If you’re starting to include more plant based eating in your lifestyle but haven’t yet come across a vegan tofu scramble, you’re in for a treat.
I know that some people who become vegan don’t immediately get on with tofu, or (gasp) don’t even like it. But I’m sure that with time and practise and variation in cooking methods, you’ll grow to like or even love tofu.
Tofu is such a versatile food and perfect for making easy nutritious tofu snacks (including this scramble recipe!)
This oh-so-easy to make meal has its place as one of the most useful fall-backs in vegan eating.
And if you’re thinking of cutting out oil and following a more whole foods plant based diet, no problem, this can be adapted incredibly easily with no loss of flavour.
You might eat this every day, or every week or perhaps only once a month, but even then, every time you make it, you’ll appreciate just how simple to make and handy it really can be.
And if you’re already a tofu fan, you may like to check out this easy baked tofu recipe, which is a quick recipe for a tofu tapas.
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How to Eat This Easy Vegan Tofu Scramble
- As a cooked, vegan breakfast served with tomato, gluten free toast & grilled or fried mushrooms.
- Tofu scramble on toast for a quick lunch snack.
- Scramble tofu with beans in tomato sauce – replacement for scrambled egg & baked beans.
- Whip up a quick scramble with leftovers when you get home and have no time (or desire!) to cook.
- Make a scramble to go in as part of a combination plate: scrambled tofu, salad, grilled veggies, avocado . . .
Tofu – What is It & How is it Made?
Tofu is a natural product which is made from soy beans. The soy beans are cooked to make soy milk, which is then curdled by adding a coagulant, so that the curds can be separated from the whey. The curds are then pressed into blocks of tofu.
There are studied both in favour of eating tofu in your diet and those against. Personally, having read up quite extensively on it, I believe tofu to be an important addition to my healthy eating plan and an essential part of my 5 steps to beat menopause naturally.
The tofu will be softer or firmer, depending on how much whey is removed from the curds.
In its natural form tofu only has three ingredients: soy beans, water and a coagulant.
What is a Tofu Coagulant?
A coagulant is a substance that is added to a liquid to make it curdle it so that the solids (curds) become separate from the liquid (whey).
In commercial tofu, the most commonly used coagulants are gypsum (calcium sulphate) or Nigari (magnesium chloride), but in homemade tofu, you can also use lemon juice (or vinegar) as the coagulant, though each coagulant will produce a slightly different tofu.
The job of a coagulant is to curdle the soy bean milk so that the curds can be separated from the whey, in a similar way to making cheese.
When the coagulant is added to the hot soy milk, the milk begins to curdle, separating the curds from the whey. The curds are then transferred to a cheese cloth and squeezed out to remove excess liquid. After that, the curds are weighted to remove any more liquid and pressed into blocks.
The resulting mass of curds is a block of tofu.
Gypsum is the most popular tofu coagulant with Nigari taking second place. Nigari will create a slightly bitter tang to the tofu while Gypsum makes a sweeter result.
Types of Tofu
You can make homemade tofu quite easily but for most people it’s more convenient to buy it ready made. Homemade tofu, although easy, does take quite a lot of faffing around and the resulting tofu is best eaten within a few days, making it not such a convenient option for most of us.
Store bought tofu also varies from brand to brand. Within the many variations, there are two main types: firm or silky. For cooking tofu scramble, you need the firm tofu.
Silky tofu, also called soft tofu, has had less liquid removed from it and as the name suggests, it is soft and silky in texture. You can’t stir fry silky tofu as it just falls apart.
It’s best used for making puddings, sauces, soups, smoothies, dressings or for baking.
Use firm tofu for all your cooking recipes where tofu is the star or for cutting up into salads.
When buying firm tofu, look out for organic because that way you can avoid GMO soy. Where I live, most (if not all) of the commercial tofu in the shops is organic, probably because it’s target market is mainly health-conscious people.
I always buy firm tofu.
What is Easy Vegan Tofu Scramble?
