“Mom, I need greens!”… music to my ears! My kids just finished up a few weeks of state testing and my 8 year old daughter made the connection between what she eats and how she feels at school, especially her ability to cope with testing situations, focus and concentrate. While you might think that I would get my fill of nutrition at work, my passion for the subject and our family’s health runs deep, so we tend to talk about it quite a bit. Lately, the kids have been asking more questions about how our bodies work and the role that nutrition plays. My husband’s aunt just died from the complications of a major stroke, which prompted a family discussion about the circulatory system, how inflammation can damage our blood vessels and the impact of our food choices. Like most parents, I always hope that the kids are paying attention and retain at least some of what we talk about, but never really know if it is going in one ear and out the other. Then, one day it happens… A situation presents itself that shows you that they are actually connecting the dots.
Over the weekend, my daughter asked if I could help her with something. She explained that she needed help to “get her greens in the morning,” especially on her testing days. She told me that she gets nervous before her tests and when she thinks about how the greens are working in her body to help her cells be at their best, she feels calmer and knows that she can focus. After I took a second to pinch myself, thrilled beyond belief, we got busy brainstorming.
We all love our smoothies with power greens, but this occasion called for something even more fun and exciting… tacos for breakfast, and not just any taco, but our “Scrambled Tacos!” I first whipped up this recipe on a weekend morning before my husband spent the day working in the yard. He wanted something savory and filling, but nothing that would sit heavily in his stomach, as he tackled digging trenches for our landscaping project. When I reminded my daughter about the tacos, her face lit up, “Perfect! If you make the filling tonight, I can make my own breakfast tacos in the morning.”
Not only are these super tasty, they are also extremely economical and once made, will last in the fridge for several days and be enough to fill 20 tacos! Then, a satisfying meal can be ready in less than 5 minutes, any time of day! If you are a more traditional breakfast eater, make a batch of the filling and enjoy these at lunch or dinner.
3/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced or finely diced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced or pressed
1 large carrot, finely grated
10 ounces kale*, fresh or frozen, finely chopped
15 ounces organic tofu, extra firm – water packed – not silken*
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, optional
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes, optional
12 ounce jar of salsa
1 1/2 cups black beans, cooked (or 15 ounce can of black beans, rinsed)
6 ounces soyrizo, optional (you will use 1/2 of a 12 ounce package)
Optional, but wonderful toppings: avocado, cilantro, purple cabbage, finely sliced, hot sauce, salsa, pico de gallo
1. If using soyrizo, remove from plastic sleeve and cook in a dry pan until brown and crumbly.
2. While soyrizo is cooking, drain tofu from package, wrap in a clean dish towel or paper towels, and press out extra water. Transfer to a medium sized bowl, mash with a fork until crumbly, mix in turmeric, salt, pepper and nutritional yeast.
3. Remove cooked soyrizo from pan, put half of it away for another use (can be frozen) and add the red onion, cooking until softened and lightly brown, 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and carrot, cook for 1-2 minutes, add chopped kale and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
4. Add tofu mixture to veggies, cook for a few minutes, then add salsa, black beans and cooked soyrizo.
5. Cook until heated through and any extra liquid in pan has evaporated.
The Nutrition Professor’s Shop Smart Tips
*Buy refrigerated tofu either packed in water in a plastic tub or vacuum sealed. Do not use tofu labeled “silken” for this recipe.
*Use a variety of chopped leafy greens, fresh or frozen: kale, collard greens, spinach, mustard greens, or chard.
Enjoy every single delectable bite, as you indulge in more and more recipes that unite delicious and nutritious. Loving the food that loves you back is so much fun!
This article was published in the Lodi News Sentinel on May 6, 2015.
Timaree Hagenburger, is a registered dietitian and certified exercise physiologist with a master’s degree in public health. She is a nutrition professor at Cosumnes River College, conducts corporate wellness work, and has a regular segment on California Bountiful TV. This delicious recipe, as well as a great Tofu Scramble Foodie Bar, is part of her innovative cookbook – The Foodie Bar™ Way: One meal. Lots of options. Everyone’s happy. available at www.FoodieBars.com