This Vegan Tofu Burger is healthy and delicious! Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, it’s a great alternative to black bean burgers. The simple no-fail recipe is easy to make and the patty can be pan-fried or grilled on the BBQ. I’ve also included a recipe for how to make a classic sweet, salty, tangy, sticky burger sauce inspired by the Japanese fast-food restaurant Mos Burger. Enjoy in a bun, with rice, or with sweet potatoes!
This Vegan Tofu Burger was inspired by Japanese burgers. Hamburgers are popular in Japan, but aren’t usually served like they are in the West. They usually come with a sauce, which tastes like a combination of soy sauce, ketchup, brown sauce and sugar, and eaten with rice.
And this particular burger was inspired by Mos Burger, a popular fast-food chain in Japan. I used to really love their signature burger, mostly because of the amazingly flavourful ragu-like meat sauce coating the patty. I really wanted to recreate a healthier, meat-free version at home, so I got to work.
Why is tofu good to use in a meat-free burger?
I wanted to make the patty using tofu, but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to successfully make a tofu burger without eggs.
Luckily, however, I discovered that a food processor will transform a block of tofu into a sticky paste, which is easy to form into little patties!
I’m so pleased with how the texture of these tofu burgers turned out – they’re not dry or crumbly, but super soft and beautifully moist on the inside and crispy on the outside.
What type of tofu should you use?
You need to use a hard, firm tofu, as a soft silken tofu will be far too wet.
What are the breadcrumbs for?
Another realisation is that the secret to super soft tofu burgers is breadcrumbs! You can use shop-bought gluten-free breadcrumbs if necessary, or whizz up some bread in a food processor. You can alternatively use oats (or gluten-free oats) as a binding agent, but the texture is softer and fluffier with breadcrumbs.
What does a tofu burger taste like?
Tofu burgers do have quite a neutral flavour, but tofu is excellent for absorbing other flavours. I thought it would be tricky to marinate these burgers, as soaking them in a marinade would make them fall apart. So, I decided to make a sauce instead. The one in this recipe is made with delicious ingredients such as caramelised onions, red wine, tomatoes, tamari, apple cider vinegar and date syrup (because its gloriously dark, rich and sticky, and almost treacle-like), but you can use any other sweetener, and plenty of black pepper. It’s sticky, salty-sweet, tangy and full of flavour.
Are tofu burgers healthy?
These tofu burgers have a much lower saturated fat content than their meaty counterparts. Using a good-quality tofu means your tofu burgers will be much healthier than processed soy veggie burgers as tofu is fermented and is less processed. Tofu is also a great source of plant-based protein, which means tofu burgers are more nutritious than Seitan burgers.
How to make this Tofu Burger
Scroll down to the bottom of the recipe for the full recipe.
- Break up the tofu with your hands (or chop into smaller pieces) and place in a food processor.
- Whizz until smooth.
- Place the tofu in a glass mixing bowl with the breadcrumbs and salt + pepper.
- Use your hands to form the mixture into small, flat patties, which you can lay out on a plate – makes around 6 burgers.
- Heat up the oil in a frying pan and place the tofu patties in the pan once hot.
- Cook on a medium heat for 10-15 minutes, flipping over halfway through, until golden brown and crispy on both sides.
Tip: Be careful not to over-cook them!
Can you grill these burgers?
Yes – you can cook them on a grill or on the BBQ. Cook for around 5-10 minutes on each side, being careful not to burn them. The length of cooking time will depend on the strength of the heat.
How to make the sauce
- Fry the onion for around 5 minutes.
- Add the red wine and cook for a minute until all the wine has evaporated.
- Add the tomatoes, date syrup, tamari, vinegar and salt + pepper.
- Bring to the boil and simmer on a low heat for 10-15 minutes.
- Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
How to serve
I like to serve this Tofu Burger in buns with salad and the sauce.
I also recommend adding a little spicy miso mayo if you happen to have any on hand.
Can you make this Tofu Burger ahead of time?
Although these tofu burgers do have a better texture when fresh, you can keep them covered in the fridge for up to a couple of days and reheat in a dry frying pan. I wouldn’t recommend freezing them.
If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d really love to hear any feedback! Please give it a rating, leave a comment, or tag a photo @rhiansrecipes #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! Thank you.
Tofu Burger (Vegan + Gluten-Free)
For the tofu burgers:
- 400 g (14 oz) firm tofu
- 100 g (3.5 oz) breadcrumbs (gluten-free if necessary)
- Salt + pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons oil (vegetable, rapeseed or olive)
For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon oil (vegetable, rapeseed or olive)
- 1 onion , sliced
- Splash red wine (ensure vegan/gluten-free if necessary – can be omitted)
- 230 ml (1 cup) tinned tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons date syrup (or sub any other sweetener)
- 2 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce if not gluten-free)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (ensure gluten-free if necessary)
- Salt + pepper to taste
- Salad lettuce, tomato etc
- Burger buns (gluten-free if necessary)
For the tofu burgers:
- Break up the tofu with your hands (or chop into smaller pieces) and place in a food processor
- Whizz until smooth
- Place the tofu in a bowl with the breadcrumbs and salt + pepper
- Use your hands to form the mixture into small, flat patties, which you can lay out on a plate – makes around 6 burgers
- Heat up the oil in a frying pan and place the tofu patties in the pan once hot
- Cook on a medium heat for 10-15 minutes, flipping over halfway through, until golden brown and crispy on both sides – be careful not to over cook
For the sauce:
- It’s easiest to make this sauce while you’re also cooking the burgers
- Heat up oil in a pan
- Add the onion and cook for around 5 minutes, until softened
- Add the red wine and cook for a minute until all the wine has evaporated
- Add the tomatoes, date syrup, tamari, vinegar and salt + pepper
- Bring to the boil and simmer on a low heat for 10-15 minutes
- Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary (more date syrup for sweetness, more vinegar for sourness, more salt + pepper etc)
- Place the burgers in burger buns. Add salad and plenty of sauce
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