Vegan tofu scramble is basically the result of cooking tofu in a frying pan with a little olive oil (or other type of oil, or oil-free) and with turmeric to give it the yellow, egg colour. The tofu is broken up into the pan rather than sliced into cubes. The resulting scrambled tofu resembles scrambled eggs and can be used as a substitute.
Tofu scramble is such a great dish, because you can make it in a matter of minutes and serve up a quick and tasty meal that’s high in protein and popular with vegans and non-vegans alike.
You can make all sorts of variations to your tofu scramble, adding any extra ingredients you like, a few of which are described below.
Funny enough, I never liked scrambled eggs but I love tofu scramble!
Note: You can add Himalayan black salt to tofu scramble to give it an egg flavour and smell but I don’t use it because I can’t bear the smell of bad eggs, which is what its pungent smell resembles.
How to Make an Easy Oil Free Tofu Scramble
The method of making an oil-free version of tofu scramble is exactly the same as a normal tofu scramble, but instead of breaking the tofu into a pan with olive oil, simply break the tofu into the pan, dry.
Allow the tofu to cook, stirring occasionally for a few minutes. When necessary, add a tiny bit of liquid to the pan; either a tablespoon of water or veggie stock or a squeeze of fresh orange juice.
When the tofu’s half way through cooking, add the other ingredients and cook until done.
And that’s all there is to it!
What is Himalayan Black Salt?
Himalayan black salt, or Kala Namek, is a rock-salt with a strong sulphur smell. It’s used in south Asian cooking as well as being popular in vegan dishes to mimic dishes which would usually be made with egg.
If you aren’t used to the smell of Himalayan black salt, you may be in for a surprise with this one. It is incredibly pungent and stinky. In fact, it smells more like rotten eggs than like fresh eggs to me (you guessed it; I can’t stand black salt!).
It is quite normal to include it in your scrambled tofu dish to make it more eggy, but I prefer to leave it out. So you will not find it in my recipe below!
How to Make an Easy Vegan Tofu Scramble
Choose an organic, firm tofu. If you aren’t used to cooking with tofu, it’s worth trying out different brands to find the ones you like best.
For example, here in Spain, Mercadona sell a more crumbly tofu while Lidle’s tofu is more firm and elastic. I prefer the one from Lidle, though I do use them both.
I only buy organic tofu so that I know there are no added ingredients and that the soy used is non-GMO.
Method for Making Tofu Scramble
- Squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can from the block of firm, organic tofu.
- Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan.
- Add a sprinkle of salt and a 1/2 tsp of turmeric and break in the tofu, stirring to coat evenly in the turmeric.
- If you like it hot ‘n spicy, add a generous sprinkling of chilli to the tofu.
- When the tofu’s cooked, pour on half a cup of plant milk of choice and stir until the extra liquid has been absorbed. I use unsweetened organic soy milk, but any plant milk of choice will do as long as it isn’t sweet (oat milk, for example, is too sweet).
To be honest, plain tofu scramble, while handy, doesn’t really excite me, so I always add something extra to the pan. You can see some of the more interesting ways to eat tofu scramble, below.
Easy Tofu Scramble Recipe – Ready in 5 Minutes!Course: Main course, Lunch, SnackCuisine: Vegan, Gluten Free
Such an easy, nutritious and tasty snack for breakfast or lunch, this easy tofu scramble can be made with so many different ingredients to suit your moment!
1 packet organic firm tofu
1/2 cup – 1 cup soy milk or other unsweetened plant milk
1/2 tsp turmeric
Salt & pepper & chilli powder
Optional additional ingredients: tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, white beans
- Squeeze the excess liquid out of the tofu.
- Heat some olive oil and break the tofu into it.
- If using garlic & mushrooms, fry them before the tofu goes in.
- Sprinkle the tofu with turmeric, salt, pepper and chilli powder.
- Cook for a few minutes until the tofu is cooked.
