Vegan cuisine is finding its way on the menu of numerous popular eating establishments. The most recent addition are vegan Sofritas, which can be found at the popular Chipotle Mexican Grill at their Boston and New York locations.
Chipotle’s Sofritas are made with shredded organic tofu from “Hodo Soy” braised with chipotle chiles, roasted poblanos, and a blend of aromatic spices. “It was really ingredient driven,” says Chipotle culinary manager, Nate Appleman. Chipotle partnered with Hodo Soy, the Oakland-based company that has “amassed a hearty following for its tasty, organic, and GMO-free soy-based protein.”
Appleman started experimenting, mixing Mexican flavors with Hodo’s tofu. Eventually, he created a chili-based recipe that he found delectable to the taste buds. “We just fell in love with the product itself and came up with something that I think even if you’re not a vegetarian or vegan, you could eat it and love it,” he said.
“More people than ever are open to considering a vegetarian meal when they dine out, even if they aren’t strictly vegetarian. Some do it for health reasons, others because of environmental concerns and others because they don’t want to harm animals,” said Charles Stahler, co-director of the Vegetarian Resource Group. “All three of these movements have grown in recent years so that vegetarianism has become more mainstream,” he said.
When people go out to eat, often there is at least one member of the group that is either a vegetarian or a vegan. Establishments are quickly learning that it is in their better interest to offer non-meat, and even non-dairy choices on their menu. Otherwise, they can loose patrons to their competitors who do offer vegetarian or vegan options.
Although, Chipotle is predominately thinking about profit when adding a vegan option to their menu, it may encourage their carnivore patrons to start considering a vegan or at least for starters, a vegetarian lifestyle. At the very least, it will open up discussion, which is the necessary seed to convert any carnivore into switching to an animal-friendly diet.
In the near future, Chipotle’s vegan Sofritas will be found in all their locations across the country. Hopefully, their Sofritas will ignite flames in consciousness that is as hot as their chiles.
Photo Credit: courtesy of Chipotle