Soy Free Tofu? Yes, It Exists!

February 28, 2014

Recently, I’ve seen pictures of Hemp tofu blowing up my instagram feed. For me, these photos were snapshots of the Holy Grail.

vegan soy free hemp tofu breakfast A couple years ago, I had to stop eating soy for personal health reasons.  I could tolerate in small amounts, like if something were seasoned with tamari or miso, but in larger quantities, I realized that it wreaks havoc on my digestion.

Of course, tofu scrambles were a staple of my diet at breakfast time, and one of my absolute favorite quick, easy and delicious meals any other time of day as well. I thought that tofu would be forever lost to me… and then I started seeing the photographic evidence that a soy-free tofu does exist.

However, until a week  ago, I hadn’t actually seen the Tempt Hemp Tofu product in stores. I couldn’t find it at my local Co-Op; I didn’t even see it at Viva La Vegan Grocery store. I thought all chance of me ever reuniting with tofu scrambles was lost forever.

Just when I thought I’d have to give up hope, I stopped into a local Whole Foods Store. After scanning the tofu section up and down and back and forth, finally the light shone upon the oblong blue package. The birds sang, the skies opened and I grabbed that package and held it high above my head in victory.

I couldn’t wait to get it home and enjoy a long lost to me tofu breakfast burrito.

When taking it out of the package, and tasting it plain, my initial reaction was “Oh, no! It’s kinda gross.”  The hemp tofu is very dense, not spongy like soy tofu (even the most extra firm tofu you can find), and the flavor tastes almost a little sour or rancid.  While it is definitely not something I would cube and eat unseasoned, I could see the potential in it.  There really wasn’t much flavor otherwise, much like soy tofu, so I could tell that it would easily absorb anything I seasoned it with.

Sure enough, I was correct. Once I crumbled it in a pan, added some sautéed veggies and some herbs and spices it started to take on a whole new life. The cooked texture was much softer than right out of the pack, almost to the point of being slightly fluffy.  It absorbed my seasoning really well, and that slightly sour taste actually become complimentary. I also like that I could still see flecks of hemp seeds when it was crumbled, which suggests that it is not overly processed.

Needless to say, my love for tofu scrambles has been re-sparked and I can’t wait to try preparing it in other fashions.  Hemp tofu does require a lot of work to taste like a winner, but if you’re willing to give it a chance and show it a little love, it will give a whole lot back. I think Living Harvest knows this well as there are pre-seasoned varieties available.

Ready for some potential good news for all my other soy free vegans out there?

It looks like you can order Tempt Hemp Tofu online at the Living Harvest website! I couldn’t confirm because at the time of this writing I wasn’t able to access their online shopping cart. Not sure if it was temporarily down or just not available yet.

Vegan soy free hemp tofu scramble

My Favorite Tofu Scramble

Ingredients
1 8oz package of hemp tofu
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1 small carrot, shredded or small dice
1 small zucchini or yellow squash, diced
1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced or through a garlic press
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes (or more to taste)
1 – 2 Tablespoons coconut aminos (or tamari if you’re not completely soy free, or 1/2 tsp salt or to taste)
large handful spinach, chopped

(Add other spices or vegetables to your liking. You may need to adjust the quantities of spices listed here)

Directions
1. In a large saute pan, heat a small amount of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add carrot, bell pepper and zucchini and continue to cook until veggies start to get slightly browned, then add garlic until fragrant.

2. Meanwhile, crumble tofu, squeezing as much of the water out as possible with your hands. Squeezing will help it absorb seasoning better, but is not necessary. When veggies are ready, add tofu to the pan, along with seasoning and stir until well coated.

3. Let the tofu stick to the pan a little so that it may brown slightly, add a little bit more olive oil if needed if mixture sticks too much. Cook for about 3 minutes, toss in chopped spinach and continue cooking until wilted.  Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

4. Serve on a plate, or put some into the middle of a large tortilla with some avocado and roll into a burrito.  I highly recommend serving with hot sauce! 🙂

Vegan soy free hemp tofu scramble

 

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Christine Oppenheim is a natural foods chef, trained through Bauman College. Residing in Santa Monica, CA, she offers vegan personal chef services, cooking instruction, and holistic wellness coaching. Christine prepares meals that are centered on whole grains and organic, seasonal fruits and vegetables, with a focus on utilizing alternative ingredients to convert classic recipes into versions that are compatible for restricted diets (i.e. gluten free, soy free, no refined sugar). She teaches people how to easily incorporate delicious, healthy, plant based foods into their diets and make simple lifestyle changes to increase energy, control weight, reduce stress and regulate digestion. Follow Christine on Instagram @veggiefixation.

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