Puerto Rican Vegan: Sofrito

Saturday, April 23, 2011


So I had guests come over yesterday for dinner - latin guests at that. I knew it was the perfect opportunity to start trying these veganized Puerto Rican dishes. What better to kick off my new adventure than with my all-time favorite - Pastelón! Literally my mouth waters every time I think about it, but the traditional Puerto Rican lasagna is made with ground beef and shredded mozzarella cheese. Well let me tell you, I came up with a vegan version and it was SLAMMIN'! Stay tuned this week for that recipe!

I need to start with some of the seasonings I had to use because it was not as easy as going to the grocery store and picking up some Goya. Unfortunately upon reading their ingredients I found that they were laden with MSG, artificial colors and artifical chemical flavorings. Not cool. So today I'll give you the basis to many Puerto Rican dishes, made fresh at home with none of the icky chemical additives.


1 large bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 red pepper
1 orange pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 large red onion
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon oregano
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Mix all ingredients in a food processor or blender.

Keep what you will use in a small air tight jar or container. Freeze in ice cube trays what you won't use immediately. Once frozen, take it out of the ice cube trays and store it in plastic freeze bags until needed. Traditionally used to season rice, beans and other amazing dishes. Step 1 done - Yay!


  1. Love it. We all have a slightly different variation of sofrito, mine is onions, a couple of green peppers, one red, recao leaves, cilantro, garlic and ajicitos (those annoying little green/orange peppers, you have to deseed), no oregano for me, but my stepmom puts it in hers. It's all GOOD. When I don't have any more sofrito, I put cilantro leaves and recao leaves in the meal and it works well.

  2. I think yours sounds a lot closer to what my mom used to make. I so regret never learning how to cook from her - she was da bomb in the kitchen!

  3. Can you get recaro in the states? I live in New Orleans and I dream about it!

  4. I've never heard of recaro. Is it like recaito?

  5. I misspelled---I meant recao!

  6. Recao aka culantro (spiny cilantro, Mexican coriander, many other names). You can get it in supermarkets catering to substantial Latin customer bases as well as Asian markets. Try some Asian names if they don't recognize "culantro": ngò gai, ji ana, ji barang, ji yuon, ji banla, ji sankoech, phak chi farang.

    Even though there seems to be much confusion in this issue, recao is the herb and recaíto is the Puerto Rican green seasoning made from that herb. Recaíto is not the herb. I see this mistake made all over the internet.

  7. Spiny leaves and spinier flowers, right?