Although I don’t think it is hard to get enough protein as a vegan for most people, it can be a little hard to eat a meal that is mostly protein and feel that heavy protein feel afterward.
While fried tofu, chili, a good veggie burger, any form of seitan and any of the many delicious vegan chicken substitutes available at most grocery stores can fulfill this need for protein for me, tofu scramble is one of my favorite ways to achieve this full feeling.
Tofu scramble is a vegan staple that is often underappreciated and underutilized. Tofu in general can have a pretty bad reputation, but it isn’t tofu’s fault so much as people who do not know how to prepare it. It is largely flavorless, so in order for it not to taste like a sponge you have to add ample flavor for it to soak up. The texture can also be off-putting to some, but this can also be altered through the way in which the tofu is cooked.
Preparing tofu in some ways can be hard to get a grip on right away, but if you follow these tips, tofu scramble is a very easy dish to master.
First, let’s talk about the different types of tofu. At most grocery stores you will find silken, firm and extra firm to name a few. Silken is used for some vegan desserts, an egg replacer and some fried tofu dishes. This kind is definitely hard to work with unless you have some experience or if you are just throwing it in a blender to make some pudding or something. Firm and extra firm are nearly the same, but I would choose extra firm over firm for a scramble. The key to making firmer tofu taste good is to squeeze out the water it is packed in before you cook it. You can buy a tofu press, craft one out of towels and books, or just kind of gently squeeze the block over the sink until water stops coming out.
To make the scramble, fire up your stove to medium-high and put a large nonstick or cast iron pan, preferably not with very shallow sides, over the heat. Add two to four tablespoons of a vegan butter such as Earth Balance or the original Smart Balance. You can also use olive oil, if you prefer. Once the pan is hot and the butter has melted, dice a small onion and add it to the mix. Stir occasionally until the onion is soft and translucent.
Next, add the spices: turmeric, garlic powder and nutritional yeast if you’d like, and stir the mixture well. If you like things a bit spicier, this is a good time to add a bit of cayenne or some red chili flakes. If you’re feeling bold, try experimenting with spices you like to add more flavor!
If you want to add any vegetables that would need to cook, like mushrooms or peppers, this is the time to do it. Then, crumble your squeezed/pressed tofu into the pan with your hands. As for the size, use your own discretion; the chunks can be as small or as large as you want them.
Allow the scramble to cook until all the liquid is out of the pan and the tofu chunks have browned slightly. This will take at least five minutes. If your tofu isn’t browning, increase the heat to high. If you don’t let the scramble cook long enough, it will be soggy, so as long as the tofu isn’t burning, the longer you cook it, the better the texture, not to mention the overall flavor, will be. If you want to add any greens or vegetables that don’t need to cook much, like tomatoes or spinach, add them right at the end.
And there you have it: a relatively easy tofu dish that doesn’t suck! Don’t listen to the tofu haters.
My favorite way to eat this scramble as a meal is to drizzle hot sauce over it, stick a generous portion of vegan cheese on it, stir in some cubed, cooked potatoes and put it in a tortilla for a delicious, nutritious breakfast burrito.
- 1 small onion
- 2-4 tablespoons of vegan butter or olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder