Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tofu Rancheros, Vegan Brunch of Champions

By now, I’m sure you’ve noticed my obsession with Brunch. If we want to get even more specific, Mexican egg dishes are where my heart truly lies. But lately, as Erik and I try to phase eggs, cheese, and dairy out we find ourselves unable to hit our fav taquerias when Saturday rolls around - thus, the Vegan Tofu Rancheros recipe below. Crumbled, stir fried tofu with green beans, peas, onions and tomatoes, topped by vegan Ranchero sauce and served with mashed black beans, spanish rice, toasty corn tortillas, pico de gallo, sliced avocado, and salad. Chances are you’re going to need a nap after putting that amount of food away, but hey, what are Saturday afternoons for?

This is also an awesome buffet-style brunch to put together for vegan pals, if you’re feeling generous. Leftovers make good Taco Salads.

Tofu Rancheros
Each of the recipes below serve 2-3 with the exception of the Ranchero Sauce, which’ll serve more like 5.

For the Tofu, you'll need:

1 block firm tofu, drained and crumbled to crouton-sized pieces
2 cloves garlic
1/2 medium white onion, chopped
1 tbl cumin
1 tsp mustard, ground
1 tsp tumeric
1.5 cups frozen veggies of your choice: we used green beans and peas
Handful fresh spinach
3 tablespoons olive oil
Nutritional yeast
1/2 block vegan buillion cube, either Veg or Chik flavor

Do eeet:

Crumble the tofu with your hands into a colander. Drain for a few minutes.

In a skillet, saute garlic, onion, mustard, cumin, and tumeric for a couple of minutes, until the onion starts to soften. Add tofu and mix well. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, then add frozen veggies, spinach, nutritional yeast, and buillion cube. Splash a few tablespoons of water in the pan, stir again. Cover and set aside.

For the Ranchero Sauce, you'll need:

1 red pepper, chopped
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons soy butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cube boiullion + 1 cup water
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stick cinammon
1-4 jalapenos, diced, to taste
1 can tomato paste + 1/2 cup water

Saute the pepper, tomatoes, garlic, onion and jalapenos in the soy butter 3-5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add buillion, tomato paste, water and cinnamon stick, mix well, and simmer for 10 minutes or until things are all pretty soft. Remove cinammon stick. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree sauce. Spoon around your Scrambled Tofu, cover the whole thing with foil, and stick in a warm oven until ready to serve.

For the Mashed Black Beans, you'll need:

1 can black beans, 1/2 cup juice reserved
1 tsp garlic powder or 2 cloves garlic
1 tsp smoke flavoring - hickory preferred

Add everything to a small saucepan and stir well. Turn heat to medium high, and using a potato masher, mash beans to a somewhat pastelike texture. When the beans look thick enough to spoon and spread easily, remove from heat and cover.

For the Pico, you'll need:

1 tomato, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1-3 pickled jalapenos, diced
Handful parsley or cilantro, chopped
salt to taste
juice of 1/2 lime

Put all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well, salt last.

Cover and refrigerate.

For the Spanish Rice, you'll need:

(I keep frozen rice around for this purpose only - quick rice for Tofu Rancheros. If you only have conventional, no worries - just add the bouillion, safflower, and garlic to the boiling rice.)
1 tsp safflower
1 clove garic, minced
2 cups frozen rice pr 1 cup conventional, cooked
1/2 boullion cube
Splash of water
1/2 cup frozen peas, carrots, any small, diced veggie

Put all ingredients in a medium saucepan and mix well. Heat over medium heat until rice is warmed and flavorings dispersed. Cover.

And finally, to serve:
Sliced Avocado, figure 1/2 half per person
Corn Tortillas, warmed (see note) 4 per person
Radishes, sliced
Lettuce, shredded
Hot sauce, duh
Soy sour cream, if that’s yer thing

Note: the only way to get slightly crisp yet soft corn tortillas is to warm them, one by one, in a medium-hot skillet. If you must warm them all at once, wrap them in a damp paper towel, sandwich between two plates, and microwave them for 15 seconds, or until warm.

To plate, I start with a whole lettuce leaf, piling the shredded lettuce and pico on top, then proceed with beans, then rice, then tofu counter-clockwise around the plate. Spoon extra ranchero sauce around the tofu, top with radishes and avocado, put your warmed tortillas into a tortilla case or between two plates to keep warm, and go to it.


  1. hells, bells! i wish i was eating this right now. i shared this on: