Tuna tofu miso mini burgers

tunaminiburger.jpg

I do like mini-burgers for bentos - they’re easy to make, easy to eat, and cute. This time it’s a tuna and tofu burger flavored with miso. Canned tuna is a versatile and handy staple to have around. I always seem to have at least a couple around - you may too. And it’s cheap, so if you live in the U.S. and are feeling a bit poor today after filing your taxes, these will help a bit in stretching your food budget. It’s better if you make the burgers with oil canned tuna, but water canned will do. They’re quick to mix up in a plastic bag, and cook up in a few minutes.

Recipe: Tuna tofu miso mini burgers

Makes 6-8 mini burgers

  • 1 standard can (200g / 7 oz or so) tuna, oil-packed or water packed
  • 1/2 block (1 block = 300g or 10.5 oz) extra firm tofu
  • 2 Tbs. dry plain breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped green onion
  • 1 Tbs mild white miso or other miso of your choice - for a spicy version, use kochujang (more about kochujang)

Drain the tuna very well. Drain the tofu well (see how to drain tofu properly).

Dump everything in a plastic bag. Mix very well by squishing the bag around. This part is rather fun.

tunaminiburgersquish.jpg

In the meantime, heat up a nonstick frying pan with a little olive oil.

When everything is evenly mixed, take out spoonfuls of the mixture from the bag, form into little burgers, and fry on each side for a couple of minutes until browned.

[Edit:] It seems some people have had trouble getting the burgers to hold together. The keys are to drain the tuna very well, especially if you are using the water-packed variety, and to really mix and knead everything together thoroughly until the texture is quite fine and paste-like. If that still doesn’t work, add some egg (just egg white if you are watching the calories will do fine).

Variation

This paste is also good for making interesting tasting grilled tuna sandwiches. Just mound on top of a slice of bread and grill in a toaster oven, optionally with a little cheese on top.

More bento-appropriate mini burgers: meat and tofu mini-burgers, black bean mini-burgers.

For more bento recipes, ideas and tips, subscribe to Just Bento via your newsreader or by email (more about subscriptions).

And visit our sister site, Just Hungry for great Japanese home recipes and more.

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this recipe sounds tasty,

this recipe sounds tasty, but do you really need to use a plastic bag? you can’t just mix it with a fork or your hands? the plastic bag trick just seems wasteful and unnecessary (even if it is fun).

You could always re-use

You could always re-use clean produce bags. (I know, I try to cut them out too, but sometimes they’re unavoidable!)

tofu substitution

Hi Makiko,

This really looks like a great bento item and I want to try it but I can’t eat tofu it gives me a stomach ache but I am fine with miso. Can you suggest something else to add in stead so that the burgers will not crumble apart?

thanks!

The plastic bag is a time

The plastic bag is a time saving (and mess-saving) device - you could of course use your hands or a fork. (I actually wash out plastic bags and re-use them a few times!)

Ella instead of tofu, you could use an egg. It would act as a binder. You may need to add a bit more breadcrumbs. HTH!

egg instead of tofu

I made this last week with the egg instead of tofu and baked them in the oven; they were FANTASTIC!

love them

I WILL make those mini tofu burgers! And I may freeze them (not sure of the résult but we’ll see)

I’m glad I’m not the

I’m glad I’m not the only one that re-uses plastic bags. My roommate thinks I’m crazy. On another note, these look really good, so I’ll have to give them a try (especially since canned tuna is so darned cheap). However, I’m thinking I might add a little re-hydrated mehijiki into mine.

Plastic bag life progression

Hijiki should work great (like in ganmodoki/hiryouzu (deep fried tofu burgers sort of)) I just wanted to keep it down to a few ingredients for simplicity here.

Here’s how plastic bags progress around here:

  • initial use - for dry stuff that needs to be dry, e.g. breadcrumbs, sesame seeds, etc.
  • store non-sauced, simple things like cut vegetables (a few times)
  • Once the bags get rather worn out, I would use it for say marinating a piece of meat or for stuff like this tofu burger.
  • When the bag is very sticky and stained, it’s tossed into the trash

A good quality zip bag lasts at least for 5-6 uses this way… Saves money too!

oh yay! I have all those

oh yay! I have all those ingredients at home already!

