For the first time in 20 years, the Mexican fast casual chain Chipotle is adding a new protein to the menu, and it's tofu. Surprised?
The tofu dish is called "sofritas," and it hits Southern California Chipotle menus June 3. The name comes from sofrito, the Spanish word for the combination of aromatic ingredients that have been cut into small pieces, such as onion, garlic and peppers.
Chef Nate Appleman, formerly at Pulino, who signed on as Culinary Manager at Chipotle in 2010, developed the new dish.
"We wanted to do something that was vegetarian or vegan but could still capture meat eaters," said Appleman. "It's so flavorful, if you served it to a panel of people you'd never know it [was tofu]."
A couple years back, Appleman toyed with the idea of adding a tofu chorizo to the menu. Around the same time, he was preparing a chili recipe for the Chipotle annual Cultivate food, music, and ideas festival. He put the tofu and chili flavors together and the idea for the "sofritas" was born.