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« Wordless Wednesday | Main | Nectarine Almond Cake (Vegan, or not!) »

Vegan Brunch: Tofu Rancheros


So…yeah, we’re 95% Vegan.  The other 5%?  We just can’t give up sushi.  (And occasionally the small bit of parmesan cheese. Occasionally!)  And I don’t see that happening any time soon, so…95% Vegan is what we are.  But are we feeling better?  Hell, yes!  Are we happy?  Definitely.  We aren't sitting around, reminiscing of the old days when we ate meat and dairy with wild abandon, hehe.  Though my husband could probably do with a good dose of bacon, I can take it or leave it.     I love it, don’t get me wrong, but it was never huge with me--it was just…there.  I’d eat it if put in front of me, but didn’t usually go out of my way to have it.  Yes.  I’m totally serious.  


Where is this rambling taking us?  Brunch!  We have always loved breakfast.  A big breakfast on Sunday is a tradition with us.  You may remember me talking about how much we love going out for breakfast.  We haven’t in quite a while, because, well--there aren’t really any vegetarian/vegan restaurants in the area.  Sad, isn’t it?  I know!  I should totally fill that niche, but running a restaurant isn’t something I remotely want to do, or have any idea how to, for that matter.   We’ll just have to open up our search area, I guess.  But then again, if we find one, will it be worth it?  I’ve heard stories of nasty vegan breakfasts.  And I have learned that I can make freaking delicious ones right at home!

This Tofu Scramble from The Post Punk Kitchen has been our Sunday tradition for the last 6 weeks or so.  It’s so damn good!  Like scrambled eggs loaded with lots of other good stuff.  We have it with vegetarian baked beans, roasted potatoes, and anything else we may feel like.  I totally recommend it!

Yesterday, I tried a new recipe for brunch, Tofu Rancheros from Vegetarian Times.   We loved it!  It’s quick, easy and so satisfying.  Like all day satisfying, so you’ll only be hungry for dinner at 6:30 or so.   And it’s ridiculously simple.  It’s from Chef Nava Atlas, the author of Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons.  

Before I forget, this is for Meatless Monday, and on twitter: #meatlessmonday  Check it out and maybe think about joining next Monday!



Tofu Rancheros
serves 6, or 3 so you can have 2 each

2 tsp oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 TB chili powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (14 oz) package extra firm tofu, diced
2 TB lime juice
1 (15 oz) can refried beans with green chiles, warmed-set aside
6 (6 inch) corn tortillas
2 tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Heat oil over medium heat.
Add onion and spices, sauté for 5 minutes.
Add in tomato sauce, tofu and lime juice, then simmer for 10 more minutes.
(Make sure your beans are heated up!)

Now here is where I had an issue with the tortillas.  The recipe didn't specify heating them up, but who wants cold, limp tortillas?
We usually fry them up in a little oil till they're nice and crispy, but in this case, my husband
put them under the broiler for 2 minutes per side, then shut the oven off and let them stay warm in there until we needed them.  They were good, but we'd still prefer them crispier next time, so we'll go with our usual method.  But it's up to you!

Spread the beans on the tortillas, top with tofu/sauce mixture, and garnish with tomatoes, avocado and cilantro.  And these are just screaming for some cheese, so use your favorite!

Note:  If you want to try this, but aren't in a vegan-type mood, how about frying some eggs on the side, then topping your tortillas with them, the sauce, and the garnishes?  Oh yeah, that would be delicious!



This was a great way to have a vegan brunch, still feel happy and satisfied, and didn’t leave us feeling like “Ugh, we just ate tofu for breakfast.”  hehe  The two changes I’d make, though, are:

A) Crisp up those tortillas first!

B) I think I’d add a little more heat to the sauce, but that’s personal preference.




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Reader Comments (25)

How long have you been vegan - it certainly seems a challenge! Hats off to you - I don't think I could do it - even my only vegan friend gives in to chocolate and cheese sometimes....

August 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Curious Cat

I've been vegan since...April, I think. So not very long! But since my husband is along for the ride, it's much easier. And it was mostly for his health that we became vegan and sometimes raw.

Thanks for visiting and for your comment!

August 17, 2009 | Registered CommenterElle

I'm cooking with tofu for the first time this week, lawd help me. Any tips, oh great tofu master? I bought Soy Vey to marinade it in to use in a stir fry, but is there anything I should do to prep it before cooking with it? I'm really excited about it because it's locally made!

The rancheros look sooo good, mercy!

August 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterApril in CT

April, you crack me up! I'm s till new to tofu myself, but the one thing most recipes make you do is drain it. So put the block in a bowl over some paper towels, and top with some paper towels, and then put something heavy on it for like 15 minutes. That's what we've been doing, anyway. Love the name of the marinade you're using! hehe!

Let me know how your stir fry turns out!

August 17, 2009 | Registered CommenterElle

We make a similar version of this and we LOVE it. I can't stomach this in the morning though but it sure makes a great dinner! Great recipe! I don't know what I am since I can't give up sushi either:)

August 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

Maria, I don't think we'll ever give up sushi, it's just too good!

We actually don't end up having our brunch until noon or later, so we were good. But yeah, this would make a great dinner! In fact, we're having the tofu scramble I linked to in the post for dinner tomorrow. yum!

Thank you!

