Ok, I know that it’s not Monday, and I said I would only do these types of posts on Mondays so I could use the snappy, trendy term “Meatless Mondays.” But it’s a more important day to me. It’s my 3-month vegan-versary. I find that celebrating small things enriches my life.
Okay, now that I’m done congratulating myself and philosophizing, I can begin exploring the myriad uses for tofu. Tofu is the most versatile food with which I’ve ever cooked. You can pan-fry it, bake it, use it to make cheesecake, put it in soup, put it in salad, or pretend it’s scrambled eggs. This post is about one of my favorite recipes for a breakfast scramble. It’s also painfully easy. It requires only three cooking techniques: chopping, dumping, and stirring. It is also a bit spicy and contains chorizo, which ensures that my roomie won’t eat any. Sometimes I’m territorial about my creations.
First, chop up about a quarter of a yellow onion and about half a green bell pepper. I don’t measure, I just use what it’s in the fridge for these types of projects. But these ratios are tried and true. Heat a skillet to medium-low and put in a little bit of water. Again, it’s hard to say how much because I just dumped some out of the cup from which I was drinking. After the water, dump in the chopped onions and bells peppers.
I’ve been sauteing things in water because this method cuts out oil. And frankly, it seems to work the same. I was quite skeptical initially, but cutting out a couple hundreds calories from the two tablespoons of oil I would have used previously seemed like a worthwhile calculated risk.
Because I’m going to add soy chorizo in a bit, I don’t season the onions and peppers at all. That stuff’s got plenty of kick for me. I do have one secret ingredient, though . . .
LIQUID SMOKE. While the veggies are cookin’ up, I add several liberal dashes of liquid smoke. I live in a relatively small apartment in a large city, and I don’t get to grill. This is a reasonable and extremely inexpensive substitute.
Once the veggies are about halfway to done, add in one block of tofu. Just crumble it up. You can squeeze the block a bit over the sink first to get rid of excess water (that way you don’t have to wait to cook all the liquid in the tofu off in the pan), but I hardly ever bother with pressing. It seems like a terrible waste of paper towels to me.
Please note my incredible fancy crumbling technique.
Also, I used Trader Joe’s organic tofu, which does not state its texture. If I had to make a recommendation to someone without a TJ’s (after I was done sympathizing), I’d suggest using firm texture tofu.
Right after the tofu is crumbled in, add an entire package of TJ’s soy chorizo. Now, I said I wouldn’t use weird meat substitutes. They are often over-processed, and I feel that they largely destroy my attempt at healthy eating. However, TJ’s soy chorizo is NOT full of weird things. The ingredients are textured soy protein, water, soy oil, distilled vinegar, salt, spices, red pepper, garlic. This is why I condone the use of TJ’s soy chorizo. The small life lesson here is to ALWAYS READ THE NUTRITION FACTS.
This is in the package. See how festive?
This is out of the package. It’s not that pretty. Mix it all up quickly.
Much better. I let this mess cook for about 5 minutes. Like I said, the idea is to let the moisture cook off. This makes the tofu have a more egg-like texture. I promise-you won’t even miss the eggs when you eat this.
After it’s cooked for about 5 minutes, I add some toppings that just need to be heated through because they’re already cooked. Today I chose corn and homemade salsa. Usually I don’t have corn, but last weekend I went to a family Labor Day thing, which means I came home with much food. And it’s the end of summer; end of summer corn on the cob is pretty outstanding. My lovely mother cut all the corn off the cob for me and sent me home with it in a little baggie.
Stir all the new ingredients together with the tofu scramble. Let it cook for a minute or two longer to make sure the corn and salsa are nice and hot. You’ll notice immediately that there is no more room in the skillet. I used my highly developed culinary skills and kitchen acumen to determine that the tofu scramble was done.
This is how I eat it. In enormous bowls.
Now, to examine the damage and slightly tout the benefits of this dish. There is no cholesterol. The only oil came from the chorizo. The entire package of tofu had only 450 calories in it and the chorizo only 700. Oh, and I don’t count the calories in vegetables. I figure that any health benefit outweighs the calories. Please feel free to adopt my admittedly skewed reasoning. I tend eat this in about 5 or 6 servings, depending on how gluttonous I feel. Therefore, 1/6 of this dish has only 191.667 calories. However, because it’s full of protein, I always feel nice and full after eating it.
Happy vegan-versary to me!