I got a flurry of texts in the last few days of 2013. Like the thousands of other people who signed up for Veganuary, a handful of my friends had decided to go vegan for the whole of January, and they suddenly had a LOAD of questions.
“Ohmigod, where can I get a stuffed crust takeout pizza?”
“You’re telling me I’ve no hope with scotch eggs?”
“I’m stuck in Kensington and I need a hot chocolate fix and I mean NOW. What the heck am I going to do when I’m real-time vegan?”
For the first week of 2014, it was like running a hotline. Luckily, I had an answer for all those questions, as well as the others that invariably arrived at 3am on Sunday morning, demanding to know the location of that vegan kebab shop I mentioned in passing once when they weren’t paying attention. Cheers, guys. But after a few days, the all-hours texts stopped, the calls died down and the Facebook messages went back to discussing normal things, like illustrating the best quotes from Con Air in emojis, or how to pitch a Gossip Girl-does-The OC double reunion series so we can finally see Seth Cohen and Blair Waldorf fall in love IRL (Josh Schwartz, you know what’s up).
After a few hiccups, all my friends had managed to battle through the first few days of veganism and ended up on other side of the plant-based wilderness – the part where you know which coffee shop closest to your work will give you soy milk for free with your latte, or your favourite go-to lentil dahl recipe when there’s nothing in the fridge.
But the texts started up the other day. Because with January and therefore Veganuary drawing to a close, some of my friends have decided to stay vegan either full or part time. There was a new flurry of questions, but the main one that cropped up again and again just had one word: EGGS?!
It seemed like four weeks away from eggs was fine – the weirdo wonders of fake cheese and coconut yoghurt provided ample distraction – but any longer than that, and I guess it’s easy to start focusing on all the things you’ll never eat again.
Eggs are what I miss. At the end of a long swim, bike ride or just Monday in the office, it’s eggs I still wanna pile high on my plate. Just like the douchey ex-boyfriend your best mates never liked in the first place, I know full well why I’m not eating them, but that still doesn’t stop me from missing them every once in a while. And yes, I did just compare an ex with eggy bread, but neither of them were vegan or a good long-term choice for me, so I stand by it.
For those of you who tried out Veganuary this month, I’m guessing you too might be missing the amber high of fried, poached or scrambled eggs. So here’s a recipe for anyone hankering for some faux-yolky times in the final days of January. Tofu scramble might be a bit of a cliche for a vegan option, but that’s because it works. And to be quite honest, who cares about cliches when it’s 3am on a Sunday morning and all the kebab shops are closed?
Chili tofu scramble chimichangas with roasted peppers
Makes enough for two
- Sunflower or vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped small
- 1 clove garlic, chopped small
- 1 chili, chopped small
- ½ tsp chili flakes
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 block firm (not silken) tofu
- 1 tomato, cut into small chunks
- 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- 1 pepper, sliced into strips
- Tortilla wraps
- Optional accoutrements that also taste amazing: Refried beans, avocado slices, sunflower seeds, potato wedges.
In a frying pan, heat a few tablespoons of oil with the onion, until it begins to go soft and translucent. Add in the garlic, fresh chili, chili flakes and turmeric, and stir so you begin to smell all the flavours from the spices and garlic.
Keeping the pan on a medium heat, add the block of tofu, and begin to break it up as you stir it into the onion mixture. Once it’s evenly mixed through and beginning to resemble scrambled eggs, add the chopped tomato and half the parsley, saving the rest back for garnishing.
Take the pan off the heat and spoon the tofu mixture into tortilla wrap, adding a few pepper strips on top. Tightly roll the mixture into a burrito shape. You can either eat it straight away here, or heat a skillet pan and a little more oil, and cook the whole burrito for a few minutes each side, so it becomes a (slightly) healthier take on a chimichanga. If you don’t have a skillet pan you could also heat these in the oven to get that crispy texture on the outside of the wrap.
Top off with some vegannaise, refried beans and avocado, and you’ve got a stellar plateful that will see you way past any egg cravings. You’re welcome.