We’re over a month into sheltering in place, and I haven’t been able to find tofu in stores for the past few weeks. While it’s heartening to know that people are opting for more plant-based options, the shortage has thrown a bit of a wrench in my meal planning. Tofu has been a staple in my diet for years, so I needed to find an alternative protein source to use in all my favorite tofu dishes. Sometimes beans just don’t get it done, you know what I mean?
Enter soy curls: dehydrated strips of soy protein. The description is very unglamorous, but trust me when I say these are a godsend. When rehydrated, they have a chewy texture somewhat reminiscent of chicken. Like tofu, they have a very neutral flavor that makes them a perfect canvas for any sauce or seasoning blend you’re feelin’ that day.
Today’s recipe is a plant-based re-creation of a classic chicken salad, just like the kind my mom used to make for my packed lunches. Y’all may know that chickpea salad is a regular in my lunch rotation, but I think this will be my new go-to because the texture of the soy curls in this is so satisfying, and this recipe packs a ton of protein!
Soy curls are super versatile; they can be used in most recipes that typically call for tofu or chicken. I’ve made soy curl chick’n noodle soup (recipe coming soon), countless stir fries, pot pie, fajitas, crispy buffalo chick’n strips, and multiple batches of the most addictive vegan jerky.
They’re available for purchase on Amazon here, but I love the stuff so much that I ended up buying a 12 pound box directly from the Butler website and we are tearing through it. Soy curls are quite affordable as it is (they expand when rehydrated, so a little goes a long way), but buying them in bulk makes them even more so.
More Recipes Featuring Soy Curls
Vegan Chicken Salad
- 1 1/2 cups (60g) dry soy curls
- 2 cups chicken-style vegetable broth see notes for recommendations
- 2 stalks celery finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup mayo depending on preference
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 small white onion minced (about 3 tablespoons)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon dill relish optional; see notes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Bring chicken-style vegetable broth to a boil. (In a pinch, you can also use plain water; it’ll be less savory but still delicious! You’ll just need to add extra salt to the mixture.) Add soy curls, making sure they’re fully immersed. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes while you prepare your other ingredients.
- Drain soy curls and allow to sit until cool enough to handle. Using a clean tea towel, cheesecloth, or a nut milk bag (my preferred method), wring out as much excess liquid from the soy curls as possible. Roughly chop soy curls and transfer to a bowl.
- Add all remaining ingredients and stir to combine. The salt content varies from brand to brand of vegetable broth and mayo, so give the salad a taste and adjust seasoning to preference.