warms you from the inside out on a cold winter’s day. And it’s easy to make without the chicken using chickpeas.
This recipe from Thug Kitchen claims to feed six, but in my experience, you could easily stretch it to eight. I followed the directions to the letter, though next time I’ll make the dumplings round instead of flat, like in more traditional recipes.
Warning: this recipe site contains hilarious but definitely NSFW language.
Servings: 6 to 8
2 sweet yellow onions: 98 cents
2 carrots: 20 cents
3 celery ribs: 25 cents
1 small crown of broccoli: 99 cents
3 to 4 garlic cloves: 18 cents
1 ½ cups frozen green peas: 75 cents
5 to 7 kale leaves: 65 cents
¼ cup olive oil: $1.08
7 tablespoons all-purpose flour: 7 cents
Seasonings: 85 cents
½ cup white wine: $1.50
10 cups vegetable broth: $2.47
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas: $1.98
2 cups all-purpose flour: 25 cents
2 teaspoons baking powder: 8 cents
1 cup unsweetened almond milk: 50 cents
1 bunch of chives: 99 cents
“Chicken” Veggie Stir-Fry
Stir-fries are easy weeknight meals and are often served with chicken. This recipe from Savory Spin uses “Beyond Chicken” as the protein, but I used Quorn because it was more readily available at my local grocery store.
The resulting dish packed plenty of flavor thanks to the fresh ginger and garlic. I served the stir-fry with brown rice.
1 onion, chopped: 49 cents
1-inch piece of ginger, finely chopped: 45 cents
4 garlic cloves, chopped: 24 cents
½ cup frozen corn (fresh or canned works too): 49 cents
1 bunch asparagus, chopped into bite-size pieces: $1.99
1 red bell pepper, chopped into bite-size pieces: 99 cents
1 package “chicken” strips: $3.99
½ lemon, juiced: 24 cents
½ teaspoon chili powder: 8 cents
Mock Chicken Salad
Chicken salad is the perfect meal for lunch or a light dinner, but can you find a similar taste without the chicken? I found Eating Bird Food’s recipe really simple to make and extremely delicious.
The recipe easily makes enough for four meals. I served it on top of a simple salad for lunch the first day, and alongside crackers and baby carrots for lunch the second day. Both meals were delicious — I particularly enjoyed the addition of raisins for sweetness and celery for crunch.
1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed: $1.50
1 cup finely chopped celery: 20 cents
½ cup finely chopped red onion: 35 cents
¼ cup slivered blanched almonds: 45 cents
¼ cup raisins: 39 cents
6 tablespoons mayonnaise: 42 cents
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar: 24 cents
2 tablespoons maple syrup: 45 cents
2 teaspoons olive oil: 21 cents
Seasonings: 30 cents
2 tablespoons fresh parsley: 85 cents
2 tablespoons fresh dill: 85 cents
There are so many ways to revamp your favorite chicken dinners if you’re looking to cut out meat or simply want try something new. These three recipes are just a few of hundreds out there, but they provide an excellent starting point. Personally, I will add these recipes to my favorites while looking for other ideas to bring to the table.
Catherine Hiles loves trying new recipes, though she often sticks to good old grilled cheese for dinner. She dreams of the day when her toddler will eat real food rather than just pasta and PB&J.
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