Tofu scrambles are often the only vegan option on a brunch menu, and to be perfectly honest, they don’t do that much for me. A pile of barely-cooked tofu rubble seasoned with nutritional yeast, turmeric, way too much dried oregano (why is it always oregano?), and nowhere near enough salt may be a nutritionally complete meal—but it’s not good. Vegan food can (should) taste good too.
If your experience with tofu scrambles has been underwhelming thus far, you may be under the impression that making your own isn’t worth the effort. It absolutely is: Just like scrambled eggs, an excellent tofu scramble is savory, creamy, and packed with protein, which vegan breakfasts all too often lack. All you need to make your own is a hot pan, the right kind of tofu, and a little help from a flavorful slurry.
The first secret to making a good tofu scramble is choosing the right tofu. You want firm or medium, not extra-firm. Extra-firm tofu can be spongy and rubbery; while I’ve definitely had real scrambled eggs that are both of those things, the softer, smoother texture of firm or medium tofu is much more pleasant.
The second secret is seasoning the dish with a mixture of vegan milk and dry seasonings. For awhile, I was making my tofu scrambles like regular eggs—sautéed over high heat with seasonings added towards the end—and consistently feeling let down with the results. Once I started simmering sautéed tofu in a slurry of vegan milk, nutritional yeast, granulated garlic, and turmeric, it changed everything. Mixing dry seasonings together in milk not only helps them disperse evenly, it also hydrates them, which intensifies their flavor. Simmering the tofu in this flavorful liquid gives the seasonings a chance to actually soak in, flavoring the dish through and through. Basically, this seemingly simple step is what takes the dish from “a pile of tofu nubs” to “a creamy, surprisingly egg-like scramble.”
To make approximately 2 hungry adult-sized servings of scrambled tofu, you will need:
- 1 1/2 cups unflavored, unsweetened vegan milk (I like soy or oat)
- Heaping 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1 pound medium or firm tofu, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (olive or vegetable oil also works)
Combine everything but the tofu and the oil in a bowl or measuring cup and stir to dissolve. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, swirl the pan around to evenly coat the bottom, and add the tofu. Allow it to cook without stirring for 2-3 minutes, then give it a quick stir and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes. Pour in the slurry and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has almost completely absorbed. Serve however you like; I went for breakfast tacos with smoked paprika potatoes, sour cream, and Valentina Black hot sauce, but this is equally good in a breakfast sandwich with tempeh bacon or on a plate by itself.
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