Flavour Favourites – 5 Great Tofu & Tofu Scramble Vegetarian & Vegan Brunch Dishes!

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Source: photovisi

I’m so happy and excited!  I finally have enough posts to do a Flavour Favourites post for one of my favourite foods: TOFU!  And not just any post devoted to tofu, this is a special tofu and tofu scramble brunch edition post!  Even though I’ve been eating tofu almost all my life, it wasn’t until I started my crazy food exploration 4 years ago that I realized just how versatile it was as a vegetarian brunch main.  I was especially intrigued by tofu scramble and the more I saw it on vegetarian and vegan brunch menus, the more I wanted to try them all.  Tofu scramble with vegan cheddar, tofu scramble with spinach and diced onions, on crispy corn tortillas, with peppers and spices – I totally have a “gotta catch ’em all!” mentality towards it now and it’s been so much fun trying the dishes that I have and discovering new eateries and hot spots along the way.

Oh, and did you notice the snazzy photo collages?!  I love them, they’re so pretty if I do say so myself!  I didn’t actually create the backgrounds, I just picked the template and plugged the photos in.  But it was fun nevertheless!  I’ve been feeling so sad about my lack of scrapbooking that I felt compelled to do something colourful and creative with my photos.  It’s been tough.  Ever since I started working full-time M-F, scrapbooking just hasn’t happened and it certainly hasn’t been because of a lack of desire.  It’s purely a lack of time.  I hate even saying it because it makes me sound like a person who whines and complains about not having enough time, making excuses, and not doing anything to change it.

Source: Ate by Ate’s Facebook page

Believe me, I’ve made an effort.

I’ve bought new materials for projects on my to-do list, I developed some new photos for new layouts.  But with a M-F full-time schedule and weekends jam-packed with getting and preparing blog stories and content and fitting in time with my boyfriend, friends, and family, there has been virtually nothing left for quiet, undisturbed sit-down time with my paper and scissors.  I want to change this so much so here’s to hoping I find a way to do it because this was one of the major reasons why I started Ate by Ate in the first place.

Let’s get this tofu brunch show started!

  1. Vegan Rancheros at Sadie’s Diner (504 Adelaide Street West at Portland Street, just east of Bathurst) – Scrambled tofu on corn tortillas with salsa, refried beans, guacamole, and vegan cheese, $12, daily Welcome to Sadie’s Diner – Rockin’ Robin Huevos Rancheros, Part II || May 4, 2011
  2. Full Breakfast at Fresh (147 Spadina Ave. just south of Queen Street; 326 Bloor Street West just east of Spadina Ave; 894 Queen Street West at Crawford) – Scrambled tofu with grilled spinach, baked beans, grilled vegan sausage or tempeh bacon, toast, and homefries, $11, weekend brunch A Weekend Vegan Brunch of Tofu Scramble, Grilled Spinach, Home Fries, and Tempeh Bacon at Fresh || February 27, 2012
  3. Tex Mex Tortilla Scramble at Fresh (147 Spadina Ave. just south of Queen Street; 326 Bloor Street West just east of Spadina Ave; 894 Queen Street West at Crawford) – Crunchy corn tortillas, scrambled tofu, avocado, cilantro, tomato, lettuce, green onions, avocado chipotle sauce, spicy black beans, and brown basmati rice, $11, weekend brunch (mine served with an additional order ($2) of aged cheddar cheese!) A Rainforest Cabana Weekend Brunch – The Tex Mex Tortilla Scramble & The First Visit to Fresh Crawford || May 11, 2012
  4. Grilled Tofu on Vegan Chili at Niche Coffee & Tea Company (626 Queen Street West) – Grilled tofu steaks on homemade spicy vegan chili topped with tortilla crisps and a choice of homemade foccacia or cornbread, $10.50, daily (depending on the day, the meal can come with either tomato and arugula salad or guacamole cream) The Vegan Chili Series! First Up: Vegan Chili Brunch with Grilled Tofu Steaks at Niche Coffee & Tea on Queen West || September 28, 2011
  5. Tofu Scramble at Disgraceland (965 Bloor Street West between Delaware Ave. and Dovercourt Rd.) – Tofu scramble with sweet bell peppers, onions, garlic, cumin, chili, black beans, corn, and jalapenos with crunchy corn chips and a choice between hash browns (breakfast potatoes) or greens, $9 tax inclusive, weekend brunch Corn Chips, Breakfast Potatoes & Moroccan Flavour in a Tofu Scramble – Weekend Vegan Brunch at Disgraceland || September 7, 2012

AND, if you’re interested in trying tofu brunch dishes that I haven’t blogged about yet, here is my tofu goldmine “to-eat” list!

