Vegan Chicken Fried Steak

Comfort Food, Southern Dinners
A healthy and vegan version of a classic Southern favorite - chicken fried steak!

Chicken fried steak…without the steak! This vegan chicken fried steak recipe uses seitan, but is as delicious as the real thing.

One of my favorite creations of Southern cuisine is chicken fried steak. Crispy, seasoned breading with a perfect crunch? Absolutely! Tender bites of juicy meat? Got it! Smothered in creamy Southern white gravy? Yes, please! All of the things that are sure to make your mouth water in one delectable dish make it really hard to pass up.

What if you could get all of the flavor and satisfaction of this favorite Southern food without all the cholesterol that traditional preparation tends to include? For those considering meat-free alternatives to delicious Southern dishes, I’m happy to say I have found the best of both worlds…vegan chicken fried steak!

Traditional Chicken Fried Steak

If you have had the pleasure of making chicken fried steak at home or ordering it from a restaurant that serves this as a specialty, you know the flavor combination that I’m raving about with this dish. Chicken fried steak is distinguishable from its close cousin the country fried steak in a couple ways: chicken fried steak is served with creamy white gravy (vs. brown gravy for country fried steak) and tends to be crispier than the country fried steak. What is common to both dishes is that they are both decidedly Southern and delicious!

Chicken fried steak is often served as a breakfast, lunch, or dinner item because it is truly good any time of the day. As a breakfast, it will often come with a side of eggs, country-fried potatoes, and of course the classic white gravy. I usually have it as a dinner accompanied by a side of mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and a biscuit. An added bonus to this deep fried, soul food goodness: it’s one of those dishes where you will not be judged if the portion sizes are immense…this is always a big dish!

Chicken fried steak is usually prepared by tenderizing a seasoned cube steak, dredging in a seasoned flour mixture, an egg/milk mix, then back in the flour until fully coated. Different cooking methods range from deep-fried, pan-fried, or even air-fried.

The beauty of cooking at home is that you can customize your own ingredients, cooking methods, and portion sizes to what works best for you. While developing seitan recipes like this vegan chicken fried steak, I realized that I can still enjoy this dish in all its glory and don’t have to miss out even if I decide to go with a vegan option every now and then.

Vegan Options

I have never been afraid to try new things, so after doing some research, I recently took on the challenge of making meat-free meals out of some traditional Southern dishes. What I discovered was that there are some amazing plant-based meat substitute options for traditional dishes like vegan chicken fried steak.

The results of eating more plant-based meals spoke for themselves when our cholesterol was lower than it ever had been. I believe in moderation and know that what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for everyone, but at the very least, trying new foods can be an adventure and the chance to find new favorites! 

Vegan Chicken Fried Steak

Finding a recipe that gave me a harmonious blend of crunch, tender juicy protein, with perfectly seasoned gravy that was also vegan was a tall order. In my opinion, to get this right, the texture had to be consistent with what you would get with the “real thing.” I found seitan steak and vegan gravy to be the perfect substitute.

Seitan meat is created using vital wheat gluten and various spices. The cooking style used in the recipe gives the seitan a firm texture that pairs perfectly with the crispy coating. Ritz crackers and nutritional yeast give a crunchy, flavorful crust that fries up nicely. However, the traditional gravy is the star of this dish. The flavor is fantastic and is an easy vegan gravy to whip up a few minutes before serving. 

What to know more about seitan? Check this out.

Perfect Soul Food Side Dishes

Southern food is all about the sides, and this vegan steak is no exception. Of course, vegan butter, vegan biscuit, and mashed potato are all must-haves, along with your vegan gravy. I like to add some color to my plate when I serve this so green beans, asparagus, collard greens, or turnip greens look lovely for color contrast. I like to serve this for special occasions like a holiday lunch so you could add cranberry sauce, cornbread stuffing, sweet potatoes, or any other traditional side that your family loves to make a really special feast. 

This vegan seitan recipe was put together using a few combinations of recipes and some experimentation using homemade seitan meat and vegan gravy trial and error. I love how it turned out and yes, my kids even like it! I hope it becomes a new favorite for you as well. 

Vegan Steak Patties

Ingredients

  • 2 cup vital wheat gluten 
  • 4 tbsp of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp of chicken or steak seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1.5 cup vegetable broth
  • 3 tbsp of tahini or oil of your choice
  • 2-3 cup additional vegetable broth for cooking

Breading

Ingredients

  • 1 sleeve of Ritz crackers (start with this amount – you may want more)
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast 
  • 1/2 tsp peri-peri or cayenne (if you like spice)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 eggs worth of egg replacer mixed with soymilk instead of water (check box for measurement)
  • 2-3 Tbsp vegetable oil for frying

Vegan Chicken Fried Steak Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In one large mixing bowl, combine the vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, chicken or steak seasoning, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder. In a smaller bowl or large measuring cup, combine the veggie broth, tamari, and tahini (or oil) until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined. The consistency will probably be pretty sticky and elastic.

