Soy curls recipes are some of my favorite comfort foods. Better yet healthy comfort food. Soy curls are non-gmo, vegan, gluten-free, and considered whole food plant based so chances are they fit into your eating plan.
If you have never had soy curls you are really in for a treat. They have a mouthfeel like chicken, but aren’t nearly as processed as many of the vegan chicken options you have in the freezer section of the grocery store. They just have one ingredient – non-gmo soy beans, so you know what you are getting and that’s why they are a whole food.
Can’t have soy?
The Best Soy Curls Recipes
Soy curls are so versatile you are going to be amazed at what you can make with them. Use them in recipes from your pre-vegan days to replace chicken, add them to soups, stews, or casseroles, or do my favorite thing ever and make Southern Style Air Fryer Soy Curls.
I will be updating this page with new soy curl recipes as I create them, so be sure to check back for more goodies.
What are Soy Curls?
Soy curls are non-gmo soy beans that have been cooked and extruded into strips, then dried. They are a simple product that is wonderful to have on hand for quick dinners and we use them weekly.
Soy Curls VS. TVP: Are Soy Curls and TVP the same?
TVP, or textured vegetable protein, is made from defatted soybean flour making them much more processed than Soy Curls. Remember that TVP can be made from gmo soybeans and be grown with pesticides, so read the labels carefully.
Where can I buy them?
If you are in the pacific northwest you can find them in local health food stores and some groceries. I’ve heard that most vegan market and some Seventh Day Adventist stores have them too.
Since I’m in North Carolina I order mine on Amazon.
Are there different Brands?
While there may be similar products, Soy Curls is trademarked by Butler Foods. You can use different dried products in the recipes or just use the ready to go vegan chicken substitutes available at your local grocery.
How to cook them?
Since they are a dehydrated food, you need to reconstitute them first in most recipes*. Many recipes, like Southern Style Air Fryer Soy Curls I’m just using hot water to soak them in, draining, then adding a flavor coating on the outside. In other foods you might choose to use a vegan chicken bouillon, like my inexpensive homemade version, mixed with water to give them more flavor.
Do you always rehydrate Soy Curls before cooking?
In some of my recipes I actually add them dry in the slow cooker or Instant Pot and just add extra cooking liquid. I do this in my Slow Cooker North Carolina BBQ Soy Curls, because it takes less time and the flavor of the sauce is absorbed into the soy curl for a bigger flavor.
How to rehydrate Soy Curls
This is the easiest part! You can either toss them in a pan or your Instant Pot with water or broth to cover. Bring the water almost to a boil, take off the heat and let sit until they look like vegan chicken strips.
My cheater way to do it is to put the dry soy curls in a stainless steel bowl, heat water in my kettle, pour the hot water over them and let them sit until they are plump.
How are they made? Are they processed?
Butler foods says on their website, “Our soybeans are grown in the USA on a family farm, certified Non-GMO and grown without chemical pesticides. We soak the beans in spring water (no chlorine). Then the beans are stirred while being cooked. Soy Curls™ are dried at low temperature thus ensuring the natural goodness of the whole soybean high in fiber and omega-3.”
Are Soy Curls healthy?
If you are not allergic to soy and your Doctor hasn’t told you to avoid soy for a health reason, they are healthy. They are also considered an option for whole food plant based eaters as well as vegans.
Are they gluten free?
Lucky for me and anyone else out there that can’t have gluten, soy curls are gluten free. They are also vegan, plant based, and they are safe for your dog to eat when they ask for a bite.
Do Soy Curls have protein? How many calories are in them?
Per one ounce serving of dry soy curls they have 120 calories, 8g of carbs, 5g fat, 6g fiber, and 11g protein. So I’d say they are a great source of vegan protein.
Do Soy Curls taste like chicken?
While they have the texture of chicken once they are reconstituted, they have a very mild flavor and don’t taste like much by themselves. Kinda like tofu, they need to have a coating on the outside to flavor them or a marinade.
How to make soy curls taste like chicken?
Your first option is to reconstitute them with a vegan chicken -style broth which gets it’s chicken flavor notes form nutritional yeast. That way it will soak up all that flavor!
The other option is to put that flavor on the outside. I rehydrate first with hot water, then I squeeze them out and toss with nutritional yeast, poultry spice blend, and I like to add a little Cajun spice too. Toss and bake or air fry.
Do they go bad?
Since they are dehydrated you might think they can last forever in your pantry, but that would not be true. Soy Curls can and do go bad because of the natural oil in the soy beans. In other words, they can get rancid and hot environments will speed up the process.
How long do Soy Curls last?
If you are storing them in their dehydrated form they can last up to 6 months in your pantry, and if you want to rehydrate them ahead of time those will last up to 4 days covered in the fridge.
How can I tell if they are bad?
One smell and you will know. If they are just turning you can taste one, it won’t hurt you. But it will taste off and leave a little film in your mouth.
What’s the best way to store them? Do you have to refrigerate soy curls?
If you will eat then in a month and it’s not hot, you could store them in your pantry. The refrigerator is a great place to extend the life of your Soy Curls, but it’s even better to keep them in the freezer. Many people I know buy the 12 pound box and store it in smaller bags in the freezer.
What are Soy Curls used for?
Soy curls can be used in recipes that call for chicken or vegan chicken strips after they are rehydrated. They can also replace tofu or tempeh in recipes if you don’t have them on hand. In general they are an easy way to add protein and texture to your recipes.
Other soy recipes:
- Vegan Tempeh Hash
- Air Fried Tofu Rancheros
- Slow Cooker Vegan Hot and Sour Soup
- Lo Mein With Crispy Tofu
- Tempeh Braised with Figs and Port Wine