Easy Vegan Breakfasts - Scrambled Tofu

By Monica Shaw •


Tofu seems to be a dark art - people either “get it” or they don’t. For newbies to tofu, Monica suggests starting with tofu scramble. It’s a super simple, versatile and fast way to prepare tofu that’s really hard to get wrong and makes a great vegan breakfast.

 
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I think more people would ”get” tofu if they knew how to reliably prepare it in a way that makes it taste good. I’ve heard many horror stories of people trying to use tofu and complaining that it was “gloopy”, “flavourless” or “gelatinous”. If this happens, you’ve either got a really bad batch of tofu (rare) , are using the wrong kind of tofu (silken vs firm) or simply didn’t prepare it well (the likely culprit).
 
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For newbies to tofu, I suggest starting with tofu scramble. It’s a super simple, versatile and fast way to prepare tofu that’s really hard to get wrong. It’s also a one-pan meal, making for easy clean-up and a great option if your dining solo. It’s one of my favourite healthy vegan breakfasts, but don’t let the “scramble” fool you into thinking this is only for breakfast: it’s great for a quick vegan lunch or dinner, too.

The scrambled tofu premise is simple: fry an onion, because as we know, a good fried onion is the start of all good things. Add your vegetables, some crumbled tofu and some seasoning. Cook until its done, and boom, you have scrambled tofu, ready to be served with whatever you want: toast, tortilla, fried potatoes, whatever you’d like. My favourite accoutrements are avocado and toasted pumpkin seeds.
 
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The reason scrambled tofu is failsafe is because you can basically cook the tofu in the pan until it’s as “wet” or as “dry” as you’d like, achieving the texture you desire. I like to cook mine so it gives up a lot of its liquid and is on the dry side, but sometimes a “wetter” scramble is called for (tofu scramble for tacos come to mind). And because the tofu is crumbled into small bits, it easily picks up on all the flavours of the onion and seasonings around it.
 
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As to the vegetables and seasonings, I like to work with what’s in season. In the summer, I love to combine courgettes, sweetcorn, broccoli and tomato, along with fresh herbs like parsley and basil. Autumn brings cabbage and brussels sprouts, terrific in a tofu scramble with caraway seeds. For an Indian twist, I like cauliflower, peas and tomato with curry powder (serve with chapatti and mango chutney).

 
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Here’s my basic recipe for tofu scramble which you can adapt as you’d like with whatever vegetables and seasonings you have on hand. I almost always include tomato, and add it early in the cooking so that the tofu can absorb some of the flavour from the cooked tomato, which to me adds a little something special to the mix.
 
You’ll notice my inclusion of “nutritional yeast” in the ingredients - it’s a natural food derived from yeast, totally optional but it does add a savoury (some call it cheesy) element to the scramble. You can buy it at natural food stores.
 
 
Scrambled Tofu
 
Base ingredients
  • 1 block (~450g) firm tofu (NOT silken)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Veggies, herbs and seasonings (they are boundless but here are my favourite combos - dice, slice or chop as you’d like - I like mine diced fairly small)
  • mushrooms, tomatoes and kale, parsley
  • bell peppers, jalapeños, tomato, cilantro
  • mushrooms, peas, tomato, cauliflower curry powder
  • cabbage, carrots, cilantro
  • broccoli, red pepper, corn, lemon zest, red chilli, basil
  • bell peppers, potatoes, tomato, parsley or cilantro
Accoutrements
  • Toast
  • Fried potato
  • Tortillas (corn or flour)
  • Avocado
  • Toasted seeds (especially pumpkin and sunflower)
  • Chutney
  • Fresh chopped tomato
  • Salsa
  • Fresh chillis
 
Method
  1. Put a frying pan on medium heat and add the olive oil
  2. When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook until onion is soft and translucent
  3. Using your hands, crumble the tofu into the pan and sprinkle on the turmeric. (At this point the tofu might give up a lot of water. If so, turn up the heat and let the water boil off. This is key to not ending up with a soggy mess.)
  4. Add the soy sauce, remaining veggies and any seasons you’re using (except fresh herbs) and cook until veggies are tender, stirring every so often (if using potato, cook the potato ahead - this is a great use for leftover roast or boiled potatoes!)
  5. Sprinkle on the nutritional yeast and fresh herbs. Mix well.
  6. Taste, adding salt, pepper and more seasonings as you see fit
  7. Serve with your favourite accoutrements!

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For more vegetarian dishes visit Great British Chefs collection.

 

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Monica Shaw

Monica Shaw is web consultant working with chefs, restaurants & food producers, to help them make use of the internet to improve their businesses. She's also a freelance writer, her credits include The Daily Telegraph, Chef Magazine and food mag. Monica enjoys experimenting with vegetables & creating delicious & healthy dishes, a topic covered on her blog SmarterFitter.com. She is working on The Healthy Vegan Breakfast Book, due to be published in March 2013

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