Lifestyle06 Jun 2020

Athletics@Home – tasty tofu burgers


Tofu and beef burgers (© Mara Yamauchi)

The decathlon boys are back! Yes! Tomorrow, the latest Ultimate Garden Clash will see three of the world’s best all-rounders compete for a unique combined events triathlon title, from their back gardens.

I can’t wait! Apart from the marathon (I’m biased, obviously), the decathlon is one of my favourite events because it’s the pinnacle of athleticism. You have to be good at everything to be good at decathlon. Daley Thompson was my childhood hero, and the person who made me fall in love with athletics.

So in honour of these awesome athletes, today’s recipe, tofu burgers, is all about protein. Decathlon calls for power and strength, for which plenty of protein in your diet is essential. But why tofu? I can hear a few meat-lovers out there defending 100% meat burgers already!

First, my burgers contain tofu and beef, so they have two protein sources – more variety than plain burgers. Soya beans, from which tofu is made, are a rich source of essential nutrients including fibre, iron, manganese, and several B vitamins.

Second, these days we’re all under pressure to eat less meat because of climate change. For now, I am continuing to eat meat but I am drastically reducing the amount I eat. This recipe is an example of one way to reduce your meat consumption while increasing protein intake from plant sources.

And third, the tofu gives these burgers a lighter, more juicy texture than 100% meat burgers.

Distance runner and Asics ambassador Mara Yamauchi


What I loved about the Ultimate Garden Clash pole vault editions was that, while pole vault is a power event, actually the clash was made into an endurance event. And tomorrow’s event will be the same. We know from the suffering we often see when big strong decathletes run the 1500m that any form of endurance is tough for these athletes. They’re going to need all the protein (and carbs and healthy fats!) they can get hold of.



Tofu burgers

1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
500g minced beef
200g tofu (firmer type works best but any is fine)
80g breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil
For the salsa: 50g mango, 1 large or 3 small tomatoes, handful of fresh mint


First, remove as much moisture from the tofu as possible by patting with kitchen paper.

To make the salsa, finely chop the mango, tomatoes and mint, mix together well with salt and pepper to taste, and place in the fridge.

To make the burgers, place the onion, garlic, beef mince, tofu, breadcrumbs, egg, soy sauce, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix together thoroughly with clean hands, form into small patties and set aside.

Heat a little olive oil in a large, flat, non-stick frying pan. Fry the burgers for five minutes, then flip and repeat on the other side. Check if they are cooked through by inserting a knife into the centre of one of them. If the juices come out clear (not pink) then the burgers are done.

I like eating burgers with rice and vegetables, with a sauce on the side (in this case salsa, but you could use any sauce that you like). These burgers are also delicious eaten in the traditional way, sandwiched in a toasted burger bun with melted cheese, pickles, tomato, lettuce, and ketchup.

Mara Yamauchi for World Athletics