I don’t visit Chipotle as much as I did during my college days when their bowls and burritos sustained me through late night study sessions. But when they added sofritas, a tofu-based protein option, I had to try it. I don’t eat much meat and I genuinely love tofu—plus, most fast-casual chains don’t offer much in the way of vegetarian options. Now, it’s my favorite menu item.
Sofritas is made up of crumbled, meaty tofu in a lightly spicy chipotle pepper sauce. With savory flavor and a satisfying texture, I don’t find myself missing meat when I order my burrito or bowl with sofritas.
While enjoying an order of sofritas one day, I decided I wanted to recreate the dish at home. After some trial and error, I’ve arrived at a very similar copycat recipe that is just as satisfying, affordable, and incredibly easy to make.
How to Make Copycat Sofritas
To make this copycat recipe, firm tofu is frozen up to a month beforehand and then thawed for the best texture (more on that below). It’s then briefly dry-fried in a skillet to give it a satisfying meatiness. Sautéed onion, pepper, and garlic add flavor and a little texture, while finely chopped canned chipotle peppers and adobo sauce give its signature spice. A little tomato paste, cumin, and fresh lime round everything out.
After freezing and defrosting the tofu, copycat sofritas are ready in about 20 minutes, making it an ideal recipe for a weeknight dinner. The leftovers reheat well, too, and can be repurposed to make a variety of dishes.
Freeze Your Tofu
I call for freezing and defrosting the tofu before cooking. During this process, the water in the tofu freezes and then drains away, leaving behind small holes. It gives the tofu a meatier texture without the need for pressing or frying. There’s no need to press the tofu after defrosting—any remaining water helps create a sauce in the pan.
While this recipe takes a bit of forethought, it yields the best texture and decreases the hands-on prep and cook time. I tend to keep a package of firm or extra-firm tofu in the freezer at all times so I can make sofritas or vegetarian chili whenever I like.
Forgot to Freeze? Try This Instead
If you forgot to stick tofu in the freezer, don’t worry. You can still make sofritas using this dry fry method, though the texture will be slightly different.
Drain the tofu and slice into 1/2-inch slices. Space out on top of 2 layers of paper towels and top with more paper towels. Use a flat surface like a baking sheet to gently press the tofu from the top, extracting most of the water.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add a batch of tofu in a single layer. Cook until browned, then flip and brown the other side. Repeat with the remaining tofu. Let cool a few minutes, then crumble and proceed as written.
Adjust the Heat to Taste
This recipe makes medium spicy sofritas, much like the kind you’ll find at Chipotle. Since you’re making your own version at home, you can make it as mild or spicy as you like.
- For milder sofritas, use a poblano or bell pepper instead of jalapeño pepper. You can also use one chipotle pepper instead of two.
- For extra spice, add an extra chipotle pepper or two and/or leave the seeds in the jalapeño.
How to Serve Sofritas
Use sofritas to top a burrito bowl, fill a burrito or tacos, or sprinkle onto nachos. Anywhere you’d normally use a Tex Mex-style meat like chicken, pork, or beef, try adding sofritas instead.
Tantalizing Tofu Recipes
This recipe is quick and easy but requires a bit of pre-planning. Drain the tofu and stick it in the freezer several hours (or days or weeks) before you plan to make sofritas. Then move it to the counter about an hour before cooking, or to the fridge up to a day ahead of time so it can defrost.
You can adjust the heat of this dish by adding more or less chipotle peppers. If you’re not sure, try starting with one and go from there.
1 (14-ounce) container extra firm or firm tofu
2 teaspoons canola or olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 small poblano pepper or 1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup water, and more as needed
1 to 3 chipotle peppers in adobo, finely chopped
3 tablespoons adobo sauce (from the can)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Juice of 1/2 lime, or to taste
Freeze the tofu and defrost:
Drain the package of tofu and wrap the container in plastic wrap or transfer the tofu to an airtight container. Freeze for at least 4 hours. About an hour before cooking, set the tofu on the counter to thaw.
You can thaw the tofu up to 24 hours beforehand. Simply transfer the frozen block from the freezer to the fridge.
Dry fry the tofu:
Cut the tofu into 4 equal squares and squeeze each square, one at a time, over the sink. Squeeze as much water out as you can; it’s okay if the tofu breaks up a bit.
Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, crumble the tofu into the pan and spread out into an even layer. Brown the tofu without moving it for 2 to 3 minutes. Toss and continue to cook until the tofu is crumbly and golden brown on at least one side, another 2 minutes or so.
Starting with fresh tofu? You can still make sofritas using this modified method. Drain the tofu; cut into 1/2-inch slices. Space out on 2 layers of paper towels and top with more paper towels. Use a baking sheet to gently press the tofu from the top, extracting most of the water.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add a batch of tofu in a single layer. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes, then flip and brown the other side. Repeat with the remaining tofu. Let cool a few minutes, then crumble and proceed as written.
Remove the tofu to a plate and wipe out the skillet. Set it back over medium heat.
Sauté the vegetables:
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the poblano or jalapeño and garlic and sauté until softened, 2 to 3 more minutes.
Add the tofu and remaining ingredients:
Add the tofu, water, chipotle peppers and sauce, tomato paste, and cumin and stir thoroughly to combine. Cook until the liquid has absorbed but the tofu is moist, 2 to 3 minutes. If the mixture becomes too dry, add more water a tablespoon at a time.
Season with salt and lime juice to taste.
Store leftover sofritas in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a nonstick skillet on the stovetop, adding a sprinkle of water if it is too dry.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 3 to 4|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 9g||11%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||7%|
|Total Carbohydrate 9g||3%|
|Dietary Fiber 3g||10%|
|Total Sugars 3g|
|Vitamin C 18mg||91%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|