McDonald's Vegan Burger


Growing up, trips to McDonalds were limited to the few times each year we’d drive from Massachusetts to Long Island to visit my grandparents and stop for lunch. That was fine with me, since I don’t remember being one of those kids who begged and pleaded to go to the golden arches (at least I don’t think so…right Mom?). Now the only time I go is for a bathroom break on a road trip, and if Funk is with me, he makes sure to snap a picture of me at McDonalds and tweets it out to the world so the “blog-arazzi” (aka blog paparazzi) can see a dietitian entering a scandalous fast food establishment.

The chef I work with recently re-created vegan “McDonalds Sliders” using a fake soy meat, and it was the closest thing I’ve tasted that compares – almost exactly – to the McDonald’s burger. I wanted to make it even a smidge healthier and instead of using the processed soy version of ground beef, I used tempeh. Once you heat and break up the block of packaged tempeh (which is fermented soy that has a nutty taste), it crumbles, much like ground beef or soy ground beef.

The key ingredients you need to mimic the McDonald’s taste are ketchup, yellow mustard, diced Spanish onion, and sliced dill pickles. Also, you need that sesame seed bun. I’m now convinced that if you put this condiment combo on a piece of cardboard it’ll taste like a McDonald’s burger. Try it! (The burger, not the cardboard.)


2 packages of tempeh, cut into cubes

1 3/4 cup shredded soy cheese

Seasoning blend of 1 tsp salt, 1/3 tsp garlic powder, 1/3 tsp onion powder and a pinch of pepper

1 small Spanish onion, diced

Whole wheat sesame seed buns


Yellow mustard

Dill pickles, sliced


Steam tempeh using a steam basket in a pot of boiling water. This takes 5-10 minutes. Place tempeh in a large bowl and use a fork to mash it up into small bits. Add cheese and mix until well combined and cheese starts to melt and bind the tempeh together. Add seasoning mix. Shape the tempeh into six even patties and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway.

When the burgers are cooked, place them on the bun. Top each burger with about a teaspoon each of ketchup, mustard, and onion. Add 2-3 pickle slices.




I paired our burgers with Mama Pea’s Dill Pickle French Fries. Unfortunately they just tasted like regular french fries to me, and I barely detected the dill, but they still complemented the burgers perfectly. We also enjoyed some brewskis from Nashoba Valley.



Funk took one bite and said, “It tastes like McDonald’s!” And then he pretty much said it for every subsequent bite after that. I couldn’t get over how that condiment combo brought me right back to my Happy Meal eating days. But, I’d consider this our very own happy meal, and prefer it to the golden arches any day.  

One Comment

  1. Posted September 21, 2011 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Initially I thought you were ‘introducing’ a new menu item from McDonald’s , ha I just couldn’t imagine they could create a vegan burger with any flavor worth talking about 😉

    THESE look like they are definitely worth the mention! I love the combo of toppings. I was scared of burgers as a kid (something about E.Coli and a Jack in the Box? Can’t remember exactly…) so during the few times we were at a McD’s I was a chicken-nuggets gal. In hindsight, probably not a ‘safer’ choice!

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