Sofritas

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You may never go back to Chipotle after trying this copycat Sofritas recipe! Meaty tofu crumbles are simmered in a deeply smoky and tangy sauce made from chile peppers and spices. It's deceptively healthy and truly the best vegan burrito bowl topping!
Prep 15 mins
Cook 40 mins
Total 55 mins
5 from 52 votes

These meat-free Sofritas are the copycat version of the popular Chipotle plant-based protein. But I’ll let you in on a secret: homemade sofritas taste 10x more flavorful and fresh!

Layers of broiled poblanos, chipotle peppers, a few spices, and aromatics come together to make the star of the show in this recipe: the sauce. Pour this deeply layered sauce over a skillet packed with lightly fried tofu and briefly simmer.

In the end, you’re left with an irresistibly smoky, slightly spicy, burrito (or burrito bowl) topping that’s shockingly wholesome (12g protein + 5g fiber per serving!).

These sofritas are so good you’ll want to just eat them on their own, or over a simple bowl of rice. If you have more time, stuff them into vegan burritos, tacos, or go all out with a vegan crunchwrap supreme

Table of Contents:
1. What is sofritas?
2. Why this recipe works
3. Ingredient Notes
4. Step-by-step instructions
5. Tips for making this recipe
6. Frequently Asked Questions
7. Recipe Card

Close up of sofritas and wooden spoon in a frying pan.

What is sofritas?

Sofritas is Chipotle’s answer to plant-based protein. It’s a fabulous taco, burrito, or quesadilla filling made from crumbled tofu that’s been simmered in an aromatic sauce made from poblano peppers, chipotle peppers, tomatoes, and spices.

They’ve been around since 2014, but I wanted to share how to make a copycat Chipotle sofritas at home because (1) it tastes way better, and (2) it’s a wholesome, protein-packed versatile option you can meal prep, or pile on top of vegan nachos, use in Chipotle copycat vegan burrito bowls or breakfast burritos, or fold into tacos or quesadillas

Overhead view of black bowl with burrito ingredients in it sitting on a grey table.

Why this recipe works

They have the same texture as the original.

After ordering several rounds of sofritas-and-rice-only bowls from Chipotle, I’ve gotten to know the taste and texture of sofritas very well. It’s chewier, firmer, and meatier than standard extra-firm tofu you get at the grocery store. And that’s because Chipotle makes its own tofu from soybeans. 

To make things easier, I rely on super firm tofu instead. It’s the best option for replicating the meaty texture of Chipotle’s sofritas. It also has very little moisture, meaning there’s almost no prep work (e.g., pressing) involved.

And they’re so much more flavorful.

The deeply layered, smoky sauce here helps this Chipotle sofritas recipe stand out from the rest. Many other recipes just blend all of the raw sauce ingredients in a blender and call it a day. Sure, that’s easy, but it results in a bland, unmemorable sofritas.

Here, the poblano peppers are broiled to bring out their naturally smoky and sweet flavor. In addition, the aromatics and spices are sautéed to bring out their richness. Everything is blended together to leave you with a deep, rich, and layered sauce.

Overhead shot of sofritas in a frying pan with wooden spoon digging into the sofritas.

Ingredient notes

Sofritas ingredients in small glass bowls and on a wooden cutting board with ingredients labeled.

Super firm tofu. Also known as high-protein tofu. It has the least amount of water of any variety of tofu, which means (1) you don’t need to press it beforehand, and (2) it has the same chewy, firm texture as the OG Chipotle sofritas. 

Where to buy: Well-stocked grocery stores, including Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Trader Joes, as well as Asian grocery stores. Popular brands include Wildwood, Nasoya, and House Foods.

Substitute: Extra-firm tofu but with a couple changes. Check out the FAQ section for details.

Poblano pepper. This is similar to a green bell pepper but it has a bit more of a kick and a slightly richer flavor. 

Substitute: If you don’t have access to poblanos, a small or medium green bell pepper will also work well. 

Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. A little goes a long way! If you like your sofritas on the mild side, use less of the adobo sauce. 

Tomatoes. For tangy, fresh, and very subtly sweet flavors. 

Spices. A blend of cumin, Mexican oregano, and ancho chile powder adds plenty of warmth and flavor. Feel free to use regular oregano and chile powder if that’s what’s available to you.

Acidic ingredients. Chipotle uses white vinegar (most likely to keep costs down). I opt for red wine vinegar, as it adds more flavor and enhances the tang of the tomatoes. And finish with a squeeze of lime for a fresh zing at the end.

