The tofu in these vegan spicy scrambled tofu breakfast tacos is simmered in a flavorful base of smoky spices, peppers, and tomatoes. The savory filling is scooped into warm corn tortillas and topped with creamy avocado mash and tangy hot sauce. This simple breakfast dish comes together in a speedy 30 minutes, which makes it a perfect leisurely weekday spread or quick weekend brunch.
If you've been following along here for any period of time or if you've read through the pantry roots chapter in my cookbook, then you probably know my feelings about tofu.
I'm not its biggest fan.
Yes, it's packed with protein, but tofu can be flavorless and lackluster without a bit of fussing about with spices and techniques (hellooo, tofu press). Not to mention that tofu is essentially the epitome of the vegan stereotype, and I'm not one to conform to expectations.
Random stranger: Oh, you're vegan? You must eat a LOT of tofu.
Me: *crosses arms and grimaces* Tofu? What's that? Never heard of the stuff.
But flavor risks and stereotypes aside, every now and again, I crave a good tofu scramble. One that's properly seasoned, simmered to steamy perfection, and served up as the centerpiece in a vegan brunch spread.
Case in point: there's just one recipe in my cookbook that calls for tofu, and it's for a Southwest Tofu Scramble.
I don't tofu every day but when I do, it's almost always scrambled (and occasionally pan-fried).
In this case, it's scrambled.
As a general rule of thumb, the key to a good tofu scramble is to start by pressing the excess water from the tofu using a tofu press (or a hefty cast iron skillet). BUT I wanted to see if it was possible to bypass the pressing and cut straight to the cooking.
As it turns out, this particular scramble accommodates un-pressed tofu incredibly well thanks to its tomato base. Roma tomatoes are pulsed in a blender until chopped and slightly puréed and then added to a mix of spiced and sautéed poblano pepper, roasted red bell pepper, and red onion. Then, firm or extra-firm tofu is crumbled into the pan and simmered in the peppery tomato base until the liquid is reduced (about 10 minutes).
Because the broth-y tomato base is cooked long enough to be reduced, the excess liquid released from the tofu is predominantly cooked off as well. A win-win.
But to be absolutely certain, I tested the recipe both ways—twice using pressed tofu and twice using unpressed tofu. Not only was the difference negligible, but I actually had a subtle preference for the un-pressed version.
Well, hot damn.
This dish reminds me of a vegan version of the huevos rancheros my mom prepared for brunch throughout the years. The recipe she relied on strayed from the traditional preparation (i.e., fried eggs served on warm tortillas and smothered in salsa) in that it boasted a base of scrambled eggs that had been simmered in salsa. The hot scramble was then scooped into tortillas and topped. There was something so hearty and comforting about that dish, and it was one of the few brunches both my brother and I would scarf down on repeat without complaints.
This scrambled tofu recipe has a lot in common with that childhood brunch favorite. The spicy, simmered filling is tucked into warm corn tortillas and topped with a dollop of creamy avocado mash, a sprinkle of cilantro, and a few dashes of hot sauce.
There's something immensely satisfying about this dish. It's filling, flavorful, and comes together in 30 minutes flat.
And if my love for it makes me a stereotypical, tofu-loving vegan, then so be it...
Vegan Spicy Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Tacos
Spicy Scrambled Tofu
- ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 poblano pepper, cored and diced
- ½ medium red onion, diced
- 3 Roma tomatoes
- 1 large jarred roasted red bell pepper, chopped (about ½ cup)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1 (16-ounce) block sprouted firm or extra-firm tofu, drained and rinsed
- Juice of 1 lime, more or less to taste
Base + Toppings
- 8–10 small corn tortillas, warmed
- 1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and mashed with sea salt + lime juice to taste
- Cilantro leaves (optional)
- Hot sauce (optional)
For the Spicy Scrambled Tofu
- In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the poblano pepper and red onion, and sauté for 4–6 minutes, or until beginning to soften, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, add the Roma tomatoes to a blender and pulse several times to chop and purée. You want them to be thoroughly chopped yet maintain a bit of texture. Set aside.
- Add the roasted red pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika, and sea salt to the pepper and onion mixture. Continue to sauté for 1 minute, or until the spices begin to bloom and become fragrant.
- Stir in the Roma tomatoes, and crumble in the tofu. Simmer for 10–12 minutes, or until the liquid reduces, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the lime juice and continue to simmer for just 1 more minute. Then, turn off the heat.
- Taste and season with more sea salt if desired. (I usually add another ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon. Proper seasoning is essential to a flavorful tofu scramble and while you certainly don't want to over-season, don't be too shy with the sea salt.)
- Scoop a bit of the tofu filling into each warm tortilla. Top with a dollop of mashed avocado, a bit of cilantro (if using), and a few dashes of hot sauce (if using).
- Serve immediately.
- Leftovers can be refrigerated in separate containers for up to 2 days.