Tofu scramble is one of those perfect breakfast, brunch and lunch inventions. It’s creamy, protein-rich, full-flavoured and ready in minutes. What more do you want in a breakfast or lunch treat?
When you say tofu scramble and full-flavoured and come over for brunch in one sentence to people who haven’t cooked it before, chances are they’ll start looking doubtful and make their excuses. But the thing about tofu is, you can give it exactly the flavour you want it to have and that’s much easier than you may think. So depending on your morning mood you can go for bold and cheesy, wide-awake and chili-peppered or, the way I like it, clean, mildly spiced and herby. And then, of course, topped with all the extras!
The stack of scramble and extras you see in the picture is one of my favourite lunch dishes at the moment. It was actually my contribution to our Easter brunch this month – after all, what’s Easter without some scrambled… tofu? But it’s such a winner that I’ve treated myself to it for lunch three times since already. It combines soft and creamy tofu and cress with crisp arugula, fresh avo, juicy and deep-flavoured caramelised red onions and spicy roasted pecans. The pecans and caramelised onions are easily prepared ahead, which means that the moment you want to eat, the only thing left to do is cook the tofu, slice the avo, stack ‘m high and enjoy.
The basics of cooking tofu scramble are easy. Using a block of firm tofu, drained of excess liquid, will yield the best structure. I add some cooked onion and fresh garlic for juiciness and extra flavour. Crumble the tofu into a pan, fry for a few minutes with spices of your choice, then add some plantbased milk and cook until the liquid has just evaporated and voilà, there you have the perfect creamy and tender tofu scramble. As for flavourings, you can go as bold as you like. Because I’m combining mine with some deep-flavoured toppings, I kept the seasoning of the scramble itself relatively mild and basic. But do feel free to experiment; you’ll find some starting suggestions in the ingredients list below.
Tofu scramble with caramelised onions and spiced pecans – serves 4
For the scramble:
- 375 g firm tofu
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 plump clove garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. paprika
- course sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 75 ml soy milk or plantbased milk of choice
- bunch of garden cress or fresh herbs of choice
- 1 portion of caramelised red onions
- 1 portion of spicy roasted pecans
- 1 avocado, peeled, stoned and thinly sliced
- arugula leaves or salad leaves of choice
- dense rye bread, fresh rolls or other bread of choice
Optional, additional seasonings:
- adding 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast will add a creamy, cheesy flavour
- an extra tsp. cumin will add extra depth of flavour
- try adding a sprinkle of chilli flakes or freshly chopped chilli or jalapeño pepper for a spicy kick
- adding sulfur-rich black salt will give the tofu a distinct egg-like flavour
- instead of fresh onion and garlic you could use onion powder and garlic powder for a more overall hearty flavour
Pressing gently with your hands, squeeze excess liquid out of the block of tofu. Then wrap in a piece of kitchen paper and top with something heavy. Set aside and leave to drain a bit more while you fry the onions.
In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Fry the onions for a few minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and fry for half a minute until fragrant.
Unwrap the block of tofu. Using your fingers, crumble the tofu into bite-size chunks, adding them straight to the pan. Sprinkle over the turmeric and paprika and season generously with salt and pepper. Stirring occasionally, fry the tofu for a few minutes until lightly coloured. When done to your liking, turn up the heat and add the soy milk. Stir until the liquid has just evaporated and the tofu is soft. Turn off the heat and sprinkle over the garden cress.
Divide the tofu scramble over four slices of bread, along with toppings and extras of choice; if I may suggest: bread – arugula – thinly sliced avocado, tofu scramble, a generous spoonful of caramelised red onion and a handful of spicy roasted pecans.