I know, that title is bold. Let me explain –
I am a huge fan of Chipotle and it’s my favorite place to eat when I want something quick, plant-based, and customizable. Paired with brown rice, black beans, mild salsa, corn, perfectly made guac, and a bed of lettuce, there’s nothing better than a Chipotle veggie rice bowl.
But sometimes, I just want to make it myself and control the variables – ya know?
I want it spicer, more flavorful, thicker, saucy, and sassy. For this kind of result, I just need to make it myself.
In this copycat Chipotle’s vegan sofritas recipe, we’re using plant-based ingredients along with some spices. You can add the sofritas into just about anything – a rice bowl, burrito, taco, or toss it in a salad.
Okay, so maybe you haven’t heard about the infamous Chipotle vegan sofritas. That’s okay. When you’re blindsided by all of the options at Chipotle, it’s easy to miss.
What Is Chipotle Sofritas?
Chipotle sofritas is a vegan protein option using braised, or slowly cooked tofu. The star of this recipe is a spicy, chipotle sauce, combined with other ingredients including tomato paste, red wine vinegar, onion, bell pepper, garlic, toasted cumin seeds, and a dash of salt.
With vegan sofritas, you won’t be missing the meat. The cooked tofu provides a nice, “meaty” texture, along with an incredible flavor that doesn’t make you feel like you’re eating a block of cardboard.
The recipe typically calls for roasted poblano, which is a mild chili pepper. It has an earthy and slightly bitter flavor. When roasted, the poblano pepper’s flavor enhanced. Although we’re skipping this ingredient to keep this recipe easy and fast, feel free to throw this one in the blender once roasted.
You’ll Love This Recipe If…
- You appreciate a spicy-kick in your dishes.
- You like a thick, hearty, and robust in flavor kind of sofritas.
- You want your vegan sofritas to be the star of your bowl, burrito, or salad.
What’s Different About This Recipe?
- It’s spicer
- It’s thicker
- It’s far more flavorful
- You can control the variables
- It’s homemade
How To Make This Recipe Less Spicy/Milder?
If this recipe is too spicy for your palate, make the following adjustments:
- Use only half the can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- Use about 2 – 2.5 cups of water OR low-sodium vegetable stock.
- Adjust seasonings to your liking.
- Double up the tofu content to compensate for the extra liquid.
What Is Sofrito?
Sofrito is a vegetable-based sauce that is typically used in dishes including yellow rice, stews, soups, beans, and braises.
Every home will have a slight variation to how they make this, but in many Puerto Rican homes, sofrito is typically made with onion, red bell pepper/ red peppers ajies dulces, green bell pepper, garlic, and cilantro.
It can either be made in a food processor or in a blender. The idea is to get the ingredients broken down, but still chunky. It shouldn’t be turned into a soup.
Other variations of sofrito may include ingredients like tomatoes, recao stems, parsley leaves, tomato sauce, or dry white wine.
How To Make Sofrito
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 garlic head
- 1 bunch cilantro (2 ounces/~56 grams)
- First, rinse the bell peppers and cilantro.
- Roughly chop the onion, cilantro, and bell pepper. Deseed the peppers. Set all aside in a large bowl.
- Crush the garlic and add to the bowl.
- Blend all ingredients in a food processor or pulse in a blender until chunky.
Making sofrito is simple. You’re essentially just blending together a bunch of easy-to-find vegetables. You can either store sofrito in a tupperware in the fridge, or in the freezer.
For easy handling, a trick is to pour the sofrito into an ice cube tray and freeze. Pop one cube out when you’re ready to use it in a dish.
If you don’t want to make sofrito from scratch, you can also buy it from the store or on Amazon.
New to using frozen tofu? Learn all you need to know with 7 Things To Know About Frozen Tofu.
Better Than Chipotle’s Sofritas Recipe
- 8 ounce block firm frozen tofu
- 7 ounce can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1 cup sofrito
- 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1.5 cup water
- First, defrost the block of tofu, drain, and press as much of its water from the block.
- Cut the tofu into small, 1-inch cubes. Over a medium-hot pan, add 1 tablespoon of oil.
- Cook the cubes of tofu on all sides until golden. Set aside.
- In the same pan, remove from heat and toast cumin seeds for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
- In a blender, blend together the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, sofrito , red wine vinegar, tomato paste, toasted cumin seeds, water, and salt. Blend until smooth.
- In a pot over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil. Add the sauce, cook and stir for a minute.
- Add the tofu to the pot with the sauce and bring everything to a boil.
- Once at a boil, immediately lower heat to a low, gentle simmer, then cover.
- After 30 minutes, crush and cut the tofu into smaller pieces with a spatula/fork/spoon.
- Cook for another 30 minutes and stir occasionally.
- It’s best to use a heavy-bottom pot, like a dutch oven, if you have one. If not, a regular pot with a lid will work OK, too.
- Your pot should be deep enough to hold all of your ingredients, with a couple of inches on top to allow for evaporation.
- Freezing the tofu prior to cooking will create a much chewier texture. Additionally, the ice crystals within the tofu will open up the block, creating a sponge-like vessel, which is perfect for sucking up sauces.
- If you’re unable to freeze the tofu prior to use, it’s fine. It’ll just be a bit softer.
- Do not use silken tofu, it’ll be too soft.
- If the sauce is too thick, add more water. If it’s too thin, crank up the heat to medium-high and cook until it has thickened. Adjust seasonings according to your personal tastebuds.
- Optional: use Sazon seasoning instead of salt.
- Sofrito is a vegetable base ingredient that’s popular in Latin-Caribbean cultures.
Not sure what sofrito is? Check out the notes above the recipe, or click on the hyperlinked “sofrito” listed in ingredients in this recipe.
Cookware Used In This Recipe
Did you try out this Better Than Chipotle’s Sofritas Recipe?