Chicken liver is a popular ingredient in many well-loved European, Asian, and Southern dishes.
Whether you’re a fan of it for its numerous health benefits or distinctive flavor, you might be craving chicken liver after you’ve stopped eating meat.
Fortunately, there are ways to recreate chicken liver’s unique taste and texture.
There aren’t many options, but you’re likely to have them all in your pantry.
Vegetarian staples like seitan, mushrooms, and lentils can serve as an excellent vegetarian substitute for chicken liver. In particular, hard-boiled eggs are the way to go if you miss chopped liver.
Although you currently can’t buy pre-made vegetarian chicken liver, the homemade alternatives are all you need. Keep reading to learn more about your options.
Why Choose a Vegetarian Substitute for Chicken Liver?
There are many reasons you might be looking for a believable alternative instead consuming the real deal.
For example, you may have stopped eating meat because you’re against animal cruelty and the meat industry’s detrimental effects on the environment.
Or, you might be avoiding the liver in particular because you’re pregnant.
The meat industry is one of the leading contributors to global warming, deforestation, and air and water pollution.
Although chicken isn’t as harmful to the environment as beef and pork, its carbon footprint still ranks significantly high.
Additionally, chicken ranks No. 1 among the most consumed meats globally.
Due to the sheer number of chickens bred for meat, they are among the most abused animals globally. Their inhumane treatment might deter you from eating chicken and other meat.
Finally, it might be best to stay away from the liver if pregnant.
This food product is packed with vitamin A which can accumulate and reach harmful levels. It can also reach the fetus and be very dangerous to the baby.
What Is a Vegetarian Substitute for Chicken Liver?
As more people turn to vegetarianism, meat substitutes become easier to find.
Although widely used products like vegetarian sausages and patties are in nearly every supermarket, the same can’t be said for more unique ingredients like chicken liver.
Not only is a store-bought version challenging to come by, but the liver’s distinctive texture limits the homemade choices as well.
However, there are ways to substitute chicken liver if the need arises.
Think about your intended use when looking for an adequate vegetarian substitute for chicken liver.
If you’d like to eat the liver in its basic form, look for more chewy ingredients that can mimic the texture.
When chopped liver or pâté are on the menu, you should look for more versatile ingredients that can be easily transformed and packed with flavor.
There are worthy chicken liver alternatives, whatever your reason for quitting meat.
Use your favorite recipe for chicken liver, chopped liver, or pâté, and find out which ingredient best complements it.
Let’s get into my recommended vegetarian substitutes for chicken liver.
Seitan is a plant-based meat substitute made from vital wheat gluten. You can make it yourself or buy it in a store.
Seitan is created by removing starch from the wheat dough, thus isolating the gluten. The resulting mass is sticky and easily moldable.
Apart from that, seitan is known for its chewy texture, which can mimic the liver’s unique mouthfeel.
So, if you like eating chicken liver without chopping and processing it, seitan is the way to go.
Add the same seasoning as you would to your regular chicken liver recipe, and you’re all set.
The liver is one of the most nutritiously dense foods. It’s particularly rich in protein, making seitan an optimal substitute from a health standpoint.
Namely, seitan is high in protein and low in carbohydrates.
However, it might not be the best option if you’re gluten intolerant. In that case, consider other gluten-free options below.
Mushrooms are an absolute staple in vegetarian cooking, often used as a steak substitute. You have plenty of textures to choose from, with many different types available.
It can also be prepared in various ways, making them a perfect chicken liver substitute.
On the one hand, you can use whole mushrooms due to their meaty texture.
On the other, you can transform it into chopped liver effortlessly. Most chopped liver recipes include mushrooms, even if it’s not the main ingredient.
If you set out to make a vegetarian chopped liver recipe, using hard-boiled eggs is inevitable.
Its texture bears an uncanny resemblance to the meat-based chopped liver.
Eggs are usually used with other vegetarian-friendly ingredients to produce the best results. Most recipes also call for onions, celery, garlic, beans, and walnuts.
Lentils are a mighty source of protein and a must-have in a vegetarian kitchen. It works best for making chopped liver and pâté.
When using lentils to create a vegetarian substitute for chicken liver, you should choose the green variety. It stays firmer while boiling, while the red lentils tend to turn to purée.
Also, pay special attention to the seasoning. To make your lentils taste like chicken liver, use the same flavors as you would in the traditional dish.
Unlike liver, lentils are one of the best foods to consume during pregnancy. They’re rich in folate, a crucial vitamin for a healthy pregnancy.
One cup of lentils equals almost 60 percent of your daily recommended folate intake if you’re pregnant or lactating.
Walnuts and cashews are an excellent choice for faux chicken liver pâté.
They have a creamy texture that mixes perfectly with the other ingredients to produce a decadent spread when blended.
Additionally, walnuts are among the best foods to consume when pregnant, unlike liver.
Moreover, they’re loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, contributing to the baby’s healthy brain development.
Finding a reasonable vegetarian substitute for chicken liver is a more challenging task due to its particular texture.
You can’t run to the store and grab it when you don’t feel like cooking. However, the foods discussed in the article make for a healthier and equally tasty alternative worth going the extra mile.
You can eat it as is or chop it up and blend it, then serve as a dip or a spread on crackers or bread. Now that you have all the facts, the choice is up to you.