I made these on the weekend

I made these on the weekend and they were unbelieveably delicious (and I dont even like tuna that much!)

Thank you!

I tried this recipe last night, using canned salmon instead of tuna and substituting panko for the bread crumbs because that’s what I had in my pantry…it turned out great, and my boyfriend loved it too (Leftovers are in his bento today and he couldn’t be happier). Also tried your blanched spinach with toasted sesame seeds and mirin-soy dressing, really wonderful. Anyway, thanks, and just wanted to say that I love your site. :)

Another triumph!

Made these tonight (double the quantity), we really enjoyed them and they were simplicity itself to prepare - ‘hardest’ part was draining the tofu and tuna. My husband liked them so much he wolfed them down in an instant. I just asked his opinion but his only recollection is hazy, like something he had in a dream - a very good dream. He’s really looking forward to eating the rest, which are already packed into his lunchbox for tomorrow. Today we had them with Thai sweet chilli sauce, but we want to try them with ponzu, and also with a Korean style dipping sauce we like made of 1 measure each of shoyu, water & rice vinegar and 1/2 a measure of sugar. They seem so versatile.

it’s really great to hear

it’s really great to hear so many people like this :)

The first batch fell apart

Like a previous commenter, I too used panko, my first batch fell apart and I ended up with tuna/tofu scramble. My second attempt I added 2 tsp. extra of miso and they held together quite nicely. Very delicious.

Brilliant and cute storecupboard stand-by

Thanks Maki,

I made these at the weekend and I was really pleased at how well they stayed together.

The only difference was that I used bran instead of breadcrumbs. I bought a load a few months pack and have found that bran (the sawdust stuff - not a breakfast cereal) works very well as a healthy alternative to breadcrumbs - try coating a salmon steak in beaten egg then bran and fry gently on a non-stick fry-pan. It works a treat for a diet-friendly version of battered food!

Keep up the good work - I really enjoy this website (and Just Hungry) and appreciate the amount of effort you put into it!

They fell apart for me too

Hi maki! After much procrasination i finally got around to making this. The problem was my tuna wasn’t sticking together somehow and I took the advice of a previous comment and mixed in a beaten egg. They held together nicely after that. I wonder why mine wasn’t holding well initially.. rather odd.. but anyway it tasted fantastic but I’ve run out of miso now and won’t be able to make this again anytime soon.. =(

Great recipe and thanks for sharing it!

Even my lil one loved this!

I made this for dinner (with leftovers for my bento the next day) and it was a huge hit! My 3yo LOVED them and scarfed down 3 or 4 of them! I really like canned tuna (actually like it more than fresh if you can believe that!) but it’s hard to find yummy creative ways to use it and this was just the thing! We’ve added it to our regular rotation!

I’m wondering what the

I’m wondering what the approximate calorie count is on these?

Yum Yum!!!

Just made up a batch, these are absolutely lush, I’m trying not to sneek back into the kitchen for another one. Need to save some for my lunch!! Think I may need to drain the tofu a little better if I make them again but was hungry and couldn’t wait any longer! Wonderful recipe - thanks.

Can you use firm silken tofu instead?

Hi there, I really want to try this at home but it’s quite hard to find good fried tofu here so I always have silken tofu in my fridge. Can I used silken tofu instead in fried tofu in this recipe?

The recipe doesn’t call

The recipe doesn’t call for fried tofu actually, it calls for firm tofu, which should be easier to get. Silken tofu is too watery for this type of recipe (see here for tofu types that are suited for burgers and such)

Freezing?

How well do these wonderful burgers freeze? I’d love to make a big batch and keep them in my freezer for my 5 year old’s lunch.

And thank you for putting up so many wonderful recipes. You’ve made my child’s lunch box much more entertaining.

They do freeze quite well,

They do freeze quite well, though try not to make more than you would use up in about a month or two, or the flavor/texture does gradually deteriorate.

Terrific!

I just made these miso burgers, and they’re awesome! I doubled the recipe, because I didn’t want to keep half a block of tofu in the refrigerator. I knew I wouldn’t eat it fast enough. I substituted salmon for the tuna and added the egg white “just in case.” I didn’t want to gamble with crumbly burgers. Worked out great. Thanks, Maki.

Thank you!

