Tofu Scramble: An Easy Breakfast Swap for a Heart-Healthy Diet
Tofu Scramble: A Protein-Packed Plant-Based Breakfast
Are you curious about tofu? Not only is it a vegan-friendly option, but it's also a healthy choice for anyone looking to make some swaps toward a heart-healthy diet. Today we’re going to dive into it, specifically how to make and use a tofu scramble.
In this article, we'll explore what scrambled tofu is, its nutritional value compared to eggs, how to make it, and some delicious recipe ideas.
What is Scrambled Tofu?
So, what exactly is scrambled tofu? If you're unfamiliar with tofu, it's a soy-based product that's widely used in Asian cuisine. Tofu comes in different textures, and the most suitable varieties for scrambled tofu are firm or extra-firm tofu.
Tofu scramble is a vegan and vegetarian-friendly alternative to scrambled eggs. It's made by breaking up the tofu into small pieces and cooking it with a blend of spices and other ingredients, much like how scrambled eggs are cooked. The result is a dish that's similar in texture and flavor to scrambled eggs but is entirely plant-based.
Compared to scrambled eggs, scrambled tofu is lower in calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol, making it a healthier option for some people. It's also gluten-free and a great source of plant-based protein, making it an excellent choice for those following a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Does tofu need to be cooked?
Since soybeans are cooked in the process of making tofu, essentially it comes pre-cooked and is safe to eat out of the package.
However, cooking is part of the method to steam out additional moisture, which creates the familiar texture of a traditional scramble.
Can you make scrambled tofu in the microwave?
You can even make it in the microwave for a different texture! For a softer mouthfeel start at 60-90 seconds, and for a firmer chew microwave a bit longer in 15-second increments.
In the next section, we'll take a closer look at the health benefits of scrambled tofu.
Scrambled Tofu vs. Scrambled Eggs: Which One Is Healthier?
Scrambled tofu is not only a delicious alternative to scrambled eggs, but it's also a nutritious option that offers several health benefits. Here are some of the main health benefits of scrambled tofu:
High Protein Content:
Scrambled tofu is a rich source of protein, with a serving (about ¼ block) of tofu containing around 8-10 grams of protein, which is nutritionally comparable to one egg.
Similar to eggs, tofu is considered a “whole” protein food, meaning it contains a full complement of essential amino acids. This makes it an excellent choice for vegans and vegetarians who may struggle to get enough protein in their diets.
Contains Essential Nutrients:
Furthermore, tofu is a rich source of several essential nutrients, naturally containing WAY more iron and calcium than eggs, and is often fortified with 100% daily value of vitamin B12.
Iron is important for carrying oxygen throughout the body, while calcium is necessary for healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin B12 is essential for maintaining healthy nerve cells and producing DNA.
Tofu Scramble: A Satisfying Breakfast for Low Cholesterol Diets
Tofu is Low in Saturated Fat
Scrambled tofu is low in saturated fat, which is a type of dietary fat that can increase cholesterol levels in the body. Lowering saturated fat intake is one way to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Does tofu contain fiber?
Tofu contains 2.9 grams of fiber per half cup, about 2g of which is soluble fiber, whereas eggs contain no fiber whatsoever. Soluble fiber lowers cholesterol by binding to it in the small intestine.
In addition to the heart health benefits, soluble fiber modulates blood sugar levels, feeds the good bacteria in your gut, and helps you to feel full longer.
The recommendation for fiber intake is 25-30 grams per day, so a serving of tofu scramble will give you 10-20% of your daily needs. Most adults in the U.S. only get about 15 grams, so substituting tofu scramble occasionally can really boost your intake.
Comparison of Health Benefits
Compared to scrambled eggs, scrambled tofu is lower in calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol, and higher in fiber. While eggs are a respectable source of protein, scrambled tofu is a better option for those looking to reduce their cholesterol intake or follow a vegan or vegetarian diet.
By incorporating scrambled tofu into your diet, you can reap the health benefits of a plant-based diet without sacrificing taste or nutrition.
To be fair however, eggs are a rich natural source of B vitamins, vitamin D, selenium, and iodine, which are important for nerve, bone, and thyroid health, and are an accessible source of good nutrition for millions of people.
In the end, your personal preferences, priorities, and your doctor’s recommendations, will be your guide in food choices.
Now without further ado, I'll show you how to make scrambled tofu at home.
How to Make Scrambled Tofu That Actually Tastes Good
While scrambled tofu may be a healthy alternative to scrambled eggs, it's important to make it taste delicious. Plain tofu is, well… plain. Fortunately, with a few simple tricks, you can make scrambled tofu that's full of flavor.
Here's what you'll need:
1 block of firm or extra-firm tofu
1 tablespoon of olive oil
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
¼ tsp ground pepper
Salt to taste
How to Make Scrambled Tofu from scratch in under 15 minutes
Press the Tofu: Before cooking the tofu, it's essential to press out the excess water. This will help the tofu absorb the flavors of the spices and other ingredients. To press tofu, wrap it in a clean towel and place a heavy object, such as a cast-iron skillet, on top. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes
Use Spices: Scrambled tofu can be bland if not seasoned properly. Use a variety of spices, such as turmeric, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder, to add flavor and depth to the dish.
Nutritional yeast is also an excellent addition, as it adds a cheesy, umami flavor.
Ground black pepper activates the anti-oxidant curcumin in the turmeric.
Add Vegetables: Vegetables not only add flavor and texture to the dish, but they also increase its nutritional value. Some great vegetables to add to scrambled tofu are onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, spinach, and tomatoes.
Cook Over High Heat: Tofu can be watery, so it's essential to cook it over high heat to evaporate any excess moisture. Use a non-stick skillet and cook the tofu for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until it's lightly browned.
Finish with Fresh Herbs: A sprinkle of fresh herbs, such as cilantro, parsley, or basil, can add a burst of fresh flavor to the dish.
That's it! Your scrambled tofu is ready to serve. In the next section, we'll share some recipe ideas to inspire you to get creative with your scrambled tofu.
Recipes Using Scrambled Tofu
How to Make the Best Tofu Scramble: Tips and Tricks
- Use Extra-Firm Tofu: Extra-firm tofu has the highest protein content and will hold up better during cooking. Be sure to press out any excess water before cooking.
- Freezing and thawing tofu helps extract much of the moisture content of tofu, making it easier to drain. Freezing also gives tofu a chewier texture that many people enjoy, and it makes seasonings absorb easier into the crumbles.
- Experiment with Different Spices: Don't be afraid to experiment with different spices and flavor combinations. Curry powder, smoked paprika, soy sauce, and oregano are all excellent additions to scrambled tofu.
- Allow the flavors to meld: Let stand for a few minutes before frying or even combine the tofu and seasonings overnight
5 Creative Ways to Flavor Your Tofu Scramble
- Sauté vegetables in the pan before adding the tofu scramble mixture. Some of my favorites to consider include onion, mushrooms, red pepper, or chopped spinach
- Instead of salt and pepper, some people enjoy a splash of soy sauce.
- Add a bit of dijon mustard to the mixture before cooking
- Use a pinch of chipotle or cayenne chili flakes
- Serve with salsa or pico de gallo after cooking
Scrambled tofu is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many dishes. Here are some meal ideas to help you get creative in the kitchen.
Now that you know the basics, it's time to get cooking!
Southwestern Tofu Scramble:
Add black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, and jalapeños to your tofu scramble, and top with avocado and salsa. Serve with warm corn tortillas and make it into breakfast tacos!
Mediterranean Tofu Scramble: Add diced artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, and feta cheese (or a plant-based alternative) to your tofu scramble, and serve with whole-grain pita bread.
Mediterranean Tofu Scramble:
Add diced artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, and feta cheese (or a plant-based alternative) to your tofu scramble, and serve with whole-grain pita bread.
