Looking for a delicious plant-based chicken recipe? This plant-based chicken and zucchini Tex Mex bowl has the yummiest flavors and ingredients. Healthy and super simple to put together, this recipe is the real thing! It’ll be a hit this summer, loaded with veggies, herbs, and tasty spices.
Why You’ll Love This Plant-based Chicken Recipe
- Great if you’re on a health kick: This plant-based chicken recipe offers a healthier alternative to traditional Tex-Mex dishes. By using vegan version ingredients, you can reduce your intake of saturated fats and cholesterol. Additionally, the dish incorporates nutrient-rich veggies.
- Satisfying: The vegan chicken substitute adds a meat-like texture and absorbs the flavors of the seasonings and spices. You get the same filling and satisfying feeling as you would with real chicken. Especially great if you are new to a meat-free diet.
- Versatility: You can adjust the spice levels, experiment with different vegetable combinations, or even add your favorite toppings and condiments to make them uniquely yours.
- Easy and quick to prepare: Perfect for busy weeknight dinners or when you’re short on time. With minimal chopping and prepping, you can have a delicious meal on the table quickly.
- Family-friendly meal: Vegan chicken and zucchini Tex Mex is a great option for families, as both adults and kiddies will love it. The familiar Tex-Mex flavors, combined with the plant-based twist, can introduce children to new flavors.
- Cost-effective: Vegan ingredients used in this Tex Mex recipe, such as zucchini, canned black beans, and store-bought taco seasoning, are generally affordable and widely available.
- Colorful and oh-so pretty: The vibrant colors of the vegetables, such as the green zucchini, red bell peppers, and onions, look really presentable.
- Leftover-friendly: Vegan chicken and zucchini Tex Mex is a great recipe for leftovers. The flavors often meld together overnight, resulting in even more delicious leftovers that can be enjoyed the next day.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Avocado or coconut oil: Both oils work well for high-heat cooking and add a subtle flavor to the dish. Olive oil is another great oil to use.
- Onion: It adds a savory and sweet flavor to the Tex-Mex.
- Garlic cloves: Minced garlic adds aromatic depth to the dish. You can use garlic powder or onion powder if you can’t find fresh garlic.
- Bell peppers: Choose your favorite colors of bell peppers, such as red, yellow, or green, for a vibrant and crunchy element.
- Vegan chicken: Use your preferred brand or type of vegan chicken products for this recipe. It can be in the form of strips, chunks, or even breaded patties. Soy curls work well too. You will find a variety at grocery stores nowadays. If you don’t want to use a chicken alternative, try oyster mushrooms in this recipe – in this case, toss them in a little chickpea flour before cooking them. Wheat flour is fine too. These mushrooms have a chewy texture, similar to regular chicken.
- Corn: You can use either canned or frozen corn kernels. If using canned corn, make sure to drain and rinse it before adding it to the dish.
- Zucchini: Adds really nice texture to the dish. Pick plump zucchini that are smooth and bright green on the outside.
- Low-sodium black beans: Black beans are a great source of plant-based protein and fiber. White beans are a fine substitute.
- Low-sodium diced tomatoes: They provide a rich and juicy base for the Tex-Mex.
- Store-bought taco seasoning: Use your favorite store-bought taco seasoning mix to add a blend of spices and flavor to the dish. Make sure to check the ingredients to ensure it’s vegan-friendly.
- Cumin: Ground cumin is a common spice used in Tex-Mex cuisine. It adds a warm and earthy flavor.
- Vegan cheddar cheese: Look for vegan cheddar cheese that melts well for topping or sprinkling over the Tex Mex. Nutritional yeast gives a lovely cheese flavor to plant-based dishes.
- Green onions: Slice green onions diagonally to use as a garnish for added freshness and a mild onion flavor.
- Fresh cilantro: Chop fresh cilantro leaves to sprinkle over the Tex-Mex for a burst of herbal freshness.
- Vegan sour cream: If desired, you can top the Tex-Mex with vegan sour cream to add creaminess. Look for plant-based sour cream options made from ingredients like cashews or coconut milk.
Pro Tips and Tricks
- Sauté veggies in stages: Since different vegetables have different cooking times, sauté them in stages to ensure they are perfect. Start with onions and garlic, as they require a bit more time to soften and release their flavors. Then add bell peppers and zucchini, cooking them until they are tender-crisp. This technique maintains the texture and flavor of each vegetable.
- Opt for high-quality vegan chicken substitutes: Experiment with different brands and types of vegan chicken substitutes to find the one that suits your taste and texture preferences. Some options include soy-based, seitan-based, or even jackfruit-based chicken alternatives. For the best vegan chicken recipe, look for those with a good texture and absorb flavors well.
- Add texture with corn: To enhance the texture and add a touch of sweetness, lightly char the small pieces of corn before adding them to the dish. You can do this by sautéing them in a separate pan with some oil until they develop a slightly charred appearance.
