If you can master this staple, you’ll have earned the title of king or queen of the kitchen. I became reigning champ of the barbecue when I came up with this winning tempeh burger. I discovered that when tempeh is finely chopped, it can take on the texture of ordinary ground beef, making it a great addition toward making the perfect veggie burger.

Prep ahead
Seitan Bacon (Recipe here)
Creamy Mayo (Recipe here)
Makes 8 burgers or 4 double-burgers


• 1 block (9 oz/240 g) tempeh (see Note)

• 4 cups + 2 ¼ cups water, divided

• ½ cup millet

• ¾ tsp. sea salt, divided

• 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil

• ½ cup thinly sliced white onion

• 2 cups diced button mushrooms

• 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

• ¼ cup tamari or soy sauce

• ¼ cup ketchup

• 2 tsp. Dijon mustard

• ½ cup raw sunflower seeds

• ½ cup ground golden flaxseed

• ²⁄₃ cup all-purpose flour

• 1 cup your choice of dairy-free cheddar cheese

• 8-16 slices Seitan Bacon (Recipe here)


• 4 burger buns, toasted

• Ketchup

• Mustard

• Lettuce

• Creamy Mayo (Recipe here)


1. Place the tempeh in a medium pot with 4 cups of the water. Cover with a tightfitting lid and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes. Remove the tempeh from the pot and allow to cool completely before handling, about 15 minutes. Dice the tempeh into small pieces, about ⅛-inch (3 mm) cubes, and place in a large bowl.

2. In a medium pot, combine the millet, the remaining 2 ¼ cups water, and ½ tsp. of the salt. Bring to a boil, covered, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the millet is soft and slightly mushy, about 25 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the heat and set aside for 15 minutes so that the millet can swell and absorb any remaining liquid. It is okay to overcook the millet in this step, as it helps bind together the burgers.

3. In another medium pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, mushrooms, and the remaining ¼ tsp. salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are lightly brown, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until there is very little liquid left, 10-15 minutes. Add the nutritional yeast, tamari, ketchup, and mustard. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

4. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, add the cooked millet, sunflower seeds, and half of the onion and mushroom mixture and process until smooth. Transfer to the bowl with the diced tempeh. Stir in the remaining onion and mushroom mixture, flaxseed, and flour. Using a spatula, mix all ingredients until well combined, cover, and set aside for 10-15 minutes so that the flaxseed can swell and absorb some of the liquid.

5. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

6. Using a ½-cup measuring cup, divide the mixture into eight equal portions. Lightly dampen your palm and flatten each portion into a patty about ½ inch (1 cm) thick. Arrange the patties on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Flip the patties and spread 2 Tbsp. dairy free cheddar cheese over the top of each patty. Then place two strips of seitan bacon on half of the patties if making double burgers, or two strips on each patty if making single burgers.

Return to the oven and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before handling, 8-10 minutes.

7. Place two burgers on the bottom of each bun. Top with ketchup, mustard, lettuce, creamy mayo, any other favourite toppings, and the other half of the bun.


I prefer using unpasteurized tempeh for its texture. I find it is firmer and denser, giving it a meatier texture. It’s usually available in the freezer section of your favourite grocery store. However, pasteurized tempeh will work anywhere that tempeh is called for.

To grind the flaxseed for this recipe, place about 6 Tbsp. whole golden flaxseeds in a blender or spice grinder. Blend until they have a flour-like consistency. You can also use ground flaxseed; just make sure it is finely ground.

Nutrition facts per serving
Calories 781; protein 43 g; fat 39 g; carbs 80 g.

Excerpt from The Classics Veganized: Over 120 Favourite Comfort Food Recipes for a Vegan Lifestyle by Doug McNish. Copyright © 2020 by Doug McNish. Published by Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Photography by Nicole Axworthy

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