Hello Maki

Just wanted to thank you for sharing this recipe. I recently came across your website and am finding it an invaluable resource! This recipe is particularly useful for me living as a ‘dorm room style’ student, it was also my first time cooking with tofu (though most definitely not my last). Looking forward to the leftovers tomorrow! :)

I’m having trouble finding

I’m having trouble finding miso around local grocery stores (I havn’t been able to get to the asian market to look recently, though I’m not quite sure how i should buy miso), so is there anything I could ad to replace the miso? Like salt? Or melted butter?

I’ve had miso soup before, so i was just trying to think of what may make a similar taste XDD

Miso has such a distinctive

Miso has such a distinctive flavor, there really is no substitute for it. When you can get out to an Asian market, miso primer might be useful. You can also find miso at health food stores and health-aware general supermarkets like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

Re: Tuna tofu miso mini burgers

I just made them (my first ever tofu dish) and they were absolutely lovely - even my tofu hating boyfriend said they were 'ok' which probably means he really liked them but couldn't admit it ^^
They made a nice dinner tonight and I will use the rest of my tofu to put them in a bento tomorrow

Re: Tuna tofu miso mini burgers

I just made some but I don't know if they're coked. They're browned on both sides but the middle is still rather soft. Did I do something wrong?

Re: Tuna tofu miso mini burgers

These will never turn rock hard in the middle, so if they're a bit soft that's fine. If they seem too soft, you probably did not drain the tofu (and/or the tuna) well enough.

Re: Tuna tofu miso mini burgers

Hi, maki!

I tried the recipe and it's amazing! Thank you for sharing it with us!
I did not have any breadcrumbs at the time so I used sesame seeds and it worked well, though I can't compare.
What I am writing to you about is 'green onion. Do you have in mind spring onion which is long and literally green in color and is basically leaves, or the one that is round and white-green in color, as compared to red?
Looking forward to your response!

Jonas

Wow

These are so good, I could not get them out of the pan fast enough, my husband and 2 year old devoured them as soon as I put them on a plate. I made a couple of additions that worked really well, so I thought I'd share them: I added a couple of tablespoons of flax meal (mixed with water) to serve as a binder, used silken tofu, added a bit of cooked quinoa that I had around, and a handful of capers, some of which got a bit crispy on the edges - so tasty! Thanks so much for this Maki!

Re: Tuna tofu miso mini burgers

Thank you so much for this recipe! I was looking for a potluck recipe that was inexpensive and used tuna and Tofu (since it was the only thing I had on hand). I have to say, these are amazing! Thanks!

Re: Tuna tofu miso mini burgers

Hi Maki, 4yrs on and people are still commenting on this recipe. Would like to ask, can I keep the tuna+tofu mix in the bag in the fridge overnight and fry in the morning or will it go off? Just want to cut down the time needed in the morning. Thanks in advance and hope you get better soon :)

Are they stinky?

I hate canned tuna because of the smell, so i was just wondering if the finished burgers smelled like tuna at all...
silly question, but i just can't stand the smell XD

Re: Are they stinky?

I can't say they don't smell like tuna at all, since they well, tuna, but the onions and miso do counteract it somewhat.

Re: Tuna tofu miso mini burgers

Delicious! (:

Can't Find Miso

I'm having a hard time finding miso in my local supermarkets and i don't have an Asian market near where I live so is there any substitute for miso or I just leave it out all together

Re: Can't Find Miso

You can leave it out certainly, but it will taste totally different from how it's supposed to taste.

Re: Tuna tofu miso mini burgers

This is seriously one of the best tofu recipes I have ever had. I dislike the taste of tofu immensely, but mixing it with miso and tuna turned out better than I could ever dreamed.

# of servings

I made these tonight and they were awwwesome! Added some ginger just because I like it in everything. Ate them with a side of pickled cabbage. How many servings does this recipe make? It says 6-8 mini burgers, but I could easily eat the whole thing! Thank you for a wonderful and affordable recipe!

Instead of miso

Made these today and they were delicious! My daughter who does not like tuna or tofu couldn't stop eating them. They will make great lunches this week.

I also live in a place without easy access to miso. I substituted Chinese hot mustard and they turned out great. I know it's not even close to the same thing, but it did give them a nice zip. I see miso on Amazon as an add-on item so hopefully I can make the real recipe soon!

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