Here are some delicious bacon and egg alternatives to start your day.

Black salt, also known as kala namak, emits a sulfur-like smell and taste that imparts an egg-like flavor to tofu dishes. I recommend you give it a try. All these dishes are delicious with or without black salt.

Many of these recipes use powdered turmeric. When heated, turmeric “activates” and becomes a bright yellow. Turmeric makes tofu look more like eggs. Curcumin, the pigment in turmeric that gives it that bright yellow color, is valued by some people for its health benefits, too.

Scrambled tofu (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)
Scrambled tofu (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)

Scrambled Tofu

Newsletter signup for email alerts

I make a big batch of this scrambled tofu and have leftovers to microwave for a few days. Cherry tomatoes are a delicious addition when cooking up the mixture.

2 teaspoons vegan margarine

1 block firm or extra firm tofu

1/8 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon onion powder

sprinkle of salt and pepper

Melt margarine on medium high heat in skillet. Crumble tofu in skillet. Add remaining ingredients and cook over medium to high heat stirring frequently until the tofu is hot and has turned uniformly yellow.

Ketchup is great on scrambled tofu, but I also like hot sauce or salsa.

One package of tofu makes about 4 servings.

Scrambled chickpeas (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)
Scrambled chickpeas (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)

Scrambled Chickpeas

Boy, is this easy!

¼ chickpea flour

¼ cup water

1 teaspoon vegan margarine

salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, mix chickpea flour and water together. Melt the margarine in a skillet over medium heat. Pour the chickpea batter into a skillet and cook, for a minute or two, breaking up with a spatula, until the mixture is lightly browned and cooked throughout. Season with salt and pepper then serve.

This recipe makes 2 servings, but can be easily doubled to serve more.

Fancy Schmancy Scrambled Chickpeas

batter:

1/2 cup chickpea flour

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon flax seed meal

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon black salt for eggy flavor

salt and black pepper to taste

1 teaspoon canola oil

1 clove of garlic

½ onion, chopped

¼ cup chopped veggies: zucchini, carrot, bell pepper, green beans, tomato or whatever you have on hand

Mix batter ingredients together. Heat canola oil in a skillet then sauté vegetables until softened. Add chickpea batter to the sautéed vegetables. Let the mixture firm for a minute or two, then flip and let the other side cook for a minute or two. (It’s okay if it breaks apart.) Break the scramble apart and cook for another minute until set.

Hash Browns Tofu Breakfast Casserole (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)
Hash Browns Tofu Breakfast Casserole (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)

Hash Browns Tofu Breakfast Casserole

This makes 9 servings.

30 to 36 ounces silken tofu (I used 3 boxes of the Mori-Nu brand)

2/3 cup nutritional yeast

1/3 cup chickpea/garbanzo bean flour

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon salt

black pepper, to taste

10 ounces frozen hash browns (no need to thaw)

1-½ cups mixed diced veggies: tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, garlic, mushrooms, zucchini, spinach or chard

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the tofu, nutritional yeast, chickpea flour, turmeric, salt and pepper in a blender.

Mix the tofu, hash browns and vegetables together and pour into an oiled 9x9-inch casserole dish. Place the casserole in the oven for an hour. Check after 45 minutes. The casserole is done when it is brown and the center is solid. Cover the casserole with a piece of foil if it is getting too brown on top.

For a variation of this recipe, skip the hash browns. Instead, cover the bottom of the casserole dish with tater tots. Pour the tofu mix on top.

Vegan omelette (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)
Vegan omelette (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)

Tofu Omelet

This recipe made 5 omelets using a 5-inch pan, but a larger pan, for larger omelets, can be used.

filling:

About two cups of any combination of sliced or mashed avocado, chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic, mushrooms, zucchini, cooked potatoes, vegan hamburger crumbles, spinach

batter:

5.3 oz. silken tofu

½ cup chickpea flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ cup non-dairy milk

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

½ teaspoon salt or kala namak (black salt)

¼ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon turmeric

canola oil as needed

vegan cheese (optional)

Sauté chopped filling ingredients in a skillet until tender. Move to a bowl. Whisk batter ingredients together, except for cheese. Heat canola oil in the same skillet and pour in enough batter to thinly cover the bottom of the skillet. In a minute, when the batter has firmed up, top half the omelet with some filling ingredients, and, if desired, a little vegan cheese. Fold the omelet over, and using a spatula, slide the omelet onto a serving plate. Follow this procedure until all the batter is used up. Top each omelet with tomato slices, parsley, or a white sauce, if desired.

Coconut bacon (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)
Coconut bacon (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)

Coconut Bacon

This coconut bacon is good in omelets. It’s also good in sandwiches and salads and anyplace else you like the taste and texture of bacon. I prefer using coconut flakes over shredded coconut, but both are good.

1½ cups unsweetened coconut flakes or shredded coconut

2 teaspoons liquid smoke

1 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place coconut in a shallow baking pan. Mix liquid ingredients together and pour onto the coconut, mixing well. Bake 15 minutes or until the coconut turns golden brown, stirring half way through. Keep an eye on the bacon while it’s in the oven; it goes from brown to black very quickly. The coconut will get crispier as it cools. Coconut bacon will keep in a sealed container for a few days.

