Veggs Benedict Florentine with vegan hollandaise sauce
So, yesterday was my birthday – another year older another year wiser, right?
When I read about the origin of the term Eggs Benedict, I had to laugh: Supposedly, Lemuel Benedict, a retired Wall Street stock broker, strolled into the Waldorf Hotel in New York City in 1894 and ordered “buttered toast, poached eggs, crisp bacon, and a hooker of hollandaise.” Apparently the maître d’ was so inspired by the request, that he added it the menu, but substituted ham for the bacon and an English muffin for the toast. So why did I think that was funny, today, the day after my birthday? Well, Benedict ordered this breakfast combination hoping that it would cure his morning hangover!
This isn’t the Waldorf, but we are going to be making our own substitutions, of course. First we’re going to planticize the Benedict, or bacon part of the dish, by using portobello mushrooms. I’ve been looking for a way to make a nice, smoky, salty breakfast treat without using tofu, and I think I’ve found a winner! Portabellos are quite “meaty” already and cutting them into thick-ish slices, marinating them in a liquid smoke mixture and baking them, allows you to produce something more like smoked ham or thicker, Canadian bacon.
Less is not more – don’t let anyone try to tell you that. More is more. So instead of replacing the Benedict part of the dish with spinach (Florentine), we’re going to add spinach as well. It’s always nice to have something green on the plate, and spinach is in season now – making it all the more attractive. That, and because Popeye ate it! Spinach is a great source of folic acid, and vitamins K, A, B2 and C, as well as containing a good amount of manganese, magnesium, and, last but least, iron. You’ll be hard pressed to find a vegetable richer in vitamin K than spinach, and Vitamin K is important for keeping your bones strong and healthy!
Oh, you were more interested in hearing where the name Florentine came from? Well, the short version then: when Catherine de Médicis who was born in Florence later became Queen of France, she brought her own chefs with her, along with some spinach seeds. The spinach dishes created by her chefs became so popular, they were soon known as spinach à la Florentine!
Feel free to stick with English muffins, but I used crumpets this time around, simply because the only place I can buy English muffins has been having troubles with the wholesaler, and it doesn’t look like that’ll change anytime soon. Maybe I’ll have to make my own! For the Veggs part of the recipe, we’re going to use my go to method of making tofu scramble. (If you’re looking for a slightly simpler, but still yummy breakfast idea check out Facon and Veggs recipe.)
Of course the crowning glory of the whole thing is the hollandaise sauce, and this planticized version does not disappoint! It’s creamy, smooth, eggy (due to the black salt) and has that subtle, trademark tanginess from the lemon juice. So now, it’s over to you, because even if it’s not your birthday, you deserve some Veggs Benedict Florentine with vegan hollandaise sauce!
English muffin or Crumpets
- 4 single crumpets or 2 split English muffins, toasted Veggs
- 8 oz (250 g) – tofu, crumbled
- 1½ tsp (7.5 ml) - black salt
- 1 tsp (5 ml) - turmeric
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) – plant-based crème fraiche or cream
- chopped onion, tomatoes and peppers Benedict
- 1 or 2 Portobello mushrooms, cut into ca ¼ in (.6 cm) thick slices
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) – oil
- 2 Tbsps (30 ml) – tamari or soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp ( 15ml) – liquid smoke
- a little of your favorite sweetener: maple syrup, agave syrup or rice syrup Florentine
- 4 oz (ca 115 g) – fresh baby spinach
- vegan margarine or oil
- 1 clove of garlic, minced Vegan Hollandaise Sauce
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) – vegan butter
- ½ cup (1.2 dl) – vegan crème fraiche
- 1 tsp ( 5ml) – kala namak (black salt)
- ¼ tsp (1.25 ml) – turmeric
- juice from ½ lemon
- ½ - ¾ cup (60 ml) – nutritional yeast
- Start by preparing your Portobello “bacon”. Mix the oil, tamari/soy sauce, liquid smoke and natural sweetener in a bowl.
- Cut the Portobello mushroom in ¼ in (ca .6 cm) slices, and lay the pieces in the bowl. After a few minutes, flip them to make sure the liquid covers all the slices.
- Place the slices on a parchment paper-lined baking tray and heat for about 30 minutes at 350 F (175 C), flipping after 15 minutes.
- While the Portobello is in the oven, prepare the other components: Crumble the tofu into small pieces, and place in a small bowl.
- Add the black salt , turmeric plant-based crème fraiche or cream and mix. Your scramble should already have a nice yellow color.
- Chop a small tomato, about ½ an onion and some green or yellow pepper, add them to bowl and mix.
- Cook in a frying pan until the vegetables have softened. Add a little water if you want a wetter consistency.
- Heat some oil or butter in a pan, add the garlic and the spinach and sauté until warm and wilted.
- Melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat.
- Add the vegan crème fraiche, black salt turmeric and fresh lemon juice and mix until smooth. Add ½ a cup of nutritional yeast and stir.
- Lower the heat and cook until the mixture thickens, adding more nutritional yeast if necessary.
- Place the toasted and buttered muffins /crumpets on a plate, top first with the spinach (Florentine), followed by the Portobello “bacon” (Benedict), then the Veggs, and finally pour the Hollandaise sauce over everything, and serve immediately.