Nothing divides the world in half like tofu, separating us into the lovers and the haters.
I know some folks who won’t go near the stuff, not even with a ten-foot pair of chopsticks. Too bland, they say. Or the texture is mushy and gross. Some of these braver individuals might venture a bite, but only if you paid them and then deep-fried the tofu to crispy oblivion.
I’m a steadfast tofu lover. When my parents came to the states as first-generation immigrants from Vietnam, my mom brought along a suitcase packed with the bare essentials and her knowledge of making tofu from scratch. I was spoiled with fresh-made tofu on a regular basis.
The tofu of my youth took many different forms, from plain rectangles of it fried and served with fermented soybean sauce, to tofu stuffed with ground pork and stewed in an umami-packed mixture of tomatoes and fish sauce. I also remember quite a few pots of soup with little cubes of tofu bobbing around like miniature rubber ducks, and even some desserts that featured the stuff.
But it wasn’t until fairly recently that I learned that tofu can do an impressive job of resembling scrambled eggs, too. I challenge any tofu hater to try this recipe for Vegan Tofu Scramble without wanting to go back for seconds.
This dish looks and tastes so much like true scrambled eggs, it’s hard to remember that it’s egg-free. It’s thanks to the soft, yielding nature of tofu that allows it to imitate the custardy texture of scrambled eggs. And the bland nature that enables it to harmonize so well with just about any mix of spices or seasonings you can think of.
This recipe uses Kala namak salt, also known as black salt, which contains sulfur compounds—the same smelly ones found in hard-boiled eggs. When you open a bottle, a big sulfurous fist springs out and punches you hard in the nose. But oh, the magic it works on the tofu! The Kala namak salt gives the dish that eggy flavor of true eggs. I also use this salt when I make vegan potato salad, but that’s a different recipe for a different day.
A touch of turmeric powder transforms the tofu from white to sunny egg-yellow. For this recipe, be sure to use either firm tofu or extra firm, which stands up to the cooking process and gives you nice little pieces of “egg” curd at the end. Soft and silken tofu are way too fragile and would break down into one big mushy mess.
Most tofu-based recipes will have you pressing the liquid out of the tofu first, but I find this step unnecessary for tofu scramble. I’ve always preferred my eggs on the soft-scrambled side, and the extra moisture contained within the tofu helps to mimic this consistency. If you like your scrambled “eggs” drier, you can always drain the tofu.
Just place the tofu inside a colander and place a weighted plate on top to help the draining along. Let it sit like this for 15 – 30 minutes. There are fancy tofu presses available at many kitchen supply retailers, but the DIY version works just as well.
This is one of those dishes that can be adapted to everyone’s individual taste by omitting or adding different ingredients as you wish. For example, my recipe includes chopped vegan sausage, which lends a nice spicy heat and meaty texture. But if you don’t have vegan sausage on hand or don’t care for the texture of meat, no biggie—just leave it out.
Tofu scramble is a great way to use up any items still sitting around in your refrigerator at the end of the week. I never really pull off the same scramble twice, because the mix of veggies I use is different each time. I even threw in a couple of tablespoons of leftover kidney beans once, and it turned out delicious. Feel free to get creative and boldly toss in what no one’s tossed before.
Naturally, tofu scramble is a popular dish with many vegans since it provides for a tasty egg-like dish using all plant-based ingredients. But just because vegans and tofu scramble are BFFs doesn’t mean that everyone else can’t be friends with tofu scramble, too.
Whether you’re a vegan, a vegetarian, a meatless Monday kind of person, or a Monday through Friday meat connoisseur, one thing holds true: tofu scramble is an easy-to-make dish with a yum factor that everyone can appreciate. It’s high in protein and loaded with nutrients from both the tofu and the veggies. This dish is great on its own, served alongside breakfast potatoes, or tucked inside a breakfast burrito.
Table of Contents
- Vegan Tofu Scramble Instructions
- Step 1: Transfer the oil to a large non-stick skillet.
- Step 2: Add onion.
- Step 3: Add garlic.
- Step 4: Add mushrooms, bell pepper, zucchini, and vegan sausage.
- Step 5: Add tofu.
- Step 6: Add turmeric, chili powder, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, smoked paprika, Kala namak salt, and cayenne pepper.
- Step 7: Remove from heat.
- Step 8: Serve immediately.
Vegan Tofu Scramble Instructions
- Yield: About 4-6 servings
- Prep time: About 20 minutes
- Cook time: About 15 minutes
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- ½ cup diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 ounces crimini or white button mushrooms, sliced thick
- ½ cup red bell pepper, diced
- ½ cup zucchini, diced or sliced
- ½ cup vegan sausage, chopped fine
- 1 pound firm tofu, drained
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Scant ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon kala namak, or black salt (available at most grocery stores)
- Pinch of ground cayenne pepper
- ½ cup shredded vegan cheddar cheese (available at most grocery stores)
Step 1: Transfer the oil to a large non-stick skillet.
Place over medium-high heat until oil shimmers.
Step 2: Add onion.
Cook, stirring frequently, until onion turns translucent, about 3 minutes.
Step 3: Add garlic.
Cook, stirring frequently, another 30 seconds.
Step 4: Add mushrooms, bell pepper, zucchini, and vegan sausage.
Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid from the mushrooms cooks off and the zucchini starts to soften about 3 minutes.
Step 5: Add tofu.
Use your spatula to break down into small chunks and cook, stirring to mix, about 5 minutes.
Step 6: Add turmeric, chili powder, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, smoked paprika, Kala namak salt, and cayenne pepper.
Cook, stirring to mix, about 3 minutes.
Step 7: Remove from heat.
Add vegan cheese. Stir to mix until cheese melts completely.
Step 8: Serve immediately.
Enjoy as-is, or garnished with cilantro, avocado, and vegan sour cream (highly recommended)!
Alice Mesa is an environmental scientist turned foodie. She followed her heart away from a 10-year career in the water quality industry and into the kitchen, where she spent the next few years as the owner and operator of a handcrafted vegan chocolates business. Alice combines her passion for cooking with her vegan lifestyle by creating and writing about dishes that are not only delicious, but plant-based as well.