Vegan Marry Me Chicken is a plant-based twist on the Tuscan-style dish that became an internet sensation. This vegan version features soy curls (or your favorite vegan chicken) smothered in a luscious, rich, garlicky cashew cream sauce with sweet and tangy sundried tomatoes for a flavor combination that is out of this world! It's perfect for Valentine's Day, date night, or any special occasion where your goal is to impress. And despite its stunning presentation, this one-pot dinner comes together easily in around 30 minutes!
What is marry me chicken?
If you're on any sort of social media platform, you've probably seen a recipe for "Marry Me Chicken" pop up in your feed at some point. The popular dish is made with seared chicken breasts in a sundried tomato cream sauce consisting of heavy cream, chicken broth, garlic, and thyme.
After a video showing how to make the dish went viral on TikTok, "Marry Me Chicken" took the internet by storm, resulting in an onslaught of copycat recipes.
The recipe was originally developed back in 2016 by Lyndsay Funston, one of the editors at Delish. There is some debate as to where the dish got its name, with the most widely-believed explanation being that after trying it, another Delish editor exclaimed, "I'd marry you for that chicken!"
An alternate explanation is that the name comes from how well the flavors "marry" together in the sauce.
I'm not one to hop on every food trend, but when one of my readers reached out and requested a healthier, plant-based version specifically made with soy curls, I was up for the challenge!
It's no secret I'm a fan of soy curls. They're such a unique and versatile product and made from the whole bean, which means they're high in protein and fiber and retain essential nutrients. They're a great substitute for chicken in almost any dish.
Why You'll Love This Vegan Marry Me Chicken Recipe
- This elegant, yet simple dish is easy to make in about 30 minutes.
- It's a delicious vegan entree that's packed with protein and is also naturally gluten-free.
- The decadent sun-dried tomato sauce has an almost "cheesy" flavor and is impossibly creamy!
- This plant-based version of the original viral chicken recipe is sure to win the hearts of anyone who tries it, vegan or not (Warning: it just might result in a marriage proposal)!
Note that ingredient measurements and full instructions can be found in the recipe card below.
- Soy Curls - A blank slate for flavor, high in protein, and a perfect replacement for chicken. Here is everything you need to know about soy curls.
- Chicken Broth Powder - You can use my homemade version (SO good and quick to make!) or a store-bought vegan bouillon powder or paste.
- Water - You'll need it for rehydrating the soy curls and for the creamy sauce.
- Garlic - This recipe uses a decent amount of garlic which adds depth and savory notes to the dairy-free sauce.
- Lemon Juice - Adds an acid to the "cream" sauce and enhances the other flavors.
- Raw Cashews - Cashews are the most neutral-tasting, creamiest way to mimic the heavy cream used in the original recipe. Unlike heavy cream, which contains a high amount of saturated fat, cashews are made up of mostly unsaturated fats. More info about possible substitutions below.
- Sea Salt - Important for the overall flavor of the dish.
- Olive Oil - Adds richness and is used to sauté the soy curls. If you strictly avoid oil in your diet, feel free to skip it.
- Sundried Tomatoes - Add a sweet and tangy flavor and create a beautiful aroma. Be sure to drain if using jarred sundried tomatoes packed in oil.
- Italian Seasoning - This is an herb blend usually consisting of oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, basil and sage. Feel free to use the individual dried herbs if you don't have a blend.
- Soy Milk - Adds creaminess to the sauce while still maintaining a neutral flavor.
- Black Pepper - Seasons the finished dish. Use freshly ground black pepper for the best flavor.
How to Make Vegan Marry Me Chicken
Add the dry soy curls and my homemade chicken broth powder (or store-bought vegan bouillon powder/seasoning) to a bowl. Cover with water and set aside. Note: If you're using a bouillon paste, you'll need to dissolve it in water first.
Next, combine water, garlic, lemon juice, cashews, and sea salt in a high-speed blender. Blend on high until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed.
Drain any excess water from the bowl of soy curls. Pick them up by the handful, and squeeze out the liquid. For the best texture and sear, they should be rehydrated but not wet.
Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and cook the soy curls until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
Add the minced garlic and Italian seasoning to the pan, and cook for about 30 seconds.
Finally, add the sundried tomatoes and blended cashew cream to the pan and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Pour in the soy milk, and continue to stir and cook to incorporate the flavors. Season with black pepper, and adjust the flavors, to taste.
Variations and Substitutions
- Soy curls: Use your favorite store-bought vegan chicken or seitan chicken instead, and skip the first step (soaking).
- Oil-free: Though fat is important for the overall flavor of the dish, you can make this recipe oil-free if needed. Be sure to use the vacuum-packed sun-dried tomatoes instead of the jarred kind, which are packed in oil. You'll also want to skip the olive oil and sauté the soy curls in a non-stick pan.
- Nut-free: You can try raw sunflower seeds in place of the cashews for a nut-free version. Although I haven't tested it with this recipe, they work amazingly well in my nut-free mac and cheese.
