If you’re looking for a vegan or vegetarian equivalent to Puerto Rican pollo guisado, look no further. I’ve whipped up a comforting recipe using tofu. So, I am calling this Puerto Rican Tofu Guisado.
It's the perfect, cozy meal that doesn't hold back on all of the flavors you know and love from a traditional bowl of Puerto Rican chicken stew.
This recipe + post has been updated for clarity, a more optimal cooking technique, and additional ingredients.
Why You'll Love This
- This tofu guisado recipe is 100% meat-free, vegan, and can be made gluten-free.
- We're working with easy-to-find, affordable ingredients.
- It's PACKED with flavor! We're doing this recipe right - by using all of the Puerto Rican ingredients we love.
Pollo guisado is a dish with braised chicken, carrots, potatoes, green Spanish olives, sofrito, and Puerto Rican spices. We’re remaking this recipe and switching out the chicken for tofu instead.
What To Eat with Tofu Guisado
Because Puerto Rican stews are packed with flavor, they're typicaly served with white rice. However, if you want to double-up the flavor, Puerto Rican yellow rice (arroz con gandules) is a great addition. You can also load up your plates with these sides:
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Tofu - Firm tofu is the best type to use. It's firm enough to create a "meaty' texture, but soft enough to allow the flavors to penetrate. You'll need to freeze, thaw, then press/drain the tofu.
- Sazon - Made with coriander, cumin, achoite, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper. Sazon is a unique combination of spices that gives this dish the flavor it has.
- Nutirional Yeast - This is optional, but nutritional yeast will provide a umami flavor to the tofu chunks.
- Flour - To make this recipe gluten-free, use corn starch instead. The flour in this recipe is used to create a crust in the tofu, in addition to thickening up the stew.
- Sofrito - is a belnd of aromatics including cilantro, onion, garlic, and peppers. Check out my homemade sofrito recipe
- Tomato Sauce - You'll need this. If all you haveis tomato paste, mix together 2 ounces of tomato paste with ounces of water. Congrats, you now have tomato sauce.
- Adobo - Adobo is another Puerto Rican favorite. It's also made from a mix of spices including garlic powder, salt, and tumeric.
- Chii Powder - It's here for flavor and color.
- Olives - Totally optional but definitely makes this dish authentically delicious. Oh, and you'll be using green Spanish olives.
- Potatoes - Growing up, russet potatoes were used for stews. However, I prefer red potatoes. Go for any potato variety you like - any of them can work.
- Carrots - You can't forget the carrots.
- Bay Leaves - Add some flavor to the stew. Be sure to fish them out beofre serving.
- Sugar - Optional. If you find your stew too acidic from the tomato sauce, ass a pinch of sugar to balance it out.
- It’s very important to use firm tofu that has been frozen and then thawed. This the “meat and bones” of our recipe - just vegetarian. You can just throw the entire pack into the freezer and freeze overnight, or longer. No need to remove the tofu from its packaging.
- For a thick stew, add a cornstarch or flour slurry. Simply remove some of liquid from the stew into a bowl, add a thickener (flour/cournstarch), whisk together, then add back to the stew.
Where To Find Puerto Rican Spices + Sofrito
Puerto Rican spices like adobo and sazon can be found in many big-box grocery stores in their “Hispanic” or “ethnic” aisles. However, they can also be found online at Amazon.
I recommend making sofrito from scratch. It might look intimidating, but I promise it’s not. It’s essentially a bunch of aromatics blended until chunky and sauce-like.
Some grocery stores may sell sofrito already pre-made. I don’t really recommend those, but if you don’t have much of a choice, they can do. Just a warning: they don’t taste nearly as good as the homemade stuff.
Puerto Rican Tofu Guisado
Puerto Rican Tofu Guisado
- 1 tablespoon oil
- ¼ cup sofrito
- 4 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoons sazon
- 1 teaspoon adobo
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ cup Spanish olives (optional)
- 3 cups water add more if need-be.
- 6 small red potatoes or 2-3 medium russet potatoes. Chopped into large bite-sized chunks
- 2 large carrots chopped into large bite-sized chunks
- 1 Bay leaf
- Pinch of sugar (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Or, preheat air fryer to 425 degrees F.
- Cut the tofu into chunks/cubes. Transfer the tofu chunks into a mixing bowl. Toss carefully with oil, then with sazon, nutritional yeast, add flour/cornstarch.
- Place each tofu “chicken” piece onto the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping halfway. Or, air fry for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway.
Puerto Rican Tofu Guisado
- In a bowl, whisk together sofrito, tomato sauce, sazon, adobo, and chili powder.
- Heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil and once hot, add the sofrito mix and cook for 1 minute. Then, add the olives.
- Add the water, potatoes, carrots, bay leaf. Bring stew to a boil, then reduce heat to low to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until carrots and potatoes are tender.
- Stir in the tofu “chicken” chunks into the stew. Add a pinch of sugar if the stew is too acidic from the tomato sauce. To thicken stew, see notes*. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
- To thicken the stew, transfer about 2 tablespoons of the stew's liquid into a bowl. Add 2 tablespoon of flour or cornstarch. Mix together until lump-free. Then, add the slurry back into the stew and mix well. Simmer for another couple of minutes. To thicken more, repeat this process.
- The frozen tofu must be completely thawed and drained. To press the tofu, gently press the tofu with the backs of two plates. Do this carefully, so the the tofu doesn't crumble.
- If using extra-firm tofu, no need freeze/thaw/press.
- Use any potato variety your prefer. Red potatoes hold up nicely in stews due to their thick skins. However, russets can be used too.
Did you try out this Puerto Rican Tofu Guisado recipe?