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How to Make Marry Me Chicken Without the Chicken

How to Make Marry Me Chicken Without the Chicken

In 2021, one study discovered that more than 70 percent of Americans see cooking as a love language. In fact, two in three participants said they would be more likely to agree to go out with somebody if they said they were a good cook. But what about marriage? 

According to millions, one chicken dish is enough to make someone want to ask you to be their legally wedded wife or husband. It’s aptly called Marry Me Chicken, and it has become a social media phenomenon. Despite the name, you can make this allegedly-super-romantic dish without animal products, and we’ve rounded up some of our favorite plant-based versions below. 

But first, where did the concept of Marry Me Chicken even come from?

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What is Marry Me Chicken?

Back in 2016, Lindsay Funston, the former executive editor of Delish, created the recipe for Marry Me Chicken for the first time. The simple, creamy baked chicken dish didn’t actually inspire a marriage proposal, but it did prompt a video producer to joke “I’d marry you for that chicken!” after taking a bite, and that’s how the dish got its name.

According to Funston, it’s the sundried tomato creamy sauce that makes the dish so irresistible. “Chicken breasts are seared until golden brown before being baked in a simple (but extremely satisfying) cream sauce that results in a chicken that’s packed with flavor in every bite,” she wrote for Delish.

Sarah’s Vegan Kitchen

RELATED: 10 Spicy Meat-Free Dishes for Hot Sauce Lovers

Since 2016, Funston’s Marry Me Chicken recipe (which was originally called a Sicilian Chicken Skillet) has inspired millions to create their own versions, some of which have gone viral on TikTok. Recipe creator Here’s Your Bite’s version of Marry Me Chicken pasta, for example, has nearly 16 million views on the app, while Gimme. Delicious’s take on the dish boasts more than 35 million.

Vegan versions of the popular dish have taken off, too. Some use butter beans or chickpeas, while others swap in tofu, soy curls, or branded vegan chicken products (find our guide to the best vegan chicken brands here!).

How to make Marry Me Chicken without the chicken

If you’re trying to prompt a proposal, or you just want to taste a dish so good that it’ll make you want to commit to marriage forever, you can find more ways to make Marry Me Chicken minus the chicken below.

marry me tofu sauceThee Burger Dude

1 Marry Me Tofu

Tofu is great at soaking up flavors, which is why it makes for an excellent vegan chicken. To really get that meaty texture, opt for super firm tofu and grill it to get those all-important crispy edges. According to Thee Burger Dude, this dish “is just as flavorful and proposal-worthy as the original.”
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soy curl vegan marry me chickenMy Quiet Kitchen

2 Vegan Marry Me Chicken With Soy Curls

Soy curls are another brilliant plant-based chicken option—they’re high in fiber and protein, and they have that signature chicken-y texture when they’re cooked, too. “This plant-based version of the original viral chicken recipe is sure to win the hearts of anyone who tries it, vegan or not,” writes My Quiet Kitchen.
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marry me tuscan beansDani’s Healthy Eats

3 Marry Me Tuscan Beans

If you love the sound of the creamy sauce and the rich flavors in Marry Me Chicken, but you’re not interested in the meaty texture, beans are an excellent alternative. You can choose any variety you like, but this recipe calls for white beans, in particular (so that’s everything from butter beans to cannellini beans). “[It’s] creamy, packed with flavor, and a great way to get in the benefits of nutrient-dense, fiber-packed beans without having to be boring,” notes Dani’s Healthy Eats.
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marry me chickpeasThe Happy Pear

4 Marry Me Chickpeas

Not a fan of white beans? Chickpeas will also work beautifully. This recipe from The Happy Pear combines them with kale, seasonal greens, vegan cream, sun-dried tomatoes (of course), and sourdough slices to create a dish so good that you’ll want to immediately get down on one knee.
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marry me pastaVegan Richa

5 Vegan Marry Me Pasta

Marry Me Chicken tastes delicious with bread, potatoes, or greens, but pasta is one of the most popular combinations. In this recipe, Vegan Richa’s version of the now-famous Marry Me sauce is deliciously smoky and the sliced tofu is spiced with pepper and paprika, too. “I don’t know if anybody’s going to marry you with this pasta, but it certainly made my husband very happy,” writes Vegan Richa founder Richa Hingle.
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marry me chicken noodle soup veganRabbits and Wolves

6 Vegan Marry Me Chicken Noodle Soup

If you’re in the mood for something light, check out Rabbit & Wolves’ Vegan Marry Me Chicken Noodle Soup. It’s a unique take on the original recipe, but it’s just as flavorful and proposal-worthy. “This one pot meal is so simple, but really killer,” says recipe developer Lauren Boehme. “If you are looking to impress, even a non-vegan, this is the recipe for you.”
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marry me orzoPlant You

7 Marry Me Sundried Tomato Orzo

In this recipe, Plant You founder Carleigh Bodrug takes the signature flavors from Marry Me Chicken and mixes them with orzo, a type of pasta shaped like rice. It’s simple yet bursting with flavor, just like the original, which means you’ll likely want to make it on repeat. “Since it only takes 20 minutes, you can use this marry me sundried tomato orzo as a reliable weeknight dinner recipe,” says Bodrug. Just make sure you prepare yourself for all of the proposals that will be flying your way.
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