There are plenty of meat-based dishes that the erstwhile vegetarian can go without, but there’s just something about a juicy burger that brings out all of those cravings all over again. Meat-free burger substitutes can be hit or miss (we know, we’ve tried a lot!), but we think that tofu burgers could be the ultimate answer to our problems!
With firm tofu, a tofu press, and a food processor, we can mix together a fantastic range of spices to recreate the texture, consistency, and even the flavours of a hamburger. Tofu burgers are entirely free of meat products and are a fantastic vegetarian dish (though not vegan) that you can prepare at home.
Grab the buns and prepare your burger toppings; let’s learn how to cook tofu burgers!
How to make tofu burgers
Makes approx 5 large tofu burger patties
- 16 ounces of extra firm tofu*
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup of dried breadcrumbs
- ½ cup of cashew nuts
- ½ cup of sunflower seeds
- ½ cup of sliced mushrooms
- 1 tbsp of Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp of soy sauce
- 1 tsp of cumin powder
- ½ tsp of cayenne pepper powder
- 1 tsp of smoked paprika powder
- ½ tsp of salt
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- Burger buns and burger toppings (see our FAQ below for a few serving suggestions!)
* It’s important that the extra firm tofu is well-drained using a tofu press. If not, then the finished product won’t be quite so flavorful!
- Start by thoroughly pressing the excess liquid from your extra firm tofu. We suggest using a tofu press for the best results.
- When your tofu has been pressed, chop it up and place it in your food processor. Follow the tofu with all of the other veggie burger ingredients, except for the olive oil (you don’t need the olive oil until later).
- Use the food processor to combine your ingredients into as smooth a mixture as you can achieve. You can pulse multiple times, as needed. If it’s too thin, then you can add more breadcrumbs to thicken the mixture up.
- When you’re happy with the consistency of the tofu veggie burger mixture, you can divide the mixture into 5 large portions.
- On a flat surface, use your hands to shape each portion into a burger patty. Allow the burger patties to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes, minimum.
- Now it’s time to cook your tofu burgers. We suggest grilling your burgers for that authentic finish. Give each burger a light coating of olive oil and place them onto a grill warmed up to medium heat. Grill each tofu burger for 5 minutes on each side.
- Remove from the grill when the tofu burgers are warm through to the centre and serve in buns with your favourite toppings!
Tofu burger recipe FAQ and tips
Tofu burgers are a great alternative to traditional beef burgers (or any other meat-based burger patties).
To help you perfect your tofu burger recipe and cooking skills, here are some quick FAQs and a rundown of our top prep tips!
What are the best toppings for a tofu burger?
The great thing about this recipe is how customizable it is. With our tofu burger patty as your base, you can build the ultimate veggie burger, the way you like it!
We suggest melting cheese slices on your burgers while you’re grilling; add a slice to each patty when you flip them over the final time. No burger is complete without a bun, and we love to lightly grill a brioche bun for the best flavour.
You can add your favourite sauces, be it burger relish, BBQ sauce, or garlic mayonnaise. A few grilled onions are always welcome, or even a few battered onion rings. You’re making these burgers at home, so there’s no one around judging your choice of toppings!
What can I serve with tofu burgers?
As well as creating your own personalized burger toppings, you can prepare a few sides to go with your tofu burger.
A classic choice is always french fries, but we prefer to oven bake some healthy sweet potato wedges lightly seasoned with paprika and cayenne powder. You could also serve up a green and leafy side salad if you’re trying to keep the meal healthy.
What tofu is best for a tofu burger?
It’s really important that a tofu patty can hold its shape when you’re grilling it; it’s also important that the tofu can take on the flavours of the ingredients around it. To achieve both these goals, we need to use extra-firm tofu.
Extra-firm tofu keeps its shape well, and it’s great at taking on other flavours, making it the perfect meat substitute to use in veggie burger patties. If you use silken or soft tofu, then the patties won’t keep their shape well and could start to crumble when being cooked.
Why do I need to press the tofu before preparing recipes for tofu burgers?
Just as important as selecting the right tofu for the recipe is correctly preparing your tofu before cooking. All tofu has high water content, and if this water isn’t removed, then your finished burger is going to taste bland and watery.
We need to remove the water before we can prepare our tofu burgers. With less water, the tofu burger can keep its shape better while tasting better. The best way to remove excess water from a block of tofu is to squeeze out the liquid using a tofu press. A dedicated tofu press does all the hard work for you!
If you don’t have access to your own tofu press, though, then the best method is wrapping up your tofu block in paper towels before pressing down firmly using a large object. A chopping board, large plate, or similar, works well.
How do you make tofu taste like a hamburger?
One great reason to use tofu is the fact that tofu easily takes on and mimics the flavours of other ingredients. It works well as a meat substitute because tofu can be made to replicate the flavours and textures of meat essentially.
Our tofu burger recipe uses ingredients with strong flavours, such as mustard, mushrooms, and cumin powder, to get that meaty taste. You can experiment with many of these spices, however, to find what works best for your preferences.
An additional step you can take to make the tofu burger taste meatier is to fry your tofu before preparing your veggie patties. Add your tofu to a wok and allow it to fry in oil until it’s turned crispy. You’re basically trying to create ground tofu with a similar taste and consistency to ground beef. You can add in a few spices while browning your tofu too. Once browned, use it to prepare tofu burger patties.
Are tofu burgers healthy?
There’s no doubt that tofu burgers are going to be much healthier than a traditional hamburger. Your standard hamburger is packed full of fat and usually dripping in oil.
Tofu burgers are extremely high in protein (and contain essential amino acids), which makes them perfect as a meat-substitute. Tofu is also low in calories and low in fat. Of course, to be truly healthy, you may need to adjust your toppings. There’s no point trying to be healthy if you’re only going to go and drench your tofu burger in several kinds of melted cheese!
How do I make vegan tofu burgers?
Our recipe isn’t vegan because we use eggs to bind together the ingredients and give the patty shape. This is the same method used to make hamburgers from beef, so it’s a great way to create a similar texture and flavour.
If you’re vegan, however, then you need to find a suitable egg replacement that can act as a binding agent. One method is to use almond butter and extra breadcrumbs. Another great method uses chia seeds and a little water.
Do I have to grill my tofu burger?
We suggest grilling in our tofu burger recipe, as this adds another authentic dimension to the recipe. After all, hamburgers are traditionally grilled!
Grilling isn’t the only option available, though. You can easily cook your tofu burgers on the stovetop, too, using a little olive oil in a large skillet. Place the skillet on medium-high heat and cook your burgers on each side for 5 minutes, or until they are cooked through the centre.
You could also bake your tofu burgers in the oven for a healthier alternative to cooking in oil. Place your burgers on a baking tray and cook them in the centre of a preheated oven, again for around 10 minutes, turning halfway through.
How long do tofu burgers last?
You can prepare tofu burgers in advance and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours before cooking. If you’re doing this, then transfer the burger patties into individual ziplock bags, or stack them between parchment paper to stop them from sticking together.
You could also freeze the patties using a similar method. We don’t recommend saving the burgers after you’ve already grilled them. Try to eat them as soon as they’ve been cooked! We guarantee that with this recipe, it will be hard not to!
Will you be preparing a tofu burger for dinner?
So that’s it for our tofu burger recipe. A delicious blend of herbs, spices, and tofu makes for a healthy veggie alternative to your traditional hamburger.
You can easily customize the ingredients and the toppings to meet your tastes or the preferences of your family and friends, too. Why not bookmark our tofu burger recipe for the next time you’re craving a meat-free hamburger?