Tofu Breakfast Hash

I grew up in a Mennonite household, so we ate dishes that some other families didn’t eat.  Those foods in particular are the ones I remember most from my childhood.  A lot of my mom’s recipes were from her mother or my father’s mother, and because both my parents grew up in Amish households many of the recipes leaned toward German style cooking.  I can certainly say it was a “meat and potatoes” menu for the large part.  Of course, because we lived in farm country, we always had access to fresh milk and eggs, so we consumed large amounts of those as well.  Luckily, my parents had huge gardens most summers, so we also ate a lot of fresh and home-canned fruits and veggies.  While I don’t miss consuming animal products, I used to miss the comfort that eating the food I grew up on provided.  When I first went vegan, I had no idea how to veganize recipes; but over the last five years, I have learned a lot.  So now, when I think of a dish from my childhood and feel that nostalgia, I sit down and figure out how to make it vegan.  Today’s breakfast was one of those dishes.

Interestingly, I can remember my dad making this dish more than my mom.  It was one of his special recipes.  He would chop up onions and garlic, and fry them in a pan full of shredded potatoes.  Once they were nice and brown, he would break a few eggs over the top of the whole mixture and fry until the eggs were cooked through.  He or my mom would cook the potatoes the night before and shred them by hand just before frying.  I am more of a semi-homemade kind of cook, so I typically just by pre-shredded potatoes at the store.  Kudos to all you cooks who enjoy the cook-from-scratch concept, I just don’t have make the time for that.

This recipe is very quick and easy if you use some shortcuts.  It took me about 15 minutes this morning.  The first thing I did was pour myself some coffee.  I have a new favorite combination: Stok Chocolate Iced Coffee paired with Coffee Mate natural bliss Almond Milk Caramel Creamer.  I was away for a few days at a Marketing Event, so I didn’t have time to home-brew a batch.  It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because I found chocolate coffee.  This coffee is so good, I could drink it black.  If you must have creamer, the key is not to put too much creamer in, or it will cover the wonderful chocolate flavor.

After a few sips of coffee, I was ready to tackle breakfast.  I always have onions and garlic on hand.  Who lives without fresh onions and garlic?  If you do, stop everything you are doing and go get some right now.  Life is so much tastier with fresh onions and garlic in it.  If you don’t like chopping and mincing, you can by onions pre-chopped and Gourmet Garden garlic paste in a tube.  I will not buy pre-minced garlic in a jar.  It just freaks me out.  But I love this garlic paste and use it all the time.  I happen to like chopping onions, so I don’t buy pre-chopped onions.

For this recipe, I used Earth Balance butter.  My folks always used butter for this dish, and I wanted to get as close as possible to the “real deal”.  I melted the butter in the pan on medium-low heat, then added the onion and let it saute for a few minutes before adding the garlic.  I am a huge garlic fan, so I wasn’t shy with it.  You can adjust your garlic to your own taste preference.  The garlic only needs about a minute before you add the shredded potatoes.  Once the potatoes are in, add salt and pepper to taste and give them a chance to brown up.  I stir everything around a bit until it’s a light golden brown color.  After that it’s time to add your tofu.

I seasoned my tofu for this recipe just like I do for my sunny side up tofu sandwich, with a little turmeric, paprika, salt and pepper.  I am really enjoying the flavor combination right now, and I don’t have all of my usual spices anyway, since I am at Skylar’s house.  First press (with a paper towel) to remove excess moisture, then crumble the tofu.  After that sprinkle it with your spices and mix with your fingers.  Make some space in your pan and add the tofu in with the rest of your ingredients.  I gave it another three minutes, stirring as necessary until it was heated through and golden brown.  Then it was time to eat! I didn’t have any fresh parsley or cilantro to throw on top this morning, (I really need to go grocery shopping), but I have broccoli in the fridge, so I cut off the very end of a floret and sprinkled it over the top.  Delicious and pretty!

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped small
  • 1 clove garlic (or equivalent paste)
  • 3/4 cup shredded potato
  • 2-3 ounces extra-firm tofu, pressed and crumbled
  • Dash of Paprika
  • 1/8 TSP Turmeric
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions:

Heat butter on medium-low.  Add onion, saute for 3 minutes.  Add garlic, saute for a minute.  Add shredded potatoes, salt and pepper, fry until light golden brown (3-5 mins). Add pressed, crumbled, and seasoned tofu, fry another 3 minutes or until all ingredients are heated through and golden brown.  Plate with fresh tomato and herbs (or broccoli).

