Garlic Ginger Vegan Chicken (Soy Curls)

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This Garlic Ginger Vegan Chicken is made with soy curls which means it’s completely plant-based and gluten-free. It has a tender meaty texture and is the best meat substitute I have found by far, and it only has one ingredient–soybeans. The sweet ginger garlic flavor is perfect for stir-fries and poke bowls!

white square bowl of soy curls seasoned with ginger sauce and a bowl of rice.

These vegan chicken strips are perfect for grilling, air frying, and using anywhere you would use chicken in recipes. They are delicious in stir-fries, soups, sandwiches, and more! Check out our list of vegan Asian recipes for even more inspiration.

What is vegan chicken made of?

There are a few different plant-based products that vegan chicken is made from, the two most common being soy curls and vital wheat gluten aka seitan. Other options can also include pea protein, tofu, and jackfruit.

For this recipe, I use soy curls because they are super easy and wholesome, and there is no extra work involved in prepping them other than rehydrating them. They are great for making other recipes like vegan BBQ and mock chicken casserole.

What is the best fake chicken?

Soy curls are my personal preferred option for fake chicken. The texture is perfectly chewy like chicken and many people can’t even tell the difference. They can be purchased in some grocery stores and easily ordered online.

In contrast to vital wheat gluten, soy curls are completely gluten-free and a good option for those avoiding wheat products. Instead, they are made with non-GMO soybeans.

Ingredients needed

The recipe card at the bottom of the page has the full list of ingredients with measurements and instructions.

This soy curl recipe for vegan chicken is very easy to make and only requires 8 ingredients. This is what you’re going to need.

  • Soy curls– I buy mine online from Amazon and some grocery stores like Whole Foods and Earth Fare will have them in stock as well.
  • Vegetable broth– You can purchase veggie broth at almost any grocery store or even make your own using vegetable scraps.
  • Maple syrup– Other sweeteners can be used, but my preference is pure maple syrup.
  • Soy sauce– I like to use low-sodium soy sauce to keep the salt content down. For those who are gluten-free, you will want to use tamari instead.
  • Lime juice– Use bottled lime juice or squeeze some from fresh limes.
  • Garlic– It is easiest for me to use minced garlic in a jar, but fresh works well too.
  • Ginger– I tend to use dry powder ginger but grate it fresh if preferred.
  • Red pepper flakes– Even if you don’t like spicy food, I highly suggest using at least a small pinch for flavor.

How to make vegan chicken

Begin by rehydrating the soy curls. To do this, simply open the bag and place the dried curls in a large bowl. The directions on the package say to use water to rehydrate, but I strongly suggest using vegetable broth and a splash of soy sauce or tamari. This adds so much flavor right from the start. They will need to soak for approximately 10 minutes or longer.

While the soy curls are rehydrating, go ahead and mix up the sauce. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all of the ingredients–maple syrup, soy sauce, lime juice, minced garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes–and whisk together well.

Pour the soy curls into a colander to drain the broth. I like to squeeze mine so they will be ready to soak up the flavor of the sauce. You’ll notice they now have a spongy texture.

Transfer the soy curls to a large bowl, pour the sauce over them, and stir until they are coated well.

Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and allow them to marinate for at least 30 minutes or more. The longer they soak, the bolder the flavor will be. They can be refrigerated and allowed to marinate overnight if desired.

Serve over rice, in a stir-fry, or even in a wrap or sandwich.

Tips for Success

  • Gluten-free– Soy curls are gluten-free but soy sauce is not. So, if you are avoiding gluten, be sure to substitute tamari for the soy sauce.
  • Sweeteners– I use maple syrup for my sweetener, but other good options include date syrup and agave nectar.
  • Enhancing flavor– After the soy curls rehydrate, it is a good idea to squeeze excess liquid from them when draining so that they will readily soak up the bold flavor of the sauce.
  • Spiciness– Even if you don’t like spicy food, don’t leave out the red pepper flakes. Simply add less of them. They add so much flavor to this recipe.
  • Marinating– The longer you allow them to marinate in the sauce the better. If you have time to leave them overnight, the flavor will really pop.
  • Cooking– Rehydrated soy curls do not need to be cooked, but at times I like to put them in my crockpot on low and allow them to simmer for a few hours to help the flavors marry up even more.

