Huevos Rancheros for when you don't eat eggs

I love beans. Anyone that knows me knows this. Refried beans are one of my favorite ways to eat them, and huevos rancheros is one of my favorite ways to eat refried beans. So, naturally, when I decided to stop eating eggs I was preparing to say a very tearful goodbye to one of my favorite breakfast foods. And then I discovered tofu scramble. No, it’s not the fried egg beauty that is a normal huevos rancheros. But that doesn’t mean tofu scrambles aren’t delicious in their own right. You can switch up the seasonings to your taste, and it’s a great way to mimic scrambled eggs texture and still maintain tons of complex flavor. If you don’t have every seasoning I mention, that doesn’t mean you can’t make this. It just means to be creative – add what you have, switch up the proportions I’ve written. Recipes are just guidelines.

Now, the star of the show: the beans. You don’t have to make your own refried beans. I love a good canned refried bean. But the level of flavor in a homemade refried bean is just something that can’t be replicated. So, as the wonderful Carla Lalli Music once said when talking about beans: it’s up to you if you want to be good, or you want to be great. I don’t make the rules.

When you’re charring the onions for the beans, charred means charred. It’s not going to smell great. You’re going to think you’re messing everything up and ruining a great thing. You’re not. You don’t want golden brown, you want charred. There’s a Bon Appetit video with a similar refried bean recipe that I’ll link below if you want to check that out and see what I’m talking about.

Ingredients:

For the beans:

  • ½ white onion, cut in half with layers divided
  • ¼ – ½ cup neutral oil
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Few dashes of chipotle tobasco
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the tofu scramble:

  • ½ block of tofu
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For assembly:

  • Flour tortillas
  • Salsa
  • Cilantro
  • Hot sauce (i.e. Cholula)

Instructions:

  1. Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. Add the oil, enough to cover the bottom with a layer of oil about ½ inch deep. Add the onions and char, flipping occasionally, until black in most places. (Be careful of oil splatters).
  2. Once onions are charred, reduce heat to medium and transfer onions to a food processor leaving the oil in the pot over heat. Add the beans (with liquid), garlic powder, and tobacco to the blender and blend until smooth, adding splashes of water as necessary. Set aside.
  3. Pat tofu dry with paper towel, and heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Mix all spices except for salt and pepper in a small bowl, and add a splash of water. Stir to create a paste.
  4. Add beans to pot with the oil from the onions from before. Stir frequently throughout the cooking process, using long strokes. 
  5. 2-3 minutes later, add tofu to the frying pan with the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally. Be sure to not forget your beans – keep stirring them!
  6. 1-2 minutes later, when tofu is just beginning to develop a few golden brown spots, add the spice paste and stir to coat. 
  7. Once beans have thickened slightly, season to taste and continue to stir.
  8. When beans have thickened enough that a spoon dragged on the bottom of the pot through the mixture will leave a track for a few seconds, turn off heat on both beans and tofu. 
  9. Turn burner to high heat. Place tortilla on burner grate for a few seconds, then flip. Repeat for all tortillas. They should now be warmed through with a few dark spots.
  10. Build the tortillas by adding beans, then tofu, then salsa, then cilantro and hot sauce. Serve while hot. 

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