Korean
Better Than Chipotle Sofritas Bowl

I'm running the Chicago Marathon in two weeks. In case you didn't know, a marathon consists of running 22 kilometers. Yes, in a row. Yes, voluntarily. I thought it was weird too, and part of me still does.

Me at the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Regardless, to fuel my training, I've been trying to eat much more balanced things. If I had my way, I would eat nothing but carbs, carbs, and carbs with tiny amounts of protein. But, after a 20-mile training run, my muscles need both carbohydrates and protein to recover. Cue my bowl of Better Than Chipotle Sofritas.

Why do I call it “Better than Chipotle”? Why AND. I was traveling several weeks ago with my husband and his favorite meal when we travel is the sofritas bowl from Chipotle. I had never eaten it before, but I was starving. He offered me a spoonful and I was surprised. The flavor was not as tasteless as expected. However, I knew I could improve it when I got home.

What is Sofritas anyway?

When I first saw “sofritas” on the Chipotle menu, I thought it was an alternative to processed meat. I don't really like the texture of meat alternatives so I've never bothered to try it. But “Sofritas” is really just shredded tofu, braised in a bunch of different flavors. Now, tofu is something that I not only know quite well, but it's also a protein that I absolutely adore. So, for this recipe, we start with an extra firm block of tofu that I pressed.

slice extra firm tofu into 1/2-inch-thick slices

What does “pressing” tofu mean? It means you've added weight and squeezed out all the excess fluid. Tofu is made up of a lot of water, and the water makes it quite jiggly. If you want a firmer (i.e. “meatier”) consistency, reducing the liquid content will be very helpful. After pressing the tofu, cut it into 1/2-inch thick slices. Then fry them in a little oil to add more texture and flavor.

turning the tofu in the pan

Honestly, the hardest part of this recipe is turning the tofu. You will have to cook it in the oil for a while, about 7 minutes per side. Why? Again, because of the water. No matter how much you press the tofu, there's still a ton of water stuck inside. That water is what makes everything take so long! Make sure to cook the tofu in one layer. The result won't be as good if you try to pour everything into the pan and cook it. You'll end up with a lot of soggy tofu with very little texture.

Let's break it up with tofu

Speaking of texture, you can create a “crumbled meat” effect by using chopsticks or a spoon to break up the fried tofu. It is not “shredded”, but achieves the same effect. Next, it's time to add some flavor to your tofu!

adding spices to the tofu

First add some spices. Here I added the following:

  • Smoked paprika (or regular paprika)
  • Garlic powder
  • Chilli powder
  • Cumin powder

Of course you can add any spices you like. For example, add a little cayenne pepper powder for extra heat or even some fennel seeds to give the tofu a more sausage-like flavor. Add turmeric and your favorite garam masala blend to give it a more oriental twist. The point is that it will only be better than Chipotle if you like it your spice palate!

adding black beans to sofritas

As I said before, the purpose of this bowl is to add a little more protein to my diet. As a result, I poured an entire can of black beans on my tofu. Black beans are the most perfect food in the world for anyone who is very physically active. Just 1 cup of black beans has:

  • 16 grams of protein
  • 0 grams of fat
  • 40 grams of carbohydrates
  • 14 grams of fiber
  • 0 grams of sugar
adding sauce to the sofritas

Now, here's the secret to any good sofrita recipe: the sauce. You can definitely marinate if you're in a pinch, but the idea is to “braise the tofu” in the chilies, and so a really good sauce is key. Mine appears to be homemade (YES!), but of course you can use a solid store-bought sauce that you like. I also added shallots for a little extra zip.

adding liquid smoke to sofritas

To amp up the flavor profile, I added a little soy sauce and of course a little liquid smoke (which is what I prefer to worcestire sauce).

adding vegetable broth to the sofritas

Add your favorite vegetable broth to bind all the flavors together and let the tofu braise for about 3 minutes, until the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce.

mix the sofritas together

Assemble the Bowl.

Now comes the fun part: assembling the bowl!

