By Joanne Bruno | July 25, 2011

Photo: Joanne Bruno

My father and I often get into existential arguments about food. Weekly, for example, we have what I like to call “The Great Tofu Discussion”.

He refuses to admit that it exists. Then I try to convince him that, not only is it a real thing, but it’s also one of the healthiest protein sources out there.

It’s an uphill battle, to be sure, but that’s only because I haven’t made him these burgers yet.  Rife with Asian flavors, they are rich in iron and calcium, and will absolutely convince any tofu-hater in your life that, not only is tofu a real thing, but that it can taste good too.

Photo: Joanne Bruno

Adapted from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook

Joanne Bruno is a food writer and second year medical student.  Find more of her delicious ramblings over at her blog: Eats Well With Others.  Joanne is also training for her third marathon with Team in Training, raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  For more information or to make a donation, check out her fundraising website.

Spinach-Tofu Burgers Recipe

Servings: 4


  • 1 lb spinach
  • 2 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 block firm tofu, patted dry
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil


1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spinach to the pot, stir, and let cook for a minute. Drain and plunge it into a bowl of ice water. When the spinach is cold, drain it again. Using your hands, squeeze out as much water as you can. Chop it finely by hand or in a food processor. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. Pulse the scallions and garlic in a food processor a few times until minced. Transfer them to the bowl. Crumble half the tofu into the bowl with your hands. Put the remaining tofu in the food processor and process it until the tofu is smooth. Add it to the bowl along with the bread crumbs, sesame seeds, soy sauce, sesame oil, a sprinkling of salt and lots of pepper.

3. Combine the mixture until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Form into 4 patties. Put the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, slide the patties into the skillet with a spatula. Cook, undisturbed, until they are nicely browned and easy to move, about 5 minutes. Carefully flip the patties and cook on the second side for 3-4 minutes more. Serve on buns, in pitas, or over rice.

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