waffle tofu

Breakfasts to Savor

A new day is dawning in the kitchen, jostling the soundest of sleepers awake. Far removed from the dusty boxes of cereal and granola bars, bold, bright aromas infused with spice and umami fill the air. Though the standard American diet leans heavily on sweets for the “most important meal of the day,” polls have shown that the majority of those chowing down before noon prefer a savory breakfast.

Skip the batter, forget the flour, and stick firm slabs of tofu straight into the waffle iron for a high-protein foundation to hold a deeply umami lashing of espresso-spiked gravy. Waffled Tofu with Red Eye Gravy provides a hearty, gluten-free vehicle for enjoying this thick, creamy sauce enriched with sautéed mushrooms without any regrets.

If dry cereal is more your speed, you’ll be bowled over by Curried Coconut Granola. Warmly spiced clusters of thick oats and coconut flakes are baked to golden-brown perfection with minimal added oil. They’re perfect for sprinkling over unsweetened yogurt, plain oatmeal, soups, salads, or simply out of your hand.

Craving buttery pastries, flaky and crisp? Skip the sugary frosting and syrupy fruit filling with Cheesy Broccoli and Bac-un Toaster Tarts. White bean-based cheese sauce fills flaky pastry pockets along with smoky bites of tempeh bac-un and tender-crisp broccoli florets.

Some Americans consume eggs in the morning, but have you heard of the latest Indian street food sensation taking the world by storm? Bread Omelets wrap up a fusion of French toast, scrambled eggs, and an egg sandwich all in one neat package. My vegan version is made with chickpea flour seasoned with black salt for the same sensation, without the eggs or dairy.

South of the border, Chilaquiles have been an essential staple for using up stale tortilla chips but take on greater flavor when prepared fresh, from scratch. Homemade corn tortilla chips are baked and not fried in this take on breakfast nachos. Little prep or planning is needed to throw together fresh salsa, black beans, and diced avocado in a meal that can be scaled for one or one dozen.

Tall stacks of pancakes dripping with syrup may sound dreamy, but the sugar crash soon to follow isn’t quite as satisfying. For a substantial morning meal that will power you through the day, skip the sugary stuff. The breakfast revolution will not be sweetened.

Waffled Tofu with Red Eye Gravy
(Serves 3-4)

Waffled Tofu
One 14-ounce firm or extra-firm tofu, cut into ¾-inch thick slices
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Non-stick cooking spray

Red Eye Gravy
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced cremini or button mushrooms
½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
½ cup brewed espresso or strong coffee
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon chickpea miso paste
¾-1 cup unsweetened, unflavored vegan milk

Begin by preheating your waffle iron and lightly grease with non-stick cooking spray.

While it comes up to temperature, slice the tofu into 6-8 equal rectangles, about ½-¾ inch thick. Place in a large bowl and gently toss with the olive oil, tamari, and black pepper, to coat.

Place the tofu in the hot waffle iron, allocating one square per piece, and gently but firmly close the lid. Let cook, undisturbed, for about 4-8 minutes, depending upon your appliance. When golden brown all over, carefully transfer the tofu to a wire rack.

Repeat until all the tofu is cooked. Keep the finished pieces warm in a 250-degree oven.

Meanwhile, for the gravy, heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the mushrooms for about 5 minutes, until softened and aromatic. Sprinkle with poultry seasoning and flour, stirring well.

Cook for just 1 minute to lightly toast the flour before pouring in the espresso, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Follow immediately with the maple syrup, miso paste, and ?? cup vegan milk.

Continuing to whisk, cook until the gravy has thickened and bubbles start to form rapidly on the surface. Thin with additional vegan milk if desired, to reach your ideal consistency.

Serve red eye gravy immediately, drizzled on top of the hot waffled tofu.

Cook’s Tip: The gravy will continue to thicken as it cools. If prepared in advance, you may need to incorporate more vegan milk, vegetable stock, or espresso prior to serving, as desired.

Total calories: 269 Fat: 20 grams
Carbohydrates: 10 grams Protein: 15 grams
Sodium: 319 milligrams Fiber: 3 grams

Curried Coconut Granola
(Serves 10-12)

2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
2 cups coconut flakes
1-½ cups crispy brown rice cereal
2 Tablespoons ground flaxseeds
2 Tablespoons curry powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup aquafaba (liquid from canned chickpeas)
¼ cup coconut oil, melted

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconut, cereal, flaxseeds, curry powder, and salt. Toss thoroughly to ensure equal distribution of all the ingredients throughout the mixture.

Pour the aquafaba and melted coconut oil into the bowl and stir well, until fully incorporated.

Distribute the granola evenly between the prepared baking sheets, spreading it into as thin and consistent a layer as possible.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring halfway through, until lightly toasted and dry to the touch. It will get crisper as it cools, so don’t panic if it still seems a bit soft fresh out of the oven.

Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Total calories: 255 Fat: 18 grams
Carbohydrates: 20 grams Protein: 4 grams
Sodium: 120 milligrams Fiber: 4 grams

Cheesy Broccoli and Bac-un Toaster Tarts
(8 servings)

Meatless Bac-un and Broccoli Filling
4 ounces tempeh, crumbled
1 Tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ cup fresh broccoli florets, finely chopped

White Bean Cheese Sauce
½ cup cooked white beans
¼ cup unsweetened, unflavored vegan milk
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon chickpea miso paste
3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon melted vegan butter or coconut oil

Whole Wheat Pastry Dough
2-½ cups whole wheat flour, plus extra for rolling
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup vegan butter or coconut oil, chilled
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup ice cold water, divided
2-3 Tablespoons aquafaba (liquid from canned chickpeas)
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning blend

Begin by preparing the filling. Place the tempeh, tamari, liquid smoke, and paprika in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sauté for 4-5 minutes until it begins to brown. Toss in broccoli and cook 3-4 minutes longer, until it’s bright green and the mixture is dry. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

For the cheese sauce, toss all the ingredients into a blender and purée until smooth, pausing to scrape down the sides of the canister as needed. Add vegan butter or coconut oil for a bit more richness.

