To introduce some variety to our breakfast, we found that we could easily replace the eggs (the “huevos”) with supple squares of firm tofu as the source of protein. Like a poached egg, the tofu achieved a creamy, silky interior texture while still holding its shape during cooking. The backbone of our tofu rancheros is the sauce, so nailing it was key: For maximum flavor with little effort, we roasted canned diced tomatoes with brown sugar, lime juice, onion, green chiles, garlic, and chili powder. Roasting on a sheet pan allowed moisture to quickly evaporate and a nice char to form on the vegetables. We seared seasoned tofu while the sauce cooked to give it a beautiful golden-brown color. Finishing the sauce and tofu together on the stovetop allowed the flavors to meld and gave the tofu a perfect texture. Instead of sprinkling the dish with a few herbs, we supercharged the toppings by adding a vibrant salad of avocado, cilantro, and scallions. Served with warm corn tortillas, tofu rancheros is a spicy, hearty way to start the day.
Tofu Rancheros [Vegan]
- 2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
- 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped canned green chiles
- 1/4 cup cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
- 14-ounces firm tofu, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into twelve 1/2-inch-thick slabs
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup cilantro leaves
- 4 scallions, white parts sliced thin, green parts cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 avocado, halved, pitted, and diced
- 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 500°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Drain tomatoes in fine-mesh strainer set over bowl, pressing to extract as much juice as possible. Reserve 1 and 1/4 cups tomato juice and discard remainder. Whisk 1 tablespoon lime juice and sugar into tomato juice.
- Combine onion, chiles, 2 tablespoons oil, 2 tablespoons chili powder, garlic, and drained tomatoes in second bowl. Transfer tomato mixture to prepared baking sheet and spread in even layer to edges of sheet. Roast until charred in spots, 35 to 40 minutes, stirring and redistributing into even layer halfway through baking.
- Meanwhile, spread tofu on paper towel-lined baking sheet and let drain for 20 minutes. Gently press dry with paper towels, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle both sides with remaining 1/2 teaspoon chili powder.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add tofu and cook until golden and crisp on both sides, 5 to 7 minutes; transfer to paper towel-lined plate.
- Transfer roasted tomato mixture to now-empty skillet and stir in reserved tomato juice mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then nestle tofu into sauce. Bring to simmer over medium heat, cover, and cook until tofu is warmed through and sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes.
- Whisk remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 1 teaspoon lime juice together in large bowl. Add cilantro, scallions, and avocado and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve rancheros with warm tortillas and lime wedges, topped with herb and avocado salad.
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