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Latin American onion-pepper sofrito

August 2, 2010

Even though it’s one of my favorite types of food to make and eat, it seems I hardly ever post Mexican recipes. Why is this? Well, for one, most of the time when I make “homemade” Mexican, it involves opening a can of beans, chopping a few random veggies, maybe making some rice, popping open a can of tomatoes, indiscriminately dousing the whole thing with cumin, chili powder, and hot sauce, and calling it a day. Hardly post-worthy. Though this blog does contain a handful of Mexican oldies-but-goodies (like rainbow Mexi-quinoa medley, roasted potato wraps with black bean hummus, black bean-avocado enchiladas, and one of my all-time favorites, chilaquiles casserole), the overall lack of Latin-inspired posts has been mildly bothersome to me.

But no more. Since the publication of Terry Romero’s Viva Vegan, I have been on a Mexican food craze! I can’t seem to get enough of it (and that’s definitely not a complaint). I was excited about Viva Vegan from the moment I heard it was forthcoming – it’s about time we got a vegan cookbook geared toward Latin food aficionados – and I’m loving the book as much as I’d hoped I would. The first thing that caught my eye was the picture of yellow rice, Venezuelan-style black beans, and Cuban “ropa vieja”-style shredded seitan—a culturally mishmashed composite dish made up of three separate recipes plus sofrito, a slow-braised combination of aromatic ingredients which is a starter to many other Latin dishes. In a 3-hour marathon cooking session on a Monday night, I made the entire meal, all four components, but I don’t recommend that (it was exhausting!), so I’m going to spread out the recipes (my adapted versions of Terry’s) throughout this week. We’ll start with the sofrito, which will keep for a good two weeks in the fridge.

1/2 cup olive oil
2 large yellow onions, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper (or another green or red), chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

Heat the oil in a heavy pot or pan over medium heat. Add the onions, peppers, garlic, salt, and ground pepper and sauté, stirring often, for about 10 minutes.

Turn the heat to low and continue to cook, stirring often, for 20-30 minutes, until the mixture is soft and reduced from its original volume by about 1/3.

Use immediately, or cool and store in a glass jar in the refrigerator. I could honestly probably eat this as-is over rice, but it’s invaluable as a time-saving starter to the other recipes you’ll see here this week. In the meantime, ¡que tengan un buen día!

Yield: 5 servings.
Per serving (about 1/2 cup): 261 calories, 21.9g fat (3g sat), 16g carbs, 3g fiber, 2.2g protein.

If you like this, you might also like…
Rainbow Mexi-quinoa medley
Black bean-avocado enchiladas
Chilaquiles casserole

12 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2010 11:05 am

    This is great stuff. I love doing this all the time!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 4, 2010 11:00 am

      Making sofrito specifically, or prepping meal components in advance? :]

  2. August 2, 2010 2:25 pm

    I am like you, I love Mexican and could eat it all the time. Looks like I’m going to have to invest in a new cookbook…”Viva Vegan”! Very good idea of making the sofrito up ahead of time. I am all about saving as much time as I can. I hate being in the kitchen all night. :o)

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 4, 2010 11:04 am

      I’m with you on saving time in the kitchen. I definitely recommend you check out Viva Vegan—if you ask me, it’s the best vegan cookbook that’s come out in awhile!

  3. August 2, 2010 9:21 pm

    I need to take the time to make things like this. Doing myself favors like that makes me think I’m the coolest person in the world when I don’t have to prep food later.

    Did that make any sense? It’s kind of late and I’ve had a little wine 😉

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 4, 2010 11:05 am

      Haha! It does make sense. Try prepping this ahead of time while sipping a glass of wine—then you’re really in business! 😛

  4. August 2, 2010 9:34 pm

    Oh, those dishes all sound so amazing, and I’m particularly looking forward to the recipes because it’s incredibly hard to find good Latin American/Mexican food in Australia. (Well, I once went to a party at my Brazilian next-door neighbours’ place where they fed me grilled chicken hearts, but someone I don’t think you’d go in for that. Come to think of it, neither did I 😉 )

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 4, 2010 11:09 am

      I remember the Australians on my Europe trip saying the same thing about Mexican/Latino food being scarce in Oz. That really sucks, BUT the good thing is that most of it is very easy to make at home!

      You know, I can’t say I’d try a grilled chicken heart, but I give them hella points for pulling off such a culture-shock stunt!

  5. August 3, 2010 10:51 am

    um yum!! This looks so good! And I love that you can make a lot and use it later… I will definitely make this soon. Great job! And thank you for stopping by my blog so I could find yours! You’re doing a great job 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 4, 2010 11:12 am

      Aw, thank you!! I too love that this keeps for a good couple weeks. And here’s a tip: after jarring it up, if you top it with a thin layer of olive oil, it’ll keep even longer! ;]

  6. August 3, 2010 1:37 pm

    Oh this sounds delicious! 😀 I love onions and peppers together. So colorful, too!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 4, 2010 11:12 am

      I do too! Especially in Mexican food; it immediately makes me think of fajitas. 😀

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