Our vegan chicken cacciatore recipe is one of our favorite vegan recipes with soy curls! As soy curls recipes go, it doesn’t get much easier, or more flavorful! This vegan cacciatore recipe can be simmering on the stove in minutes, and on the table and in your happy tummy in under half an hour! Perfect for that “what should we have for dinner tonight?” situation. With bright flavors for summer, and yet hearty enough for winter, this dish is sure to become a family favorite, and also perfect for guests! What more could you ask from an easy, gluten-free vegan main dish?
Ironically (paradoxically?), ‘cacciatore’ means “hunter” in Italian, and ‘alla cacciatora’ means “hunter style”, which traditionally means, says Wikipedia, a meal prepared “with onions, herbs, usually tomatoes, often bell peppers, and sometimes wine.” Of course, if you found our recipe because you were hunting for great vegan recipes on the web, well, no irony at all! :~) Note: If you are not sure what soy curls are, they are basically amazing analogs for small chicken pieces made from a single ingredient: soy which is both non-GMO and grown without any chemicals. In fact, technically they are what most people think of as ‘organic’, but the company that makes them, Butler, has chosen not to play with an industry that makes getting certified as organic so difficult and costly, and instead to keep their prices reasonable. You can hunt for Butler soy curls here on Amazon, or directly on the Butler website (same price either way).
Now, we make this with all shelf-stable ingredients, but if you want to throw in some fresh veggies we’d suggest either diced green peppers or thinly sliced zucchini. Yum! We even use shelf-stable dried onions, but of course you are welcome to use fresh onions (in fact if you do, and if cutting them makes you cry, can you please try that trick of sticking your face in your freezer and blinking a few times and let us know if it works?).
We make this in our tagine (but we hasten to add that you don’t have to make it in a tagine). Ah… our tagine. Allow us to digress for a moment. A tagine is a two-piece cooking pot, typically but not always made of ceramic, with a wide flat base, and then a conical top. The cone-shaped lid keeps the evaporating moisture (steam) from leaving the pot, instead returning it back to the pot. This means that things cooked in a tagine remain moist, and become tender, while also still gently intensifying flavors as happens when you reduce something. Tagines and tagine cooking hail from northern Africa generally, and Morocco specifically.
We had always wanted a tagine, and years ago we bought what was touted as an authentic tagine from Morocco. We bought it through a restaurant supply house who swore that all of their imports were tested for lead in the paint and glaze (you see where this is going, right?) We cooked one meal in it, which happened to be tomato-based (nice and acidic, great for leaching bad stuff out of ceramic), and then our spidey-sense led us to test the tagine for lead. Sure enough, it tested positive. Horrified (we had served that meal to friends), we stayed away from tagines for years. Then, one day while traipsing through Amazon, we stumbled upon this guy:
Wow! A tagine with a cast iron bottom! We love cooking in cast iron (in fact we have three enameled cast iron dutch ovens that we use all the time on the stove top as well as in the oven). A cast iron tagine, with the ceramic cone top?? That sounded like the best of two worlds to us – and guess what, it is! So, yeah, we make this cacciatore in our tagine. But you can use any heavy-bottomed pot (if you have an enameled dutch oven, definitely use that!)
Vegan Chicken Cacciatore Made with Soy Curls
1 1/2 cups soy curls (not yet rehydrated)
1 vegan chicken bullion cube (optional but nice to have – we use the Edwards Not Chick’n bullion cubes)
1 Tablespoon dried onion flakes (see note below if you are using fresh onion instead of dehydrated)
1 15oz can diced tomatoes, juice included
1 15oz can tomato sauce
1/2 15oz can Italian-style green beans, drained (can also use regular style)
1/2 cup white cooking wine
1 Tablespoon oregano
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (depending on taste)
Olive oil for cooking
Place the bullion cube in a Pyrex measuring cup or heat-proof bowl, cover with a bit of boiling water, and mix it up to dissolve the bullion cube. Now add in the onion flakes and the soy curls, and add boiling water just up to the top of the soy curls. Mix gently, and let stand for 10 minutes, mixing once after about 5 minutes.
Pour enough olive oil into your pan to cover the bottom of the pan, and place on stove over medium heat. Drain the soy curls and dump them into the pan, and spread out into a single layer. Sauté the soy curls, stirring and spreading them back out again, until they start to gently brown. NOTE: If you are using fresh onion instead of dehydrated onion, dice the onion and add it in just as the soy curls are just starting to brown
Once the soy curls have just started to brown, add all of the other ingredients. Bring to a simmer, reduce to medium-low, put the cover on your pot, and let simmer for 20 minutes.
That’s it! You’re done! Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, or heck, in a bowl!
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