Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Favorites, St. Martin's Griffin
The Moosewood Collective's all-time favorite luscious burgers - vegan and wheat-free
Tofu burgers have been a favorite at the restaurant since we can remember. Our customers often call to ask, "Are tofu burgers on the menu today?" They love 'em! In the early years, we almost always served them on a thick slice of whole-wheat toast with lettuce, tomato slices, and Russian dressing. Now we serve them various ways; some suggestions follow the recipe.
Because of the increase in the number of our customers who are either gluten intolerant or trying to reduce their consumption of wheat, we've developed ways to make our various kinds of tofu burgers without the bread crumbs we used to use in our published recipes and in the restaurant. Dicing the vegetables small, finely grating the tofu in a food processor, and grinding the walnuts all help to make a mix that will hold its shape.
This recipe makes eight large burgers, or you can shape the mix into smaller patties or "meatballs." We're happy when we have extra burgers and can freeze them for later.
Two 14- to 16- ounce blocks firm tofu (see page 387)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups diced onions
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup grated carrots
1⁄2 cup seeded and diced bell peppers (any color)
1 cup coarsely ground toasted walnuts
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh basil
Press the tofu for at least 30 minutes
While the tofu presses, prepare the rest of the burger mix, and when you're ready to grate the tofu, discard the expressed liquid.
In a covered skillet on low heat, warm the oil. Add the onions, sprinkle with the salt and oregano, and cook on low heat for 7 or 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the carrots and bell peppers and cook, covered, until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl.
Finely grate the pressed tofu in a food processor and add it to the bowl of cooked vegetables along with the walnuts, soy sauce, mustard, sesame oil, tahini, pepper, and basil. Mix well and add more soy sauce to taste.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
Using about one cup per burger, shape the mix into 8 burgers. Set the burgers on the prepared baking sheet and bake until firm and browned, 30 to 40 minutes.
Quantity: 8 burgers
The burgers will be a little sturdier if you use bread crumbs, about 2⁄3 cup for this recipe, especially if the tofu you use is soft. Gluten- free bread and bread crumbs are available, so if you're avoiding wheat and gluten you have that option.
To freeze these burgers, simply wrap cooled, baked burgers in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer. To reheat, bake on an oiled baking sheet, right from the freezer, at 350°F for 20 to 30 minutes until heated through— the time will depend on how fat your burgers are.
• "Meatballs"—Add ground fennel seeds to the cooking onions, shape the mix into small balls and bake for about 20 minutes for 1 1⁄2- inch balls. These are great with spaghetti and Tomato- Basil
• Reuben Burger—Top with melted Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian Dressing and serve pickles on the side.
Serve these luscious vegan burgers in a bun or on rice or toast.