There are two words on any menu that make me giddy: tofu scramble.
See, tofu scramble is oh-so-vegan. It’s a plant-based nod to scrambled eggs, but it’s filled with vegetables and crumbled tofu and it can be a flavorful complete meal. You don’t see many tofu scrambles on breakfast menus in Colorado Springs, however. When I hear of one, I don’t walk. I run. And I ran to Snooze, an A.M. Eatery, a Denver “diner” darling, when it opened this year in the Springs. Yes, much of the menu is geared toward the bacon and eggs crowd, but vegans are very well taken care of, too.
Let’s get right to what is not on the menu for vegans: pancakes, hollandaise dishes and obviously the eggs, chees, and meat. Several sauces use animal products, as does the brioche bread for the sandwiches.
OK, now, let’s focus on the plentiful plant-based options. The tofu scramble ($11.25) — the item that drew me in — is a massive serving of pure protein. Large crumbled tofu pieces — fried gently for a browned bite with a meaty chew — are covered in zesty soyrizo (soy-based chorizo) and served with a round and robust hash brown that’s almost too pretty to eat (almost). Choose between the rustic bread (vegan) or corn tortillas. I opted for the tortillas and scooped the sausage-y scramble in for breakfast tacos.
The hippy-ish Makin’ it Grain bowl ($12) is a close second to the scramble. Nearly vegan as is — simply request tofu instead of eggs — it’s beautifully nutritious. Bright with vibrant vegetables, the bowl is covered with fresh avocado watermelon radish, tomatoes, arugula and pickles. Umami-rich caramelized onions make the hearty black rice and chewy farro creamy. The small bowl delivers a very substantial meal.
For a more traditional breakfast, try the Goldilocks’ Porridge ($9.75), a hearty take on oatmeal. Four grains — steel-cut oats, quinoa, millet and amaranth — are simmered in almond milk and brightened up with fresh berries and banana and boosted nutritionally with hemp seeds. It’s fresh, filling and another go-to.
Two other items on the menu that are easily veganized include the Snooze breakfast burrito ($10.25) with tofu instead of eggs and no cheese (both sauce options — green chile and ranchero — are vegan) and the sweet potato bowl ($10.75) with tofu or black beans.
The drinks — caffeinated, cocktail or wholesome juice — are as much of a draw as the food. Soy, almond and coconut milk are dairy-free options for coffee drinks. The coconut cappuccino ($4.25) is creamy and light and a sweet beginning or ending for breakfast. A full bar is available for your preferred brunch-tail. The Choice Mimosa ($7.25) allows the option to go traditional or opt for grapefruit, apple, cranberry or pineapple juice or even lemonade with your bubbles. Most of the bloodys are not vegan; not because of the anchovies in a traditional mixer but because they contain fish sauce or actual meat. But the Straight Up or Spicy ($8.25) are vegan. And the spicy (hello, pepper-infused vodka!) is fantastic with the tofu scramble. If you’re not looking for adult beverages or coffee, go uber-healthy and get a cold-pressed juice ($5.25) full of fruit, vegetables and herbs.
One of the toughest meals for plant-based dining out with nonvegan friends is breakfast. Snooze is the answer. Early morning dining (6:30 a.m.), food and drink for everyone, and a fun and funky vibe are the draw. So much so that you should expect a wait. And it’s worth it.
Rating total: 4.9 of 5 forks
Food: 4.75 of 5 forks
Ambiance: 5 of 5 forks
Service: 5 of 5 forks
Venue character: Hip daytime diner
Address: 7587 N Academy Blvd.
Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily
Credit cards: Yes
Non-vegan options: meat, eggs, poultry, animal-based dairy
Gluten-free options: Yes
Outdoor dining: Yes
What’s online as of Sept. 9:
• 4 of 5 based on 114 reviews on Yelp
• 4 of 5 based on 24 reviews on TripAdvisor
Excellent rating Aug. 22 by El Paso County Public Health.