So, Chipotle's sofritas bowl starts with its cilantro-lime rice. The problem is that my taste buds viscerally reject cilantro (it's in my DNA, I tested it!). Accordingly, I add some flat leaf parsley. Of course, use whichever one you prefer or both! I add a little fresh lime juice, along with a little sea salt, and my rice is ready. Oh, and the rice? I used wholemeal basmati rice, but you can use any type of rice you prefer.

cutting corn from the cob

After that, the sky really is the limit here. It was corn season, so I steamed a couple ears of corn to add a little summer sweetness to my bowl. Then, since my husband loves them, I also cut some fresh cherry tomatoes (to be honest I could do without them, but they are nice).

adding the tomatoes

Then, of course, the obligatory avocado spread for some healthy fat:

adding the avocado

Finally, to give more consistency, I crumbled some tortilla chips into the bowl:

crumbling tortilla into bowl

And last but not least, just a small piece of grated vegan cheese:

grate the cheese into a bowl

Towards the Marathon.

Just a few words about running and how to eat in the weeks leading up to the big race. I'm not a nutritionist, but I enjoy half marathons and full marathons several times. One thing I've learned over the years is that every body is somewhat unique and so what works for you may not work perfectly for you. Having said that, there are some fundamental rules for refueling that apply to everyone:

  • You have to eat. Severe calorie restriction is inconsistent with the goal of finishing a half marathon or full marathon. Your best performance requires food. Point.
  • Following a balanced diet is best. Loading your plate completely with carbohydrates or completely with protein or (worse yet) completely with fat will give you digestive problems and will not promote maximum recovery or muscle growth. You may lean more towards one of these macros, but your plate should contain some of all three.
  • Eating immediately after running is important. I disregarded this rule for a long time (think years) after reading some scientifically unsupported blog posts saying it didn't matter when you ate after running. But, after working with a sports dietitian who specialized in female runners, I started eating immediately after runs and it made a huge difference.
  • It should be delicious. Eating healthy and balanced yes Not it must be bland and tasteless. There are many ways to add flavor without ruining the macros. For example, spices! Soy sauce! Liquid smoke!

Finally, for those of you who are new to running or thinking about hitting the pavement, might I suggest checking it out DISAPPOINTED. They have a shoe for just about every foot type and runner. I trained in Mach 4 and they are without a doubt the most comfortable running shoes I have ever worn!!

Quick Tips for Making a Better Bowl of Sofritas than Chipotle:

  • Be sure to press the tofu to remove as much liquid as possible.
  • Cook the tofu in one layer with a drizzle of oil to achieve the desired consistency and prevent it from becoming soggy.
  • Add whatever spices you like – it's all about making it enjoyable your palate!
  • Add beans (I used black beans) for more volume and protein.
  • Use a really good sauce to create depth of flavor for your braising liquid.
  • When you make your bowl, it should look balanced – don't overdo the sofritas while eating 1 tablespoon of rice or vice versa. Your body needs both!

Better than the Chipotle Sofritas bowl

Giovanna Molinaro

When you want to make your own bowl of sofritas

Preparation time 15 minutes

Time to cook 25 minutes

Course Main door

Kitchen Mexican

  • 1 to block extra firm tofu held down
  • 1 table spoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 table spoon paprika
  • 1 table spoon garlic powder
  • 1 table spoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 3/4 cup cooked black beans
  • 1/2 cup sauce
  • 1 shallot sliced
  • 2 table spoon I'm willow
  • 1 table spoon liquid smoke
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 3 cups cooked brown basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup chopped coriander or parsley
  • 1/4 lime
  • 1 teaspoon sea ​​salt
  • 1/2 cup cooked corn
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 avocado sliced
  • 2 table spoon crumbled tortilla chips
  • 2 table spoon grated vegan cheese

Sofritas

  • Cut tofu into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

  • Add the oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering (about 1 minute), add the tofu slices in one layer to the pan.

  • Cook the tofu until the underside is golden brown (about 7 minutes). Turn them carefully and cook until both sides are golden (another 7 minutes).

  • Using a spoon or chopsticks, begin breaking up the tofu until it resembles crumbled meat.

  • Add paprika, garlic powder, chili powder and cumin.

  • Add the black beans and shallots.

  • Add the sauce.

  • Add the soy sauce and liquid smoke.

  • Add the vegetable broth and mix everything. Cook until the liquid has reduced completely (about 3 minutes).

Bowl

  • Add chopped cilantro or parsley to the cooked rice.

  • Squeeze the lime juice into the rice and then add the sea salt. Mix everything together.

  • Pour the rice into the bowls. Then, spoon the sofritas into your bowls.

  • Top with corn, tomatoes, tortilla chips, avocado and shredded cheese.

Keyword chipotle, rice bowl, sofritas, tofu

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