With Easter and other spring feasts on the horizon, brunch food is top of mind for so many of us right now (as if it wasn’t already!). And while we may instinctively think of classics like bacon and eggs when putting our menus together, this tofu benny with creamy, vegan hollandaise makes a pretty compelling argument for adopting this plant-based alternative. It comes to us from former TV host, Lauren Toyota, whose new cookbook, Hot For Food Vegan Comfort Classics, contains tons of tempting vegan dishes that belong in your brunch rotation.
For Toyota, the key to this dish is getting the tofu juuuust right — and ignoring any preconceived notions you have about the ingredient. “I know you’ve eaten shitty tofu, so you’re like ‘ew, tofu!’,” she laughed. “[But] it’s so lean and full of protein. It’s a sponge… just so easy to use and transform.” She notes that cooking it right does require some restraint. “Just be patient with the frying,” she told us. “People don’t get the pan hot enough and they want to look at it and flip it and it gets stuck. Just let it cook… don’t touch it!”
Toyota’s best tip for throwing a brunch that the vegans and carnivores alike can enjoy? “Get some veggie bacon on the plate, put it with anything and you’re good.” Noted. Read on to learn more about this tasty take on a perennial fave, and get the scoop on how to make it just in time for the weekend’s festivities.
Tofu Benny with Hollandaise
By Lauren Toyota
This popular dish from the blog has saved my ass many times whether I’m hungover or entertaining the in-laws, so I knew it had to be included in this book. Though I was an eggs Benedict superfan back in the day, I haven’t ever fantasized about the traditional version once since creating this masterpiece. Give tofu a real chance if you haven’t yet. It comes in many textures, and all it requires is proper seasoning and cooking technique! If you thought your vegan life would never let you dive deep into a plate full of bennies again... you’re welcome!
1 (16 oz) brick medium-firm tofu
¼ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp ground pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil
10 cups packed baby spinach or stemmed and chopped kale
Sea salt and ground pepper
2 vine tomatoes, sliced
The Hollandaise Sauce (see recipe below)
4 English muffins, split in half
4 tbsp vegan butter
Small handful of chives, for garnish
¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper, for garnish
The Hollandaise Sauce (Makes 1 cup)::
½ cup sliced blanched almonds
½ cup unsweetened nondairy milk
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
½ tsp mustard powder
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground white pepper
¼ tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
For the hollandaise:
Place all the ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until very smooth. If you need to thin the sauce, add small amounts of nondairy milk until the desired consistency is achieved.
Heat the sauce over low heat in a saucepan, whisking constantly, before serving. If you overheat the sauce or forget to whisk it constantly, it will thicken and get lumpy. If this occurs, reblend it to smooth it out or add more nondairy milk or water.
When reheating leftovers, you’ll definitely need to add a bit more nondairy milk or water to thin out the sauce again. It keeps up to 7 days in the fridge.
For the benny:
Drain the tofu and pat dry of excess moisture with a tea towel or paper towel. Slice the tofu into quarters and slice each quarter in half lengthwise, so you have 8 thick medallions.
Season the tofu on all sides with the paprika, salt, and pepper.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet or nonstick pan over medium-high heat and coat the bottom with a thin layer of vegetable oil. Place the pieces of tofu in the pan and fry for about 3 minutes on the first side. Flip and fry for another 3 minutes. The tofu should develop a nice golden crust. Continue turning the pieces to fry all sides.
Remove the tofu to a dish, cover to stay warm, and set aside.
Lower the heat to medium and sauté the spinach with a pinch each of salt and pepper until just wilted and cooked through. Remove the greens from the pan. Then fry up the tomato slices for 1 minute each side.
Warm up the hollandaise sauce and toast, and butter the English muffins.
Top each muffin half with greens, a tomato slice, a piece of tofu, and a dollop of warm hollandaise. Garnish with the chives and a sprinkle of ground cayenne pepper.
Excerpted from Hot for Food Vegan Comfort Classics. Copyright © 2018 by Lauren Toyota. Published by Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
Servings: Makes 4 servings
approx. Per Serving