Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Chestnut Tofu Burger

I love crisp autumn days, wrapping up warm against the chill in the air and stomping through the large piles of golden leaves that collect on the ground. And whenever I venture back home to see my parents at this time of year those piles of leaves are also full of glossy little chestnuts. As a family we have always collected up this seasonal offering of free food and turned them into comforting soup or stuffing for the turkey at Christmas. But when I recently returned from a trip to see the family with a bag full of freshly harvested chestnuts I decided to do something a little different…and so was born the soon to become seasonal classic, vegan friendly, ‘Chestnut Tofu Burger’!

120g firm tofu
1 tablespoon olive oil
120g chestnut puree
1 leek (thinly diced)
60g whole, peeled chestnuts
60g breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon chopped thyme (can use 2 teaspoons of dried thyme if fresh not available)


If a back garden full of chestnuts isn’t available to you, or you aren’t able to find fresh in the local shops you can use already prepared chestnut puree. If you do have fresh chestnuts however you might want to know how to make your own puree! There are many different methods and much debate as to whether chestnuts should be peeled before or after cooking. I always peel mine whilst raw, carefully using a knife to slice off the flatter end before removing the rest of the shell. I then place all of the chestnuts in a large saucepan and cover with water (so that the water level is a couple of centimetres above the chestnuts). Then bring to the boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the chestnuts are tender. Keep an eye on the pan to ensure the water does not boil off completely, and top up as necessary. Then place the chestnuts and remaining liquid into a food processor and whizz until fully blended, adding a little extra water if the mixture becomes too stiff.
Any excess puree can be frozen and used at a later date for soup, stuffing or more chestnut tofu burgers!


Mash the tofu in a bowl together with the olive oil. Add the chestnut puree and mix well.

In a separate pan gently cook the leeks in a glug of olive oil until softened. Then add the leeks to the tofu mixture.

Crumble the whole chestnuts up into small pieces and add to the tofu mix along with the breadcrumbs, thyme and plenty of salt and pepper to season.

Finally take handfuls of the mixture and shape into burgers (possibly dust your hands with flour before doing this to prevent the mixture from sticking). This mixture should make approximately four burgers depending on how large you make them.

To cook place the burgers under a hot grill, turning after about five minutes, and cook until both sides of the burger are golden in colour.


  1. Tried this last night: totally delicious! Easy to make too. I'm usually reticent about making burgers because they always fall apart, but these didn't. Cheated and used shop-bought roasted chestnuts that had been hanging around in the cupboard for ages, but the leeks, thyme, burger garnish and accompanying saute potatoes were all home grown. Looking forward to trying the pumpkin bread next....

  2. Another fantastic recipe idea ;) We are trying to use up all our food stockpiles before leaving Australia and one of the things left on the shelf is a tin of chestnuts so I think I know where those will be going...
    Will let you know the results!