Vegan omelettes are delicious and simple to prepare. A very tasty day-starter especially when boasting smoky chipotle, mushroom, toasted sweetcorn and a lively salsa.
The flavours of Mexico mirror Mexican culture; diverse and vibrant, fresh and intense. There are many ways to make a plant-based omelette but I like this combination of gram flour, caramelised veggies and silken tofu. Loads of flavours and textures going on.
I’m not so keen on creating dishes that exactly mimic meat/ cheese/ eggs etc, just something that everyone will be able to enjoy and appreciate the similarities in texture and flavour. This is one of those dishes that is carnivore approved!
Eating vegan food doesn’t mean giving things up, it normally means adapting dishes and is always full of creative surprises. Just like these omelettes. They are rich and delicious and of course, are packed with wonderful nutrition.
I normally like juices, fruit, porridge, muesli etc for breakfast, I don’t have a sweet tooth, but it seems to be what my body is craving first thing. There are however those exceptional days when only savoury will do. This normally follows a few glasses of moonshine down at the local tavern I find!
Pan fried mushrooms are just packed with umami-style flavour, along with the sweetcorn and the toasty, nutty flavour of the gram flour making for a flavour packed breakfast.
Mexicans are brilliant at breakfast and many of the classic breakfast dishes are egg-based. Huevos Rancheros, Huevos a la Mexicana, Breakfast tacos or burritos, Gorditas (think a pasty meets a tortilla, stuffed with beans and griddled, utterly delicious)……. All easily veganized, especially as avocado is such a staple in Mexico. They are normally served with loads of chilli in some form or another, either chopped raw or a potent sauce. There is also the beauty of the ubiquitous and always freshly homemade green and red sauces (salsa verde y rojo) that can be spooned over anything to add sensational flavour. Breakfast is no exception.
Chilli is sure to get the body and mind warmed up for the day! Once a week, I like to have a spicy brekkie and in Mexico became accustomed to chewing on a whole chilli in the morning. Beats an espresso I can tell you!
WHAT IS CHIPOTLE?
Chipotle is basically a smoked red jalapeno chilli that is now readily available around the UK and Europe. If you’re reading in the States, I’m sure you know your way around a chipotle already! Chipotle chillies can be bought in many forms either dried, in adobo (canned), as a paste (popular in the UK) or ground. You can sometimes replace chipotle with smoked paprika in recipes.
I spent six months backpacking around Mexico, many years ago now, but I can still perfectly recall many of the meals I ate there. The diversity and flavours of Mexico blew me away. Thank goodness there are a few decent Mexican restaurants in the UK nowadays, there is much more to Mexican cuisine than a Texmex Burrito (although they can be awesome too!)
One of the delights of Mexican cooking is the chipotle and other smoky, sweet chillies. They are unique and a real delicacy. Many markets have a huge variety of smoky chillies piled up, all used in different dishes, from the salsa rojo to the feast that is a mole pobaldo. Chipotles are quite fiery, but I’d say are medium on the blow your head off scale. Less hot than a raw jalapeno that is for sure.
Chipotles are normally smoked for several days and in that time shrivel up. The flavours really intensify, so this is worth bearing in mind when cooking. A little chipotle can flavour a large pot of stew. Chipotles are quite tough and are therefore best used in slow cook dishes like soups, stews and are especially good as a surprise ingredient in chutney/ marmalades. I love a cheeky Chipotle Marmalade and will attempt to get a recipe on here one day.
Gram flour is a wonderful ingredient. So full of flavour and totally gluten free, made from ground chickpeas. Gram flour can also be made form roasted pulses and comes in raw and roasted varieties. Roasted gram has a fuller flavour.
It is a healthy alternative to wheat flour and I’m using it to help bind together vegan baking at the moment. A couple of tbs mixed with an equal quantity of water can make a huge difference to the texture of a cake.
