Another beautiful offering from my Vegetarian Kitchen! Nowadays, I actually look forward to Wednesdays to challenge myself to whip up delicious yet nutritious vegetarian fare. When I first came up with the concept of "Vegetarian Wednesdays", Sam was pretty skeptical. He announced if I cook 'boring' vegetarian meal, he would go out and grab a KFC bucket!
Its been five weeks now. So far so good. The KFC bucket is still at KFC and I pray that I can sustain my endeavor to try an incorporate a healthy vegetarian diet for my carnivorous family!
Sid, who loves watching Curious George, had been pestering me to make Chef Pisghetti's meatless Giardino Burgers (featured in Season 1: Episode 19) for quite a while. The Giardino Burgers are chickpea based and I assumed it would taste a lot like my Falafel. I had a tub of tofu in my fridge and decided to make Meatless Tofu Burgers instead.
Since no burger dinner is complete without munchies like French Fries and Onion Rings, I decided to make some oven baked garlic fries. I also tossed some baked zucchini as a healthier substitute to onion rings. Every last morsel of the munchies was devoured with utmost pleasure and no guilt.
Now back to our Main Course.
I have tasted quite a few Tofu Burgers and I found them to be bland and a tad rubbery.
I wanted mine to be flavorful, crispy on the outside and melt-in-the-mouth soft on the inside. I searched high and low on the World Wide Web, but most of the recipes did not sound promising. Until I found Moosewood Restaurant's very own cookbook! I loved the idea of cooking the grated tofu with veggies and seasoning and then forming patties.
I have long stopped adding breadcrumbs to my burgers or meat loaves. I add mashed up brown rice. It so happened one day that I ran out of bread crumbs and substituted with brown rice, that I had in hand. I got the most incredible, juicy and moist meat loaf. Ever since brown rice is my choice of binder.
The patties turned to be exactly the way I expected. Crispy yet silky. Sid ate without a whimper and declared this to be best burger ever. Sam actually thanked me for a great dinner!
Tofu triumphing over beef and chicken??? Who knew!
|Recipe Snapshot: Vegetable - Tofu Burger|
Loosely Adapted from: Moosewood’s Classic Tofu Burgers
Serves: 8 serving
(1 serving = 1 burger)
What I used:
For the patties:
Extra firm Tofu - 1 (14 oz) packet, grated
Carrots - 1 or 2 , grated (to yield 1.5 cups)
Bell Pepper (green or any color) - 1, grated (to yield 3/4 cup)
Mushroom - 1 (8 oz) tub, grated
Onions - 1 medium sized, finely chopped
Ginger - 1, 2: piece, grated
Garlic - 4-5 cloves, grated
Canola Oil - 1 tbsp
Worcestershire Sauce - 1 tbsp
Brown Sugar - 1 tsp
Dried Thyme - 1 tsp (use 2 tbsp of fresh thyme)
Freshly cracked pepper
Mashed brown(or white) rice / Bread crumbs - 1 cup
For the Burgers:
Sandwich Thin Buns - 8
Fat Free Greek Yogurt - 1/4 cup
Coarse Ground Mustard - 1 tsp
Cucumber Slices, Tomato slices, Onion rings for topping and garnish.
What I did:
1. We need to press out as much as water from the Tofu. I usually place it over a wire mesh colander and let it drain all the excess water. I usually keep it like this for close to 2 hours.
2. Once the tofu is ready, I finely chop one medium sized onion and saute it in a little oil, along with grated ginger and garlic, over medium heat till its dark brown in color.
3. White the onion is sauteing, I take out my food processor and grate/shred all the veggies (carrots, bell pepper and mushroom). If you go not have a processor, chop the veggies very finely.
4. Once the onions are well caramelized and the ginger-garlic is cooked, add the grated veggies.
5. Add the salt, pepper, Worcestershire Sauce, brown sugar, dried thyme and cook till the veggies are absolutely tender.
6. Add the grated tofu and mix well with the veggies. Cook till the tofu is well cooked and all the moisture from the veggies and the tofu is evaporated. Check for seasoning and adjust the salt accordingly.
7. Let the mixture cool. Also at this point, preheat the oven to 375 F.
8. When the mix is cool enough to handle, you can either add the bread crumbs or mashed rice (white or brown) to it and mix it with your hand and then make patties out of it. Or else, you can dump everything (veggies mix, bread crumbs or rice) in the food processor and pulse a little so that everything is homogeneously mixed.
9. Shape out thick patties. I got 8 thick ones.
10. Place the patties in a greased, foil wrapped cookie sheet. Spray a little cooking spray on top the patties too. Bake in a 375 F oven for 35 - 40 minutes, flipping once.
11. I serve these burgers on Sandwich Thins (or Slimwich bun, 100 Percent Whole Wheat 90 calories Slim Bun). I also added few cucumber, onion and tomato slices.
For the Burgers:
1. Toast the Sandwich Thins (or Slimwich bun, 100 Percent Whole Wheat 90 calories Slim Bun).
2. Mix the Greek yogurt and the mustard and apply on the inner sides of the buns.
3. Arrange the cucumber slices (or lettuce if you prefer) on one bun. Place the Veggie-Tofu Burger patty on top. Top it with a tomato slices and onion rings. Cover with the other bun and serve.