Let’s point out one thing right now: scrambled eggs with tofu can never imitate scrambled eggs.
Here, I said it.
As a former vegan, I ate way too many tofu scrambled eggs. And I know firsthand that while this vegan breakfast product can definitely make you happy, it often disappoints. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve eaten scrambled tofu that was too dry, too bland, too tasteless, or worse, some combination of the three.
You can hardly blame the tofu. A block of coagulated soy milk behaves differently than an egg. So, as obvious as it sounds, the first step to making the best tofu omelet is to remember that you can’t treat tofu and eggs the same and still expect a hearty and tasty plant-based breakfast.
But a truly delicious tofu scrambler isn’t an impossible project either. I emailed vegan cookbook author Gina Hamshaw for tips on how to make the best version of a vegan classic. I can’t promise that your breakfast will be delicious. simply like eggs, but I can promise you that it will be delicious.
Use extra firm or firm tofu
In the same way that people cook eggs in the style they like best, choosing tofu should depend on whether you prefer hard or soft scrambled eggs. Hamshaw prefers very firm tofu, though she doesn’t mind the softer texture of firm tofu. “Some texture and firmness is important if you’re really trying to recreate scrambled eggs,” she says, “which is why I don’t recommend soft or silky tofu for an omelet,” as both are tender and have a hard time keeping their shape while cooking. But if you’re looking to recreate the texture of a velvety French scrum, then soft or silky tofu might be the best choice for you.
Dry the tofu, but do not too much dry
“I actively press tofu (i.e., for hours or longer) when I plan to fry, fry, or bake,” Hamshaw tells me. Pressing the tofu and even freezing it removes moisture and helps the tofu hold its shape while cooking, as well as making it firmer and crispier. “But I don’t mind if the tofu scrambled is a little soft, so I usually press it briefly (15 to 30 minutes) for that purpose.” Over-pressing can make your tofu dry and crumbly, which some may find unpleasant to scramble. Like Hamshaw, I’ve found that gently pressing the tofu (in my case, between paper towels and a plate laden with a 14-ounce can of beans) leaves enough moisture to keep my omelet tender.
Season the tofu well with salt and pepper while cooking, but don’t be afraid to use spices as well. I rely heavily on garlic powder, nutritional yeast, and kala namak (aka black salt – more on that below) to give the dish a deep, tangy flavor. Hamshaw swears by tamari for umami, as well as mustard powder, as well as some lemon juice for acid. If you really want your omelet to look like eggs, ground turmeric will give your tofu a bright yellow color.
Kala namak – black salt – your friend
Black salt has a “characteristic sulphurous egg taste,” notes Hamshaw. “A little goes a long way – I recommend starting with ¼ teaspoon and gradually adjusting the taste.” According to scientific cookbook author Nick Sharma, kala namak gets its flavor from a chemical reaction that occurs when it is cooked. Halite, a salt from northern India and Pakistan, “heats for hours… along with amla (Indian gooseberry) and haritaki, two types of fruit trees called myrobalan. Both glands [in the] salt and the burning of plant material helps to bring out the taste of this salt.”
Riff about it
“The advantage of tofu scrambled,” writes Hamshaw, “is that it’s more of a dish template than a recipe, so it lends itself to many different seasoning and ingredient variations.” Start by sautéing some vegetables (garlic, onion, or bell peppers) until soft, then add the dried and crumbled tofu to the pan along with your choice of seasonings and spices. Tofu scrambled eggs are incredibly delicious, and there’s no right or wrong way to season them—it’s all down to personal preference. With a little experimentation and know-how, you’ll never have to eat tasteless, watery tofu eggs again.