Overhead shot of sofritas in a frying pan with wooden spoon digging into the sofritas.

Step-by-step instructions

Broil the poblano pepper. There are two ways to do this: 

  1. Underneath the broiler in the oven.
  2. Over a gas burner on high heat (stem removed first).

Once it’s broiled, blistered, and blackened, that’s it. No need to peel or de-seed.

Saute the aromatics. Add the onions to a hot pan with oil. Saute until they start to get some color, then add the garlic. Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, oregano, chile powder, salt, and pepper.

Finish by stirring in the chopped tomatoes. Cook until they’re soft, then transfer the mixture to a blender and clean out the pan.

Blend the sauce. Add the broiled poblano pepper, chipotle peppers in adobo, vinegar, and water to the blender with the tomato mixture. Blend until relatively smooth. Taste, adjusting seasonings as desired. 

Slice the tofu into 4 slabs and gently press with a towel to remove some water. Crumble the tofu into small pieces into a bowl. 

Crumbled tofu on navy blue plate on a light colored table.

Heat the rest of the oil in a frying pan and add the crumbled tofu in a single packed layer. Cook undisturbed for a few minutes, then flip and repeat a few times, until mostly browned.

Browned tofu crumbles in a frying pan.

Add the sauce. Pour the blended sauce over the tofu in the pan and simmer until thickened and saucy, stirring occasionally until it starts to thicken. 

Adjust the flavor as needed and finish it off with fresh lime juice and cilantro, if desired. Enjoy!

Vegan sofritas in a frying pan just after being cooked, garnished with cilantro and wooden spoon digging in.

Tips for making this recipe

Super firm tofu is your best option.

It has a similar meaty texture to the tofu Chipotle uses, lending a more realistic result. You can use extra firm tofu instead, but you’ll need to follow the instructions in the FAQ section before getting started.

You need blueberry-sized tofu crumbles.

If you’ve ever made tofu scramble, then you should be familiar with crumbling tofu.

Sofritas recipes require the tofu to be crumbled but smaller: you’re going for crumbles about the same size as a blueberry.

Any larger and it starts to feel more like tofu scramble and less like sofritas; plus, the sauce won’t penetrate all the way through the tofu.

Don’t skip the broiled pepper.

Broiling the poblano lends a nice smoky undertone and a subtle sweetness to the sofritas sauce. 

Broiling the pepper over the flame on a gas stove is my preferred method, as it results in a smokier flavor. Alternatively, go with the oven broiler method if you want to keep this recipe as hands-off as possible.

Multitask!

Want to save 10ish minutes? Cook the tofu and the aromatics in separate pans on the stove at the same time. 

Use it in so many ways.

Sofritas are an absolute must in vegan burritos and burrito bowls! Add some white or brown rice to a bowl (or tortilla) and layer the sofritas over top along with more toppings, like:

And that’s not even all. Sofritas can be used anywhere else you need a protein-packed filling or topping. Sprinkle them on top of a platter of nachos, stuff them in tacos or quesadillas, stir them into vegan chili mac, and more. For breakfast, pair with Just Egg for breakfast burritos.

And if you have my cookbook, The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook, make the Frijoles in Chapter 3 alongside these sofritas for a Mexican-inspired meal prep.

Vegan burrito bowl with sofritas, corn salsa, guacamole, and rice in a black ceramic bowl with spoon.

Frequently Asked Questions

I can’t find super firm tofu. What else can I use?

Use extra firm tofu instead, but follow these instructions instead of those in the recipe card:

1. Press the tofu: Cut the brick of tofu into 4 slabs, then cover them with clean kitchen towels and place something heavy on top to help squeeze out the water. Press for 15 to  20 minutes, ideally changing the towel halfway through. Or, use a tofu press (affiliate link). 
2. Crumble the tofu into blueberry-sized chunks.
3. Coat the chunks in 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and a pinch of salt. 

Don’t skip the cornstarch. It’s necessary for crispy tofu crumbles with extra chew, helping them taste just like Chipotle’s version.

Is there another substitution for the tofu?

You could use tempeh or soy curls, or a soy-free protein like pumfu (pumpkin seed tofu) or jackfruit if you have a soy allergy. Just know that the texture will be very different from the original.

Do you need to remove the skin or seeds from the poblano?

You don’t have to. The blistered skin adds a nice charred smokiness to the sauce, and the seeds are mild and just get blended into the sauce.

Is sofritas spicy? Can I make it mild?

