A hot steaming bowl of Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup is the best comforting, warming, and nourishing meal. So simple and quick to prepare yet packed full of flavour. This veggie noodle soup is a always a family favourite and perfect for fuss-free mid-week meals, especially whenever your feeling under-the-weather, or feeding those family members who are picky eaters! Our Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup is a no-oil recipe and can be easily prepared for gluten-free diets.
For our Vegan No-Chicken Soup we like to use thick tagliatelle pasta noodles and vegan Quorn pieces, along with OXO meat free chicken flavour stock cubes. The combination just creates the best tasting chicken-free soup that does actually taste chicken-y! But if you can't find those products, there are many similar vegan chicken-free pieces, vegan-friendly chicken stock or vegan-friendly poultry seasonings out there, so you will easily be able to whip up the best batch of Vegan Chicken-Less Noodle Soup!
History of Chicken Noodle Soup
Humans have been preparing bowls of chicken soup or broth for thousands of years. Ancient Greek philosophers believed in the medicinal benefits of chicken soup. But chicken soup likely goes even further back as chickens were domesticated during the Neolithic era (around 12,000 years ago).
Many cultures have there own different versions of chicken soup. In China, chicken soup is prepared with ingredients such as soy sauce, ginger, bean sprouts and spring onions, and in Western countries there is a popular Chinese take-out soup - Chinese Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup [this link is to our vegan version].
In Denmark, chicken soup often features little dumplings, and in Korea rice and herbs are common additions, whereas in Peru they often add potatoes and boiled eggs.
In Scotland, one of the national dishes is a variation of chicken soup which dates back centuries - Cock-a-Leekie, [this link is to our vegan version]which also features leeks and barley.
Adding noodles to chicken soup is believed to have originated in Asia, specifically in China, where variations of noodle soups have been consumed for centuries. It was likely introduced to the Western world through trade routes and migration, although Medieval Britain did have pasta dishes so perhaps some form of pasta and chicken was already in existence in Britain during the middle ages.
In the United States, chicken noodle soup became more popular in the early 20th century, when The Campbell's Soup Company began manufacturing the canned version in 1934.
Vegan chicken noodle soup
How can a vegan soup contain the word ''chicken''?
A vegan version of chicken noodle soup represents a natural evolution of the flavours found in traditional chicken noodle soup recipes. We frequently receive questions about why a vegan recipe contains the word "chicken." It's important to note that many recipes and food products use the term "chicken" to signify that the dish or product is a vegan adaptation of the original non-vegan version.
Why do vegans want a chicken soup prepared with plant ingredients?
Individuals who are new to vegan, vegetarian, or plant-based diets often enjoy revisiting their favorite recipes and foods, some of which may have originally included chicken. Having a vegan alternative makes it easier for many people to transition to a plant-based diet, as these vegan chicken-flavoured recipes and products are familiar and easy to understand. For many vegans, it's not the taste of meat they dislike, but rather the inhumane conditions animals endure in factory farms. Others choose plant-based diets for health or environmental reasons.
Often chicken or poultry seasonings are vegan-friendly!
Even seasoned vegans may appreciate the savoury flavours reminiscent of chicken, prepared using entirely plant-based ingredients. It's also worth noting that many chicken-flavoured ingredients used in traditional chicken dishes are often prepared from poultry seasoning blends, herbs, stocks, or broths, which are often accidently vegan-friendly!
Yeah but...there's still no actual chicken...
So, if you encounter a recipe labeled as "chicken" but without any actual chicken, it simply means that it's a vegan version of that particular dish. It's not attempting to replicate chicken itself but rather offers a delicious meal crafted entirely from plant-based ingredients. Such meals are often a more compassionate alternative to their meat-based counterparts. Besides, we just find it fun to adapt a chicken recipe into a delicious vegan version, it is a challenge, but its very satisfying when the end result is so tasty!
Recipes adapt and evolve to changing societies
Recipes worldwide have adapted and transformed over the centuries to accommodate changing societies, and as vegan and plant-based diets gain popularity, it's a natural progression that our traditional favourite dishes can now be prepared using more sustainable and wholesome ingredients.
