Eat Más Sofrito: Varieties from Across the Diaspora
There's no one right way to make Sofrito, so we're introducing two new flavors to celebrate the diversity of this classic cooking base!
by Cybele Ramirez
Sofrito is la alma de la cocina Latina - the heart and soul of the Latin kitchen passed down for generations. A blend of aromatic herbs and vegetables, sofrito can take the form of a paste, a sauce, or chunky salsa. This diverse base of ingredients is often the starting point of any Latin dish, fusing the flavors of pre- and post-colonial Latino America.
Dating back to 1324, the earliest mention of sofrito is in a cookbook from the Catalan region, “Libre de Sent Soví.” It has been said that the Spaniards brought the cooking technique of “sofregit” or “lightly fry” to the Caribbean when they arrived in the early 1400s. Since then, regions across Latin America have adopted sofrito, using local ingredients to make it their own.
No One-Size-Fits-All Recipe
One of the most beautiful aspects of Sofrito is that there is no "one right way" to make it. At Loisa, we're always looking for more ways to Eat Más Sofrito, so given this truth, we’ve expanded our Sofrito line to embrace the diversity of our favorite cooking base. Just as every family and region in Latin America has its way of making it, our Sofrito flavors each have their own sabor to offer to all kinds of dishes. We believe that the beauty of Sofrito lies in its adaptability, versatility, and its ability to connect people through the shared experience of food.
From Spain Through Latin America
Before we get into our Sofrito flavors, let’s look at the big picture. Whether you call it sofrito, recaito, refogado, or something else entirely, for many of us the aroma that travels from the bottom of the olla across our homes is a warm reminder that dinner is being prepared. What started off as a lightly fried base of tomatoes, onions, and olive oil in the northern region of Spain, Sofrito has evolved into the melodies the start of many of the meals we’re familiar with in Nuestra Latinidad. From the Caribbean to Central and South America, each region has adopted this base, putting its unique spin on it with the produce that was available to that region, and their distinct flavor profiles – sweet, spicy, savory, or all three.
En El Caribe, most Sofrito starts with a blend of onions, bell peppers, and garlic sautéed in oil. With cilantro and culantro (also know as recao), Puerto Rican Sofrito is a fresh, herbaceous blend, usually dark green in color and referred to as Recaito. In the Dominican Republic, some Sofrito recipes call for the addition of fresh tomatoes or tomato paste, giving the base a muted yellowish-green hue. In Haiti, epis has historically called for lime or vinegar, offering a distinctly tangy take. Though, we see the addition of citrus in sofrito more commonly now across culturas. In Cuba, sofrito has maintained much of its Spanish origin, where it takes on a rich red color and diced fresh tomatoes are a must-have ingredient.
In Central America, Sofrito takes on a different character. Countries including Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala infuse their culinary heritage, adding annatto seeds, or achiote. These additions are often used to give the Sofrito its characteristic reddish tint and uniquely earthy, nutty, and mild flavor.
As we move south, the Sofrito story continues evolving. In countries like Colombia and Peru, sofrito incorporates a wider range of ingredients, including different chili peppers like aji amarillo or aji panca, and herbs like oregano, huacatay, or parsley. Each version carries the essence of its unique culture, region, and traditions.
Bringing You Más Sofrito!
Each variation of Loisa’s Sofrito is a testament to the richness of la cultura y nuestra comunidad. Our Sofrito line is evolving to more authentically capture the vibrant diversity of this classic blend, and to celebrate its various forms across our heritage. As always, our Sofritos are non-GMO, naturally vegan, made without additives, and packed with freshness, just like you’d make it at home.! Here’s a breakdown of our Sofrito Trio, and the flavors you can expect:
This robust and aromatic blend is inspired by traditional Spanish Sofrito. With a hearty base of tomatoes, red bell pepper, manzanilla olives, and capers, our Sofrito Rojo reminds us of the classic Catalan base that started it all. Get ready to add rich color and umami to your next classic guisado with Sofrito Rojo!
This vibrant, bold, and herbaceous base is a must-have in your Sofrito line-up. We’re celebrating the fresh and herby sabor of yellow onions, green bell peppers, and ajicito dulce peppers. While our Classic Sofrito and Sofrito Rojo include tomatoes for deeper flavor, our Recaito is bursting with generous amounts of culantro, cilantro, and garlic for a bolder fresh flavor. Go ahead and add this to your favorite pork or camarones recipes, or even to your salad dressings!
Inspired by Chef Yadira Garcia’s Dominican family recipe, our Classic Sofrito is packed con sabor with culantro and ajicito dulce, reminiscent of El Caribe. Lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and turmeric bring a vibrant twist to the traditional base for the modern Latin kitchen.
Whether you're creating a classic dish or putting a modern twist on a traditional recipe, our Sofrito varieties are your passport to a world of Latin flavors. Use them as a base, marinade, or even a topping or dip to elevate your culinary creations. The possibilities are endless, and that's what makes sofrito so special.
How to Use Sofrito
Sofrito is not just a flavor enhancer; it's a versatile ingredient that can elevate a wide range of dishes. Let's dive into its practical applications in the kitchen!
The Classic Stew
One of the most traditional uses of sofrito is as a base for hearty stews. Whether you're making a classic Dominican Sancocho, or some Pavo Guisado, a tomato-based Sofrito Rojo offers a hearty foundation to these comforting dishes.
Sofrito can work wonders as a marinade for meats and seafood. Let the vibrant flavor of ajicito dulce peppers in our new Recaito our classic Sofrito infuse into your proteins before grilling or roasting for a mouthwatering experience. Perhaps most notably, preparing a pernil or lechon asado requires a loving dose of Sofrito about 24 hours before the pork ever meets the oven!
Rice and Beans
If you're looking to make the perfect arroz con pollo or a pot of savory rice and beans, Dofrito is the secret ingredient. Sofrito Rojo can take it up a notch with olives and capers while the culantro and ajicito dulce in our classic Sofrito will deliver a balanced sabor. Habichuelas is where we most often see our cultural and regional differences celebrated, and where the variations of beans and their bases shine!
Sofrito As a Dip
Get creative by using your Sofrito as a zesty dip, and enjoying it as-is! Grab your favorite ingredient – albeit a chip, a toston, or some crudité, and feel the flavors of any of Loisa’s Sofritos bounce between every taste bud.
Vegetarian and Vegan
Sofrito isn't just for meat lovers. It imparts a depth of flavor, complexity, and Latin sabor to any dish. Any of our Sofritos can be used to enhance vegetarian and vegan dishes from roasted Brussels sprouts to Asopao de Gandules!
Chef Yadi Garcia: The Creative Mind Behind Our Sofrito Line
Behind the scenes at Loisa, our Sofrito line is crafted with love and expertise by Chef Yadi (also known as @happyhealthylatina), a Bronx-born chef and community educator. Chef Yadi brings her passion for Latin American cuisine and her deep connection to her roots into every jar of Sofrito she creates. Her dedication to preserving and celebrating our culinary heritage is evident in every spoonful.
Chef Yadi's upbringing adds another layer of authenticity to our Sofrito line. The Bronx is a melting pot of cultures, and it's where diverse culinary traditions come together. This rich blend of influences is reflected in her sofrito recipes, making them a true representation of the vibrant Latine community in New York City and beyond.
At Loisa, we’re proud to honor and celebrate the origins, recipes, and diversity of the food that shapes us. We hope you enjoy the delicious and diverse world of sofrito, and remember, there's always room for más sofrito in your kitchen!