This sofritas is fairly spicy. If you want milder heat, use less of the adobo sauce from the can of chipotle peppers. If you want even more heat, taste the sauce, then add another teaspoon of adobo sauce as desired.

How do you store and reheat the leftovers?

Keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days. They’re just as delicious when reheated the next day! I prefer to spread them out in a frying pan until warmed through and a bit crisp, but you can microwave them in a pinch.

Can you freeze sofritas?

You can freeze the sofritas once cooled, but the texture will not be quite the same.

Large wooden spoon scooping up sofritas from a frying pan.

If you love this Chipotle Copycat Sofritas recipe as much as we do, please be sure to leave a rating and review below :) It’s always much appreciated!

Sofritas

5 from 52 votes
You may never go back to Chipotle after trying this copycat Sofritas recipe! Meaty tofu crumbles are simmered in a deeply smoky and tangy sauce made from chile peppers and spices. It's deceptively healthy and truly the best vegan burrito bowl topping!
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
Cuisine: Mexican-inspired
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Serving size: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 poblano pepper or green bell pepper, kept whole
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil, divided
  • 1 medium yellow or red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano or regular oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • A generous amount of freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 (12 to 16-ounce) block of super firm tofu (also sold as high-protein tofu)*
  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo + 1/2 tablespoon adobo sauce**
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup (120 mL) water
  • Lime juice to finish

Instructions

  • Broil the poblano pepper or green bell pepper. You have two options; the gas flame gets you a smokier flavor. No need to peel or remove the seeds when done.
    a. Broiler: Arrange an oven rack 6 inches underneath the broiler flame. Lightly oil the whole poblano pepper. Add the pepper to a sheet pan and broil for 5 minutes, flip, and repeat. Allow to cool a bit, then remove the stem and seeds inside.
    b. Gas flame: Cut the stem off from the pepper. Turn a gas burner to high heat. Use metal tongs to arrange the pepper on top of the flame. Using tongs, turn the pepper occasionally, about every minute, until the skin on all sides is blackened and blistered, about 4 minutes total, but do not allow it to turn to white ash or catch fire.
  • Cook the aromatics. Heat 1 ½ tablespoons of oil in a medium nonstick frying pan over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and season with a pinch of salt. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until just starting to get some color. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add tomato paste, cumin, oregano, chile powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook until they’ve softened, about 5 minutes. Clean out the pan.***
  • While the onions are cooking, cut the tofu into 4 slabs. Squeeze out as much water as you can. Crumble tofu into small pieces, about the size of a blueberry. See the photo for reference.
  • Transfer the onion-tomato mixture to a blender or food processor. Add the broiled poblano pepper, chipotle peppers in adobo, vinegar, and water. Blend until relatively smooth. Taste the sauce, adding any sweetener as needed or more vinegar or salt.
  • Heat the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons oil in the frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the tofu and spread out in a single packed layer and season with ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Allow to cook 2 to 3 minutes undisturbed. Flip and continue cooking for a total of 12 minutes, stirring only every 2 to 3 minutes, until most of the tofu is browned.
  • Pour in the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. It’ll start to thicken, so turn the heat to medium or medium-low and cook for another 5 minutes, or until flavors have developed and tofu is saucy. If it gets too thick, add a few splashes of water.
  • Taste, adjusting seasonings as needed. If it’s a bit tangy, add a pinch of organic brown or cane sugar. Finish with a squeeze of lime juice.

Notes

* If super firm tofu is not available, use extra firm tofu. Crumble the tofu into small pieces but not as small as the super firm tofu: if you crumble really small, it will get mushy. Check out the reference photo in the FAQ section. Then, coat the tofu crumbles with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Coating the tofu in cornstarch improves its texture quite a bit, giving it a slightly crisp coating and more chew, similar to Chipotle’s sofritas.
** Use ½ teaspoon adobo sauce for mild heat.
*** Want to save ~10 minutes? Cook the tofu in a separate pan while you cook the aromatics. 

Calories: 216kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Sodium: 546mg | Potassium: 485mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 771IU | Vitamin C: 33mg | Calcium: 188mg | Iron: 4mg

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70 comments on Sofritas

  1. Heather

    5 stars
    This is fantastic. I’ve only made it a couple of times, but I think it makes enough sauce to actually coat a block and 1/2 of tofu for me.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Lovely to hear, Heather! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Alibaba

    So delicious they did not even make it into a bowl. I just ate them out of the pan, I appreciate the heck out of this recepie. Hearts,Thank you.

