Thursday, April 2, 2009

Veggie Might: Tofu Veggie Scramble - Heaven Can Wait…but Breakfast Can’t

Penned by the effervescent Leigh, Veggie Might is a weekly Thursday column about the wide world of Vegetarianism.

Like many body-conscious teenagers/young adults, I went through a breakfast avoidance phase. I found Diet Coke (followed briefly by Diet Coke and cigarettes) to be sufficient sustenance to get me through until midday.

But the whole time, I was denying my better nature, not to mention my health. Deep down laid the truth: I want, need, and full-on love breakfast. Three out of three is pretty dang good, right Meatloaf?

Once I embraced breakfast I had more energy, was less grouchy, and to my surprise, I did not gain a jillion pounds. I’m not sure what I thought people ate for their morning meals. But unless you’re breaking fast at Waffle House every day, it’s easily a low-cal affair.

Now I have my little morning ritual, which on workdays involves a bowl of high-fiber cereal with soymilk, a cup of tea, and Pat Kiernan reading me the New York dailies through my television. (That’s right, non New Yorkers, a TV anchorman reads the newspaper headlines on air. It’s a brilliant bit of television. And Pat Kiernan is the perfect Canadian for the job.)

Weekends are another story. Pat is (presumably) home with his family, and I have time to cook. After feeding the dog and brewing a pot of tea, I take a looksee in the fridge. (I like to make myself something savory. Sweets are not my thing.)

This weekend the contents of my fridge told me to whip up a tofu scramble, inspired by the vegan classic found at the Post Punk Kitchen, with grits on the side. You can add whatever veggies you have on hand. I had broccoli and mushrooms; plus I threw in some celery.

The spice mixture in this recipe is largely about color. Turmeric makes the tofu yellow like scrambled eggs, but also a tad bitter. I cut the amount in half. The other spices, cumin, thyme, paprika, are pretty sassy, so I left well enough alone.

The zippy flavor comes from the nutritional yeast, those flakes of vitamin B-rich, umami wonder that vegheads can’t get enough of. I was a little late to the “nooch” party, but I’m starting to catch on. Nooch and veggies make this bowl of tofu a fiesta.

The tofu scramble delighted my weekend, and there was enough left over to start the week. It was so tasty, in fact, that I barely noticed when Pat lingered over Gisele on Monday’s New York Post cover.

Breakfast, for crying out loud, you know I love you.

Tofu Veggie Scramble
Adapted from Post-Punk Kitchen
Serves 4

14 oz extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 large chopped yellow onion (about a cup)
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
2 cups white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 cups broccoli, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
juice of 1/2 a lime
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon thyme, crushed with your fingers
2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt

1) In a large skillet, sauté onion over medium heat in oil until soft.

2) Add mushrooms and sauté for another five minutes or so.

3) Then add the garlic and celery. Sauté for another 2 minutes

4) Toss in the spices and stir for a few seconds.

5) Add 1/4 cup water to deglaze the pan. Scrap all the good stuff off the bottom.

6) Break tofu into large chunks and stir in. It will continue to crumble as you stir.

7) Mix in broccoli.

8) Cook for about 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Add a couple tablespoons of water here and there if it starts to stick. Lower the heat if you find it’s sticking too much.

9) Add lime juice and nutritional yeast. Give it a good stir.

10) Serve with grits and toast. Savor on a lazy Sunday.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price per Serving
139.21 calories, 6.5g fat, $1.17

Calculations
14 oz extra firm tofu: 238 calories, 12g fat, $1.50
1 tablespoon canola oil: 120 calories, 14g fat, $0.08
1/2 large chopped yellow onion: 40 calories, .2g fat, $.50
2-3 cloves garlic: 12.6 calories, 0g fat, $.04
2 ribs celery: 12 calories, 0g fat, $.15
2 cups white button mushrooms: 30 calories, 0g fat, $1.00
2 cups broccoli: 40 calories, 0g fat, $.75
1/4 cup nutritional yeast: 60 calories, 0g fat, $.54
juice of 1/2 a lime: 4.25 calories, 0g fat, $0.5
2 teaspoons cumin: negligible calories and fat, $.02
1 teaspoon thyme: negligible calories and fat, $.02
2 teaspoon paprika: negligible calories and fat, $.02
1/4 teaspoon turmeric: negligible calories and fat, $.02
1 teaspoon salt: negligible calories and fat, $.02
TOTAL: 556.85 calories, 26g fat, $4.66
PER SERVING (TOTAL/4): 139.21 calories, 6.5g fat, $1.17

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6 comments:

Jaime said...

Yay nooch! It is tasty, tasty stuff.

flybigd said...

Love all the "Bat Out of Hell" references. A great sing-along album.

Imee said...

Mmm. Tofu and veggies--two of my favorites! I'm gonna try this recipe out. It's not only healthy, the ingredients are also pretty affordable. I think even people on food stamps or a very strict/tight budget can afford making this.

Anonymous said...

no offense, but you really ought to look into improving your food photography. I read this blog religiously; the writing is great as are the recipes. But that looks like an unappetizing hot mess :&

Kris said...

Anon, I promise, we're trying. You should see the first few months of this thing. Not good.

Leigh said...

Thanks Kris.
Yes, I am trying. I get no sunlight in my Hell's Kitchen hot box. I have rigged up a little lighting sitch and have been playing around with my camera's settings, reading photog blogs, etc. So yes, there is much trying going on.

Also, scrambled tofu looks like a "hot mess" without my help. ;)