Yup, you read correctly.
This is a recipe for a McDonalds-inspired McTofu burger…and it’s totally vegan.
Let’s all do a little dance right now.
McDonald’s Vegan Burger
We all know how it is.
You’re with your friends, you’re out late, or maybe you’re out on a road trip somewhere. One of you spots the Golden Arches up ahead and says, “Let’s grab a Maccies!” And if you’re vegan, it’s definitely not like you’re opposed that plan, or anything. But you do know there’s pretty much zilch food that you can eat there.
As we all know, the vegan options at McDonald’s leave a lot to be desired. (Read: everything to be desired, because they have basically none. There’s only so many fries and carrot sticks one can take.)
And whilst we are all waiting with baited breath for the arrival of the McVegan (and, I will admit I am ridiculously excited that this is going to be a thing)…it would be nice if we had something…well, a little bit sooner.
Since going vegan four years ago, I can’t say I’ve ever craved a McDonalds in the way that I used to when I was a teenager…or the seemingly universal way people seem to crave it whenever they see the posters. It might have something to do with my knowing the truth about their so-called “100% chicken breast” and “100% British beef”, and the reality of all the innocent animals they brutally slaughter each year.
Or maybe it’s because I’ve watched a lot of documentaries like Supersize Me and am under no illusion just how awful fast foo chains are for our health.
Throw it back to five years ago, when I was first in the process of cleaning up my diet, and I never would have been tempted to put a McDonalds cheeseburger in my mouth (no matter how many I chowed down when I was 16).
Now, however, I’m a little more flexible and open to junk food on the odd occasion. So long as it’s vegan, I feel a little junk or comfort food is good for the soul every now and then; to keep us sane. That’s just my approach, however.
Plus, McDonald’s is notorious for springing feelings of comfort and nostalgia to anybody that’s ever been given a Happy Meal as a kid, or been to a McDonald’s birthday party, or been oh-so-thankful for the arches that were there on the motorway, at the airport or when first landing in another country and you hadn’t a clue what else to eat at 3am. I, of course, am no different to anyone else, and McDonald’s has the ability to spring those same nostalgic feelings on any strict vegan as much as it does the typical omnivore. (Damn powerful marketing.)
So it would be nice, when out and about with friends, or on the road, and in a bind for something quick and cheap to eat, if one could pop into a McDonald’s like everybody else and pick up something that HADN’T directly harmed a living being.
But I digress.
A Healthy Vegan McDonalds Burger??
The other, perhaps larger reason for me making this recipe is that after making my pretty awesome raw cashew mayonnaise recipe, I thought “Damn, this would go down well on a sandwich.” And my mind almost immediately wandered to the McChicken Sandwiches I used to love so much, all those years ago.
Though the thought of eating an innocent chicken’s dead carcass couldn’t be less appetising now, I am aware that it is all too easy these days to recreate similar textures and tastes to those animal products we once loved, using the simple magic of PLANTS.
And whilst there are indeed plant-based recipes of McDonalds burgers out there…I decided mine would be a little different. Because mine would be a HEALTHY recipe, as well as tasting good and familiar and sating all Maccie D cravings. At least for me.
Though this recipe does suggest a white seeded bun for serving, which some people might not consider ‘healthy’, per se…my thinking is that a bit of white bread really won’t hurt you as much as the full fat-laden version of this burger would. It’s low in fat, uses wholefood ingredients, and has no weird chemicals, preservatives or animal hormones. In fact, I’m in full belief that this burger offers plenty of nutrition, with lean protein and calcium from the tofu; fibre and vitamins from the greens, and healthy fats and minerals from the cashews that make up the mayonnaise.
This recipe requires no deep-frying, or any frying of any kind, to be exact. It doesn’t even contain any oil, because I prefer to roll without it.
Yet the tofu is every bit as crispy and delicious as you’d want it to be.
If you ARE opposed to the white bread part, however, feel free to swap it for something else – a gluten-free bun, if you’re gluten free; a wholegrain bun if you’re avoiding white grains; some good quality sourdough (which I also tried and it worked really well), or even some grilled portobello mushrooms, which make awesome substitutions for buns.
Pair all of this up with some of my favourite oil-free baked fries (which absolutely don’t taste oil-free), and you’ve got yourself a pretty nutritious comfort meal. (Feel free to cut the potatoes into thin fry-like shapes for extra authenticity.)
I would love to do a side-by-side calorie comparison of my burger and it’s McDonalds equivalent, but I haven’t done so here. There are two reasons for this: one is that I’m kind of lazy and feel any number I come up with could be totally inaccurate. And I wouldn’t want to be giving out any misinformation or mess up someone’s diet.
The other reason is that I’m really not about calories at all. I would rather people focus on nutrients and ingredients, instead of worrying about numbers. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this healthier version actually had MORE calories than the classic McChicken Sandwich (which is 272 calories, if you really want to know). It’s often the case when bloggers make healthy version of things that are typically unhealthy, that the calorie count adds up to more because they are made with REAL ingredients and not a bunch of synthetic flavourings.
So if you’d really like to know the caloric value of this McTofu Sandwich, feel free to work it out and then post it in the comments below. (I’m slightly curious myself.)
But my main advice to you would be to just enjoy this burger and know that it’s made with real, totally healthy plant-based ingredients. And that’s one reason to try it out right now.
Oh, did I mention it was incredibly EASY?!
Homemade McTofu Sandwich Recipe
Makes enough for 2-3 burgers, with tofu & batter left over
For the tofu:
- 1 block of firm tofu, drained and dried (I use Clearspot)
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard (I like Biona)
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional, but adds an extra level of flavour)
- Salt & pepper
For the mayonnaise:
- 1 cup cashews (soaked for at least 3 hours)
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 medjool date
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- Juice of 1 lemon + 2 tbsp (can use apple cider vinegar instead)
- Salt & pepper, to taste.
- White seeded buns, warmed (or good quality sourdough/other alternative)
- 1 cup romaine, shredded
- Oil-free baked fries (click for recipe).
- Preheat the oven to 230°C.
- If making the oil-free fries, cut up your potatoes and arrange them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Season with a sprinkle of salt, pepper and any other herbs/seasonings you fancy.
- Whisk together the non-dairy milk, cornstarch and dijon mustard in a small bowl to form a batter.
- Mix the panko breadcrumbs with the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and nutritional yeast.
- Slice the tofu up into patty-sized squares and dip them one by one, first into the batter and then into the seasoned panko mix. I tend to scatter more of the panko mix over each side to keep the tofu slice from becoming soggy.
- Lie each piece of tofu down on a baking tray lined with foil or parchment paper.
- Bake the tofu in the oven for around 15 minutes, then flip and bake for another 15. (If you’d like the tofu more crispy, feel free to bake for a few more minutes).
- If making the fries as well, bake these with the tofu and flip halfway through also.
- Whilst the tofu/fries are baking, make the cashew mayo. Drain and rinse the cashews and blend them in a high speed blender with the other mayo ingredients.
- Serve the crispy tofu on your choice of bun. Top with the mayo and shredded lettuce, and the baked fries on the side. Enjoy!
What did you guys think of this recipe? Please let me know in the comments down below, or tag me in a pic on Instagram – #everythingspeachy. I’d love to see your creations!