Soy Curl Cacciatore
5 from 5 votes

This dish of soy curl cacciatore is a vegan interpretation of the classic Italian dish, made with soy curl chicken strips as a plant protein. It’s saucy and savory, and it’s incredible comfort food! Serve it over pasta or a whole grain, or use slices of focaccia or Italian bread to scoop it up.

Soy Curl Cacciatore | The Full Helping

It’s definitely no secret that I’m a huge fan of Butler Soy Curls to begin with, but they seem to be especially ideal for these weeks of quarantine. They’re shelf stable, protein-rich, and inexpensive, as far as vegan meats go. A pack of 6 bags, which you can order online from the Butler website, is a generous amount: enough to ensure many hearty vegan meals! (You can also find soy curls on Amazon or in many independent health stores.)

I’ve got three bags in my pantry, and on Sunday evening, I thought it was a good time to continue using them up. I tend to make half a bag at a time, which is about four servings per the package. This is usually enough to use in a recipe, but not such a huge batch that I have more than I need (in my all-time favorite vegan chili, for example, I use half of the bag, too).

Even though the demarcations between weekday and weekend are fuzzier than ever, I’ve been trying to maintain some sense of distinction. I use my Saturday and Sunday time for catching up with friends, writing, and (usually) cooking something extra comforting, or a little more interesting than what I make during the week.

Two nights ago, I thought that an Italian or Italian-inspired dish would hit the spot. I’ve eaten plenty of simple pasta suppers in the last nine weeks, and while I wasn’t opposed to having spaghetti as part of my meal, I wanted something filling and protein-rich to be the star. A perfect opportunity for soy curls, and a vegan cacciatore was my experiment of choice.

Soy Curl Cacciatore | The Full Helping

I probably ought to label these as Cacciatore-ish, as I’m reasonably sure that my version is far from traditional even aside from the fact that it’s vegan. But I did my best to make it at least evocative of the original, and I think it’s pretty close. Moreover, it’s really yummy. And satisfying, and nutrient-dense.

As I was reading and figuring out how to make this dish, I learned that it’s sometimes made with peppers and sometimes with mushrooms. I’m guessing that might be a regional difference, or even a question of family tradition. I wanted an opportunity to squeeze plenty of veggies into my dinner, so I actually used both, and was glad I did: all the more texture.

Soy Curl Cacciatore | The Full Helping

Deglazing with wine after you sauté your vegetables is optional, if you don’t have wine or don’t want to cook with it. But I do think it adds flavor. Red or white will both work fine, and if you use red, you could finish what you have with a pot of these (very beloved, at least by me) braised lentils.

Here’s the recipe.

Soy Curl Cacciatore | The Full Helping
5 from 5 votes

Soy Curl Cacciatore

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yields: 4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3 large or 4 small cloves garlic, very thinly sliced or minced
  • 5 ounces sliced white button or cremini mushrooms (150g, or 2 1/2-3 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine (optional, see note)
  • 3 cups diced tomatoes (one 28-ounce / 400g can diced tomatoes, with their juices)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning (substitute a half teaspoon each of dried thyme, oregano, and rosemary)
  • 1 batch 5-Ingredient Vegan Soy Curl Chicken Strips
  • splash of sherry or red wine vinegar
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Optional: cooked pasta, a whole grain, or bread, for serving


  • Add the olive oil to a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and both vegetables are getting soft. Stir every minute or so.
  • Add the garlic and mushrooms to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, for another 5-8 minutes, or until the mushrooms have released their juices and are tender. Stir in the tomato paste and mix the ingredients well.
  • Add the red wine to the skillet to deglaze. Continue sautéing, stirring constantly, for another 3-4 minutes, or until the wine has almost entirely cooked off.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, salt, capers, and Italian seasoning to the skillet. Bring this mixture to a vigorous simmer, then turn the heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened somewhat.
  • Add the prepared soy curls to the pan. Simmer for 10 more minutes, allowing the flavors to mingle, the soy curls to become flavorful, and the mixture to thicken considerably.
  • Taste the cacciatore. Add a splash of vinegar, if desired. Adjust the salt and add freshly ground black pepper to taste. How much salt you add will depend on your taste and also how salty your tomatoes and tomato sauce were.
  • Serve the cacciatore over pasta or a whole grain, or scoop it up with fresh bread, if you like.


If you don’t have/don’t want to use wine, just skip the step of adding it and allowing it to reduce/cook off. 
Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. They can be frozen for 6-8 weeks.
If you don’t have soy curls at home, you can try using 3-4 cups of chopped seitan or a vegan chick’n of choice. 
Soy Curl Cacciatore | The Full Helping

When I first threw in the capers, I wondered whether I’d added too many. Definitely not: they’re a big part of what make the dish as flavorful as it is. If you don’t have capers, you could try something else that’s salty and briney, like olives, or maybe even a scoop of sauerkraut or fermented veggies.

And it’s very worth saying that, if you don’t have soy curls at home, you can substitute seitan or another vegan chick’n (there’s a note in the recipe). I really liked meaty texture here, but I think that chickpeas would be another nice variation.

I’ve eaten this dish over pasta so far, but I’ve got plans to heat up leftovers and sandwich them in some ciabatta very soon. We’ll see how it goes, but I’m reasonably sure I’ll love it. Hope some of you will like it, too, and I’ll be back soon.


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Categories: Recipes, Pasta
Method: Stovetop
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan

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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    So glad I made this! I will definitely add it to my favorites. I loved how the soy curls turned out after coating them in flour and then browning in oil.Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. 5 stars
    This was amazing! Thank you so much for sharing! We are oil free, so I substituted veggie broth to sauté, and everything came out just perfectly! The tip about dredging the curls in flour elevates the texture of the soy curls. Non-plant based eaters will enjoy this just as much as vegans! Try this recipe NOW!

  3. Yummm! I stocked up on Soy Curls at the start of the pandemic! I need to make this. I had a yummy Soy Curl chicken salad wrap for lunch yesterday!

    • You know what? I’ve never made chick’n salad with them! I have to try. Hope you’re staying safe and well, Bianca.