Take a look at the beautiful vegan-friendly burgers this recipe can make, and you may well think, "Yikes, I can’t make that!" But you actually can — and pretty easily, too. Chef and recipe developer Miriam Hahn says, "I would say it is a beginner recipe — especially if you have worked with tofu before. If you haven’t, you just need to follow the steps for pressing as this is important."
Got that? The most important step here is simply pressing tofu, which is the process of getting as much liquid as possible out of the tofu block before you cook with it. With the tofu properly pressed, the recipe really just consists of mixing up a marinade and pan frying some patties. And while quite frankly the marinated tofu would taste great served on its own as an entree, when you place it on a burger and add in a great selection of toppings, you’ll make a meal that everyone will love, meat eaters included. Got a large family to cook for? No problem, just plan ahead!
"This recipe is nice also because you can prep the tofu in the marinade and keep in your fridge a day before you need it," Hahn says, adding, "I always love getting food prepped ahead of time!" Let’s not take too much more of your time and start that prep now.
Gather your ingredients to prepare these easy tofu burgers
If there’s one thing to really take to heart about the ingredients here, it’s what Hahn says about tofu firmness. "It is very important to choose extra firm [tofu] in this recipe. The soft, medium, or firm won’t hold together as well."
What all you will need for the recipe is a block of extra firm tofu (no exceptions on this one), soy sauce, avocado or olive oil, tomato paste, maple syrup, liquid smoke, corn starch, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and for serving, whole grain buns, tomato slices, greens, and other favorite toppings and condiments your crew enjoys on burgers. Oh, and if you want, Hahn says, "You can swap out agave or honey for the maple syrup."
Rinse and press the tofu
Take the tofu out of its package, and discard the water that it was packed in. Then, rinse it with clean water. You now need to press the tofu to remove additional water, as we’ve rather touched on earlier. (Okay — hit on heavily.)
Start by patting the tofu with dry paper towels, then get to the pressing. You can do this by placing the tofu block in a shallow bowl or dish. Then, place a flat plate on top of the tofu, and place something heavy (like a cast iron skillet) on top of the plate. Do this with care so that you don’t break the plate! Let it sit for about 20 minutes, and then pour out the water collected in the bowl. Alternatively, you can use a tofu press if you happen to have one.
Prepare the marinade, then slice the tofu patties
While the tofu is pressing, get a small bowl, and mix together the soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of oil, the tomato paste, maple syrup, liquid smoke, corn starch, and the three spices. Whisk all of these together well until all of the lumps have been broken down and the marinade is smooth.
When the tofu is done pressing, slice it in half so you have two thinner blocks. Next, take a large glass (or better yet, a big cookie cutter), and use it to cut out two perfect circles for patties.
Next, put the tofu burgers into a flat bottomed dish, and pour over the marinade. Use a pastry brush to coat both sides, then let the burgers sit and marinade for about 15 minutes.
Pan grill the patties, then assemble the burgers and serve
Heat up a grill pan or a cast iron skillet with the remaining one tablespoon of oil. Once the pan is hot, place the tofu burgers into it, and cook them for about eight minutes on each side at medium to medium-high heat. When you flip the burgers, brush on some additional marinade. And if you want, you can always cook these on an actual grill.
Once the patties are cooked well, you’re ready to serve them on the buns with fresh tomato, lettuce, and any other of your favorite toppings and condiments, with a few dashes of hot sauce always a good addition.
We told you this recipe would be easier than you thought it would be! It’s sure to be a family favorite. You can add some chips, pickles, or veggies on the side of each plate, and you have yourself a wonderful menu to serve!
- 1 block extra firm tofu
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
- 1 ½ teaspoons corn starch
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 whole grain buns
- tomato slices
- Take the tofu out of the package, and discard the water it’s packed in. Then, press the tofu to remove additional water by placing it between plates with weight on top.
- While the tofu is pressing, mix together the soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of oil, tomato paste, maple syrup, liquid smoke, corn starch, and spices, and whisk together until all the lumps have been broken down.
- When the tofu is done pressing, slice it in half to make 2 thinner blocks, then use broad round glass to cut out two perfect circles.
- Put the tofu burgers into a flat-bottomed dish, and pour over the marinade, then use a pastry brush to coat both sides. Let it sit for about 15 minutes to absorb.
- Heat up a grill pan or a cast iron skillet with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, then lay the tofu burgers in the pan, and cook them for about 8 minutes on each side at medium to medium-high heat. When you flip the burgers, brush on additional marinade.
- Serve the tofu burgers on buns with fresh tomato, lettuce, and any other condiments you like.