12 April 2013

Chipotle tries taking tofu mainstream

Chipotle Mexican Grille, the chain restaurant famous for its massive burritos and natural ingredients, is testing the waters with a new vegan protein option.

Known as "Sofritas," this shredded, seasoned tofu item is being offered alongside Chipotle's usual proteins—chicken, steak, barbacoa (shredded beef), carnitas (pork), and beans. Sofritas was first tested in seven Chipotle restaurants in the San Francisco area, but has now been released in 18 additional shops throughout the rest of Northern California.

The braised Sofritas tofu is organic and GMO-free, in keeping with the Chipotle philosophy of minimally processed food. Sofritas will be made available as an option in all of Chipotle's burritos, tacos, burrito bowls, and salads.

In 2010, Chipotle experimented with a meat alternative known as "Garden Blend," but was never fully satisfied with it. Chipotle admits that Sofritas was "conceived with vegetarians and vegans in mind," but hopes to make it "so delicious" that it will have broader appeal.

If Sofritas are a hit, might we see other popular restaurant chains following suit with vegan options? One can only hope. In the meantime, look for Sofritas to appear on a Chipotle menu near you.

Elizabeth Gordon | Facebook | TwitterBlog | Website
Massachusetts Elizabeth is a writer, educator, and vegan advocate. She lives on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border with her husband and their quirky animal companions: a dog, two cats, and four fish (all rescues). An avid plant-based cook, she's proud to have finally perfected vegan versions of foods from her dual heritage—meatloaf, mac and cheese, and bacon from her Southern side, as well as potstickers, summer rolls, and wonton soup from her Asian side. (Plus she makes a drool-worthy buffalo wing pizza.) Elizabeth is the creator of the website MassVegan.org and founder of Vegans of North Central Mass.

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