Pour the silky-smooth sauce over the tempeh and broccoli, stirring well to combine. Chill in the fridge about an hour before moving on to the pastry.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

To make the dough, place the flour and salt in a large bowl and use a pastry cutter or two forks to cut in Tablespoon-sized pieces of vegan butter. A few small chunks of the butter should remain visible throughout the mixture, but nothing larger than the size of peas.

Sprinkle lemon juice and first Tablespoon of water into the bowl and stir well with a wide spatula. Sometimes it can be difficult to get the liquids properly incorporated, so it may be helpful to simply mix with your hands. Keep adding water and mixing thoroughly, a teaspoon at a time, until the dough is cohesive.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured counter or large cutting board. Top with another light sprinkle of flour and use a rolling pin to flatten out the dough. It should be one very large rectangle, about ⅛-inch thick.

Slice off the rough edges and cut into 16 smaller, equal rectangles. Spoon about 1-2 Tablespoons of the filling into the center of 8 pieces.

Working with one piece of dough at a time, lightly brush the edges with water before carefully placing an empty rectangle of dough on top. Seal the edges by crimping firmly with the tines of a fork. Prick the top to create steam vents, and transfer with a large spatula to the prepared baking sheet. Brush the top with aquafaba and sprinkle with Italian herb blend.

Bake for 18-24 minutes, until golden brown. Enjoy hot, or cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Reheat in a toaster oven for 1-2 minutes, or microwave for 30-60 seconds.

Total calories: 409 Fat: 26 grams
Carbohydrates: 35 grams Protein: 12 grams
Sodium: 515 milligrams Fiber: 6 grams

Bread Omelet
(Serves 1)

1/3 cup chickpea flour
1-½ teaspoons nutritional yeast
¼ teaspoon black salt (kala namak)
¼ teaspoon onion powder
⅛ teaspoon ground turmeric
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup unsweetened, unflavored vegan milk
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
½ teaspoon rice vinegar
2 slices multigrain or whole wheat sandwich bread
1 cup fresh baby spinach or arugula
1 green onion, thinly sliced

In a large bowl, mix the chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, black salt, onion powder, turmeric, and black pepper. Separately, whisk the non-dairy milk, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and vinegar. Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients whisking vigorously to combine. Make sure there are no lumps remaining before proceeding.

Set a medium skillet over moderate heat. Coat the bottom with the remaining teaspoon of olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, place the two pieces of bread next to each other in a single layer. Toast for two minutes before pouring the chickpea batter all around and on top of the bread.

Quickly turn the bread over to coat both pieces in the batter. Turn down the heat to medium-low.

Scatter the fresh spinach or arugula and green onions on top. When the batter appears set and lightly browned on the bottom, use your spatula to gently fold the excess inward, on top of the bread. Fold one slice on top of the other, making a sandwich with the greens locked within.

Transfer to a plate and enjoy hot. Serve with ketchup, hot sauce, or any other condiments you might slather over an omelet.

Cook’s Tip: Black salt, otherwise known as kala namak, isn’t actually black in color. Rather it’s named for the black volcanic ash which gives it a distinctively sulfuric flavor, similar to scrambled eggs. It’s readily found online and in Indian specialty markets, but regular table salt can be used instead.

Total calories: 401 Fat: 16 grams
Carbohydrates: 48 grams Protein: 19 grams
Sodium: 917 milligrams Fiber: 10 grams

Black Bean Chilaquiles
(Serves 2)

Four 6-inch corn tortillas
1 Tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup diced red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 large tomatoes, diced (about 2 cups)
1 cup cooked black beans
2 Tablespoons pickled jalapeños, minced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon chipotle powder
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
¼ cup fresh cilantro

Basic Guacamole
½ ripe avocado
1-2 Tablespoons lime juice
⅛ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the tortillas into sixths or eighths to make neat, equal triangles. Spread pieces out in an even layer on two large baking sheets. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, place the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Swirl gently to coat the bottom of the pan. Once shimmering, add the onion and garlic. Sauté for 3-5 minutes or until the vegetables have softened, the onion is translucent, and the mixture is highly aromatic.

Add the tomatoes, black beans, jalapeño, cumin, chipotle powder, oregano, salt, and pepper. Simmer gently, cooking for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally.

Divide the baked tortilla chips between two shallow, oven-safe dishes. Top with equal amounts of the black bean mixture and sprinkle with pepitas. Bake for 5 more minutes to slightly soften the tortillas and warm through.

While the chilaquiles finish, mash together the avocado, lime juice, and salt in a small bowl. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

Top the chilaquiles with fresh cilantro and a dollop of guacamole. Serve hot.

Cook’s Tip: Speed through this quick-fix meal by starting with a handful of ready-made tortilla chips. Just omit the salt from the black bean mixture to keep sodium in check.

Total calories: 476 Fat: 22 grams
Carbohydrates: 58 grams Protein: 18 grams
Sodium: 936 milligrams Fiber: 18 grams


Written by Hannah Kaminsky

Hannah is a serious food lover who hates early mornings, but will wake at any hour for a good breakfast. She is the author of many cookbooks including Easy as Vegan Pie, Real Food Really Fast, and Sweet Vegan Treats. She works in Austin, Texas developing recipes and photographing food from dusk to dawn.

Written for the Vegetarian Resource Group and originally appeared in the Vegetarian Journal

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *