This creamy vegan chicken tetrazzini is the hearty comfort food meal you’ve been waiting for! Made with spaghetti baked in creamy sauce with mushrooms and soy curls, this cozy casserole is guaranteed to satisfy your cravings.
I keep a list of dishes to veganize, and chicken tetrazzini has been on it forever! I kept changing my mind about how to go about replacing the chicken. Should I just leave it out? Double up on mushrooms? Use seitan?
Well the answer came to me last month when I posted my vegan ropa vieja recipe using soy curls. You guys loved it! And soy curls make a great chicken substitute, so I went ahead and put them into this tetrazzini. They worked like a charm!
What is Chicken Tetrazzini?
This is one of those classic dishes that I never actually had when I was growing up, but it’s straightforward enough: tetrazzini is a big old pasta bake with creamy sauce, chicken and mushrooms, often topped off with cheese and breadcrumbs. I did say this was comfort food, right?
You’ll find lots of recipes that go about making this dish in different ways, many featuring cans of cream of mushroom and/or cream of chicken soup, others taking a from-scratch approach involving fresh mushrooms and heavy cream.
How to Veganize Chicken Tetrazzini
With our vegan version we’re using a more from-scratch method. Since creamy canned vegan soups aren’t readily available, we’ll be making our own creamy sauce using coconut milk and some other non-dairy milk.
And of course we’re using our soy curls instead of chicken. We’ll be seasoning them with poultry seasoning to give them lots of savory flavor.
How to Make Vegan Chicken Tetrazzini
You’ll need to start by soaking your soy curls in some flavorful vegetable broth. They’ll only need about 10 minutes, and once they’re soaked you can dice them up.
While the soy curls soak, start your sauce.
Melt some vegan butter in a skillet and add some mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms for five minutes or so on each side, until they begin to brown, then take them out of the skillet.
Add some more vegan butter, give it a minute to melt, and then add some onion. Cook the onion for five minutes or so, until it starts to soften up.
Next you can add your soy curls. Once they’re in the skillet, sprinkle them with some soy sauce. Cook them for about 5 minutes, until the soy sauce starts to dry up, and then sprinkle them with some poultry seasoning and add some garlic. Cook everything for a minute more.
Now add some wine, bring it up to a simmer, and let it cook until almost all of it as evaporated — this should take about five minutes.
Now it’s time for some flour! You’ll want to sprinkle in just a bit at a time and stir in between additions, getting the flour to coat your soy curls and onion. Once you’ve added all of your flour, cook the mixture for about a minute.
Non-dairy milk goes in next. Again, we’re just going to add a bit at a time, and give everything a good stir between each addition. This will help prevent the flour from clumping. You can also return your mushrooms to the skillet at this point.
Once all of the milk is in, raise the heat and bring it to a simmer. Let it cook for about 10 minutes to thicken up a bit. I like to stir mine with a whisk to bread up any clumps of flour.
When the sauce has finished simmering you can assemble the casserole.
Arrange some cooked spaghetti and peas in a casserole dish, then pour the sauce overtop. Stir everything together until the ingredients are evenly distributed — a fork works great here!
Sprinkle your casserole with some vegan shredded cheese and panko breadcrumbs, then bake it until the sauce is bubbly.
Let it sit for a few minutes before digging in.
FAQ & Vegan Chicken Tetrazzini Tips
- What’s poultry seasoning? Doesn’t that have chicken in it? Poultry seasoning is a blend of spices that’s used to season poultry. It usually includes thyme, sage, rosemary and marjoram. Most supermarkets have it in the spice aisle, and I’ve never come across a blend that has chicken in it, though it doesn’t hurt to check the ingredients to be safe!
- Make sure to use a good, neutral flavored non-dairy milk. Anything that’s sweetened (even slightly) or has added flavors will totally mess with the flavor of your tetrazzini. I used Milkadamia’s unsweetened variety for this batch. I also like unsweetened WestSoy’s unsweetened soymilk for savory recipes like this.
- Can you taste the coconut milk? I couldn’t taste it at all.
- Is there a substitute for the coconut milk? You could probably just use another cup of the other non-dairy milk in the recipe, although the sauce might not be as creamy.
- Is there a substitute for the soy curls? Seitan would probably be your best bet!
- Is there a substitute for the wine? You can leave it out if you prefer.
- If you do use the wine, check with Barnivore to ensure the brand you choose is vegan.
- What brand of cheese works best for this dish? I used Daiya’s cutting board blend mozzarella, and it worked great!
- Where can I find soy curls? I haven’t been able to find them in stores yet, so I buy them online.
Vegan Chicken Tetrazzini
This creamy vegan chicken tetrazzini is the hearty comfort food meal you've been waiting for! Made with spaghetti baked in creamy sauce with mushrooms and soy curls, this cozy casserole is guaranteed to satisfy your cravings.
- 12 ounces dried spaghetti
- 5 ounces Butler Soy Curls (about 2 1/2 cups)
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup vegan butter, divided
- 12 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk (from a can)
- 3 cups unsweetened and unflavored non-dairy milk
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste (1 used 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper)
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1 cup shredded vegan mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Add the pasta and cook it according to the package directions, until al dente.
Drain the pasta into a colander and then return it to the pot. Toss the pasta with a dash of olive oil to prevent sticking.
While the pasta cooks, place the soy curls into a small bowl or liquid measuring cup and pour the broth over them. Let the soy curls soak for about 10 minutes, then drain and roughly chop them.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the mushrooms in a single layer and cook them for about 5 minutes on each side, until tender and lightly browned. You can cook the mushrooms in multiple batches if needed to prevent crowding in the skillet.
Remove the mushrooms from the skillet and transfer them to a plate.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet and then add the onion.
Cook the onion for about 5 minutes, until it begins to soften up.
Add the soy curls to the skillet then drizzle them with the soy sauce.
Cook the soy curls for about 4 minutes, until most of the liquid has dried up.
Sprinkle the soy curls with the poultry seasoning and add the garlic to the skillet. Stir everything a few times and let it cook for about 1 minute, until the garlic becomes very fragrant.
Stir in the wine. Raise the heat and bring it to a simmer, then lower the heat and allow it to simmer for about 2 minutes, until most of the liquid has cooked off.
Sprinkle the flour into the skillet, a bit at a time, stirring between each addition to form a thick paste that coats the soy curls.
When all of the flour has been added, begin adding the coconut milk, a bit at a time, stirring between each addition, followed by the non-dairy milk.
Stir in the mushrooms.
Stir the mixture well. Use a wire whisk to remove any clumps.
Bring the liquid to a simmer and allow it to cook for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly.
Stir in the vinegar and season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the skillet from the heat and preheat the oven to 400°F.
Lightly oil the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.
Place the spaghetti into the dish, followed by the peas and sauce. Stir everything well using a fork to evenly distribute the ingredients.
Sprinkle the top of the mixture with the vegan cheese, followed by the panko breadcrumbs.
Place the dish into the oven and bake it, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly.
Allow the casserole to sit for about 10 minutes before dividing onto plates and serving.