The Denver-born Chipotle chain rolled out sofritas at its Colorado stores back in 2013, and the new, meat-free protein was deemed "so freaking delicious that just about everybody will like it" by our Veggie Girl.
And today it's more than meat-free: If you order sofritas in any entree at any Chipotle today, you can bring your receipt back tomorrow through February 28 for a free burrito, bowl, salad or order of tacos -- meat-free or meaty. See also: Chipotle Rolls Out Sofritas, a New (Vegan) Protein
To create sofritas, shredded Hodo Soy tofu (non-GMO) is braised with chipotle chiles, roasted poblano peppers and assorted spices; the resulting texture is incredibly meaty, and the flavor is smoky and rich.
The genesis of this meatless ingredient started with a search for a new way to use...meat. "It wasn't like, 'Hey, let's start a project, and our initiative for this project is going to be a meatless alternative for the line," Chitpotle's Nate Appleman told us when sofritas first rolled out in Denver. "It all came from chorizo."
Which, he readily admited, "sounds crazy." But that's how it started.
"I was working on a chorizo for Chipotle because I believe in finding more ways to use the entire animal -- I think if we're going to be sustainable and walk that walk, we have to find more ways to use more of the animal," he said. "That was the path I was going down. So by making chorizo, we were making chicken and pork and different cuts than we normally use.
"We haven't had a new protein in nineteen, twenty years," he continued. "Everything on the Chipotle menu was on the original lineup: barbacoa, carnitas, chicken, steak. And the powers-that-be said we're not sure if chorizo is the one we want to bust out of the gates with. So we thought, maybe we can come up with a different way to go about this instead of using more meat. Maybe this could turn into something that's not meat."
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That was the start of sofritas -- meat-free, and free tomorrow if you buy some today.