Tofu Burgers with Beet Relish and Tahini Sauce

Simply prepared vegetables and cooked grains are what we’ve mostly been eating this fall. We still get a lot of kale from our little allotment garden plot – I can’t believe it yields crop until December in Finland! It was especially surprising ot find out since kale is pretty expensive and very hard to find in supermarkets around here. Food industry is quite a mystery, but that has nothing to do with this recipe, other than that kale leaves would be a nice addition to any burger really.


Now these burgers are not about the patty, since the “patty” is actually just a slice of fried tofu, and I guess that in the US these might most likely be called sandwiches instead of burgers. But the main thing that’s going on here is the beet-sauerkraut relish, with its sweet-tangy taste that goes so very well with the rye bread, and its beety texture that is quite lovely with the fried tofu – especially when everything is drenched in creamy tahini sauce. Simple, quick, and tasty, just the way we prefer our dinners to be right now.

This recipe makes enough for 4 burgers, with some extra beet relish and tahini sauce left over. The relish is mighty tasty as a side dish as well, and we often serve this sauce with cooked grains like quinoa or barley. We also filled our burgers with pea sprouts and sliced yellow bell pepper, and enjoyed them with a side of carrot sticks.

The Tofu:

  • 300 grams tofu
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • canola oil for frying
  • black pepper to taste

Heikki first cut the tofu in 4 slices, pressed them for a bit with some cheesecloth, and then fried them in canola oil until slightly brown on both sides. Then he drizzled the liquid smoke and the soy sauce in the pan and turned the slices over a few times to make sure they got an even coating, and crackled plenty of black pepper over the tofu when it was ready.

The Beet Relish:

  • 2 large beets, julienned (or even grated)
  • 1 and 1/2 dl sauerkraut (about 100 grams)
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • (a sqeeze of lemon juice)

I heated the oil in a frying pan and fried the onion until slightly browned. Then I added the beets and the sauerkraut in the pan, and fried for about 5 minutes, until the beet started to soften. Now I added the salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice, covered the pan, and let it stew until everything else was ready to serve (it took about 10 minutes).

Tahini Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 dl nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 dl water
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Heikki just dumped all the ingredients in our mini food processor and mixed until thoroughly combined and creamy. The thickness of this sauce can be easily adjusted by cutting the amount of water – this makes quite a runny sauce.

To assemble, we buttered out two toasted rye bread slices with a bit of vegan margarine, slathered the bread slices with tahini sauce, then added a pile of the beet relish on the bottom slice. That got drizzled with some more sauce, then covered by a slice of tofu and a bunch of veggies, and another drizzle of the sauce.