COVID-19 is unfortunately continuing to thrive around the world. I’ve accepted and adapted to this new reality of living through a pandemic, but there’s something that still troubles me more than another potential toilet paper shortage–disruptions to the food supply chain, specifically meat. 

I was a devout carnivore. There is nothing I loved more than treating myself to a perfectly done rib-eye steak or a crispy piece of fried chicken. While I’m gradually eating less meat for health and environmental reasons, I still eat beef and chicken at least once a week. But as more meat processing facilities close due to infected staff, I find myself wanting to reduce the animal proteins that I consume even further.

Good beef substitutes are easy to find for the most part. Impossible and Beyond are two brands that do a great job of replicating the texture and taste of ground beef, even though all the hard-to-pronounce ingredients on the label do raise some brows. But what about chicken? 

I never entertained the idea of trying plant-based chicken until a friend introduced me to Daring Foods. The company claims that they are not a replacement for chicken, but instead an upgrade. After my first bite, it could have genuinely fooled me into believing that it was the real deal. 

Part of the reason why plant-based chicken took so long to catch up to beef is because of poultry’s texture due to the meat’s muscle fibers. The unique way in which chicken pulls apart is difficult to reproduce and critical to the chicken-eating experience, but Daring’s 100% plant-based chicken made of soy-protein is surprisingly convincing. Texture? Check. Pan-fried char? Check. Taste? Check. It cooks up quickly in about five minutes on a pan straight from the freezer and can be used in any recipe that calls for sliced chicken.

I’ve personally cooked with it for stir-fries, gyros, tacos, and my favorite fried rice. It can’t replace dark meat like bone-in chicken thighs or wings, which is a craving of mine that will need to be satiated by paying a visit to the butcher counter. For all of my other weekly quarantine chicken needs, I’ll keep a bag of Daring in the freezer.

daring foods plant-based chicken

You can order directly from the Daring Foods website and have it shipped to your door, or check to see which of your local grocery stores carry it (I buy it at Sprouts here in Los Angeles). For more meat-free recipe ideas, give these plant-based tacos a try. You can always add some chopped Daring chicken if you manage to get your hands on a bag!

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