- Pour on 1/2 cup of plant milk and cook until absorbed.
- If using tomatoes, add them before the plant milk.
- Make tofu scramble with whatever extras you have. It goes really well with white beans and tomato or why not try it with avocado. Yummm.
Variations on this Easy Vegan Tofu Scramble
Tofu scramble is such an easy dish to make, you can just add ingredients to it to make it suit your moment. Here are a few of the variations I make at home if I fancy a tofu scramble.
Easy Vegan Tofu Scramble with Beans
One of my favourite combinations for tofu scramble is to add white beans to the mix.
Heat some olive oil in a pan. Add the broken tofu pieces and fry with a little salt for a few minutes. Next add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and 2 large, chopped tomatoes. After 4-5 minutes add the drained and rinsed white beans. Cook the whole lot, stirring occasionally, for another few minutes.
Finally, add 3/4 cup of plant milk and stir. Continue to stir over a medium heat until the plant milk has evaporated and been absorbed.
Taste to check the seasoning and if you like it spicy, add some chilli powder and serve with jalapeño peppers.
Easy Vegan Tofu Scramble in Tomato
Heat some olive oil in a pan and add 1/2 tsp turmeric followed by 4-5 medium sized, chopped tomatoes. Turn the heat up high and cook with some salt until the tomatoes start to lose their shape and become a mush.
Add the broken tofu, stir and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for a few minutes more and add some herbs of choice. Fresh basil goes well.
If the mix is dry, add a little plant milk to the pan.
Easy Vegan Tofu Scramble with Tomato Chunks
Heat the olive oil and add 1/2 tsp turmeric followed by the broken tofu. Cook for 4 minutes before adding the chopped tomatoes and 1/2 tsp salt.
When the tomato chunks are cooked, add 1/2 cup of plant milk and heat through until the milk has been absorbed.
Mushroom Easy Vegan Tofu Scramble
Chop up 1 clove of garlic and 4-5 large mushrooms, and gently fry in a little olive oil.
When the mushrooms are fully cooked, add the turmeric and stir. Next add the broken tofu to the pan and cook for a few minutes until the tofu is done.
Add 1/2 cup of plant milk and cook until the extra liquid has been absorbed.
King Vegan Tofu Scramble
A king vegan tofu scramble basically means adding all the things you have handy to the scramble. Perfect for using up leftovers.
My favourite type of vegan tofu scramble is to fry some freshly sliced mushrooms & garlic, scramble the tofu along with some turmeric and cumin and chilli, followed by a jar of beans and a dash of soy sauce. Next comes some cubes of tomato and finally the plant milk.
Serve with jalapeño peppers and some homemade pesto with whole, toasted pine kernels.
Other Variations of Easy Vegan Tofu Scramble
You can add anything you fancy to this dish. Beans, chickpeas, avocado, vegetables . . . almost anything goes. Just make it once and then go from there, improving it every time you make it.
You won’t regret it because this really is a throw-it-in-the-pan kind of meal, ready in just a few minutes.
You may like to take a look at our article on 10 easy vegan gluten free breakfast ideas.
Nutritional Benefits of Tofu
Great Source of Vegan Protein
Tofu has all the 9 essential amino acids making it a great source of complete protein for vegans. Only a few plant based proteins offer all the essential amino acids (quinoa, buckwheat, soy, chia, hemp).
A complete protein can also be accomplished by pairing complementary types of food together (e.g. rice + beans = complete protein).
According to My food Data, tofu contains 17.3 g of complete protein per 100 g, which is equivalent to 35% of your daily requirements.
Tofu and Weight Loss
Tofu’s an excellent choice for including in a healthy, balanced, vegan diet as part of a weight loss program. I’m not a fan of calorie counting (there are no calories given in any of the recipes on this site), or of going on crash diets to lose weight.
The healthy way to lose weight is to create a balanced meal plan and eat enough for your daily energy requirements, ensuring you have adequate levels of protein present at every meal.
