When I was 18 I worked in a health food store in western New York called Ye Olde Nut Tree. They served something called Unburgers that Jean Young created when she worked there. They were made daily for the snack bar. (The “batter” kept in the frig. for a day or two.) Hard-working, non-vegetarian, construction workers would come in just because they loved them. They were served on buns with alfalfa sprouts, tomato, etc., or on split open pita bread with cream cheese, avocado, cucumbers, and alfalfa sprouts, topped with an oil and vinegar dressing.
I made Unburgers so many times that I had inadvertently memorized the recipe. When I quit working there, I wrote my memorized recipe down and made it for my growing family. Unfortunately, the original recipe contained 9 eggs!! Needless to say, I had to turn them into a vegan version when we gave up eggs.
The recipe makes 12-16 patties, but they freeze marvelously.
The Nut Tree (the shortened name) exchanged owners and names, moved, and eventually went out of business. For any of you who used to go there to eat lunch, now you can make your own at home.
- 1 pkg. extra firm Morniu silken tofu
- 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 c. water
- 1 large onion
- 2 T. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
- 2 tsp. sage
- 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2-1 tsp. salt
- 1 T. Savorex, Vegex, or Marmite paste (from original recipe)
- OR (my preferred method)
- 2 T. Brewer’s yeast flakes
- 1 1/2 tsp. Spike seasoning
- 1/2 capful Liquid Hickory Smoke
- 1 1/2 c. walnuts
- 3 c. quick oats (you may use half rolled oats for a chewier texture ~ for gluten-free, use certified gluten-free oats)
- 1/2 c. raw sunflower seeds
Whiz in blender everything except walnuts, oats, and seeds until fairly smooth. Add walnuts – allow blender to run until no large pieces remain. Pour into large bowl and stir in oats and sunflower seeds. Let stand for 5 or more minutes.
Preheat electric griddle to 250-275 degrees F. (I suppose you could use a square stove-top griddle, but you couldn’t cook as many at a time on it. Use medium-low heat.) Drop large scoops of mix onto griddle and flatten into patties. (Sometimes this isn’t a quick process – be patient.) When browned (about 8-10 minutes), turn them over and continue cooking another 3-5 minutes. If you flip them too soon, they will be gooey inside.
Serve with gravy, on sandwiches, or alone with guacamole and slices of tomato on top. Try one crumbled onto a salad.
Makes 12 large patties, or 16 medium patties. Freezes well with waxed paper between layers.