This is the fifth dish in my week-long series of WFPB recipes. So far I’ve done lunch and dinner dishes containing “A Grain, a Bean, a Veggie, a Green, and a Seed”, and I figured it was time to make breakfast. These Plant-Based Black Bean Breakfast Tacos with Tofu Scramble and Avocado Crema are a perfect way to start your morning. They are packed with fiber and protein, and don’t get me started on the rich Avocado Crema!
As you know, I’ve been on a weight loss journey, and instead of telling myself what I can’t eat, I’ve made a list of items that I want to make sure that I get in every meal: whole grains, legumes, vegetables, greens, and whole-plant fats. I’ve “abbreviated” or short-handed this paradigm or checklist to “A Grain, A Bean, A Veggie, A Green, and A Seed”. It’s not perfect, but It’s helping me crowd out the foods I don’t want to eat with the foods that I do want to eat.
“A Grain, A Bean, A Veggie, A Green, and A Seed”
I came up with a paradigm, or a checklist to help me plan my WFPB meals. The not-so-catchy name of which is “A Grain, A Bean, A Veggie, A Green, and A Seed”. Admittedly, the name needs work, but the practice of using it has been working great.
My goal is to plan meals that have each of these components:
- A “Grain” can be any type of whole grain or starchy vegetable that adds fiber and substance to your meals. For my purposes, a “grain” can be anything from whole wheat used to make bread, to brown rice, to even quinoa, and sweet potato.
- A “Bean” can be any type of bean, legume, or pulse. Although most plant-based foods do contain some amount of protein, a “bean” represents an overt source that is both fiber and protein dense. Ideally the “bean” is in its whole form, but tofu and bean pastas check this box as well.
- A “Veggie” can be any non-starchy vegetable that adds bulk, flavor, and nutrition to the dish. Think broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, radishes, and peppers. Although starchy veggies are great, in terms of their function in the meal, they tend to fit better into the “grain” box. Mushrooms are also a great addition to meals, and for what I’m trying to accomplish, mushrooms fit into the “veggie” box as well.
- A “Green” can be any type of leafy green, added to the dish either during or after cooking, or left raw. Not only are greens great for adding nutrition to the dish, they are also great for flavor and texture. Greens can be the bulk of a meal like in the case of kale salads, or an accent to the dish in the case of spinach or arugula added to soups and curries just before serving.
- A “Seed” represents a whole-food source of overt fat. Avocados, smashed, sliced, or guac’d are great. As are various types of nuts, seeds, and their derived butters. Coconut products like milk, flakes, and butter also add a ton of flavor and body to various dishes
Now that you know the system, let’s look at what foods in this dish check which boxes:
- The “Grain” – I have recently fallen in love with these Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Tortillas. Their nutritional profile is incredible, and if handled properly, they are quite delicious. If you’re unable to find them, you could just use my 100% Whole Wheat Flatbread dough, or whatever whole wheat or whole grain tortillas are available in your area.
- The “Bean” – This dish has a double helping of beans. We have the tofu in the tofu scramble, and the black beans in, well, the green chili black beans. I love tofu scramble so much, but I personally find that I need a bit more fiber than what tofu provides, so I like the addition of the black bean. Any beans will do, honestly. If you’ve got a can of pinto hangin out, make it work.
- The “Veggie” – Broccoli seems like a strange addition to a breakfast taco, but trust me on this. Normally I like to add crispy potatoes to my breakfast dishes, but I wanted to use a non-starchy veggie, but one that would serve the same textural contrast. The broccoli in these tacos is just barely cooked, so it still has great crunch. If you’re not a fan of broccoli, get those potatoes in there, or maybe go wild and use a sweet potato!
- The “Green” – I’m not above a shredded iceberg lettuce moment, but when I want to feel extra fancy, but have that same experience, I love to use shredded green cabbage. With cabbage, it’s like everything, the crunch, the flavor, the sweetness, are all turned up. Purple cabbage would work great as well, or some massaged kale, if you’re wanting your greens to be a bit greener.
- The “Seed” – Avocado makes two appearances in this dish. It’s served sliced on top, and it’s also in the Avocado Crema (which also contains cashews). Not an avocado fan? I’m sorry. But, you could just make the crema without the avocado, and use that as your main “seed” component.
