Like many people with food and weight issues, I never used to eat breakfast. I usually didn’t wake up hungry; in fact, too many times I woke up still tasting the unhealthy food I had eaten too much of the night before. Or I might be rushing to work, thinking I didn’t have time to eat breakfast. And then I simply didn’t like most breakfast foods. Cereal, hot or cold, didn’t entice me. I’m not a big fan of “bread-y” and “dough-y” type foods like pancakes, waffles or French Toast. For me, breakfast had to be diner-type food: scrambled eggs, cheese omelets, bacon, sausage, home fries, toast and coffee. This was a weekend type of indulgence but it was bad. Bad for my health, bad for the animals, and bad for the planet.
When I was transitioning from vegetarian to vegan, I didn’t mind giving up dairy. I quickly switched my milk and cheese to non-dairy, cruelty-free versions but I was having a hard time giving up my egg whites. When I began my weight loss journey, I forced myself to begin each day with breakfast but it was difficult because there was nothing I wanted – except eggs. I would make a spinach omelet with egg whites almost every single morning. However, when I learned about the torture of egg-laying hens and their chicks, I knew I had to give up the breakfast I had learned to love.
I heard people talk about tofu scramble as a substitute for eggs but I was not yet a tofu fan. The first time I attempted to make it, it ended up in the trash. I still don’t know what went wrong. I decided I needed to taste it somewhere else, somewhere where people knew what they were doing. My husband, Tom, and I went to The Organic Grill in NYC and tried a tofu scramble there. It had mixed veggies in it and vegan cheese and it was good. Then we had brunch at one of our favorite Vegan restaurants, Sacred Chow. OMG!! Tofu scramble with tempeh bacon on the side. It was incredible! I knew I had to learn to make my own version. And I did. I experimented and tried many different recipes and finally came up with a version that Tom and I love. Every time I make it, I change it up a bit, swapping out different vegetables, different greens, and different spices. Sometimes I choose zucchini or squash, broccoli or asparagus, kale or Swiss chard. Variety is the spice of Vegan life.
Funny thing is, we usually eat this “breakfast” for dinner. I still don’t like preparing a big meal in the morning but I have learned to enjoy other foods for breakfast. I start every morning with a healthy Vegan breakfast – whole-grain cereal with added flax and fruit, hummus with raw spinach and tomato or my new favorite comfort-food breakfast, Ezekiel cinnamon raisin toast with peanut butter and Tofutti’s Better Than Cream Cheese. But when I get that craving for diner-type breakfast, my Tofu Scramble and Home Fries hits the spot.
Tofu Scramble with Mushrooms and Collard Greens
1 block firm or extra firm tofu, drained
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, any color, diced
10 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 large bunch of collard greens, stemmed and chopped
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground turmeric
½ tsp. coriander
½ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. paprika
½ tsp. chili powder
1 Tbs. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. black salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
In a deep skillet, heat the olive oil and add the onions and peppers. Cook about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until mushrooms have browned and softened, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix spices and nutritional yeast into a small bowl and set aside.
Crumble the tofu into the skillet and let cook a few minutes. Add the spice mixture evenly and toss to coat. Continue to sauté about 5 minutes.
Add the collard greens and about ½ cup of water to the skillet, cover and let the greens wilt a bit, about 5 more minutes. Uncover and toss the greens with the tofu scramble. If you like it moist, add more water. Serve at once with side dishes.
Seeing Red Potato and Onion Home Fries
3 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, sliced in half-moons
1 red bell pepper, diced
4-6 red potatoes, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
Salt and black pepper to taste
In a skillet, heat 1 tsp. of the olive oil. Add the onion and peppers and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining oil, then add the potatoes, garlic and spices. Mix together and press the mixture down into the pan with a spatula so it browns. Cook over low to medium heat about 25 minutes until the potatoes are softened. During that 25 minutes, toss the mixture and press down with the spatula again so each side gets brown.
Hint: to make this go faster, microwave or parboil the potatoes for a few minutes before adding to the skillet. Serve with tofu scramble.
Depending what you like, add tempeh bacon, seitan sausage, toast, fruit, etc. Enjoy!!