Vegan junk food is certainly growing and, I for one, couldn’t be happier. Yes, it’s still junk food and no it’s not healthier than ‘standard’ junk food, but it is damn tasty. You might know that I go by a flexiterian diet where I don’t eat meat every other week. A good burger is one of my biggest cravings during a non-meat eating week and I love trying alternatives. This Smoked Tofu Dirty burger definitely hits the spot! I usually make it vegetarian, i.e. I use normal mayo and I add cheese (though you can use a vegan cheese obviously as well). Delicious either way!

This is a BBC Good Food recipe which I’ve mildly adapted. The recipe calls for the burgers to be dipped twice in the coating, but I only dipped them once and made sure they were well covered – they came out really crispy so you don’t have to over do it. Also I’ve increased the sriracha in the mayo as it gives a lovely flavour, but obviously you can put less if you don’t like spicy food.

More with Tofu: Miso ramen with ginger tofuThe Vegan Kebab Experiment

Smoked Tofu Dirty Burger


Serves 4 | Prep 35 mins | Cook 5 mins
A little effort | Vegan | Dairy-Free

You’ll need:

  • Vegetable oil, for frying;

For the burger

  • 1 small sweet potato (200g), peeled and cut into small chunks;
  • 1 tbsp olive oil;
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped;
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed;
  • 1 tsp cumin;
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika;
  • 1 tsp garlic salt;
  • 225g pack smoked tofu (I used The Tofoo Co.);
  • 50g roasted cashews;

For the coating

  • 1 tsp English mustard;
  • 150ml soy milk;
  • 75g plain flour
    50g panko breadcrumbs;
  • 1 tsp garlic salt;
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper;
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar;
  • 1 tsp baking powder

For the slaw

  • ¼ small red cabbage, finely shredded;
  • 1 carrot, grated;
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander;
  • ½ lime, juiced;
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds.

To serve
vegan mayonnaise mixed with 1 tbsp Sriracha;
vegan burger buns, halved and toasted;
vegan cheese, pickles and whatever you love topping your burgers with.

For the burgers, put the sweet potato in a microwaveable bowl, cover with cling film and cook on high for 3 mins until soft. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the onion with a big pinch of salt until soft, around 5 mins. Add the garlic and spices and cook for 2 mins more, then set aside. Blitz the tofu with the cashews in a blender, then tip in the sweet potato and fried onions. Season and blitz again until combined. Shape into four burger patties and set aside in the fridge on a lined baking tray while you make the slaw.

Make the slaw by combining the ingredients in a bowl, then set aside until needed. When you’re ready to fry the patties, mix the mustard with the soy milk in one bowl, then mix the remaining coating ingredients in another bowl. In turn, take each patty and dip into the flour mixture, then into the soy milk mixture until well coated.

Pour the vegetable oil into a large frying pan over a medium-high heat – you want the oil to come about 2cm up the side of the pan. Once hot, use a spatula to carefully add the patties and gently fry for 1 min on each side until crispy, then leave to drain on kitchen paper. Serve the burgers in burger buns, topped with the slaw and drizzled with the mayo. Add cheese, pickles and whatever else you love in a burger.

Original recipe by BBCGoodFood magazine, issue April 2018, available online here.