    1. Hannah @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Alibaba, we’re go glad you enjoyed the Sofritas so much! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating alongside your review? Star ratings are big help to readers who are thinking of making the recipe. Thanks!

  3. Annette Batson

    5 stars
    I’ve never tasted Chipotle’s sofrita and now I never will. These turned out amazing. My meat eating kids embraced the tofu and couldnt believe it wasnt meat. This is a keeper, and I love poblano chiles, so even better charred. I suppose I could sub in Beyond Burger or even grilled veggies for variation! Fantastic sauce!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Annette, So glad to hear your family enjoyed the sofritas!

  4. Rita D

    5 stars
    The spices of the sauce are so good! As a Latina, I love the spices and was glad had extras to add to my quinoa or any other foods. Recommended highly!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Rita!

  5. Katie

    5 stars
    Really good! My uber-carnivorous son even liked it. Next time I will double (or triple!) the sauce recipe and freeze some for later.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Katie. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to review!

  6. Cynthia

    5 stars
    I have made this on 2 occasions and it is so delish!! This is now part of our regular rotation:)

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Cynthia. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to review!

  7. Nancy

    5 stars
    The sofrito was really good. It has a good flavor but I would probably use more than a block of tofu because I had more sauce than I like. My husband and I ate it with chips. I will say though, the tofu had the consistency of chicken. Delicious!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Nancy. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to review!

  8. Meiji

    5 stars
    got a little ambitious today, opted for a burrito wrap than a bowl 🤣 and my efforts paid off! i luxuriously enjoyed every bite of my homemade coconut wrap filled with lettuce, shredded carrots, cucumber and generous amount of sofritas. this sofritas has depths of flavor, the tofu is chewy and meaty and can be paired with a whole other recipe to top with. this dish is for keeps

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Lovely to hear you’re such a fan of the sofritas, Meiji!

  9. Elke Drayton

    5 stars
    Just finished making it and it’s so good, I didn’t had Tomato Paste and used Tomato Sauce still yummy, added a little cane Sugar to balance out the Acidity because of my Gerd. Rice is cooking and then it chow down. Thank you for the Recipe.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We are so happy you loved the sofritas, Elke! You’re welcome :)

  10. Kristi Lane

    5 stars
    I’ve had this recipe waiting to make for several months and now that it’s in the Vegan Challenge I did. As you know, all of Nisha’s recipes are amazing and this one is amazing too!!! I am so glad that it’s on the Challenge or else I wouldn’t have made it yet. Tried it for Taco Tuesday and holy cow, it was awesome! I can’t wait to make this for our next get together.
    Thanks Nisha for all the hard work and dedication you put into sharing your recipes and your YT channel!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Lovely, thanks for trying the Sofritas Kristi! You are very welcome for the recipes and videos :) We’re happy to provide them!

  11. Joan

    5 stars
    There is a first for everything. This was my first taste of Sofritas and it didn’t disappoint. I used a regular green pepper that I had on hand. Was I supposed to broil it too?
    I had left over quinoa, so I added that at the end. Next time I will do a bowl and add this as one of the ingredients. Yum!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      So lovely to hear, Joan! Yes the peppers should be broiled. We’re excited for you to try the recipe in a bowl!

  12. Linda

    5 stars
    This recipe is incredible! IMO, the blackened poblano absolutely makes the dish. I am the only vegan in a family of omnivores and it was such a hit! I made this with your Mexican Blank Bean recipe (also amazing!) plus cilantro/lime rice, fajita style peppers and onions and some guacamole and it was better than any restaurant. A lot of prep – and almost every pan and utensil we have – but everyone helped, so it was a blast. Thank you for, yet another, well-crafted recipe!!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We’re honored the recipe was such a hit, Linda! Thanks for the lovely review :)

  13. Simran

    5 stars
    These were so good! I have never tried chipotle Sofritas but I am pretty sure these are way better! I didn’t have chipotle peppers so to get that reddish color I added a lot Kashmiri mirch and paprika. They were creamy and the tofu added a chewy texture! Thanks Nisha!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Simran, So glad to hear you loved the sofritas!

  14. Marina

    5 stars
    Me again, failed to mark it as 5 star previously :)

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks, Marina!

  15. Marina

    Another amazing recipe! My husband is a picky eater and I have made him many recipes from your book / and online. There has not been a recipe that he did not enjoy.

    For this recipe, I just need to double it next time so we have plenty of leftovers! 😊

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