A delicious twist on the vegan classic; sun-dried tomatoes add their intense and sweet flavour to silken tofu, along with caramelized red onions and garlic, dark minerally kale, and a little spike of chilli. Perfect for a seasonal breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. Or why not all four?
I never really understood the appeal of tofu scramble when I first became vegan. The versions I had tried generally tasted bland and had the texture of eggs that had been in the pan for at least four times longer than necessary. When I first came across the idea of using silken tofu, it was a revelation. I think it was in an Ottolenghi recipe, where silken tofu was stirred through chilli and cherry tomatoes, for a tangy and spicy, yet soft and yielding savoury snack.
For those of you who are egg-inclusive in your diets, allow me a few sentences to preach the benefits of tofu scramble. Eggs can be cooked with little adornment, and indeed I never used to venture much further than salt and pepper in my vegetarian days. Tofu scramble, on the other hand, is a blank canvas, inviting you to add all manner of tasty ingredients and flavour combinations, and still has that wonderfully soft and slightly gelatinous scrambled texture. I am yet to make a version of tofu scramble that isn’t perfectly accompanied by a large slab of buttery toast, and furthermore, it doesn’t need refrigerating. You can buy silken tofu in small cartons in almost all larger supermarkets and it can languish at the back of the cupboard until you require it – ideal for scramble emergencies. Plus it’s low fat and super high in protein.
The version I present to you today was born from desperation. Desperation for tofu scramble, but with a disappointing lack of ingredients. I love using fresh tomatoes, as they add a beautiful sweetness and freshness to balance more punchy or savoury ingredients, but there were none to be seen, nor any soft herbs, or spinach, or ginger.
Despite these dire circumstances, what resulted was something that was not only surprisingly delicious but also ideal for more wintery months. Any remaining fresh British tomatoes are truly on their last legs, but preserves such as sun-dried tomatoes last all year, and curly kale is bang in season, as is cavelo nero which would also work well.
How to make tofu scramble with sun-dried tomatoes and kale
This dish is really straight forward to put together; a few ingredients and a little chopping and frying, and you’re done. Start with a finely diced red onion (you could use white but I’d recommend frying it really low and slow to bring out the sweetness, or shallots would be fine). The reason I specify using sun-dried tomatoes in oil, is that they are essentially ready-to-eat, unlike the dried version, and I use the oil from the jar for frying. This adds an extra boost of flavour that permeates through the scramble.
Take a little time to fry the onions, so that they’re soft and sweet, and caramelizing (but not burning) around the edges. Stir them occasionally, and you should have time to prepare the rest of the ingredients while they are sizzling away. Add 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic (I prefer chopped to crushed or grated here, as it’s a little less likely to burn) then add the chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Stir for a minute or so before adding the shredded kale.
For the kale (or cavelo nero) I fold each leaf in half lengthways and slice off the hard central stem, then slice the kale into thin strips. Don’t discard the stems – these take longer to cook, but if you slice them very finely you can add them to the pan with the leaves for a bit more fibre and less waste. Add the salt and a pinch of turmeric – this adds a little colour to the scramble but it’s not essential.
Once the leaves have wilted and any moisture has evaporated, add the silken tofu. Open the carton and drain any liquid, then add to the pan, crushing the tofu a little between your fingers to break it up. Cook, stirring frequently, for another 2–3 minutes until everything is hot, and any liquid from the tofu has been cooked off. Once the tofu is in the pan, this is an excellent time to shove some bread in the toaster or prepare any other extras you fancy.
Finally, sprinkle a generous pinch of chilli flakes over the scramble and stir through. Even if you are not a fan of chilli, I would recommend adding a small pinch: it lifts the entire dish and adds a gentle kick, as does a good grind of black pepper.
This tofu scramble would be delicious in a breakfast wrap, or as part of an extravagent brunch, with vegan sausages and fried potato. They could add a little class to your potato waffles (as if they need any more), or provide a little indulgence for your lunch. They are really good accompanied by avocado (though this is not quite so seasonal), and are wonderful as pictured, heaped onto hot buttered sourdough, and eaten greedily and happily.
Please let me know if you give these a try! Any feedback is really appreciated and it’s always exciting for me to know that people are making my recipes. You can comment below or post your pics and tag me on Twitter or Instagram @greedybearbakes.
Tofu Scramble with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Kale
A delicious twist on the vegan classic; sun-dried tomatoes add their intense and sweet flavour to silken tofu, along with caramelized red onions and garlic, dark minerally kale, and a little spike of chilli.
Vegan, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Nut-free
- 25g (about 3 large) sun-dried tomatoes in oil
- 1 medium red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 75g kale (or cavelo nero)
- ⅓ teaspoon salt
- ¼ tsp turmeric (optional – for colour)
- 300g silken tofu
- generous pinch of chilli flakes
- freshly ground black pepper
- 4 slices of toasted sourdough (or bread of choice – gluten-free if necessary)
- Vegan butter or spread
- 1 medium avocado, halved and thinly sliced
- More chilli flakes for sprinkling
- Spritz of lemon juice
- Put a frying pan over a medium heat and add 1 tbsp oil from the jar of sundried tomatoes. Finely dice the red onion and add to the pan once it’s hot. Stir fry for a couple of minutes then turn the heat down a touch, and leave to soften for about 10–12 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the onions look like they are starting to burn turn the heat down, but after 10 minutes they should be starting to brown and caramelize.
- While the onions are frying, prepare the other ingredients. Very finely chop 2 cloves garlic, and chop the sundried tomatoes into roughly 1cm pieces. Slice the spines off the kale leaves, then chop the spines very finely, and chop the leaves into strips about 0.5cm thick.
- Once the onions are soft and starting to brown, add the garlic and stir fry for 30 seconds before adding the sundried tomatoes and stirring for another minute. Then turn up the heat to medium and add the kale, leaves and stems, along with ⅓ tsp salt and ¼ tsp turmeric (if using). Cook for 3–4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the kale has wilted and any liquid it has released has evaporated.
- Open the carton of tofu and drain any liquid, then slide it into the pan, crushing the tofu between your fingers, or with the spatula, to break it apart. Cook for another 2–3 minutes, until everything is hot through, then add a generous pinch of chilli flakes, and a grind of black pepper. Taste and add a little more chilli, pepper or salt if necessary.