Serving suggestions

There are so many ways you can serve these ginger garlic soy curls. Some of my favorite ways are to include them in a garden salad, serve them in a sandwich or wrap, toss them in a stir-fry, or add them to healthy homemade vegetable soup.

Air fry cooking method

Air fry them for 5 minutes at 370°F. Shake the basket and then cook for another 3-5 minutes checking every minute or two until the soy curls are crispy. Do not over-fry them or they’ll get too hard and burn.

Storage suggestions

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. They also freeze well. Simply defrost in the refrigerator overnight and reheat on the stovetop or microwave.

More vegan meat substitute recipes

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2 bowls of rice and vegan chicken with chopsticks
5 from 3 votes

Garlic Ginger Vegan Chicken

This vegan chicken is made with soy curls which means it’s completely plant-based and gluten-free. It has a tender meaty texture and is the best meat substitute I have found by far. The sweet ginger garlic flavor is perfect for stir-fries and poke bowls!
Prep: 40 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients 

Instructions

  • To rehydrate the soy curls, place them in a large bowl. The directions on the package say to use water to rehydrate, but I strongly suggest using vegetable broth and a splash of soy sauce or tamari. This adds so much flavor right from the start. They will need to soak for approximately 10 minutes or longer.
  • While the soy curls are rehydrating, go ahead and mix up the sauce. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all of the ingredients–maple syrup, soy sauce, lime juice, minced garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes–and whisk together well.
  • Pour the soy curls into a colander to drain the broth. I like to squeeze mine so they will be ready to soak up the flavor of the sauce. You’ll notice they now have a spongy texture.
  • Transfer the soy curls to a large bowl, pour the sauce over them, and stir until they are coated well.
  • Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and allow them to marinate for at least 30 minutes or more. The longer they soak, the bolder the flavor will be. They can be refrigerated and allowed to marinate overnight if desired.
  • Serve over rice, in a stir-fry, or even in a wrap or sandwich.

Video

Notes

Tips for success
  • Gluten-free– Soy curls are gluten-free but soy sauce is not. So, if you are avoiding gluten, be sure to substitute tamari for the soy sauce.
  • Sweeteners– I use maple syrup for my sweetener, but other good options include date syrup and agave nectar.
  • Enhancing flavor– After the soy curls rehydrate, it is a good idea to squeeze excess liquid from them when draining so that they will readily soak up the bold flavor of the sauce.
  • Spiciness– Even if you don’t like spicy food, don’t leave out the red pepper flakes. Simply add less of them. They add so much flavor to this recipe.
  • Marinating– The longer you allow them to marinate in the sauce the better. If you have time to leave them overnight, the flavor will really pop.
  • Cooking– Rehydrated soy curls do not need to be cooked, but at times I like to put them in my crockpot on low and allow them to simmer for a few hours to help the flavors marry up even more.
Serving suggestions
There are so many ways you can serve these ginger garlic soy curls. Some of my favorite ways are to include them in a garden salad, serve them in a sandwich or wrap, toss them in a stir-fry, or add them to vegetable soup.
Air Fry cooking method
Air fry them for 5 minutes at 370°F. Shake the basket and then cook for another 3-5 minutes checking every minute or two until the soy curls are crispy. Do not over-fry them or they’ll get too hard and burn.
Storage suggestions
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. They also freeze well. Simply defrost in the refrigerator overnight and reheat on the stovetop or microwave.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 162kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 11.5g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 357mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 9g

Disclaimer

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About Terri Edwards

Hi guys! I am the content creator behind EatPlant-Based and a licensed Food for Life instructor with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. I am passionate about sharing healthy recipes and tips to empower others to get healthy.  I’m so glad you’re here! Read More…

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6 Comments

    1. Hi Shirley- Yes, ma’am! Air frying them is a great idea! Air fry them for 5 minutes at 370°F. Shake the basket and then cook for another 3-5 minutes checking every minute or two until the soy curls are crispy. Do not over fry them or they’ll get too hard and burn!

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