August 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElle

BTW, some additional tofu advice: When you drain it, slice it into 5 or 6 slabs, wrap in paper towels, separated with paper towels around each slab, then put the weight on top on your dishrack to drain. The idea is to get as much of the moisture out, so it can pick up the flavors of marinades or anything else you're cooking with. We *love* tofu and have been eating it for years. I guess we're omnivores, but we like to eat meatless several times a week, and always have. Just because. :-)

Anyway, here's the story I promised you:

My hubs used to make a a version of Tofu Ranchero that was more of a baked layered casserole, like Huevos Rancheros, and called for 2 jalapeno peppers, and crumbling the tofu in the food processor to a scrambled egg consistency. We loved it and decided that this was the dish to introduce tofu to our tofu-skeptic friends. One day, the most vehement meat-eater we knew was at our house, and MJ decided to make the Tofu Ranchero. We sat down to eat, and it was so spicy, we could barely eat it, nevermind the tofu part. "Honey, what the hell did you do?" "I didn't do anything!" "Come on! It's barely edible! How many peppers did you use?" "Three." "Three?!? But the recipe calls for two! Why did you use three?" "Well, three people, three peppers." :-)

Why not use tostada squares? Crispy and fun!
To: CURIOUS CAT - Once you go Vegan...GO VEGAN!,
it's quite wonderful. Compassionate Shopping, Cooking,
Eating & Living tell people that you care about the Earth and it's voiceless
inhabitants - it's worth every bit of struggle in the beginning, and
after a while the rewards are incredible. Check out vegan blogs, too,
there are hundreds and hundreds of them. is good, too, as is punk kitchen),, and (great magazine, too),
it's where I found the BEST vegan mac n cheese recipe. They have the free
recipe posted at the site.
Namaste, and Enjoy!!

August 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKnit-Picky Vegan

I remember you saying waaaay back about your vegan experiment, but I had no idea you almost committed to it full time now. Congrats! I think that's really cool, and very inspiring to others. It shows we can change, and have the ability to do whatever we want.

Anyways, onto the rancheros. I have a new found affection for Mexican food since moving, and these look so great, I bet they would find themselves into the menu. You don't want to open a restaurant... come on with stuff like this? :)

August 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

great, great way to incorporate tofu into the diet! brunch is usually my favorite meal, and huevos rancheros are delicious. methinks i'd like this very much.

August 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergrace

That looks delicious! I bet this could convert the most tofu phobic person into a lover :)

This type of tofu breakfast is really popular in San Francisco. Looks good!

August 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkat

Love this dish Elle! May even make me revisit tofu!

August 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

I could never go vegan. For one, my girlfriend would kill me. Not euphemistically, for real. Dead. Plus I'm just not a tofu fan. But your dish looks great! :D

August 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBob

First of all, such a fun, awesome blog! I love it....very friendly and easy to read :D I agree, sushi and parmesan are two things that I haven't been quite ready to kick to the curb, either....

I saw this recipe in Vegetarian Times...It's been sitting in my file mag recipes to try. Now you've totally lit the flame under my butt. I LOVE huevos rancheros, and tofu makes a great substitute. Hmmm....maybe Sunday brunch?

August 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJulieK

Good for you for going vegan...I just don't think I could do it. These rancheros look really, tasty - I love eggs with mine.

August 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Wow! Vegan? I had no idea your family was doing that! Good for you :) I have fallen off the face of the blogging planet recently, it's good to hear from you again!! I LOVE your new set up...very cute :)

My husband is a bacon crazy man! He would die without it :) We also are crazy for sushi, so it would be really hard for us :)

August 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany

Hey Elle - 95% Vegan, 5% Sushi...sounds just like us!! :)

August 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLori

I didn't know you were vegan, but I read it hasn't' been long since you've become one. Are your kids vegan too? If yes, how do they handle it? Sorry for being noisy:)) In any case, sounds like an exciting adventure.

I haven't been able to develop palate for tofu yet but I hope to one day. Tofu rancheros sound too good not to try. Thanks for sharing.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterfarida

Renee, that's hilarious!
Knit-Picky--thanks for your advice! And for stopping by.
Adam--good to see you! And thanks for your kind words.
Lorraine--it does give you a satisfied feeling, for sure!
Kat--I wish I lived closer to some vegan, or even vegetarian restaurants!
Judy--thank you!
Bob--I totally understand, it's not for everyone, for sure.
Julie--thank you so much! If you do make these, try to crisp up your tortillas first, hehe.
Pam--thank you!
Hi Tiffany! Yeah, for health reasons, we made the switch. Feels good!
Lori--I'm glad to hear there are others that eat the same way!
Farida--the kids really aren't. We've taken most dairy out of the house, but have let the kids decide what they want to do.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElle

95% vegan huh?! Good for you! We are slowly working our way there and are down to small portions of meat a few times a week. That is something anyway. This looks fantastic!


August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

This looks fabulous and really healthy too.

August 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJeena

Bacon and sushi are the two reasons why I could not go veggie. Oh wait chorizo, cheese, pork chops, chicken thighs, uh...dang oh well I just keep doing a couple meals a week to satisfy the inner veggie.

I agree crispy beats limp any day of the week.....wait uhh....hmmm....I am just going to stop here say awesome job and hit create post.

August 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

i made this for dinner for my boyfriend and i tonight, and wow that's some filling stuff! i only had frozen tofu on hand, so i defrosted that and diced it up and it worked great! the spongy texture soaked up the sauce nicely. we'll definitely be making this again, as it's just as quick and easy as scrambled tofu. thanks for posting this!

August 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterellen

Going vegan can be really hard but at least the options are still quite delicious. This recipe idea is just fabulous and something my family is going to try. We are not 100% vegan either, but on our way there. Just seems like the meal options available are too tempting now a days.

Thanks for sharing this,

Bill M.

November 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBill Medifast

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