Vegan Tofu Chicken Noodle Soup (gluten-free option)
Tofu ‘Chicken’ Noodle Soup- packed with flavor and protein, you won’t miss the chicken in this plant-based version of the classic chicken noodle soup! (vegan + gluten-free option)
If there’s one thing that can get us through this time of year, it’s a warm bowl of soup. Especially chicken noodle soup. Unless, of course you don’t eat chickens.
In that case, don’t worry! This tofu ‘chicken’ noodle soup is the answer to your plant-based prayers. Not only is it packed with protein but the flavor is even better than the classic chicken noodle soup. Because chicken on its own isn’t that flavorful, you know? It’s all of the veggies and herbs that bring chicken noodle soup to life and this vegan version definitely achieves that.
Tofu ‘Chicken’ Noodle Soup Ingredients
- Extra Firm Tofu- You’ll want to use firm or extra firm tofu (as opposed to silken tofu) to assure it holds shape in the soup. Also, extra firm tends to be the highest in protein. If you want to make it soy-free, feel free to use fava bean tofu instead of soy bean tofu.
- Tamari (Soy Sauce)- Just a bit of tamari adds umami flavor to the tofu.
- Nutritional Yeast- Combined with the tamari, nutritional yeast imparts a mild cheesy flavor that enhances the tofu marinade. Add the tofu to the tamari and nutritional yeast mixture while it is still hot from baking as this helps it absorb more of the marinade.
- Onion, Celery, Carrots- A classic mirepoix makes the perfect flavor base for the soup.
- Garlic- Fresh garlic is essential for the best flavor, however, if you are averse to garlic feel free to omit it.
- Thyme and Oregano- Dried thyme and oregano add earthiness to elevate the broth.
- Noodles- Feel free to use whatever kind of pasta you like here. You can do fusilli, elbow pasta, classic egg noodles (for non-vegan version) or even broken pieces of spaghetti. See notes of recipe for tips on how to make the soup gluten-free.
- Vegan Chicken Broth- It is very important that you choose a quality broth as that will ultimately determine how flavorful the soup is. My go-to is Better Than Bouillon’s No Chicken Base which you can add water to create a broth.
- Lemon Juice- Please don’t skip the lemon juice! It provides a subtle tang and brightness that is key. Plus a little extra vitamin C never hurt anyone. ;)
How to Make Tofu ‘Chicken’ Noodle Soup
- Bake the tofu at 400°F for 15 minutes. (There is also an option to pan fry the tofu, if desired).
- Toss baked tofu in tamari and nutritional yeast. Set aside.
- Sauté onion, until translucent. Add celery, carrot and garlic. Cook for a few minutes more.
- Add herbs, vegan chicken broth and noodles. Cook until noodles are tender. *If you are cooking gluten-free pasta or plan to save the soup for later, I recommend cooking the pasta separately then adding to each bowl as you serve it. Otherwise the pasta will absorb all of the broth and begin to break down.**
- Stir in tofu, until heated through. Add lemon juice.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
More Comforting Soup Recipes to Try
- Cauliflower Potato Leek Soup
- Creamy White Bean Lemon Soup
- Easy Vegetable Minestrone Soup
- Easy Lentil Spinach Soup
- Curried Red Lentil Pumpkin Soup
Tofu 'Chicken' Noodle Soup
For the Tofu 'Chicken'
- 16 ounces extra firm tofu, patted dry and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
- high heat oil spray
- 2 tablespoons tamari, or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
For the Noodle Soup
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
- 3-4 celery ribs, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 3-4 carrots, peeled and finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 6-8 cups chicken flavored vegetable broth, such as Better Than Bouillon
- 8 ounces pasta of choice, see notes for GF option
- juice of 1 lemon
- salt & pepper, to taste
- fresh parsley , for serving (optional)
Prepare the Tofu 'Chicken'
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Arrange the diced tofu on the baking sheet and lightly spray with oil. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until light brown on the edges. Alternatively, you can coat the tofu with seasonings as listed in next step, then pan fry on the stove in oil.
- In a large bowl, combine the tamari and nutritional yeast. Whisk until smooth. Add the baked tofu and toss until evenly coated. Set aside.
Prepare the Noodle Soup
- Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium-low heat, warm one tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion and cook for several minutes, until translucent. Add the celery, carrots and garlic then cook for 5 minutes more.
- To the pot, add the oregano, thyme and 6 cups vegetable broth. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Add pasta and cook until tender. *If you are cooking gluten-free pasta or plan to save the soup for later, I recommend cooking the pasta separately then adding to each bowl as you serve it. Otherwise the pasta will absorb all of the broth and begin to break down.
- Lastly, add the baked tofu and lemon juice. Cook until heated through. Add salt & pepper to taste. Depending on how much broth the pasta absorbed you may need additional broth. Serve soup warm garnished with fresh parsley and enjoy!