Tofu Burgers

Tofu Burgers Recipe

This past week has been pretty swell. I feel like I'm finally easing into summer, something I wasn't sure was going to happen. I spent a couple nights under the stars with WB, cleaned off the back patio, grilled more meals than I cooked indoors, put some finishing touches on the manuscript, ate mint soft serve at Il Cane Rosso, made tofu burgers twice, saw whales migrating north, and picked up a few vintage baking pans in an antique shop in Healdsburg. That being said, I think the thing that really set the summertime tone around here was finding a tiny frog, no larger than my thumbnail, hopping around under my desk. We caught him in a Mason jar and released him out back.

Tofu Burger Recipe

My first thought was that the little guy must have hopped into our camping gear in an attempt to go from country frog to city frog. But it turns out the likely culprit was my nephew, who spent Sunday morning with us. My sister told me later they have lots of little frogs in their back yard, and he loves to try to catch them. Mystery solved - a toddler here with frogs in his pockets, and one made a break for it.

On the cooking front, I've been cleaning out some drawers. Primarily going through old magazine clippings (which is part of the reason I've been featuring more magazine inspired recipes than usual). I've been finding lots of gems, and these tofu burgers were one of the recipes that jumped out at me. I've adapted them from a reader contributed recipe that ran in the October 2004 issue of Sunset Magazine. The recipe was sent to Sunset by Jeremy Wolf of San Francisco, and I quite enjoyed them. They were impossibly easy to make, relying on the "throw everything in the food processor" technique, and called for a quirky mix of ingredients ranging from tofu, seeds, and nuts, to mustard, cumin, and mushrooms.

Tofu Burger Recipe

I suspect you'll be tempted to tweak the seasonings, it's the nature of the beast. Here's my advice. Don't skimp on the cumin or mustard, you need some assertive flavors to kick in - keep in mind you're dealing with ground tofu and eggs as a burger base. Alternately, if you play around with the seasonings - think bold.

Tofu Burger Recipe

Be sure to seek out the firmest tofu made from organic soybeans you can find. Also, I suspect you could grill these, they seem like they'd hold together. The next time around I'm going to try it. If anyone else gives that a go before I do, let me know, and I'll update the recipe.

1 pound / 16 oz / 450 g extra-firm tofu, drained and patted dry, then sliced

2 large eggs
1/2 cup / 2 oz / 55 g fine dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup / 2 oz / 55 g cashew nuts
1/2 cup / 2 oz /55g sunflower seeds
1/2 cup / 2 oz / 55g sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon shoyu or soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

extras: whatever buns & condiments you like. I did a combination of goat cheese and homemade pickles. You could also do a lettuce wrap in place of buns. And I couldn't resist the mini brioche buns from La Boulange.

Place all the ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture comes together and is free of most chunks, stopping to scrape down the sides of the food processor once or twice if needed. If it seems a bit thin to you, add more bread crumbs a small handful at a time until everything comes together.

Divide the mixture into eight equal portions and use your hands to (really) press and form into round but flat-ish patties.

Pour the olive oil into your largest skillet over medium-high heat, and arrange as many patties as you can without crowding. Cover, and cook turning once, until deeply browned on both sides. Roughly ten minutes. You want to make sure the middle of the patties cook through. If the pan is too hot you'll burn the outsides before the middle cooks up, so be mindful of that.

Serve with your favorite burger fixings. I mention a few ideas up above in the ingredient list.

Makes eight tofu burgers.

Adapted them from a reader contributed recipe that ran in the October 2004 issue of Sunset Magazine.

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 10 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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  • Yum - so nice to find a burger recipe that won't clog your arteries and still tastes great. Will definitely try these. I'm de-lurking to say that I baked your cottage cheese sundried tomato muffins yesterday evening *as a loaf* - it came out like a terrine, smelled fantastic in the oven and tasted fab this morning for breakfast. Thanks!

  • This looks delicious, and I'd love to make them - but my husband is vegan. Do you have any idea if there is a substitute to the eggs? I know they work as a binder, but I'm not cook-savvy enough to know what would work in its place.

  • YUM! now this looks like a burger I would be excited about!

    Simply Life
  • These sounds wonderful and I will be making them soon. Can these be frozen? If so, should it be done before or after cooking. HS: I'm not 100% sure how these would freeze. The freezer does crazy things to the texture of tofu. If anyone tries it, please report back.

  • I am always on the lookout for different veggie burgers. I am definitely going to try this, I love it!

  • I didn't realise tofu could sound so delicious! Great combinations of flavours. :-) Mandy

  • These are right up my alley! btw - tried your grilled tofu with soba noodles and garlic cilantro dressing on a recent camping trip and it held up great! I actually chopped up the tofu an tossed with the noodles as I was serving to a big group. Delicious. Will definitely make again. Thanks for the idea:)

    the French
  • i wonder if i could freeze those paties?

  • Oh my Lord! That looks like the most gorgeous tofu burger I have ever seen. And I actually wouldn't mind biting into it, given how tofu-averse I am.

    Shaheen {The Purple Foodie}
  • I think turning these into meatballs—tofu meatballs—would be a fun idea. I once ate at a restaurant called Oleana in Massachusetts. They served a wonderful soup of lamb meatballs in a green soup which had a cooling mint flavor. I think the robust seasonings in this tofu meat would supplement well with the same green soup served with the lamb meatballs I ate—namely the minty flavor. HS: Great idea Earl. I think if you made them small and pan fried them, they be excellent.

    Earl at
  • This looks like a wonderful recipe! I've never thought to use cashews in a burger patty before, I'll surely try this recipe soon!

  • I like the idea of bold flavors coloring this blank canvas, and the nuts and seeds adding texture and substance. What a fun surprise to have found that poor little frog in your office. It must have been happy to return to nature.

    Christine @ Fresh Local and Best
  • Yummy, and the pics of making them are gorgeous! I love the contrast in textures in these burgers, and may play around a bit with the spice mixture for fun.

    Julie Anne Rhodes
  • Those look so good! I love making my own faux-meaty things at home; much less processed, know what went into them. These seem like soon to be favorites.

  • For some reason, it has never even entered my brain to make my own tofu burgers. You are such a genius, Heidi. I have to try this as soon as I move into my new apartment.

    Satpreet Kahlon
  • This looks fabulous... I love veggie burgers and find most of the store bought ones pretty terrible. I am re-inspired to make my own...

    megan carroll
  • Ooh this looks super good. I've been looking for a new vegetarian burger recipe and tofu burgers have actually been on my mind but nothing's jumped out - this might be it!

  • Wow these are fantastic, never thought of mixing in nuts and seeds to tofu burgers. Great idea.

  • These sound great! The seasonings remind me vividly of helping my brother cook when he lived in a vegetarian co-op in Berkeley. I think they put olive oil, Dijon mustard, and soy sauce in just about everything!

    Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks
  • Wow, am I the first one to comment? It hardly happens! I love this recipe as I am trying to eat more healthy and trying out Vegan diet for a month, this will be a perfect recipe to make. Thank you for sharing it.

    Pam @ Cookware Reviews
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