Japanese Tempeh Burgers

Tempeh Burgers

Japanese Tempeh Burgers with Wasabi Mayo and Grated Daikon

On a recent visit to Vermont, we had the pleasure of stopping in at the production facility of Rhapsody Natural Foods, makers of artisan tempeh and miso. They were kind enough to send us on our way with a couple of pounds of their great tempeh, so we decided to use it in a variety of different recipes. I enjoy the meatiness of tempeh and wanted to make a veggie burger with it as a base. I also wanted to make something that embraced Japanese flavours. Ginger, soy and mushrooms make a terrific accompaniment to the tempeh in the burgers. A quick wasabi mayo and a traditional condiment of grated daikon – daikon oroshi – bring it all together.

Tempeh Burger

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Japanese Tempeh Burgers with Wasabi Mayo and Grated Daikon
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 burgers
  • 4 burger buns
  • Leaf lettuce
Tempeh Burgers
  • 8 oz tempeh, crumbled
  • 6oz/180g maitake or shiitake mushrooms, tough stems removed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped peeled ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced green onions, white and green parts
  • 3 tablespoons tamari
  • ½ cup vital gluten flour
  • 2-4 tablespoons water or mild vegetable broth
  • Salt and white pepper
Wasabi Mayo
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon prepared wasabi
  • 2 teaspoons peeled and grated ginger
Daikon Oroshi
  • 1 cup grated peeled daikon radish
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Prepare the burgers
  1. Thinly slice the mushroom.
  2. In a medium sauté pan, cook the mushrooms in the vegetable and sesame oils until almost tender, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the ginger and garlic, cooking for another couple of minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the green onions. Season lightly with salt and white pepper. Let cool to room temperature.
  4. In a bowl, combine the crumbled tempeh, cooked mushrooms, gluten flour and tamari. Mix well. Add 2 tablespoons of water and begin to knead the mixture. If it seems dry, add a little more water or broth.
  5. Continue kneading for a couple of minutes to fully hydrate and develop the gluten. The mixture should be able to hold together as a mass.
  6. Divide the mixture into four even portions, then flatten into rounds that are slightly larger than the base of the burger bun. Set aside until ready to cook.
Prepare the Wasabi Mayo
  1. Combine the mayo, prepared wasabi and grated ginger. Ideally, make this mayo at least a couple hours ahead of time as the flavours improve in that time.
Prepare the daikon oroshi
  1. Squeeze excess moisture from the grated daikon.
  2. Stir in the tamari, lemon juice and sesame oil. Season with a little salt, if needed.
Cooking the burgers
  1. Use a large non-stick pan, or seasoned cast iron if you have it.
  2. Warm the pan over medium heat. Once hot, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil. When it’s hot, carefully place each of the burgers into the pan. They should begin sizzling immediately.
  3. Cook until the first side is well browned, about 5-6 minutes. Carefully flip the burgers and cook for another 5-6 minutes on the second side. Add a little more oil if the pan seems dry.
  4. It is important that you take your time when cooking the burgers. It takes longer than you might expect to fully cook the gluten flour.
  5. Place a heaping tablespoon of Wasabi Mayo on the base of each burger bun. Top with a tempeh burger, some daikon oroshi and leaf lettuce.

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