This Sofritas Recipe Tastes Even Better Than Chipotle

What makes the perfect taco, burrito, tostada, or empanada filling? Carne asada? Slow-cooked carnitas? Grilled chicken? Fish? Or a vegetarian option like black beans or pinto beans?

If you're looking for a new vegetarian alternative, you'll love this tofu-based sofritas recipe, which can easily replace meats like ground beef, says chef and food writer Maren Epstein of Eating Works. This richly flavored meat alternative will be a crowd pleaser even among the carnivores at the table, and those who enjoy tacos, tostadas, or burritos are sure to eat it right up. It's also a versatile recipe. "If you don't want the sofritas to be spicy, you can leave the chilis out of the adobo sauce," says Epstein. "You can also swap out the poblano pepper for green bell peppers for less spice." 

And don't limit sofritas to the classics like tacos and burritos. "I like putting it on top of salads and in wraps," says Epstein. You may even like the stuff in an omelet, a soup, or in a fancy chip dip — make a big batch and experiment. Here's how to make this delicious sofritas recipe at home.

Gather your ingredients for this sofritas recipe

There's a good choice that the average home kitchen will have about half of these ingredients on hand. Once you try this dish the first time, however, they may become staples. You'll need eight ounces of firm tofu, pressed and sliced, a generous two (or three) tablespoons of olive oil, one poblano pepper, roasted, two chilis in adobo sauce (canned), one small onion, roughly chopped, two and a half cups of cherry tomatoes, one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and another of cumin, and a half teaspoon each of chili powder, oregano, and sea salt.

As noted, you can swap out the peppers for milder options in this sofritas recipe if you'd like, and for some added tang, add a pinch or two of nutritional yeast when you add the salt, herbs, and spices. 

Prepare the poblano for this sofritas recipe

This is arguably the most complex part of the whole sofritas recipe, a.k.a., the only semi-complicated part, and it's only because it will be new to some cooks. Preheat your broiler, then roast the poblano pepper by placing it on a foil-lined baking sheet and placing it on the top rack of the oven. 

Broil the pepper for five or ten minutes or until it has blackened, then remove it from the oven, place it in a bowl, and cover the bowl with a plate. Allow the poblano to steam in the covered bowl for ten minutes, then remove the pepper and scrape off the charred skin.

Combine all ingredients (except tofu) for the sofritas recipe

In a food processor, combine the cooked poblano, chilis in adobo, onion, tomatoes, vinegar, cumin, chili powder, oregano, sea salt, and nutritional yeast. Pulse until the consistency is largely runny but there are still a few chunks left. After all, you want some texture in every bite you take.

If this mixture, which will be the marinade for this sofritas recipe, is being stubborn about producing the consistency you want, add a dash or two of water as needed. This will make the consistency thinner and easier to work with. 

Prep, cook, and crush the tofu for this sofritas recipe

You should always rinse and then dry tofu and then press and dry it again. You should repeat this process again once it's sliced, in this case, into eight separate strips.

Now, heat the oil for your sofritas recipe in a large skillet, and then cook the tofu on both sides of each strip until it's golden brown. "Don't try to scrape the tofu off the pan," says Maren Epstein, "as once it is seared, it will come off easily." Once the tofu is cooked, you can use a wooden spatula (or other tool) to break it down into crumbles resembling ground beef. If you want to make things even easier on yourself, you can use a food processor for this step.

Mix it all and let your sofritas recipe simmer

This sofritas recipe step may be hands-on, but it's also super simple. Simply pour the marinade you mixed up in that food processor over the tofu you cooked up in the same pan, and place on medium heat. Keep a good simmer going, and stir occasionally to make sure all the flavors blend evenly. Keep it going until the fluid of the marinade has all been cooked off or absorbed.

Keep an eye out on this last step because you could accidentally ruin the whole thing here! "You could easily burn the mix while sautéing if you don't keep an eye on it. In the beginning, it may look like you have plenty of marinade, but it will get absorbed by the spongy tofu quickly, leaving little moisture in the pan," says Maren Epstein.

Once all is absorbed (and not burned), you're done. 

This Sofritas Recipe Tastes Even Better Than Chipotle
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If you're looking for a new vegetarian meat alternative, you'll love this tofu-based sofritas recipe, which can easily replace meats like ground beef.
Prep Time
15
minutes
Cook Time
25
minutes
Servings
3
cups
finished sofritas recipe presented on table
Ready in 40 minutes
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces firm tofu, pressed and sliced
  • 2 to 3 tbsp olive oil (enough to coat the pan)
  • 1 poblano, roasted
  • 2 chilis in adobo sauce
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 ½ cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Pinch or 2 of nutritional yeast
Directions
  1. Preheat the broiler. Roast the poblano by placing it on a foil-lined baking sheet and placing it in the top rack of the oven. Allow it to cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until it has blacked. Remove from the oven, place in a bowl, and cover the bowl with a plate. Allow the poblano to steam for 10 minutes. Remove the poblano and scrape off the charred skin.
  2. In a food processor, combine poblano, chilis in adobo, onion, tomatoes, vinegar, cumin, chili powder, oregano, sea salt, and nutritional yeast. Pulse until the consistency is runny but with some chunks left.
  3. Press the tofu by placing it under a heavy pot on top of an absorbent kitchen towel. (If you have a tofu press, you can use that as well.) Try to squeeze as much liquid out as possible. Slice into 8 strips.
  4. Heat oil in a large skillet. Once heated, add the tofu and cook on both sides until golden brown. Don't try to scrape the tofu off the pan — once it is seared, it will come off easily. Once it has browned, use a wooden spoon to break up the tofu into bits the size of ground beef or, alternately, pulse chop in food processor.
  5. Pour the marinade over the tofu and simmer until the cooking liquid has evaporated. Enjoy!
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