Soy-based meat products, including chicken, provide an alternative to protein obtained from animal sources. Developed to look, taste and behave like regular chicken in cooking, soy chicken is among the many products used by individuals who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. Soy chicken is available ground, and as fillets, tenders, strips, seasoned burgers, nuggets, wings and deli slices.
Soy chicken is made by extracting the protein from soy flour. Processors add water to the protein, heat the mixture and pass it through an extrusion cylinder. According to the University of Missouri website, the high moisture content — up to 75 percent — is what gives the soy protein mixture a texture and appearance that are very similar to chicken. Researchers devised a way to add more fiber to the mixture so that it can be torn into pieces like regular cooked chicken.
Cooking With Soy Chicken
Soy chicken strips can be used in most recipes for regular chicken. Use it as a substitute for other meats in lasagna, tossed with pasta or in a “chicken” salad. Add shredded or diced soy chicken to soups, stews or stir-fries. Soy chicken products, such as buffalo “wings” and sweet and sour “cutlets,” are also available as ready-to-eat entrees.
References and ResourcesUniversity of Missouri News Bureau: It Looks, Feels and Tastes Like Chicken, But It’s Made of Soy
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: PETA's Favorite Vegan Substitutes
Lightlife: Smart Strips Chicken
Wisconsin Soybean Assocation: Soybean Facts