- Make a homemade seasoning: Mix spices like chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and a touch of cayenne pepper to create a custom seasoning mix.
- Adjust the spice level: Tex-Mex dishes can vary in spiciness, so adjust the heat according to your taste. If you prefer milder flavors, reduce the amount of chili powder or omit the cayenne pepper.
- Serve with various toppings: Add vegan sour cream, diced avocado or guacamole, salsa, sesame seeds, pickled jalapeños, or hot sauce. Try a little drizzle of barbecue sauce!
- Pair with homemade tortilla chips or warm tortillas: Elevate your plant-based chicken recipe with homemade tortilla chips or warm tortillas. Making tortilla chips is easy and allows you to control the seasoning and crispiness. So yummy!
Variations and Add-Ins
- Roasted veggies: Instead of sautéing the vegetables, try roasting them for added depth of flavor. Toss diced zucchini, bell peppers, and onions with olive oil, salt, and black pepper, then roast in the oven until they are caramelized and tender.
- Spicy Chipotle: Add a smoky and spicy kick to your Tex Mex by incorporating chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
- Quinoa or rice: Include cooked quinoa or rice to add an extra layer of texture and heartiness to your Tex Mex. Mix it with the other ingredients or serve it as a side dish.
- Fresh salsa: Top your plant-based chicken recipe with some vibrant salsa. Combine diced tomatoes, red onions, jalapeños, cilantro, lime juice, and a pinch of salt. The bright flavors of the salsa complement the dish really nicely.
- Avocado or guacamole: Sliced avocado or guacamole is a classic addition to Tex Mex
- Vegan cheese sauce: Combine plant-based cheese, non-dairy milk, nutritional yeast, and spices in a saucepan, and heat until melted and creamy.
- Fresh lime wedges: Squeezing fresh lime juice over the dish just before eating enhances the flavors and adds a refreshing citrus tang. Lemon juice is a great alternative, as is fresh orange juice.
- Black olives: For a briny and savory touch, sprinkle sliced or chopped black olives over the Tex-Mex.
- Fresh spinach or kale: Add a boost of greens to your Tex-Mex by stirring in some fresh spinach or kale leaves during the cooking process. The greens wilt and easily combine with the other flavors.
- Pickled jalapeños: If you enjoy extra heat and tanginess, include pickled jalapeño slices in your Tex Mex.
Make Ahead Instructions and Storage
Prepare the vegan chicken and zucchini Tex Mex as directed in the recipe. Once cooked, allow the Tex-Mex mixture to cool to room temperature. Transfer the cooled mixture to an airtight container. Store the container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.
To reheat, take the Tex-Mex mixture out of the refrigerator. Reheat it in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. You can also reheat it in the microwave. This dish is also really lovely served at room temperature.
Can I use fresh tomatoes instead of canned diced tomatoes in the recipe?
Yes, you can use fresh tomatoes instead of canned diced tomatoes in your vegan chicken zucchini Tex Mex. Simply dice fresh tomatoes and use them as a substitute. Keep in mind that fresh tomatoes may have a higher water content. This may result in a slightly different texture and consistency.
Can I substitute the vegan chicken with another protein source?
Yes, you can substitute the vegan chicken with other plant-based protein sources of your choice. Tofu, tempeh, seitan, or even cooked lentils can be used as alternatives. Adjust the cooking time and seasonings accordingly.
Can I make this plant-based chicken recipe gluten-free?
Yes. Ensure that the vegan chicken substitute you choose is gluten-free, as some brands may use wheat-based ingredients. Additionally, use a gluten-free taco seasoning mix or make your own using gluten-free spices. Serve the dish with gluten-free tortillas or alongside gluten-free options such as corn tortilla chips or rice. Double-check the labels of all ingredients to ensure they are free from gluten or processed in facilities that handle gluten.
- 1 tbsp avocado or coconut oil
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves minced
- 2 medium bell peppers chopped
- 1 lb vegan chicken cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 cup corn canned or frozen
- 2 large zucchini diced
- 14 oz can low sodium black beans drained & rinsed
- 14 oz can low sodium diced tomatoes drained
- 1 tsp store-bought taco seasoning
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cup vegan cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup green onions chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- Vegan sour cream for topping if desired
- Preheat a large deep skillet on low – medium heat and add oil. Add onion, garlic, and bell pepper and saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the vegan chicken. Sprinkle with cumin, taco seasoning, salt, and black pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add corn, beans, tomatoes, and zucchini. Stir, cover, and cook on low-medium for 10 minutes.
- Top with vegan cheese, cover, and cook for a few minutes or until the cheese has melted.
- Serve hot, on its own, or over with brown rice or quinoa.
- Top with green onion, cilantro, and vegan sour cream