Plant-based foods are for everyone
Plant-based foods are not exclusively for those who abstain from meat; they are for everyone to enjoy. In historical contexts, plant-based foods were the norm, especially for those with limited resources, as animal-based foods were often prohibitively expensive. Interestingly, the less privileged often enjoyed more nutritious wholemeal bread, while the affluent consumed fiber-deprived white bread! Also, increasingly in modern times, many people simply dislike the texture of meat and lean more towards the veggie option so more plant-based recipes for everyone to enjoy are essential!
Vegan chicken noodle soup will be a hit with the younger family members who will love the chicken-y Quorn pieces and the slurp-able thick noodles! It is always a firm favourite for my kids lunches so we make variations of this veggie noodle soup often as its so easy, quick, and fuss-free. Save even more time by using pre-chopped frozen mixed vegetables!
Our vegan recipe for chicken noodle soup
A juicy bonus of our vegan chicken noodle soup recipe is that it contains less saturated fat, less cholesterol, less sodium, is lower in fat, has less calories, but contains much more fiber compared with a traditional chicken noodle soup recipe!
We like to use Quorn Vegan Pieces to prepare this veggie soup as they provide a tasty chicken-y flavour and texture that our kids especially enjoy. They are also a good source of protein.
Alternatively, tofu, tempeh, soy curls, or a different brand of vegan chicken-style pieces either fresh or frozen can be used as a Quorn pieces alternative. Or perhaps sub the meat-alternatives for chopped mushrooms which would be very tasty as the mushrooms would add delicious savoury flavours to the stock, or go with a can or two of creamy white beans such as cannellini or butter beans.
We also like to use a vegan chicken flavour stock that is prepared with OXO meat free chicken flavoured stock cubes as they do provide a nice chicken-y flavour.
However, there are many other vegan chicken stock or bouillon powders, cubes, and pastes available. Additionally, many chicken or poultry seasoning blends do not actually contain chicken, but rather just spices and herbs that are commonly used to flavour chicken, so if you have access to one of those then definitely add it to your vegan chicken noodle soup for more tasty flavours.
Plant-based ingredients are just so amazing as they can be used to create any flavours out there!
More Vegan 'chicken' Recipes
Here are a few more of our family favourite vegan chicken-less recipes!
How to prepare vegan chicken noodle soup
Our vegan chicken noodle soup recipe is incredibly easy and quick as everything cooks in one pot and can be ready in just 40 minutes or less. As this is a no-added oil recipe the veggies are initially sauteed in a small amount of vegetable stock before the soup finishes cooking. Of course, if preferred you can use oil or vegan butter.
We like to use OXO meat free chicken flavour stock cubes to prepare the vegetable stock as these lend the soup a nice chicken-y flavour. Alternatively, a vegan-friendly poultry or chicken seasoning blend can be added to the soup for extra flavours.
We also like to use the Quorn vegan chunks as they provide a chicken-y flavour, but these can be easily substituted [mushrooms are a good choice but see the recipe notes for more sub ideas].
Saute the carrots, onion, garlic and bay leaf in a little vegetable stock for 10 minutes.
Next, add the vegan Quorn pieces [or an alternative, mushrooms would be perfect], sweetcorn, peas and vegetable stock.
Bring to the boil.
Add the pasta noodles and cook for 10 minutes.
Once cooked, remove the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.
Enjoy with a sprinkle of your favourite fresh herbs such as parsley or chives, or a dash of paprika or cayenne pepper, or some chilli flakes.
Recipe notes and FAQ's
Leftover soup can be stored with the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Or freeze for up 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Reheat leftovers by transferring into a pot, and pour in extra vegetable stock as the soup will likely become very thick as its stored. The amount of stock depends on whether you want a thinner or thicker soup. Bring the soup to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes until piping hot.
Extra stock can help stretch out a smaller portion into a few which is especially great for next day's lunch.
Also adding a few handfuls of a frozen vegetable mix or some more noodles, can help stretch out the leftovers, and these can be cooked while the soup is reheated.
Yes our vegan chicken noodle soup recipe can be easily prepared for gluten-free diets. Simply use a gluten-free noodle or pasta shape, and ensure that your vegetable stock is also gluten-free. Another consideration is to use gluten-free vegan pieces or sub these out for mushrooms or a can of cooked white beans such as butterbeans.
Anything you would normally serve soup such as crusty bread, crackers, or sandwiches are the perfect accompaniment. Although sometimes we just like a nice mug of vegan chicken noodle soup with nothing else for a quick snack.
