When I first became vegan back in September of 2010 (5 months ago already!), I was kind of addicted to the veggie tofu burgers from Trader Joe’s. Don’t get me wrong, they are delicious. BUT, they are also loaded with sodium as are most prepared veggie burgers. What’s wrong with sodium? It is a major contributor to high blood pressure and other serious problems like dementia and kidney disease. Click here to read an article written by Dr. Fuhrman on the dangers of sodium that was published in the Huffington Post last week.
Since late last year, I’ve eliminated most of the added sodium from my diet. Sometimes, I’ll still discover sodium in foods I never thought would have it including most boxed nut milks. I should also note that while humans do need sodium in our diets to survive, plant foods contain a natural amount of sodium in the general amount of .5 mg/kcal of food (about 1,000 mg per 2,000 kcal of food). The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans that were released earlier this year recommend that people consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. People older than 51, children and those who have certain diseases should consume less than 1,500 mg per day. Many medical professionals think that the 1,500 mg maximum daily guideline should extend to everyone.
But, I digress. The point is that I have started making my own tofu burgers without any added sodium and they are really easy and delicious. Here’s a general guide. I’ve updated an older recipe here that can be made without any sodium. I also now bake my burgers instead of pan-frying them to reduce the fat content.
Start with some tofu, preferably firm or extra-firm. You’ll need about a pound for 4-6 burgers. Press the tofu to get rid of any excess water. The last think you want is a watery burger. I use my Tofu Xpress, but you can also press your tofu between two plates with cans stacked on top. You’re going to need a food processor to mix the burgers well.
You can get creative with what you put in the burger mixture. I start with the tofu and usually add some shredded vegetables like carrots or zucchini and some chopped mushrooms. Chopped onions are a nice addition as well. I also like to add about a 1/4 cup of some kind of nut or seed like walnuts or sunflower seeds. Using about 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxmeal is also a good idea because it helps bind the burgers. The tofu is usually still moist enough even after pressing that it provides enough moisture for the burger. If not, feel free to add a tablespoon of water.
Combine all of your ingredients in your food processor:
It’s also a good idea to add some dried herbs at this point because there won’t be any salt. I usually add a few teaspoons of ground cumin, some dill and maybe a teeny bit of cayenne pepper for a kick. Process the mixture until it is all mixed together. Then, use your hands to form the burgers and place them on a lightly oiled baking sheet:
If you need more flavor with your burger, pour a little balsamic vinegar on top. If needed, freeze the uncooked patties to cook at a later date. These burgers taste so moist and delicious that you’ll never have to buy the pre-made ones again!
P.S. Have you entered my Eden Foods gift basket giveaway yet? If not, click here. It ends in 2 days!