Knead this seitan dough for a minute or two, adding a teaspoon of vital wheat gluten if it seems too wet. Next, divide and shape the seitan into flat disks. After cooking, these will be bigger than they start so I would suggest keeping them about the size of your palm and as flat as you can get them. Set the steak patties aside for a moment and prepare your cooking broth.

Add the 2-3 c of broth to a large casserole dish (big enough to fit your seitan patties). I like to add a few dashes of tamari, a pinch of salt and pepper, and maybe a tbsp of vegan Worcestershire. These are optional and depend on your taste.

Add your patties to the vegetable broth and make sure they are almost completely covered with broth. If you need to add more broth, do so.

Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Use a set of tongs to flip after 45 minutes, then place back in the oven for another 45 minutes. When finished baking, remove the cooked seitan from the veggie broth with tongs and allow to cool. 

Breading Directions

While the seitan steak is cooling, prepare your coating ingredients. Place Ritz crackers, spices, and nutritional yeast in a sealable plastic baggie. Use a rolling pin to crush the crackers and combine the ingredients. Pour this into a shallow dish. In another shallow bowl mix the egg replacer and the soy milk. When cool enough to touch, use a strainer or towel to press any excess liquid from the patties. You could also place them in an air-fryer for a minute or two.

Dredge each patty in the egg replacer mix, let excess drip into then press firmly into the cracker mix coating evenly on each side.

Heat your vegetable oil in a shallow pan at medium heat until ready for frying. Place your patties in the pan, frying each side for about 3-4 minutes, checking for an even brown coating.

When finished, place on a paper towel-lined plate to remove any excess oil.

Serve your vegan chicken fried steak topped with your vegan gravy and sides of your choice. 

Vegan Chicken Fried Steak

A healthy and vegan version of a classic Southern favorite – chicken fried steak!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: seitan, vegan
Servings: 4
Calories: 523kcal
Author: Brooke

Ingredients

Vegan Steak Patties

  • 2 cups vital wheat gluten
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp steak seasoning or chicken seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1.3 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 tbsp tahini oil or oil of your choice
  • 1/2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 3 cups vegetable broth (for cooking)

Coating

  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp peri-peri or cayenne, if you want it spicier!
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 9 oz egg replacer
  • 2 tbsp soy milk
  • 2.5 tbsp vegetable oil

Instructions

Vegan Steak Patties

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In one large mixing bowl, combine the vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, chicken or steak seasoning, salt and onion, and garlic powder.
  • In a smaller bowl or large measuring cup, combine the broth, tamari, and tahini (or oil) until smooth.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined. The consistency will probably be pretty sticky and elastic.
  • Knead this dough for a minute or two, adding a teaspoon of vital wheat gluten if it seems too wet.
  • Divide and shape the seitan into flat disks. After cooking, these will be bigger than they start so I would suggest keeping them about the size of your palm and as flat as you can get them. Set aside.
  • Add the 2-3 cups of broth to a large casserole dish (big enough to fit your seitan patties). Also add a few dashes of tamari, a pinch of salt and pepper, and maybe a tbsp of vegan Worcestershire, to your taste.
  • Add your patties to the broth and make sure they are almost completely covered with broth. If you need to add more broth, do so.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Use a set of tongs to flip after 45 minutes, then place back in the oven for another 45 minutes.
  • When finished baking, remove from broth with tongs and allow to cool. 

Breading

  • While the seitan is cooling, prepare your coating ingredients. Place Ritz crackers, spices, and nutritional yeast in a sealable plastic baggie.
  • Use a rolling pin to crush the crackers and combine the ingredients. Pour this into a shallow dish.
  • In another shallow bowl mix the egg replacer and the soy milk.
  • When cool enough to touch, use a strainer or towel to press any excess liquid from the patties. (Or place them in an air-fryer for a minute or two.)
  • Dredge each patty in the egg replacer mix, let excess drip into then press firmly into the cracker mix coating evenly on each side.
  • Heat your vegetable oil in a shallow pan at medium heat until ready for frying.
  • Place your patties in the pan, frying each side for about 3-4 minutes, checking for an even brown coating.
  • When finished, place on a paper towel-lined plate to remove any excess oil.
  • Serve topped with vegan white gravy and sides of your choice. 

Nutrition

Serving: 5g | Calories: 523kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 66g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 122mg | Sodium: 838mg | Potassium: 565mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 613IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 180mg | Iron: 5mg

Vegan White Gravy Recipe

  1. Heat 2 tbsp vegan butter in a skillet over medium heat
  2. Whisk 1/4 cup flour into the melted butter
  3. Once combined in, whisk in 2 cups of unsweetened soy milk or almond milk (or your preferred milk).
  4. Add salt and pepper as to your taste preferences.
  5. Whisk until the gravy has thickened. 

Tips and Tricks

  • You could try air-frying the patties after coating to reduce the oil used during cooking.
  • You can make the vegan steak patties ahead of time and then coat and fry when you are ready to serve. 
  • If you are pressed for time, you could use prepared seitan steak and then coat and fry. 

We hope this will become one of your go-to vegan seitan recipes, and your favorite new version of chicken fried steak!

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