Chicken Out

Let’s face it: chickens have it rough. Many people trying to eat healthier switch from beef to chicken, unfamiliar with the horrors of chicken factory farming. Chickens raised for meat are bred to grow very large very fast and thus live short lives, many dropping dead of heart attacks, their organs unable to keep up with the pressures of their overgrown bodies. On top of that, many trying to eat healthy don’t realize that chicken meat still contains cholesterol and saturated fat.

The great news is there are loads of delicious foods we can nosh on sans chicken that offer the flavors we love. Here’s a favorite recipe, plus a list of some of my favorite chicken-free meats.

Napa Valley Chicken-Free Salad

Serve this chicken-free salad on a bed of greens or sandwiched between whole wheat bread for a delicious, filling meal. It’s ideal for a picnic or an easy workweek lunch.

Time: 10 minutes


1 9-ounce package chicken-free strips, like Beyond Meat Lightly Seasoned Strips, Tofurky Slow Roasted Chick’n, diced into small pieces

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1 celery stalk, diced

2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions or chives

1/2 cup halved seedless red grapes

1/2 cup egg-free mayonnaise, like Just Mayo

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon dried parsley or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped

1 teaspoon poppy seeds, optional


Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until combined well. Best chilled for at least an hour.

To serve, layer your favorite sandwich bread with lettuce and chicken-free salad or serve on a bed of greens.

Five of my Favorite Chicken-Free Plant-Based Meats

  1. Gardein: delicious breaded Chipotle Lime Crispy Tenders are a delicious kid-friendly choice.
  2. Tofurky: Slow Roasted Chick’n is a perfect ingredient in your favorite dishes.
  3. Beyond Meat: Lightly seasoned strips have a tiny bit of spice, but absorb your seasonings whether you’re making fajitas or chicken noodle soup.
  4. Simple Truth Crispy Tenders: Available at Kroger or Ralph’s these chicken-free finders are crispy, yummy, and easy to prepare. Have some BBQ sauce on hand to dunk away!
  5. Boca Spicy Chick’n Patties: You can find these bad boys in most grocery stores. Warm up, stack on a bun and pile with your favorite toppings for a simple meal.