A few side ideas:
* Irish Soda Bread
* Australian Damper Bread
* Quick Dinner Rolls
* Traditional Scottish Oatcakes
* Walnut and Celery Sandwich
* Vegetable spring rolls
* Veggie burger
* Meat-free sausage rolls
A few ideas for tasty soup garnishes:
* sliced spring onions [green onions]
* chopped parsley, dill, coriander [cilantro], or chives
* microgreens such as baby rocket, cress, or pea shoots
* sliced fresh chilli's
* red pepper, paprika or chilli flakes
* vegan grated cheese
* sprinkle of nutritional yeast flakes
* fine diced fresh tomatoes
* chickpea croutons [find an easy recipe for these over on our Curried Cauliflower Soup recipe]
* Crispy Tofu Bites
* toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds
* crushed toasted nuts such as peanuts, almonds, or cashews
Yes, of course as with all good recipes feel free to swap out an ingredient for one that is similar and you already have to hand. Also, see this soup recipe as a guide rather than a strict recipe, as the quantities can be easily adapted to meet your family's needs. So you could add more vegetables, noodles, and stock for more servings or for less portions simply half the ingredients.
A few suggestions:
* Use any variety of noodles or pasta shapes can be used, and for more fiber choose a wholewheat variety.
* Instead of noodles or pasta, use a vegetable based noodle such as thin strips of courgette [zucchini] which is also known as courgetti. Other vegetables can be prepared the same way such as butternut squash, carrot, or even cucumber!
* Switch out the noodles for about 75-100 grams of rice or pearl barley [about ½ a cup] but do adjust the cooking time according.
* Instead of the Quorn vegan pieces - replace with sliced mushrooms, creamy canned beans such as butterbeans or cannellini or even chickpeas, soy curls, seitan, tofu, tempeh, or any vegan chicken style pieces or chunks.
* Instead of sweetcorn the amount of peas can be doubled or perhaps use sliced up baby corn cobs, or sugar snap peas, or more carrots, or diced sweet potatoes, etc
* The peas can be switched out for fine chopped cabbage, kale, or any other leafy green. Or go with small broccoli or cauliflower florets.
* Instead of a vegan-friendly chicken stock use a vegetable or even better a mushroom or onion stock flavour.
Yes, using frozen mixed vegetables is a great idea and can save lots of time prepping the veggies. We often use mixed frozen vegetables for this soup and it works very well.
Any type of noodles or pasta shapes can be great for noodle soups so just use whatever ones you can easily access or already have in the pantry. We like to use tagliatelle pasta noodles which are like thick ribbon noodles, but we have also used orzo or soup pasta which is very small shapes.
Other ideas include soba noodles, rice noodles, vermicelli noodles, vegan egg noodles, Udon noodles, spaghetti or linguine [perhaps break these up into smaller pieces], any gluten-free pasta or noodle shapes, or spiralized veggies such as courgetti.
Quorn is a brand that produces meat substitutes, and their products are made from mycoprotein, a protein-rich fungus-based ingredient. Mycoprotein is derived from Fusarium venenatum, a naturally occurring fungus. Through fermentation, the fungus grows and produces a dough-like substance, which is then processed and textured to resemble various meat products.
Quorn offers a variety of products, including mince, pieces, sausages, and more. While many of Quorn's products were originally not vegan (they contained egg white as a binder), the brand has expanded its range to include vegan options due to increasing demand. Such as vegan Quorn pieces which are a meat substitute product from Quorn that contains no animal-derived ingredients.
Quorn products, especially the pieces and fillets, are often described as having a texture similar to chicken, making them a popular substitute for chicken in many recipes. In terms of flavour, while Quorn doesn't taste exactly like chicken, it has a mild, savory flavour that can absorb and complement other ingredients and seasonings in a dish. This makes it versatile in cooking, as it can be added to many different recipes from stews, soups, and pies.
However, as taste is subjective, some people do find that Quorn's flavour is similar to chicken while others not so much. Additionally, the method of cooking, and the rest of the ingredients, can influence the overall taste of the recipe. For example someone who has been vegetarian or vegan for a long time and hasn't had chicken in years, might find that Quorn tastes closer to their memory of chicken than it would be to someone who eats chicken regularly.
