If #TacoTuesday wasn’t your favorite day of the week before, it might be now. Whether you’re in the mood for actual tacos or taco salad, these sofritas tacos are slightly smoky, slightly sweet, and simply perfect.
You’re probably thinking…”What the heck is a sofritas (?) and why would I want to make it.” And that’s totally cool. Because until recently I didn’t have a great answer for you. Sofritas became very highly publicized after Chipotle introduced them to their menu as a vegetarian or vegan option.
I appreciate the gesture. But in my mind, it was a scheme to get us plant-based Tex-Mex enthusiasts to pay more for something that would still end up drowning in guacamole. I never gave them a try (mostly because I’m not the biggest fan of the chain after their marketing team took things in a weird direction) but wanted to recreate my own version in the comfort of home.
So, to answer the question of why you might want to try there, just take a look below:
Tofu offers a plant based protein option that works for vegetarians and vegans alike, and might even convince an omnivore to embrace more Meatless Monday meals. It’s a blank slate because honestly, by itself, it doesn’t taste like anything. To be even more honest, the texture isn’t all that great either. When I hear people bash on tofu I think the same thing I do when they bash on vegetables: “Ahhhh. They’ve just never had a good experience with [insert favorite food HERE]. This is your chance, Cara, you can convert them. Let’s do this.”
And I gladly accept that challenge.
The key is starting with firm or extra-firm tofu that’s well drained. Tofu is usually packed in liquid, and we want it to crumble (not smash). I usually set the block on a plate, cover it with a paper towel, place a cutting board on top, then place another plate or bowl on top. I add potatoes, canned beans, etc. to the top – basically anything that adds some weight and pressure will get the job done. Do this first, while prepping the slaw or sauce, then drain the excess liquid before adding the tofu to the skillet.
The next key is cooking the tofu over high heat while keeping the stirring to a minimum. You want to break it apart enough to create the crumbly texture, but then allow it to brown and crisp up a little bit. Not so different than what you might do with ground beef. Texture issue solved because this firms it up into something you can actually chew.
Add the smoky, spicy sauce and the flavor issue is solved. Simmer with beans (for fiber), corn (for sweetness), and serve it up with your favorite taco toppings. Personally, I like a little crunch so I whipped up this super simple Sweet Cilantro Slaw. Adjust the spice and heat by adding fresh or pickled jalapeños, more crushed red pepper, or additional pepper in the sauce itself.
This versatile recipe is a favorite because sometimes I crave ALL the carbs. So I make tacos.
Then there are times I crave ALL the green things. So I pile up the leafy stuff and make salad.
Either way, it’s a complete balanced meal that costs a fraction of the fast-casual version. Mr. Street Smart gave it his seal of approval, so give it a shot and see whatcha think!
What’s your go-to #TacoTuesday combo?
Sofritas Tacos with Sweet Cilantro Slaw
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 to 20 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1 package (14 oz) firm or extra-firm tofu
1 Tablespoon olive or canola oil
1 to 2 chipotle chilis
1 Tablespoon adobo sauce
1 roma tomato, chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon honey or agave
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup sweet corn kernels
SWEET CILANTRO SLAW:
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shredded red or green cabbage
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lime (about 2 Tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons honey or agave
Drain the tofu and remove excess water by pressing between two flat plates. Add to a large nonstick skillet with the olive oil or canola oil. Heat the pan to medium-high or high heat. Roughly crumble the tofu with a spatula to break it into small pieces.
While the skillet is heating, combine the chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, tomato, garlic, honey or agave, salt, cumin, and chili powder in a small blender or food processor. Pulse until a smooth paste begins to form. Set the sauce aside.
As the tofu cooks, keep stirring or flipping to a minimum to allow for browning. Cook uncovered to allow steam to escape the skillet. After 10-12 minutes, add the sauce, black beans, and corn. Stir to combine, then allow to cook for 5 minutes more to blend the flavors. Remove from heat.
Add the cabbage, carrots, cilantro, and green onions to a large mixing bowl. Add the lime juice, olive oil, salt, crushed red pepper, and honey or agave and mix well to combine.
Heat flour or corn tortillas before serving if desired. Spoon the sofritas mixture into each tortilla, then top with the sweet cilantro slaw. Add additional garnishes such as avocado, pico de gallo or salsa.
FOR TACO SALAD:
Allow the sofritas to cool slightly after cooking. Add 2 cups of leafy greens such a baby spinach, field greens, or arugula to a bowl. Spoon the sofritas mixture onto the top, along with the sweet cilantro slaw, sliced or diced avocado, or additional toppings of your choosing.
And as you probably know by now, I’m a member of The Recipe ReDux. It’s the first and only monthly recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians. Check out the other amazing recipes using the link below!