The Ultimate Tofu Schnitzel Burger

Got a hunk of tofu sitting in the fridge? Jazz it up with some spice and turn it into my Ultimate Tofu Schnitzel Burger. Photos by Nicholas Rider.


It’s almost mid-March and Sydney is going food crazy. I’m super pumped for Taste of Sydney which starts tonight. There’ll be plenty of delicious food and drink to enjoy and I’m sure there will be some exciting chances to meet-and-greet top Sydney chefs and foodies over the whole weekend. Here’s a little insider secret – Deliveroo are giving away double passes. All you have to do is tag a friend in their Taste of Sydney post here.

My recent collaboration with André and Adélaïdé from Infinite Belly has got me thinking once again about fun ways to increase my veggie intake and reduce the amount of meat that I eat. I have to admit that although I couldn’t give up meat entirely – let’s face it, the burgers from Mary’s Sydney are just too good – I do enjoy the challenge that cooking with veggies brings. The secret, I find, is to include as many different herbs and spices as you like or can. Some of my favourite seasonings and spices include turmeric, smoked paprika, and sliced chillies which work wonders when paired with fresh thyme, rosemary and even coriander.

Which is how I came about putting this next recipe together. As you might know, Burgerpalooza is coming up in Sydney on the 19th of March. Now I’m not sure if it’s the festival that’s got me craving all things burger-related but I wasn’t able to resist trying the Cheeky DoubleCheese from Cheeky Burger Bar the other day.

The Cheeky DoubleCheese from Cheeky Burger Bar Paddington

After taking the usual hundred or so photos for a work shoot – I have to thank Mimi from the Paddington branch for generously offering her time as a hand model – I dove in to enjoy mouthfuls of #nomnom beef patty and gloriously gooey cheese.

A few weeks ago I also had the pleasure of diving face-first into the Mushroom Burger from Mary’s Sydney. The mayonnaise based sauce had the distinct oniony, cheesy flavour of a cheeseburger. So not only was this particular Mushroom burger meat-free, but also tasted absolutely, mind-blastingly amazing and really satisfied the senses. It was so good that even I, of all people, was so transfixed by its wonder that I forgot to take a photo. I guess I’ll just have to go back to Mary’s and order another one. It’s hard being a food blogger.

I was thinking about burgers, which then got me thinking about creating a vegetarian option which retained the same crispy bun, delicious salads, served with an ingredient that isn’t often seen in western cuisine. Now tofu is ingredient which I cook with on and off. To be honest though, it’s a little dull on it’s own; a blank canvas that begs to be painted. I’d found my new challenge. To create the Ultimate Tofu Schnitzel Burger, with a flavour-packed coating that would surely satisfy.

8925 edit

Prep and Cooking Time 30 mins | Serves 4
For the lime and chilli mayo
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 4 tbsp whole-egg mayonnaise
  • ½ lime, juiced
For the tofu schnitzel
  • 200g block regular tofu
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup  plain flour
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying
For the burger
  • 4 soft hamburger rolls
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • Baby spinach leaves
  • Olive oil and balsamic vinegar
To serve
  • Potato chips and steamed or raw broccolini
8771 edit

Prepare the mayo. Let’s start with the mayo for our burger. Toast the chilli powder in a small frying pan over a low heat for 30 seconds or until fragrant and smokey. Combine the powder, mayonnaise and lime juice in a small bowl. Cover and place in the fridge to chill.

Prepare the schnitzels. Slice the rectangular tofu block in half, then cut into four 1cm-thick slices. If you’ve bought a large block of tofu, simply place the leftovers into a snap-lock bag and return to the fridge. Place the egg into a bowl.

Coat the schnitzels. Now here’s my little secret. Do you know how crumbing or coating things can get really messy sometimes? The best way to avoid messing up your kitchen while coating these schnitzels is to shake them in a container. Rummage through your kitchen cupboards and find a large lidded plastic container. Can’t find one? Just use a snap-lock bag. Place the flour, paprika, turmeric, chilli, garlic and onion powders into the box or bag and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Place the lid on the box or seal the bag and shake to combine. Take a tofu patty and dip into the beaten egg, coat on all sides then drain well. Place into the box/ bag, seal and shake to coat and set aside on a plate for frying later. Repeat for the remaining schnitzels.

Fry the schnitzels and buns. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat until hot. Add the schnitzels and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crispy. Set aside to drain on paper towel while you toast the burger buns. Slice the buns in half and place them, cut-side down, on the frying pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until crisp and golden.

Prepare the salad. Toss the baby spinach leaves with olive oil, balsamic and salt and pepper to taste.

Assemble the burgers. Place the burger bases on a plate. Spread with a generous spoonful of the mayo, then top with a schnitzel, tomatoes, baby spinach and more mayo. Top with the burger lids and enjoy!

8834 edit
A good burger starts with a good sauce
8842 edit
Chilli and lime bring some fire to the dish
8773 edit
Slice the tofu into perfect squares for best results

8779 edit

8825 edit
Perfectly coated
8865 edit
Cook the schnitzels and buns until golden and crispy
8880 edit
Cooked to perfection
8897 edit
Add some tomato
8899 edit
Then balsamic-dressed spinach
8904 edit
Then top with the lid and you’re in business!

8930 edit


I’m keen to know what you think of this recipe so be sure to leave me a message in the comments section below.

Share your recipes and food photos by tagging #brendonthesmilingchef and #whatsbrendoncooking on Instagram or Tweeting to @bthesmilingchef.

Happy cooking and keep smiling,

Brendon 🙂

BrendonTheSmilingChef_profile_hawaii_BrendonD'Souza View my food journey on Zomato!


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Brendon you are entertaining me and making me hungry at the same time. I am fascinated with this recipe – you are obviously a creative chef. I love tofu fried in canola with a splash of sesame oil then a teaspoon of Chinese black bean garlic sauce. I eat it while I make the remaining stir fry to the point I’m not hungry…well, not really. Anyway, I’m going to try this. Thank you.


    1. Thanks so much for your amazing comment and kind feedback! I really enjoyed putting this recipe together. I’d been eating my fare share of burgers recently, as we’ve had a burger explosion here in Sydney, and I felt that I needed to try my hand at an original recipe that was better for weekday lunches etc. Your fried tofu recipe sounds delicious! I have to try it out soon! Tag me in your photos if you post to Instagram or Faceboook (@brendonthesmilingchef). Keep in touch and keep smiling.


I love to read your comments as much as I love cheesecake. Leave me a message below so we can continue the foodie discussion.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s