My dad was in the Canadian Armed Forces, so when I was growing up, we moved… a lot! We lived throughout Canada and the United States (where I attended high school). All in all, I attended 9 schools and got to experience and see first-hand a good portion of those great countries. However, many of those mostly suburban experiences paled in comparison to the time that I spent in New York City.
I got to visit the Big Apple for the first time back in high school and I completely fell in love with it. Then in the summer of ’99, I got to spend a whole summer there. Most of my time was spent in Greenwich Village and I think that the sights, sounds and tastes of that neighborhood will live in me forever. From the bagels and falafels on St-Marks, to the gelato and pot stickers on 14th street, I pretty much ate my way around that town!
There’s probably a reason why I love NYC so much. You see, I lost many culinary virginities in NYC: first time eating sushi/Japanese, first time eating falafel, first time eating at a vegetarian restaurant (Angelica Kitchen on 12th)… the list goes on. Trying to be vegan in North Carolina, Virginia and Ottawa at the beginning of the millennium was a far cry from what New York City had to offer! The health food stores alone were enormous (this was before Whole Foods, people)! In fact, I still faithfully use my old canvas tote bag from LifeThyme on 6th ave (they sold the best vegan muffins and it’s also where I first discovered nooch).
So as you can see, NYC will always hold a special place in my heart (and belly). One of my favorite restaurants was Dojo. While the ambiance and service was never 5-star, the food was fresh and cheap, and there were many great vegan options on the menu. Dojo’s is probably most famous for its carrot ginger dressing, and a quick Google search will tell you that people are always seeking-out the ingredients to that special sauce. The dressing is so good that people always ask for an extra order of it. I personally loved it so much that I would buy 2 or 3 tubs of it whenever I visited NYC and cradle it on my lap during the flight back to Ottawa (this was before all the TSA liquid rules). I really loved that dressing!
Over the years, I’ve tried many carrot ginger dressing recipes, and I like to think that I’ve perfected the recipe below to closely resemble the real thing. Actually, I remember the original version being quite oily, so other than that, I think it’s pretty spot-on!
Back in the day, I only ever ordered the Tofu Salad (cold tofu served over greens, tomatoes, cucumber and avocado), but I’ve heard good things about their Hijiki Tofu Burger as well. So to round-out this Dojo-inspired meal, I also made this hijiki tofu burger from PeTA.com. The burger is soft and crumbly, and it pairs really nicely with a salad and of course, more dressing! I served the burger on a bed of brown rice but quinoa would be really nice too. You can also serve it directly on a salad, or in a pita.
- Blend everything in a food processor until smooth. Keeps in the fridge a few days but you may have to remix it as the oil may separate.
Recipe: Hijiki Tofu Burgers
Notes on the Burgers
- I couldn’t find any hijiki, but I did find some shredded nori (see photo above). I didn’t pre-soak it and it seemed to work very well. The seaweed taste is pretty minimal, but if you don’t like the stuff, feel free to leave it out completely.
- The burgers freeze well, so you can make them ahead and serve them with fresh dressing, as needed.