Sunday, August 28, 2011

Beans and Rice “Zofrito” [Zack]

Lauren: What are you making in the food processor?
Me (feeling fancy): It’s called “Sofrito” – it’s an authentic Spanish base of veg that you can put in rice.
Lauren: Oh cool! I’m glad you are finally following a recipe!

Earlier today I was researching the exact recipe for Sofrito.  It turns out I had no idea what I was saying to Lauren because I apparently decided to change the recipe in my head.  This is why I’m dubbing this recipe “Zofrito.  The lesson of the day is don’t try to act fancy when you know you aren't.

This beans and rice dish has become an integral part of our “vegetarian night” initiative.  It’s very flavorful, satisfying, and is also very healthy.  You can hide a surprising volume of vegetables in the rice and after you finish eating the dish, you feel light and happy.  Plus, it’s cheap as dirt to make.  I’m always shocked to hear myself say this, but dishes like this one make me understand how someone could become vegetarian. But no, I’m not going to switch teams.


If you are using dried beans, whip out the ol’ pressure cooker and get them going. Add about 3x water to dry beans and get the water boiling. DON’T salt the water – it will make the beans tough. Turn the heat to low, put the lid on once the water gets going and cook for about 45 minutes.

Start up the rice as well.  I chose to use brown rice because it’s healthier.  Wash the rice in the pot you plan on using until the water isn't milky.  Drain the old water and add in 2x water to rice and let simmer until it’s ready (about 25 minutes). 

You can start preparing your Zofrito now that everything else is doing its own thing.  Put the garlic, cilantro, green pepper, birds eye chiles, onion, tomato, and olive oil into the food processor and puree.  The oil will loosen everything up and help your rice to not stick the next day. 

*Fast tip – if you put the Zofrito into a bowl (minus the olive oil) and add 2 avocados and a few squeezes of lime, you would have a BOMB guacamole.

Once the rice and beans are finished, mix a good portion of the Zofrito into the rice and add your tomato puree.  You can always add more Zofrito later, so add to taste in steps.  The rice will take on a beautiful red-orange color from the tomatoes and will have little specs of all of the vegetables you snuck in there.  Your kids will never guess that it’s so healthy.

Mix in your cooked beans (I decided to add more Zofrito into the dish at this point) and add the optional hot sauce.  The hot sauce adds a zing to the whole dish, but if you want to keep it all natural, I can understand.

Serve with some diced cilantro and a splash of sriracha if you are feeling bold!

4 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
1 green pepper
birds eye chiles (to taste)
1 medium tomato
huge handful of cilantro
6 T olive oil

24 oz tomato puree
Dried or canned red kidney beans (any type of bean would work, especially black beans)

1.5 cups of brown rice

By the way, the authentic "Sofrito" recipe is:
2 large green peppers
5 garlic cloves
2 large onions
5T vegetable oil

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