The traditional tetrazzini recipe combines chicken with long pasta and a heavy cream-based sauce. This vegan tetrazzini pasta makes use of plant-based “chik’n” or baked tofu, and the creaminess is courtesy of silken tofu. Your heart will thank you for this veganized Italian classic, and your palate will be happy, too.
The original tetrazzini recipe often calls for it to be baked as a casserole. I’ve eliminated the baking step, as I found that it doesn’t improve the result — in fact, it dries it out. This way, the dish can be enjoyed as soon as it’s ready.
Complete the meal: For a full meal, all you really need is a big, colorful salad. If you’d like to add more veggie goodness, simply steamed broccoli or asparagus are welcome.
Chick’n-style Plant protein options
Use your favorite brand of packaged plant-based chick’n; chunk or chopped-style both work. You can also choose simple soy-based products like Butler’s Soy Curls or Improved Nature. See 12 Plant-Based Chicken Alternatives to Look for on Your Next Shopping Trip for more brands and information. As noted in the recipe, an 8-ounce package of baked tofu is another good chicken alternative.
I’ve added an optional touch of “Florentine” to this dish with baby spinach (or arugula), which isn’t usually part of the original recipe. Adding a small amount of tender greens boosts the flavor and color of this mild, comforting main dish.
Recipe is adapted from Plant-Powered Protein: 125 Recipes for Using Today’s Amazing Meat Alternatives © 2020 by Nava Atlas. Reprinted by permission. Photographs by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter
- 1 cup fine breadcrumbs (see note)
- 8 to 10 ounces long pasta (like linguine), broken in half
- 1 cup frozen green peas, completely thawed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 8 to 11 ounces plant-based chick’n (see options in Notes), in bite-sized chunks
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 to 8 ounces white or cremini mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed, and sliced
- 1/4 cup white wine, optional
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, or more, as desired
- 12.3-ounce package firm or extra-firm silken tofu
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth (or use water with 1 dissolved bouillon cube)
- 2 to 3 big handfuls of baby spinach or baby arugula, optional
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Heat the vegan butter in a large skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the bread crumbs and sauté over medium heat, stirring frequently, until toasted and golden, about 8 minutes. Remove to a plate or bowl and set aside.
- Begin cooking the pasta according to package directions. Once it’s al dente, plunge the peas in and then drain both at once.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in the same pan used for the bread crumbs. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the chick’n, garlic, and mushrooms. Continue to sauté until all are golden and starting to turn lightly brown. If using, pour the wine into the pan to deglaze. Either way, stir the parsley in, remove from the heat, and cover.
- Combine the silken tofu and broth in a food processor and process until smoothly pureed.
- Add the silken tofu puree to the pan along with the cooked pasta and peas. Return to medium heat. Stir together, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Continue to cook just until the mixture is well heated through. Add the spinach or arugula, if using, cover until wilted, then stir in.
- Serve at once, passing around breadcrumbs for topping each serving.
If you don’t have breadcrumbs on hand, simply put two slices of whole-grain bread, torn into a few pieces, in the container of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse on and off until reduced to crumbs.