- Nutritional yeast – Honestly, I’m starting to realize that I use “nooch” in everything. But I’m totally OK with it. In this dish, it truly makes the tofu scramble. Without it, you don’t have the authentic MMT version. I also add it to the Avocado Crema to add a bit of umami, and a slight “cheesy” flavor. Honestly, there is no substitute for it. Get some, and get a big container. You’re about to be hooked.
- Ground turmeric – Normally I don’t add turmeric to my tofu scramble, but it felt right adding it in this recipe since I’m trying to boost the nutrient density of the dish. Totally leave it out if you’re not a fan. Double it up if you are.
- Lemon – This is my secret ingredient in my tofu scramble. I’m not sure where I picked it up, but like nutritional yeast, it’s not an MMT tofu scramble without it. I also use it to add a bit of tang to the Avocado Crema. I don’t really recommend substituting it with anything else in either of the components.
- Onion – These can be kept raw or cooked down a bit more with the tofu scramble. Green onions would also be great. Not a fan of onions, leave them out.
- Diced green chilis – I love canned diced green chilis so much. They are such a great way to add a pop of flavor and a bit of spice. Sure you can buy mild versions, but I would never. You could use fresh green bell pepper or jalapeno in its place if that’s what you have on hand. I do, however, strongly recommend some type of verdant flavored pepper in these beans. They make the dish.
- Salsa or taco sauce – We all have our favorites, so use yours. I do recommend using one that isn’t really water just because it can really sog the dish out.
- Well-seasoned cast iron or nonstick skillet – Since I’m trying to use less oil because it’s just empty calories, It’s important that I have a way of cooking foods without it or with minimal amounts of it. I’m not a fan of “water sauteing”, so I prefer to use a cast iron skillet just lightly brushed with a bit of oil. Not enough to transfer to the food, but enough to keep the seasoning on the skillet. Nonstick is great, too, if that’s your speed.
- Medium-sized saucepan – You just need a pot big enough to hold a can of beans.
- High-speed or bullet blender – Since we’re blending cashews, it’s important to have a blender that can really decimate them. I use a NutriBullet because of its ease of use, and because it does the job that my Vitamix does, without having to clean a huge blender pitcher. If your blender isn’t high-speed, just make sure to soak your cashews ahead of time.
Black Bean Breakfast Tacos with Easy Tofu Scramble and Avocado Crema
Quick and easy plant-based breakfast featuring incredible tofu scramble and green chili black beans
- ½ block (7 ounces) firm or extra firm water-packed tofu
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 cup broccoli, cut into small pieces
- ½ cup diced onion
- ½ lemon, juiced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 can (1 ½ cups) black beans with liquid
- 2 ounces (½ small can) diced green chilis
- red pepper flake to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ medium avocado, ripe
- ¼ cup raw cashews
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- ½ lemon. juiced
- ¼ to ½ cup water
- salt to taste
- 6 Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Tortillas or whole grain tortillas of choice
- 1 cup shredded green cabbage or green of choice
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- salsa or taco sauce
- diced onion
- To make the Tofu Scramble:
- Heat a large skillet on medium heat. If you don’t trust the nonstick of your skillet, add a bit of oil. Break up the ½ block of tofu into bite-size pieces. Allow the tofu to cook, tossing every few minutes, until the tofu is lightly browned on all sides. If the pieces are too big, break them with your spoon or spatula as they cook.
- Add nutritional yeast, turmeric, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss. Squeeze on lemon juice, and toss until the juice has absorbed or evaporated. Add broccoli and onions, and continue to saute for another couple of minutes, just until the broccoli starts to soften. Remove from heat and set aside.
- To make the Green Chili Black Beans:
To a saucepan on medium heat, add all of the Green Chili Black Bean ingredients. Bring them to a simmer, and allow the beans to cook for about 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Remove from heat and set aside.
- To make the Avocado Crema:
(Note: If you do not have a high-speed blender, soak your cashews overnight, or simmer in water for 10 minutes before blending.) Add all Avocado Crema ingredients to the blender, starting out with just ¼ cup of water. Blend until creamy and there are no bits of cashew remaining. If it’s too thick, add a bit more water, a tablespoon at a time, until it has thinned to the desired consistency.
- To serve:
- Warm your tortillas on a flat-top grill or in the microwave. Start with a layer of tofu scramble, top with black beans, then add a layer of shredded cabbage, top with sliced avocado, and then generously drizzle the top with avocado crema and hot sauce or salsa of choice. Serve immediately.