- Soy milk: If you don't have soy milk on hand, you can use another plant-based milk that's similar in thickness and not sweet, such as cashew milk or coconut milk beverage (the kind in a carton). Canned lite coconut milk is another option if you don't mind a hint of coconut flavor. Note that using a different milk will affect the flavor of the sauce.
- Top your vegan marry me chicken with fresh basil, crushed red pepper flakes, and/or vegan parmesan cheese.
- This delectable dish pairs perfectly with mashed potatoes, rice, or pasta. Use gluten-free pasta for a completely gluten-free meal!
- Veggies also make a great side dish for this vegan chick'n recipe. Try these air fryer green beans or vegan parmesan roasted broccoli.
Short on time and need a full meal on the table in 30 minutes? Serve your marry me chick'n with "heat and eat" pre-cooked rice (the kind that comes in a pouch). You can find it on the rice/grain aisle in most grocery stores. Add a simple green salad, and you're all set!
How to Store
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave. I haven't tried freezing this yet, but since all of the ingredients are freezer-friendly it should be fine.
Feel free to use store-bought vegan chicken strips or cutlets. Chicken-style seitan is another option. Since they are already seasoned, omit the broth powder, and skip Step 1 of the recipe. Depending on how salty your "chicken" is, you may also want to reduce the amount of salt in the sauce.
Soy curls are a unique meat substitute in that they contain just one ingredient, whole soybeans. They are made by Oregon-based company, Butler Foods. They're high in protein, a good source of fiber, naturally gluten-free, non-GMO, and are grown without the use of chemical pesticides. To make them, whole soybeans are cooked, textured, and processed into strands. They are then dehydrated and packaged, which gives them an extended shelf life.
Soy curls can be purchased directly from Butler Foods or at select specialty stores throughout the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. A store locater is available on their site. Note that soy curls aren't distributed to mainstream grocery stores at this time. Aside from the Butler website, you can also buy them on Amazon.
I hope you enjoy this vegan marry me chicken recipe! If you give it a try be sure to leave a comment below. And if you’re on instagram, tag a photo of your marry me chick'n with @myquietkitchen. I love seeing what you’re making!
More Creamy Vegan Entrees
Vegan Marry Me "Chicken"
- large saute pan - or skillet
- 4 ounces dry soy curls - Or sub 4 servings of store-bought vegan chicken or seitan, and skip the next ingredient and soaking
- 2 Tablespoons homemade vegan chicken-less seasoning (tap for recipe) - or approx. 2 servings vegan "chicken" bouillon
- 1 ¼ cups water - plus more for rehydrating the soy curls
- 5 cloves garlic (mince 4 and leave 1 whole)
- 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ cup raw cashews
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ¼ teaspoons Italian seasoning
- ½ cup sundried tomatoes - see Notes
- ½ cup plain, unsweetened soy milk
- black pepper, to taste
- fresh basil leaves
- vegan Parmesan cheese, optional
- mashed potatoes, rice, or pasta of choice
- Place dry soy curls in a large bowl. If using a bouillon paste, dissolve it in water before adding to the bowl. If using my homemade chicken seasoning, you can add the powder directly. Then add just enough water to almost cover the soy curls. Stir and set aside to soak for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once or twice.
- For the cashew cream sauce, in a high speed blender combine 1¼ cups water, the whole clove of garlic, lemon juice, cashews, and ½ tsp sea salt. Blend on high until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the blender and blend again to make sure it's completely smooth.
- Preheat a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Pick up soy curls by the handful, and squeeze over the bowl to remove most of the liquid. Drop into the skillet. Set the bowl aside, reserving the liquid. Cook the soy curls until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
- Add the garlic and Italian seasoning to the pan. Stirring constantly, cook for about 30 seconds. Next, add the blended cashew cream and sundried tomatoes. Stir and cook for about 3 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
- Season with black pepper, and pour in the soy milk. Continue to stir and cook for a few more minutes to incorporate and develop the flavors of the sauce. Taste for seasoning and add more lemon or black pepper, if desired. If the sauce is too thick or needs more salt, add a few spoonfuls of the soaking liquid.
- Serve vegan "marry me chicken" with your choice of mashed potatoes, mashed cauliflower, rice, or pasta. Sprinkle with plenty of freshly chopped basil and vegan Parmesan, if desired.
- Oil-free: Fat is important for the overall flavor of the dish, but you can make this oil-free if needed. Be sure to use vacuum-packed sun-dried tomatoes instead of the jarred kind, packed in oil. Also, omit the olive oil and sauté the soy curls in a non-stick pan.
- Nut-free: You can try raw sunflower seeds in place of the cashews for a nut-free version. Although I haven't tested it with this recipe, they work amazingly well in my nut-free mac and cheese. If the sauce doesn't get as creamy as in the photos, dissolve a Tbsp of arrowroot starch in some soy milk, and add it to the pan.
- Soy milk: If you don't have soy milk, you can use another plant-based milk that's similar in thickness and NOT sweet or flavored, such as cashew milk or coconut milk beverage. Canned lite coconut milk is another option if you don't mind a hint of coconut. Note that using a different milk will affect the flavor of the sauce.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.