Protein has the effect of making you feel fuller for longer, so can naturally help you to lose weight, and as we’ve already seen, tofu’s a great source of vegan protein, offering all 9 essential amino acids.
If your goal is to shed some kilos, don’t forget to include some exercise in your daily routine. After investigating various platforms, I joined Grokker, which is a great online platform for learning yoga or keeping fit.
Soy contains anti-inflammatory antioxidants & phytochemicals which can help protect against type-2 diabetes, cancer and cardio-vascular disease.
Statistics show an extremely low cancer rate in Asian countries where a traditional diet is followed (high in soy), compared to the cancer rate in the western world. The lower rate of cancer grows higher when the subjects were switched to a western diet.
Testing has shown that the regular inclusion of tofu in the diet can significantly reduce the risk of stomach cancer (Journal of Epidemiology).
Soy products contain high levels of many isoflavones, a phytoestrogen or plant hormone which chemically resembles the hormone oestrogen, but in a much weaker form.
These Isoflavones have powerful cancer-surpressing qualities for reducing the risk of hormone related cancers, such as breast cancer, prostrate cancer and colon cancer.
Oestrogen helps to control your body temperature and during menopause your oestrogen levels drop significantly, helping to create the famous hot flashes that many women suffer in menopause.
However, the isoflavones in soy act as a milder form of oestrogen and can help to regulate the body temperature as well as reduce other menopausal symptoms.
Bone Density and Osteoporosis
The isoflavone present in soy called genistein helps to prevent bone density loss and in a study by Pan Wei (see Science Direct) it was shown to increase bone density by a whopping 54% compared to the baseline. It furthermore was shown to reduce bone resorption marker urinary DPD by 23%.
Animal protein on the other hand has been shown to encourage calcium loss into the urine due to the high acidic content of the animal protein and for years it’s been believed that the extra calcium loss comes is leached from the bones.
Further testing is needed to prove whether the calcium which is lost through the urine is indeed coming from bone, but either way, it’s clear that plant protein does not have this effect and does not leach calcium in any way.
On the contrary, tofu has been shown to increase bone density and bone strength.
Conclusion: soy isoflavones are incredibly powerful in promoting healthy bones by increasing the mineral bone density and reducing bone resorption via the urine.
Isoflavones & Heart Health
Apart from these important health benefits, isoflavones, and in particular the osoflavones genistein appears to make your blood vessels more flexible as well as the saponins in soy having the power to reduce blood cholesterol.
Therefore, by strengthening the blood vessels and lowering cholesterol, tofu and soy can be especially important when it comes to heart health and avoiding heart disease.
Despite these health benefits from eating soy, if you start looking into it, you’ll find a split jury when you start researching soy.
Dr Mercola and Dr Fallon are both examples of people who have published various articles claiming that soy is not healthy and that it is linked to higher levels of breast cancer, as well as being damaging to the brain and helping to cause alzheimer’s disease.
In fact, they claim that tofu is downright poisonous.
While the list of damaging effects of soy is extremely long according to the anti-soy camp, it is also reported that the evidence is based on animal studies, which have since been (partially) replaced with human studies.
And as mentioned above, the human studies appear to indicate the opposite effect.
Conclusion: Is Tofu Good For You?
Whether you believe the negative or positive camp, you’ll ultimately have to make up your own mind as there is so much conflicting information out there and until more studies are published and more facts are revealed, for every article claiming the health benefits of tofu you can find an article claiming the opposite.
In the past, I consumed anywhere from zero to moderate amounts of tofu, but now that I have decided to investigate more about this controversial food, I’m excited to eat more frequent quantities of this complete protein. So you can guess which side of the argument has me convinced.
Yes. I believe tofu to be health promoting based on what I’ve read, so much so that I now include it as one of the 5 steps to beat menopause naturally. Please make your own decision.
At the time of writing, I was experiencing hot flashes, so I included the isoflavones from tofu into my regular diet and am now virtually free from any hot flashes.