When it comes to vegan recipes, I usually stay far, far away from anything that uses quotation marks in its name. I'm happy to eat a plate of vegan food—rice, beans, and vegetables are some of my favorite things to eat. Once "meat" and "cheese" get involved, meals tend to get a little weird. So I approached Mark Bittman's "chorizo" tacos in his new VB6 Cookbook with some trepidation. Adding the word chorizo seemed like it would just make me miss the real thing. Why even throw the word chorizo around? Why not just call these breakfast tacos something like "spiced tofu scramble tacos?"
Yet while this chili powder-flecked crumbled and crisped tofu doesn't really taste like chorizo, it does still taste good. In fact, with an extra squeeze of lime juice and a little drizzle of olive oil, the tacos are actually pretty great.
Why I picked this recipe: It seemed only fair to give this "chorizo" a shot.
What worked: Even my boyfriend, who is adamantly opposed to vegan meat substitutes, really enjoyed these tacos.
What didn't: While it is possible to make this in a regular skillet, you'll have the best results crisping the tofu in a nonstick skillet.
Suggested tweaks: I'd recommend adding heat with crushed red pepper or spicy chili powder. Canned chipotles in adobo would also be a fine addition. And while this recipe is categorized as a breakfast, there's no reason you can't eat these tacos at any other point in the day. Add some sautéed greens to make them a full meal.
Reprinted with permission from The VB6 Cookbook: More than 350 Recipes for Healthy Vegan Meals All Day and Delicious Flexitarian Dinners at Night by Mark Bittman. Copyright 2014. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- Yield:Serves 4
- Active time: 20 to 45 minutes
- Total time:20 to 45 minutes
- 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds firm tofu (1 1/2 blocks)
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped (optional)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 limes, 1 halved, 1 quartered
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions, for garnish
Heat the oven to 400°F. Stack the tortillas on a large square of foil and wrap them loosely.
Put the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic; sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables soften, 3 to 5 minutes.
Crumble the tofu into the pan with your hands. Cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the skillet occasionally, and adjusting the heat as necessary, until the tofu browns and crisps as much or as little as you like it, anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.
When the tofu is almost ready, put the tortillas in the oven.
Add the bell pepper to the pan if you’re using it. Sprinkle the mixture with the chili powder; stir, and cook, continuing to scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan until the mixture is fragrant, less than a minute. Squeeze the juice of the halved lime over all, garnish with cilantro and scallions, and serve with the tortillas and lime quarters.
For a little more kick without being too fiery, try 1 or 2 poblano chiles instead of the bell pepper.
Substitute 3 cups well-drained cooked or canned black or pinto beans for the tofu. (If you’re using canned beans, rinse them before draining.)
Use tempeh instead of tofu. It will be tangier and slightly more dense, closer to the texture of ground meat.
Small whole wheat tortillas are good, here, too. Soften them the same way as described above.