Gram flour has been used in Europe for many years, its maybe not so exotic as we think. Examples of this would be the pancake style dishes Socca (France) or Farinata (Italy). Both traditional and totally gram. When gram flour is cooked its strong flavour mellows, I do quite like my vegan omelettes a little soft, but some are not keen on the flavour of raw-ish gram flour. Gram flour is a top larder item for every cook.
We can’t eat meat and dairy at current levels. The world will not sustain us. There are very clever people out there who are creating fake meat and cheese in laboratories and just recently I saw a youtube clip of a scrambled vegan egg. It certainly looked like the real deal, all soft and shiny when cooked. What it tastes like remains to be seen so I’ll stick with this omelette for now.
Most of us are waking up to the fact that our eating habits must change, for so many positive reasons; we love animals, for our own health and the health of the planet. The future of food for me is lots of fruits, legumes, veggies and nuts. However, some folk will still want a bloody hamburger or a runny egg yolk, this is now becoming a very real, plant-based alternative.
This is a lively breakfast/ brunch (in fact lunch too) sure to get your taste buds firing first thing, certainly adding a little spice and big flavours to an autumn morning. A wake up call! A fiesta in your mouth!!
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Corn season in the UK is coming to an end, but what better way to use your gorgeous fresh corn on the cobs. You can use tinned sweetcorn, but it just ain’t the same.
Some vegan omelettes call for the tofu to be mixed in with the flour, but I like the texture contrast of keeping it separate.
I like these just cooked, over cooking an vegan omelette will only make it dry. Which is never a good thing. A couple of minutes in a warm pan is enough and then straight under the grill and then eaten just after. Just like an egg omelette, the warmer and fresher the omelette the more delicious.
I love chilli so 1 1/2 tbs is a good amount. Use a little less if you’re not quite ready for a full chilli hit at the breakfast table.
Adding fresh coriander to the salsa and omelette is lovely. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any.
The Bits – For 2 large omelettes
150g gram flour (besan)
½ teas salt
½ teas baking powder (gluten-free)
1 teas cumin seeds
250g firm silken tofu (sliced)
200g sweetcorn (2 corn on the cobs)
2 large mushrooms (like field or portobello)
1-1 1/2 tbs chipotle paste
Oil for cooking (I used rapeseed/ canola oil)
Avocado and Tomato Salsa
2 spring onions
2 large leaves kale (curly, black kale etc – stems removed and finely sliced)
1 lime juice
½ lime zest
½ teas salt
In a bowl, mix together the gran flour, water, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
Make your salsa, this can be done in advance. Combine all the ingredients, lightly toss together and check seasoning.
Grab a large, heavy bottomed frying pan. Add 1/2 tbs oil and warm on a high heat. Once hot add the cumin seeds and corn. Stir and saute for 5 minutes, until the corn has a nice, dark golden colour. Set corn aside. Wipe pan clean.
Pop pan back on the stove. Warm another 1/2 tbs oil and add your mushrooms, saute for 2 minutes, stirring regularly, add the chipotle paste and cook through for another minute. Set aside and wipe clean pan.
Warm a grill on medium heat. You can flip the pancake in the pan, but it is quite thick and can break easily. Better to go for the grilling option.
Warm 1/3 tbs oil in your frying pan, make sure the pan base has a nice thin covering of oil. Scatter half your corn and mushrooms into the pan and spoon over half your gram flour mix. Ensure the pan base has an even covering of mix and place half your tofu evenly across the omelette. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then loosen the edges with a flat spatula. This is a good sign that the base is cooked (you can even have a quick peek!)
Place the pan under the grill (drizzle a little more oil over the omelette for added richness at this stage) and grill until the omelette is cooked through, a nice golden colour, a couple of minutes should be enough.
As soon as possible along with the salsa. You can either fold the omelette or leave it flat and sprinkle over the salsa, like a pizza. Mexican omelette pizza!? Quite a thing!!
A nice sweet and sour sauce, something like a smoky Mexican Salsa Rojo would be perfect, but not necessary.
Gram flour is higher in protein than wheat flour and is packed with healthy unsaturated fats, iron and fibre. More reasons to go gram.