Tofu scramble, tempeh bacon, and some whining – oh my!

Posted in cooking

Yeah, ok, so I disappeared again for a month.

Truth is, this new diet I’ve been on has been a bit depressing. It wasn’t the gluten-free-ness of it all. It wasn’t the vegan part of the diet. It was the sugar-and-yeast-free stint I had to do, which was the month of September and the first part of October.

See, I’d just gotten used to being vegan (almost) and gluten-free, and was actually enjoying it. But then suddenly I couldn’t even have the few things I’d come to really enjoy about the limited diet. Gluten-free pizza was out due to the yeast in the crust. All the various sauces I used to spice things up were out, due to sugar content or other hidden ingredients I wasn’t allowed. Almost everything I had been eating had sugar, or yeast, or vinegar, or whatever else in it that was off limits. I even wasn’t allowed to have a glass of wine, to drown my sorrows (hah!).

Now, you might be thinking ‘but it was only a month’! Well, it was a depressing month, food-wise. Breakfasts were sugar free oatmeal (gluten-free, of course), or corn puffs (plain), or sugar-free pancakes, or tofu scramble when I actually had time to cook something that intensive. Lunches and dinners were mostly safe foods, like stir fries or noodles with whatever veggies I could find. It became pretty routine. I was bored, and I’m almost NEVER bored with food. I’m always cooking something new and exciting, but that month, well, sucked.

Now I’m back to just gluten-free and vegan, although I am still to limit sugars to a certain extent, which I do. But it’s made life a little easier, and so it has made blogging about food a bit more appetizing. So on that note, here’s a really delicious vegan breakfast I’ve made a few times over the last few months – Tofu scramble, tempeh ‘bacon’ and gluten-free toast with vegan margarine (Earth Balance). Easy, yummy, and worth taking the time to make on a nice Sunday morning.

Vegan, Gluten-free Breakfast

Scrambled Tofu
From Vegan with a Vengeance

1 lb. extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium chopped onion
2 cups cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 carrot (optional – it’s really just for color)

spice blend:
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon thyme, crushed with your fingers
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon salt

Heat oil in a skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Saute onions for 3 minutes, until softened, then add the mushrooms and saute 5 minutes more. Add the garlic and saute 2 minutes more. Add the spice blend and mix well. Using 1/4 cup of water, deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom to get all the spices and tasty bits.

Crumble the tofu into the pan. You don’t want to crush the tofu, just lift and mix gently – you want to keep it chunky, it’s tastier that way. Let cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a bit of water if you find it is sticking. Then add the lime juice and nutritional yeast and mix well. Add a bit more water if needed to keep things moist.

Grate in the carrot if using, fold gently, and serve. This is yummy alone, or done as part of a huge vegan breakfast with roasted potatoes and salsa and guacamole and toast and tempeh bacon.

Tempeh 'Bacon'

Tempeh Bacon
From Vegan with a Vengeance

3 Tbs. Bragg’s liquid aminos or soy sauce
1/3 cup apple cider
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 8-ounce package tempeh
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tablespoon peanut oil or vegetable oil

First, make a marinade: combine the Bragg’s, cider, tomato paste and liquid smoke in a wide, shallow bowl and mix well, until the tomato paste is dissolved. Then, cut the tempeh into thin strips (less than 1/4 inch thick) lengthwise. Rub the strips with the garlic, then toss the garlic and the tempeh into the marinade and let sit for at least an hour. If you’re really well prepared, you can do this step the night before and have the tempeh marinading overnight, but it tastes good with just an hour in there. Once it’s done marinading, discard the garlic.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the tempeh strips and cook for 4 minutes and check to see if the bottom is nicely browned. If so, flip them and pour the rest of the marinade over top. If you only have a bit of marinade, add a splash of water. Cover the pan and let it cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the liquid is fully absorbed. Uncover and check to see if the other side is nice and brown, and keep cooking until it is. Remove from the heat and eat!

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