  • Tofu Scramble at Lady Marmalade (898 Queen Street East, just west of Logan Ave.) – Tofu scramble with shitake mushrooms, bok choy, spinach, and scallions in sesame soy dressing with your choice of either brown basmati rice or potatoes, toast, and salad, $11.50, daily all-day breakfast http://www.ladymarmalade.ca/
  • Sesame Tofu Scramble at Sage Cafe (166 McCaul Street at the corner of Elm) – Sesame tofu scramble on a bed of Thai-style rice noodles, $10, weekend brunch http://www.sagecafeandcatering.com/our-menus/weekend-brunch-menu
  • Tofu Omelette at Live Organic Food Bar (264 Dupont Street at Spadina Ave.) – Tofu omelette with tempeh, regular and sundried tomatoes, spinach, peppers, and olives with your choice of either potatoes or salad, $16, weekend brunch http://www.livefoodbar.com/brunch.html
  • Baked Polenta “Bolognese” at the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West, east of Dufferin St.) – Vegan polenta cake with roasted heirloom tomato, mushroom and tofu “bolognese” with lentils and broccoli, $9, Fall 2012 weekend brunch (over the summer, the Gladstone had a tofu quesadilla!) http://www.gladstonehotel.com/food/?doing_wp_cron=1351394130.0679988861083984375000

Getting My Mango and Tofu On – The Mango Tango Burrito at Freshii!

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I look a little silly cradling my burrito half like a baby, but when my food is yummy, I take great care in ensuring all of it ends up in my tummy as opposed to on the floor or on myself.  Well, that, and because I just needed a way to get the burrito in the photo with me!  I love burritos and I love how making them and eating them are one of the easiest and healthiest ways to get all my protein and veggies into a single meal.  I’m crazy about rice and beans and stuffing things like chickpeas, avocado, peppers, cheese, and spinach into them.  And don’t even get me started on the sauce!  I mop up my sauces real good and a burrito just isn’t a burrito unless there’s guacamole, sour cream, or some other delectable dressing to dunk it in. 

I’m a huuuge fan of the fish, shrimp, and veggie and bean burritos at Burrito Boyz, but haven’t really ventured out to other places around the city to try out others.  I always want to, but there’s so many things I always want to eat that sometimes it goes on the backburner until I’m reminded of one and think, “hmm, that burrito looks scrumptious.  I want to stick my face in it”.  I wasn’t kidding though when I said I was afraid of soiling myself with my food; one of my earliest memories of eating tacos and burritos was unfortunately dropping rice and sauce on my dress at the age of 5.  However, I have since replaced that exasperating experience with many happier ones, like the times when I would have build-a-burrito night for dinner at home and have bowls of chopped peppers, tomatoes, ground meat, rice, cheese at my disposable, and the heavenly meals at Burrito Boyz.

This burrito was the first item I tried from Freshii’s Social Menu (mains ranging from $7.29-$9.99), which debuted back in August at all Freshii locations and it was also the first time I tried one of Freshii’s burritos in general.  After being seduced by brown rice Freshii bowls for over a year, it was time for a temporary change of scenery and lucky me, there was a special menu to work with!  Freshii’s Social Menu was introduced over a month ago and the menu features a number of different combinations voted in and recommended by social media followers on sites such as Twitter and Facebook.  This menu not only highlights what some of Freshii’s biggest fans love, but it also attests to the proliferation of social media as a tool for businesses to communicate with consumers, gauge likes and dislikes, reciprocate feedback, and to build relationships across borders.  More and more, businesses are using social media outlets to promote their image and brand and to engage consumers in different ways.  For example, Freshii has used Twitter to ask followers about menu items to add and to pass along promotions and news among other things.  Freshii’s Social Menu thus reflects a very current and relatable mode of communication and creative process.

Freshii’s Mango Tango burrito had my name written all over it: brown rice with avocado, roasted red pepper, melted Jack and cheddar cheese, grilled tofu, and a mango, tomato, roasted red pepper, and cilantro salsa all wrapped in a grilled whole wheat tortilla.  It goes without saying that I loved the combination of avocado, roasted peppers, and cheese, but what totally made this burrito a hit for me was the tofu!  You’d think the tofu would be standing in the wings with a supporting role, but the tofu shined in this one.  The tofu was cut into cubed chunks and it was so good because it didn’t taste rubbery and it had this great warm, nutty flavour to it.  It added another dimension of taste and texture to the burrito and it was my favourite part of the whole thing. 

Some people might think burritos are child’s play to make, but they really aren’t because you need a balance between wet and dry foods.  Too much of things like tomatos and cucumber makes for a gross, leaky burrito and not enough means you’ll end up eating nothing but dry rice and tortilla.  The avocado added creaminess to the rice and tortilla, the tofu added body and nuttiness, the peppers and mango added moisture, and the cheese added its natural saltiness.  I also loved how the tomato and peppers in the salsa didn’t overpower the mango.  Throughout the entire burrito I got little bursts of juicy mango flavour and I only wish it was more than a salsa and instead ginormous chunks!  It was great and I enjoyed it even more after getting a side of blue cheese dressing to dunk my burrito in!  Their blue cheese dressing goes fab with this and as usual, I cleaned it all off.  And I didn’t make a mess the entire time.  Win-win 😀

*****

Freshii in Toronto serves 12 locations in the city with one also serving Mississauga.  Click here for a list and map of specific locations, as well as more information on Freshii’s menu, goals, and mission statement.  The Yonge and St.Clair Freshii is located at 1560 Yonge St., just north of St. Clair Ave. on the west side of Yonge.