I like lining my baking pan with parchment paper to make cleaning up easier.

Tofu bacon (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)
Tofu bacon (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)

Tofu Bacon

Commercially prepared vegan bacon products are pretty good, but I prefer this bacon even over that made with pig’s flesh.

1 block (about 12 oz.) extra firm tofu cut into ¼-inch slices

3 tablespoons canola oil, divided

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon liquid smoke

2 tablespoons maple syrup

coarsely ground pepper

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Fry tofu slices on medium heat in 2 tablespoons of canola oil until they’re browned on both sides. This will take about 10 minutes per side. Mix the remaining 1 tablespoon of canola oil, soy sauce, liquid smoke, maple syrup, and pepper in a bowl. Pour this mixture over the browned tofu coating both sides. Remove the tofu from heat and sprinkle both sides with the yeast. Serve immediately.

Toast cups (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)
Toast cups (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)

Toast Cups

This is easy, tasty, and child-friendly.

12 slices soft whole wheat bread

3 tablespoons softened vegan margarine

1 tablespoon vegan margarine

2 carrot, chopped fine

1 small zucchini, chopped fine

1 14-oz package firm or extra-firm tofu

¼ teaspoon each of black pepper, dill weed, and seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon nutritional yeast

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread softened vegan margarine on one side of each slice of bread. Smoosh each slice of bread, margarine side down, into the cups of a muffin tin. If the bread is too stiff, microwaving each slice for 15 to 20 seconds will soften it up. (The crusts may be removed from the bread for a prettier presentation, but this seems a little wasteful to me, so I usually keep the crusts on.) Bake the bread in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, the muffin tin can be pulled out of the oven to cool; the bread with crisp up as it sits. Remove the toast cups from the tin immediately.

While the bread is cooking, saute carrots and zucchini in the tablespoon of margarine until softened. Crumble in the tofu, add seasonings and nutritional yeast. Scramble together until the turmeric “activates” and turns the tofu golden.

Pull each bread cup out of the muffin tin and fill with the tofu mixture. I like to top each toast cup with a ½ teaspoon of sour cream and sliced green onions or chives or a sprinkle of paprika for color.

Sunny-side-up Eggs (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)
Sunny-side-up Eggs (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)

Sunny-side-up Eggs

This recipe is for those times when you crave fried eggs with a runny yolk. A shot glass is the perfect size for cutting out a hole in the tofu for the egg yolk, but since I couldn’t find a shot glass, I used a glass that was just a little too big to be perfectly convincing as a fried egg.

Some tofu varieties are too crumbly to use in this recipe. I recommend House or Mori-Nu tofu brands.

1 block firm tofu

yolk:

1 tablespoon of vegan mayonnaise

1 tablespoon carrot juice

4 tablespoons vegetable broth

4 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons melted vegan margarine

2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder

Slice the tofu into 4 thick slices then trim each slice into the shape of a fried egg: cut off the corners, thin the slice on the ends, and keep the slices thick in the middle. Insert a broad-bladed knife horizontally through the side in the middle of each tofu slice, and using shot glass, cut holes for the yolk, hitting the knife with the shot glass. Remove the knife blade and remove the tofu holes.

Fry the tofu slices in a little vegan margarine until lightly brown on both sides.

Whisk the yolk ingredients together and microwave 20 seconds. Whisk again and microwave again until the yolk ingredients are slightly thickened, like an egg yolk would be.

Plate the egg whites, fill the holes with the yolk ingredients, and microwave for 10 seconds to “set” the yolk. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Note: I fried up the leftover scraps of tofu, laid the scraps over a toasted English muffin, then poured the leftover yolk ingredients over all. Oh, my! Delicious!

Tofu Benedict (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)
Tofu Benedict (Susan Alexander / For the News Tribune)

Tofu Benedict

This makes four servings.

Hollandaise Sauce

1 cup soy creamer or non-dairy milk

1 12-oz box soft silken tofu (I use Mori-Nu)

½ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

3 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1/3 cup vegan butter

8 vegan bacon slices (I like Sweet Earth or Light Life vegan bacon)

1 block of firm or extra-firm tofu sliced into four large ½-inch slices

2 vegan English muffins, split and toasted

4 slices tomato

1 avocado, sliced (optional)

Put hollandaise sauce ingredients in a blender and whirl until thick and creamy. (The sauce may be heated in a microwave to thicken, if necessary. Whisk every two minutes until hot and thickened.) If the sauce gets too thick, thin it out with a little more creamer or nondairy milk.

Saute vegan bacon and set aside. Saute tofu slices in vegan margarine over medium heat until tofu starts to brown. Layer bacon slices on muffins, then top each muffin with a slice of tofu, tomato, and avocado (if using). Pour about ½ cup of hollandaise sauce over each serving.

Any leftover hollandaise sauce may be served over steamed vegetables. Yum!

Did you know?

A director of the Stroke Prevention and Atherosclerosis Research Center in Ontario, Canada, warns that eating eggs can be equally as detrimental to your blood vessels as smoking.

Susan Alexander is an avid cyclist. She loves gardening, farmers' markets and creating delicious meals consisting of whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits.