Tofu Scramble

6 Min Read

Tofu scramble — two words that trigger visions of 70s-era hippie cookbooks, but also the college town vegetarian cafes of the 80s and 90s. And I’m here for it. Still! After all these years. A tofu scramble is a great savory breakfast or brunch option, and deservedly more popular than ever. There are endless variations out there, but more often than not, I stick close to the spinach-flecked version I’ve been making most of my adult life. It is flavor-packed with curry powder, starts with a simple onion-garlic base, and comes together in no time.
tofu scramble with skillet potatoes in a bowl

A Bit of Context

As someone who has lived nearly my whole life in coastal California, tofu scrambles have always been around. Or, that’s how it has felt. I associated the tofu scramble with the vegetarian and vegan diets popular among hippie communities of the 1960s and 1970s. Over the years, tofu scramble recipes were published in niche cookbooks and counter-cultural books that became immensely popular – for example, Diet For a Small Planet, Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook, The Tassajara Recipe Book, The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen, and Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Newspapers and magazines increasingly published tofu scramble recipes in the 1980s and 1990s and the popularity of the preparation expanded. Then the internet came along and boosted the reach to new audiences more rapidly through blog posts and socially networked videos, and here we are!

People seem to be looking to replace what is familiar to them with meat-free alternatives to traditional breakfast dishes. As people aspire to increase the number of plant-based meals into their lives, an eggless scramble is a satisfying, hearty, and versatile vegan breakfast option that can be customized to suit a wide range of taste and dietary preferences. It’s high in protein, delicious, and (when done well) packed with flavor.

spinach and tofu ingredient on plates

Secrets To Making a Great Tofu Scramble

For this tofu scramble recipe, there are a few things to pay attention to.

  • Buy extra-firm tofu: For this recipe, go with extra-firm tofu. Keyword is extra.
  • Press the tofu: The goal here is to confidently press as much liquid from the tofu as possible. Wrap the tofu in a clean towel, or bundle of paper towels until all the extra moisture is gone. Some people have  If you the patience to let the tofu sit under a press for a long time, but typically that’s not me. Sourcing extra-firm tofu, and a quick press is all you need for this scramble.
  • Use strong seasoning: Perceived blandness of the tofu is one of the common criticisms leveled against a tofu scramble recipe. Tofu can be a beautiful ingredient, simply prepared on its own, but in this case we’re looking to super-charge it with color and flavor. Use a favorite curry powder, and be sure to season the scramble to taste prior to serving with salt. This little step makes all the difference.
  • Add seasonal vegetables: One of the great things about a tofu scramble is the versatility. In this recipe I feature spinach as the vegetable. It brings, color, nutrition, and diversity to the scramble, but I encourage you to use what is available and in season. You can all other quick cooking vegetables along with the spinach or in place of it. Asparagus, broccoli florets, cabbage, cauliflower florets, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes are all great options.
tofu scramble ingredients on a table

Key Tofu Scramble Ingredients

  • Tofu: This recipe calls for extra-firm tofu. It crumbles into curd-like clusters, mimicking the shape and texture of a well-cooked scrambled egg. There is an argument for experimenting with silken tofu here. Silken tofu lends a creamier, loose texture to a scramble. There is a technique to cooking a tofu scramble with silken tofu, I hope to feature here in the near future. For this recipe, extra-firm is the key.
  • Spices & Seasonings: No one loves a bland scramble. Spices and seasonings are the key to a great tasting version.
chopped onions and garlic cooking in a large skillet

I made this scramble the other morning while we were camping. It’s the sort of one-pan meal I love when I’m cooking on a small stove.
onions, garlic, curry powder cooking in a skillet
Here you see the onions and garlic cooking in the hot pan. The curry powder is sprinkled into the pan and it smells absolutely amazing!
tofu scramble ingredients cooking in a skillet
Then the tofu is added. You can see the size of the crumble here in this picture. How large or small you crumble the tofu is up to you. I like some larger pieces, they simulate some of the texture you get with traditional scrambled eggs.
tofu scramble with added spinach in a hot skillet
In goes the spinach. The leaves will collapse quickly as you stir and flip the mixture.
smashed skillet potatoes in a skillet
Once the scramble is cooked, I like to use the same skillet to make a side of smashed skillet potatoes from potatoes I boiled the night before.
tofu scramble served on a plate on a picnic table

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