I hope you enjoy this veganized version of one of my childhood favorites.  The turmeric gives it a slightly Indian vibe, which I love.  Turmeric also happens to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant.  It is best absorbed into the body when paired with black pepper and a bit of fat. Happily, this dish has both for premium absorption.  You also have protein and potassium in this meal.  Enjoy your comforting and healthy breakfast!

 


Sunny Side Up Tofu Sandwich

I love breakfast.  It has always been my favorite meal of the day, even when I was a kid.  Since I have been in St. Augustine, I haven’t been making my usual loaded oatmeal bowls for breakfast. Sky isn’t a fan of oatmeal.  It’s a texture thing for her.  She’s been requesting open face egg sandwiches, since she still pescotarian.  Between taking care of her, running a blog and an online business, I’ve been pretty busy.   I wanted to try to make something for myself that wouldn’t be too far from what she is eating.  This saves me time in the morning, especially the days I am driving her to campus.  My solution was the Sunny Side Up Tofu Sandwich.  I’ve made it most mornings since I’ve gotten here, and really enjoy it.  I think it is going to be one of my new go-to breakfast ideas.

The nice thing about having this for breakfast is the balance of protein and healthy carbs.  I found a new brand of bread at Target called “Eureka!” and love both Sweet Baby Grains and Grainiac.  It makes a solid base for the sandwich so you only need one slice.  When prepared this way, the tofu has a nice mouth-feel and reminds me of a softly fried egg omelet when prepared this way.  I don’t have any of the Indian pepper a lot of vegan blogs are raving about to give the egg-flavor to the sandwich (probably because I can never remember the name of it).  Luckily, you really don’t need it, because the new Hellmann’s Vegan Mayonnaise gives plenty of egg flavor to this sandwich.  If you use different bread or different tofu when you try this recipe that’s perfectly fine, but I highly recommend using Hellmann’s brand Vegan Mayonnaise if you are looking to mimic the flavor of an egg sandwich.

This meal takes about 5-10 minutes to make depending what you want on the side.  I’ve been playing with cucumber salad and tomatoes, broccoli, and Field Roast breakfast sausages.  I like savory sides with this sandwich personally.  You are going to need a toaster, a frying pan, and some paper towels to make this.  I start by slicing my tofu into approximately 1/2 inch slices, maybe a little thinner, but close.  I am not super neat about it and it still comes out just fine, so don’t worry if your cuts aren’t straight.  After this, I press the tofu between some folded paper towels to remove excess moisture.

After that, you will want to season your tofu.  I sprinkle the top side with salt, pepper, paprika, and turmeric.  I don’t measure, I just sprinkle.  If a clump of turmeric falls out, just spread it out a bit with your finger.  Place your tofu, seasoned side down, in a frying pan on medium-low heat.  I spray my pan with a bit of oil, so the tofu won’t stick.  While your tofu is frying, sprinkle the top side of your tofu with more of the same seasoning and toast up a slice of bread.

 

You want to fry your tofu until it has a nice golden brown look to it.  Then flip it and do the same to the other side.  Once you flip your tofu, add a small handful of non-dairy cheese on top so it starts to melt. It can take a bit for the cheese to melt, so I don’t wait.  If you have a lid for your pan, you can put it over the top.  That will speed up the melting process.   While you are waiting, pull your toast from the oven and spread a decent layer of mayo on it.

 

Once your tofu is golden brown on both sides and your cheese has melted, transfer your tofu onto your bread.  I pick up both pieces with my big spatula at the same time.  The tofu doesn’t stick if you put a little oil spray or butter in the pan.  The thing I like about the nasoya tofu I use it that two slices fit perfectly onto the square bread I use.  If you buy the bigger loaf with the rectangular shape, you may want to fry three slices of tofu instead of two.  After that, add your choice of sides and breakfast is served!

Ingredients:

  • Extra firm tofu, sliced and pressed
  • One slice grainy bread, toasted
  • Hellmann’s Vegan Mayo
  • Vegan Cheddar Shreds
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Turmeric

Try using other spices or fresh herbs if you like.  I am going to try some garlic powder next time.  One morning, I added chopped cilantro to my sandwich. I also think layering thinly sliced cucumbers between the mayo and the tofu would be delicious.  It just occurred to me that I should try it with a vegan sausage patty someday.  Experiment with the idea and let me know how I can improve my recipe!