I have been working on making the perfect vegan omelette for close to 20 years. Although, I am not sure I would call this ‘perfect’ (it likely won’t fool people the way the French Toast recipe does) it is pretty darn delicious!
I used to use pure vital wheat gluten (wheat protein) as the key ingredient to help this tofu-based omelette stick together or ‘set’ like eggs. However, I recently tried using tapioca flour/starch instead—and it worked! It also develops an improved outer texture. Gluten tends to give you a dark and slightly crispy/chewy outer layer, whereas the tapioca gives an outer layer that is lighter in colour and texture—it is also gluten-free, if that’s important to you. I did however leave the gluten option in, in case you don’t have tapioca flour and would like to try making one anyway.
I am not going to lie; this recipe isn’t ‘easy’. It takes time and patience—waiting until the entire omelette is firm before folding. However, the level of difficulty largely depends on the pan you use.
I always use cast-iron pans, but this is the one dish that I actually want to purchase a non-stick pan for. When I was cottaging one summer and stayed at a place with non-stick pans, I made perfect ‘omelettes’ each and every morning. I suggest that you start with non-stick; but if you are using cast iron, please ensure that there is oil equally distributed before pouring in the mixture, and be patient. Turn and tilt the pan regularly and don’t give up on your first try. Like conventional omelettes, the ‘perfect’ one may take some practice.
The photos given show many different omelettes of mine. My favourite omelette is made with (frozen straight from the bag) green peas. However, you can fill yours with anything you want; spinach, mushrooms, broccoli, peppers, or whatever you want! You can add vegan ‘cheese’ or eat it plain. The possibilities are endless! A few ideas and alternatives are provided in the ingredients list.
You can also make the entire batch and only use half of the base for a smaller one-person omelette, and store the remaining mixture in the fridge in a sealed container for up to a week. Smaller omelettes are also easier to work with (fold). Be sure to reduce the amount of fillings too, or store extras in a separate container so you can easily whip up the same one again.
1 package (349g) of soft/silken tofu (or sometimes in a tetrapac as ‘light firm’)
2 tbs. tapioca starch (or vital wheat gluten)
1 tbs. nutritional yeast
½ ts. ground mustard
½ ts. of dried parsley flakes
½ ts. of baking powder
⅓ ts. of fine sea salt
¼ ts. ground black pepper
1 pinch of ground dry turmeric (not too much, it should not show any yellow until after it’s cooked. For darker-coloured tumerics use less and vice versa)
1 tbs. vegetable oil (one with a light flavour. I like grapeseed as my basic cooking oil, but sunflower, safflower, canola, coconut (descented) and others will work. Olive oil will be too heavy, despite this not getting too hot, but may work if it’s all you have).
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
Your choice of:
½ cup of frozen or fresh green peas (NOT canned)
¾ cup of copped fresh spinach (washed and dried)
¾ cup of chopped and sautéed broccoli
¾ cup (total) of chopped and sautéed bell peppers, red onions, and veggie bacon/ham
¾ cup (total) of sliced and sautéed mushrooms and bell peppers, and raw green onions
½-¾ cup of whatever you think would go nicely in an omelette (sautéed if need¾)
½ cup of you favourite vegan cheese grated (optional)¾
Fresh ground black pepper
Heat a large frying pan on low (#1-2); slightly higher if you are using a non-stick pan, lower for cast-iron (and depending on your stove, but not higher than halfway between low and med).
Drain tofu and add to a medium sized bowl.
Add all omelette base ingredients to the bowl and blend with a hand wand (or add all ingredients to a blender and blend) until smooth.
Add oil to the pan and tilt to ensure even coating.
Pour blended tofu mixture into the hot pan. Use a rubber/silicone spatula to scrape all of the mixture from the sides of the bowl (or blender) and to smooth evenly across the pan to about 1.5 cm thick. If bubbles form and make holes, cover them and turn down the heat. You want to avoid very active bubbling.
Scatter garlic over the top of the omelette and allow to cook slowly for about 10 min until the outer edges of the omelette begin to firm up on top.
In the meantime sauté or otherwise prepare your fillings.
Sprinkle fillings evenly across the omelette (or just on half if you are using large pieces of broccoli or something). Add when the top is still runny so that the ingredients set into the mixture.
Cook another 10-15 min. until the centre begins to set. You don’t want it crispy, but not runny either. This may take some practice and depend largely on your pan, stove, and the fillings you chose.
Once almost set, sprinkle your ‘cheese’ if desired.
If you are using spinach it may add some moisture and take a little longer to cook as a result.
Once the centre seems to be set, lightly lift around all the edges with a thin spatula towards the centre making sure that at least half of the omelette (the half you will be flipping) isn’t stuck.
Once at least half of the omelette has been freed, carefully lift and fold over to the other side. This may require two spatulas, and two hands (one on each side of the top you are flipping). This is the hard part, be careful, it is more delicate than eggs and may also take some practice. But even if it breaks on the first try, it will still taste good : )
After folding, press down in the top with the spatula and allow to cook another minute or so, after releasing the other side as necessary.
Cut omelette in half while still in the pan (making it easier to serve) and use a spatula to add to plates.
Top with fresh ground black pepper before serving two, for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Pair with warmed tomatoes, toast, pita, bruschetta, salad, veggie bacon or sausage, home fries, or eat on its own.