What is your go-to power breakfast? Ours is this sunny tofu scramble. There is nothing quite like waking up on Saturday morning to the smell and sounds of my boyfriend scrambling away in the kitchen. Just a handful of pantry ingredients and any veggies in your fridge will turn into the most satisfying breakfast ever. Everyone has their own favorite version of tofu scramble–ours is mildly spiced, very flavorful, aromatic, and very “egg-like”–though I think it tastes better than the real thing!
Now, let’s talk tofu. There is a lot of debate on whether soy is good for you, and each latest study seems to contradict the earlier conclusion. On one hand, we know that soy has complete protein (meaning, a full spectrum of amino acids), and the FDA states that 25 g of soy protein, combined with low fat and low cholesterol intake, can reduce the risk of heart disease. A recent Chinese study also suggests that non fermented soy foods like tofu can reduce the risk of certain cancers. Soy isoflavone has even been linked to youthful, wrinkle-free skin. On the other hand, many people believe that non fermented soy products like tofu, whole soybeans/edamame, soy milk, TVP (textured vegetable protein) and isolated soy protein (in many protein bars, shakes, veggie burgers and meat alternatives), are harmful, potentially disrupting your endocrine system, increasing risk of breast cancer, and triggering hypothyroidism.
If you know you are at increased risk of these particular diseases, I think it is worth being cautious and limiting your unfermented soy intake. At the same time, I believe that what type of soy food you consume matters a lot, not just whether it’s fermented. For instance, tofu has been safely consumed in Asia for the past 2,000 years. (Naturally, East Asians have had a significantly lower rate of breast cancer until recently, when their traditional plant-based diet began to be replaced with Western diet). Tofu is a whole food made from traditional processes, and as long as you buy organic tofu clearly marked as non-GMO and consume it moderately (just like anything else), there is no need to be alarmed.
Saturday Morning Tofu Scramble
1 block tofu (I like extra firm, though you could use firm or medium. Just don’t go silk/soft!)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups chopped leafy green (I like to use Tuscan kale, but feel free to sub with spinach, chard, etc. Just make sure to adjust cooking time according to the hardiness)
6-7 white button mushrooms, sliced (portobello also works great)
Optional veggies (sliced bell peppers, Greek olives, scallions, even sundried tomatoes!)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil OR vegan butter
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp Dijon mustard
several dashes of garam masala (about 1/4 tsp, but who’s really measuring garam masala in the morning)
1-2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp soy sauce (or tamari or Bragg’s liquid aminos)
1/4 cup vegan cheese (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Melt butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Meanwhile, drain the tofu and mash it roughly in a bowl with a fork.
2. When the butter is bubbling slightly, add onions and saute until just translucent, about 2 minutes.
3. Add sliced mushrooms and wait for that sqeaky sound they make as they release their juices. Add the leafy greens (and any other optional veggies, in the order of hardiness). Stir in the turmeric and garam masala, and toss to coat.
4. When the veggies look softened, add crumbled tofu, nutritional yeast, mustard, and soy sauce and stir well. Cook, tossing every once in a while, for another 3-4 minutes (add vegan cheese, if using). It’s done when the cheese is melted and the tofu smells fragrant and delicious. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serving ideas: We like to garnish our tofu scramble with sliced avocados, ketchup, and (vegan) buttered toast. It’s also amazing with warm corn tortilla (breakfast tacos!) and hot sauce, home fries, or anything else that strikes your fancy!
Also in Breakfast: Best Vegan Pumpkin Granola
Fermented Soy Choices: Macrobiotic Doenjang Jjigae and Sauteed Sesame Leaves
Photo: Peaceful Dumpling