Tag Archives: sofritas

Sofritas in Washington – a new line of vegan tofu burritos

Sofritas - ChipotleChipotle Mexican Grill, known for its use of organic ingredients and naturally raised meat, has announced that it is making a major stride toward leading the fast-food industry into vegan territory. Chipotle stores throughout the Pacific Northwest will begin selling Sofritas – shredded, organic tofu braised with chipotle chiles and roasted poblanos, served in burritos, tacos or bowls, priced at about $6.50. “Nearly one in three people who order the dish in California aren’t vegans – but are trying to cut down on meat for ethical or health reasons,” says Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold.

Until now the vegan dish has only been offered in its California locations. Now, it’s extending the rollout into its restaurants in Oregon, Washington and Vancouver, Canada. And, if it’s a hit, the vegan rollout could eventually go national to all 1,450 of its restaurants. Sofritas were initially sold in January at seven Chipotle restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area. They expanded to Southern California, and now to all 33 Chipotle locations in the Pacific Northwest. “We’re considering additional markets this fall,” says Chipotle CEO Steve Ells, who says the biggest issue is supply. He says that Sofritas already account for 5% of sales in its California stores.

Not to be outdone, our favorite local Mexican restaurant, Gorditos in the Greenwood section of Seattle, offers a tofu Burrito Grande and a tofu Fajita Plate. Pepinos in Portland also offers a tofu burrito and, talk about east meets west, Thai burritos (they even have occasional specials such as teriyaki and curry burritos).

Veg Menu Options Increase as Meat Prices Rise

Menu - genericAccording to a recent meat & poultry industry report, the price of meat, particularly beef, will increase dramatically in the United States during 2013. These price spikes will likely affect not only what people eat at home, but also how restaurants create their menus.  At the same time Mintel Group Ltd., a market research firm, predicts that restaurants will offer more vegetarian dishes containing more cost effective sources of protein. In fact, Mintel reports that vegetarian menus options in American restaurants have already increased by 22 percent.

Many restaurants are planning even more. A case in point is Chipotles. The Chipotle Mexican Grill is expanding its test market for a new menu item called Sofritas to seven San Francisco Bay Area stores. Sofritas are a vegetarian menu option that features shredded tofu, chipotle chilis, roasted poblanos and a blend of spices. The Hodo Soy Beanery, Oakland, Calif., a processor of tofu and yuba, supplies the shredded tofu to Chipotle.

“We are changing the way people think about and eat fast food,” said Steve Ells, chairman and co-chief executive officer of Chipotle. “Sofritas is a very different menu item not just for Chipotle, but for any fast food or fast causal restaurant. It was really conceived with vegetarians and vegans in mind, but it’s so delicious that we believe it will have a broad appeal on taste alone.”

Sofritas will be available in burritos, tacos, burrito bowls and salads and may be combined with other ingredients, including white or brown cilantro-lime rice, pinto beans or vegetarian black beans, salsas and guacamole, and cheese or sour cream.

Not to be outdone by California, and always one step ahead, Washington already has Mexican style restaurants featuring tofu. Check out the tofu burritos and fajitas at Gorditos in the Greenwood section of Seattle and in Everett. All we can say is yum meets healthy in every bite!