Asian-Inspired Tofu Scramble:
Add sliced shiitake mushrooms, green onions, garlic, and sesame oil to your tofu scramble, and serve with broccoli and brown rice or soba noodles (buckwheat noodles) for a filling and nutritious meal.
Vegan Scrambled Tofu Benedict:
Make a vegan hollandaise sauce using vegan mayo, dijon mustard, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice. Warm in the microwave for 30 seconds. Toast an English muffin, add your scrambled tofu, and top with the hollandaise sauce. This vegan twist on the classic egg benedict is a delicious and healthy brunch option.
How to Use Scrambled Tofu as a Vegan Substitute in Your Favorite Breakfast Sandwiches
Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Burrito:
Spread some guacamole or refried beans on a tortilla, add your scrambled tofu, and top with salsa, chopped tomatoes, and cilantro. Roll up the burrito and enjoy a delicious and portable breakfast.
Scrambled Tofu Sandwich:
Spread some hummus or mustard on toast, add your scrambled tofu, and top with sliced avocado, tomato, and lettuce. This sandwich is perfect for a quick and easy lunch.
Avocado Toast with Tofu Scramble:
Toast a slice of sourdough or whole grain bread. Layer sliced avocado and drizzle with sriracha or your favorite hot sauce.
These are just a few recipe ideas to get you started, but the possibilities are endless. Scrambled tofu can be used in place of scrambled eggs in almost any recipe, so feel free to experiment and have fun in the kitchen.
How to Make Tofu Scramble Ahead of Time for Easy Meal Prep
As a general rule, you can store tofu scramble in the refrigerator for 4 days, and in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Before cooking: You can blend the tofu and seasonings ahead of time and store refrigerated in an airtight container.
After cooking: You can reheat the tofu scramble on the stovetop, toaster oven, or in the microwave.
To freeze: Cool completely and store in freezer-safe containers. Allow to thaw before reheating; drain or blot excess moisture as necessary.
Balanced options for healthy eating don't have to be boring or restrictive.
By following these tips, you can make a delicious and nutritious tofu scramble that's sure to become a staple in your breakfast rotation.
Tofu Scramble is a great example of how you can make simple swaps in your diet to promote better health without sacrificing taste or satisfaction.
With these recipe ideas and tips on how to make it at home, you can enjoy the health benefits of scrambled tofu while satisfying your taste buds. So, go ahead and give it a try and see how easy it is to incorporate this plant-based protein into your diet.
Mealtime conversation starters
When you take the time to listen to another person, and they listen to you, it is a way to show how much you appreciate each other. You don’t have to agree; just value the perspective.
What song puts you in a good mood no matter what?
Simple Tofu Scramble Recipe
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- paper towels
- 1 block firm tofu or extra-firm
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 pinch salt
- Drain the tofu and press it with a paper towel or kitchen towel to remove excess moisture.
- Crumble the tofu into small pieces. Mix together with all the spices: nutritional yeast, cumin, turmeric, garlic, black pepper and salt.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Add the seasoned tofu crumbles to the pan and sauté for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally until the tofu is lightly browned and heated through.
Hand Size Portions
Some handy advice: You can use your hands to practice calorie control without weighing and measuring.
Using hand position size is an alternative way to decide how much to eat visually. It gives you a way to quickly estimate what's on your plate, using the size of your hand as an alternative to counting macros (which generally has you weighing and reading nutrition labels to count protein, carbohydrates, and fat).
To learn more, read How to Get Started with Hand Portion Sizes.
Heather Lynn Darby helps office and tech professionals disrupt the cycle of chronic stress that undermines their health, and to recover from the negative effects of sitting at a computer all day. Find other articles written by Heather on her coach profile.
If you are largely sedentary at work and rely on your intellectual acumen for success, her take on body-mind interventions will help you find a balance between being "in the zone" and getting the amount of movement that will optimize your mental productivity and prevent health problems.