We like to substitute the vegan Quorn pieces with mushrooms or canned butterbeans or cannellini beans, or chickpeas, but other ideas include firm tofu which can be diced or shredded.
A good tip is to freeze the tofu before using, as once its thawed out and pressed to remove excess water, the texture compared to fresh tofu is much more chewy and it can soak up the flavours of the soup much more easily.
Other ideas include crumbled or cubes tempeh, shredded canned jackfruit, seitan chunks, Butler soy curls [although do rehydrate these before using], or other store bought vegan chicken pieces such as those from Gardein chick'n strips or supermarkets own brands.
More Easy Vegan Soups
Our Scottish family absolutely loves a good soup so a pot of soup is always on the go on the stove, or being stored within the refrigerator, not to mention the countless portions of random unlabelled soup currently crammed into our freezer!
A bowl of hot soup, or even a big mug of soup, is especially welcome as a pick-me-up or whenever a family member is feeling under-the-weather.
So here are a few of our best comforting, nourishing soups that always go down well and make us feel a little better - our Vegan Scottish Lentil Soup, our Orcadian Oatmeal Soup, and this Scottish Barley Kale Broth and last but not least our Scottish Potato and Leek Soup. For more soup ideas do check out our family recipe collection - Vegan Soup Recipes.
***please note: for US measurements click the 'US customary button' within the recipe and the measurements will switch to tablespoons, cups, and ounces.***
Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup
- Soup-pan/stock-pot/large saucepan
To saute veggies:
- 240 millilitres vegetable stock [we like to use a vegan 'chicken' flavour stock such as OXO meat free chicken flavour cubes]
- 155 grams onion [1 medium, diced, or 2 teaspoons of dried onion]
- 4 cloves garlic [minced or fine diced, or 1 tablespoon of garlic powder]
- 175 grams carrots [1 medium-large, diced]
- 150 grams Quorn vegan pieces [Either fresh or frozen, alternatively use tofu, rehydrated soy curls, white beans or mushrooms. Use more than the stated quantity if preferred.]
- 130 grams peas [fresh, frozen, or canned]
- 130 grams sweetcorn [fresh, frozen or canned]
- 200 grams pasta noodles [we like to used tagliatelle or ribbon pasta noodle shapes, use gluten-free noodles if necessary, use more than the stated quantity if preferred.]
- 2 bay leaf
- 2 litres vegetable stock [we like to use a vegan 'chicken' flavour stock such as OXO meat free chicken flavour cubes]
- Add the onion, garlic, carrot, bay leaf and the vegetable stock to a soup pan.Bring to gentle boil, lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes.Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.155 grams onion, 4 cloves garlic, 175 grams carrots, 2 bay leaf, 240 millilitres vegetable stock
- Next add the vegan Quorn pieces, [or an alternative], peas, and the sweetcorn. Mix everything together and pour in the vegetable stock.150 grams Quorn vegan pieces, 130 grams peas, 130 grams sweetcorn, 2 litres vegetable stock
- Over a high heat bring the soup to a gentle boil, add a few pinches of salt and black pepper.
- Tip in the pasta noodles and cook over a medium heat until they are cooked.This usually takes about 8-10 minutes but do check your packet instructions.200 grams pasta noodles
- Remove the bay leaf, and check the seasoning adjusting with extra salt and pepper if necessary.
- Nutritional data is for guidance only and is not a strict analysis as ingredients vary.
- Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Or frozen for up to 2-3 months.
- Reheat by pouring back into the pot, and adding extra stock as the soup will likely have become very thick. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 2-3 minutes until piping hot. Extra noodles can be added and this can bulk out a small portion into several.
- This is a no-oil soup so we use vegetable stock to saute the vegetables at first, but of course you could always saute the vegetables with vegan margarine, butter, or oil, if preferred.
- Garnish the soup with chopped parsley, dill, chives, spring onions [green onions] or fine sliced fresh chilli's.
- Any type of noodle is fine for this soup.
- For a gluten-free soup choose gluten-free noodles and a gluten-free stock.
- We like to use OXO meat free chicken flavour stock cubes as they can help provide the chicken-y soup flavour.
- Alternatively a few teaspoons of a vegan-friendly poultry or chicken seasoning blend can be added to the soup.
Prepared our easy Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup? We would love to know how you got on with the recipe so do drop us a comment below and click the star ratings. It's very much appreciated, thanks so much, Jacq x