It’s National Soup Month. Charlotte, NC has had record cold temperatures. And I’ve had a cold.
This can mean only one thing: Vegan chicken noodle soup!
I’d never made vegan chicken noodle soup before, but I’d certainly eaten enough of “the real thing” in my former existence as an omnivore. And I still had my mom’s classic chicken noodle soup recipe. A few vegan tweaks, my mom’s special tricks … and 30 minutes later I was in my jammies eating a bowl of delicious, steaming hot, cruelty-free comfort food.
Not a fan of faux meat? Be sure to read the Notes following the recipe for substitutions and modifications.
Ingredients for Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup
1 32 oz. Box Chickenless Broth (I used Imagine No-Chicken Broth). Vegetable broth will work, too.
Vegan Chicken Bouillon Cubes or Paste – enough to make 2 cups. (I used Not Chick’n.)
2 Cups Water
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
Approximately 1 Cup Vegan Non-Breaded Chicken Strips or Patties (I used Gardein.)
1+ Tablespoon Olive or Vegetable Oil
1 Small Yellow Onion, chopped
3 Large Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Cup Carrots, sliced into coins
3 Stalks Celery, diced
1/4 Cup Flat-Leaf Fresh Parsley (chopped), OR 1/2 teaspoon Dried Parsley
2 Bay Leaves
1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Sea Salt, to taste
1 Cup Dry Fettuccine Noodles, broken into small pieces
Directions for Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup:
First, brown the “chicken” in a small pan with a little oil (or you can use a nonstick pan and a little cooking spray). Follow the timing directions on the package.
Once done, remove chicken from heat. When chicken is cool enough to handle, cut into small pieces. Kitchen shears are handy for this.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion and garlic and saute over medium to medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add the carrots and celery, and saute for another 3 minutes.
Add the “chicken” or vegetable broth, enough “chicken” bouillon to season one cup, water, wine, bay leaves, and black pepper. If you are not using fresh parsley, add the dried parsley. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Taste. If the broth tastes a little wimpy, add more chicken bouillon – enough to season one more cup.
Add the broken fettucine noodles and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until noodles are tender.
Taste. Add salt if needed. (Always taste first, as some brands of broth and bouillon are very salty!) Add more pepper, if desired. Stir in the fresh parsley and faux chicken. Heat just until chicken is warmed through and parsley is slightly wilted.
Ladle into bowls, wrap yourself in a blanket, settle down in front of Netflix and enjoy!
I find that chickenless broths or bouillon alone don’t give a clear liquid soup like this much of a “kick.” So I punch up the broth with some bouillon – enough to season 1-2 cups. For example, one cube of Not Chick’n Bouillon will season two cups of water. So I started with half a cube, tasted, then added the other half. (My mom used this same technique with “real” chicken broth and bouillon.)
Fresh onions, celery, and especially garlic add a lot to this soup, so for best flavor please do not substitute onion powder, celery salt, or garlic powder.
You can use any kind of noodles; it doesn’t have to be fettucine. Spiral pasta also looks quite pretty in chicken soup.
One reason I prefer fettucine noodles is because they don’t “grow” in broth as much as other noodles. If you’re not sure how much your pasta will expand, or if it might be some time between preparing the soup and eating it, take a tip from my mom. Boil the pasta in a separate pot, drain, and then add the noodles right before serving. This keeps the noodles from slurping up all the broth.
I find that faux chicken will typically soften in soup more than regular chicken, so I add the chicken near the end. This keeps more of the chewy chicken texture.
Don’t like the idea of using faux meats? You could also use some drained, pressed, extra-firm tofu, cut in small cubes and pan fried until lightly browned. Another option would be to add a cup of chickpeas.
White wine is awesome in chicken soup – indeed, it’s awesome in almost any chicken recipe. But if you prefer not to use wine, substitute a squeeze or two of fresh lemon towards the end of cooking.