This Brazilian sofrito recipe not only saves you time when cooking, but it also serves as a foundation for an incredible flavor, taking your meals to the next level!
Easy Brazilian sofrito or refogado
Refogado (the Portuguese word for sofrito) is a term commonly used to reference the mix of onion, garlic, and salt sautéed in little oil.
It is a basic preparation that is essential in Brazilian cuisine, and we use it in most of our traditional dishes, such as rice, beans, coxinha, or to sauté vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, and spinach.
This Brazilian sofrito is such a versatile seasoning that can be used in various dishes–I can’t live without it!
But this seasoning isn’t unique to Brazil, though. Many South American and South European countries use a sort of sofrito in their cuisine. As a matter of fact, you can even find it in Caribbean cuisine.
In Portugal and Spain, they use fried tomatoes together with the essential ingredients. Other South American recipes add bell pepper, tomato juice, green onion, black pepper, vegetable oil, and even bay leaf.
However, this easy sofrito is far more versatile and more straightforward than our counterparts’ recipes, and, as you will see, it doesn’t call for many ingredients, making it a basic Brazilian seasoning to use in a variety of meals.
All you have to do is add the ingredients to the food processor, and voilà. You have a delicious refogado–sofrito–to use right away.
What is sofrito?
Sofrito is a thick paste made of strong-flavored ingredients cut into tiny pieces and heated in vegetable oil that serves as the savory dishes’ flavor base.
Besides adding a delicious foundation to any savory recipe, the purpose of this technique is basically to transfer its strong flavor to the oil so that this flavor is transferred to the food.
What can I make with sofrito?
Ok, now you know what it is, but how to use your Brazilian sofrito? There are a variety of ways you can use it.
For instance, you can use it to sauté vegetables, to marinate meats and fish, as a base for stews, soups, sauces, and many other dishes.
How to use your sofrito
You can use it to sauté any dishes you might want. For that, scoop about 1 tablespoon of sofrito for every 1 clove garlic you would typically use.
The pan should already have the hot fat of your preference. If you need, add more salt while cooking, but I recommend not making this sofrito recipe very salty.
And voilà, you have a delicious meal!
Brazilian sofrito ingredients
As I mentioned above, this Brazilian sofrito only calls for 4 ingredients:
- Garlic – it adds the pungent, spicy flavor that mellows and sweetens your dishes considerably.
- Onion – strong and flavorful vegetable base.
- Salt – it is used to preserve the ingredients. You can change the salt quantity to your taste.
- Vegetable oil – it is also used to preserve the ingredients of your sofrito. I use vegetable oil (sunflower) because of its neutrality, but olive oil works fine.
These are the base of the Brazilian food flavor profile since we use it for (almost) all savory dishes.
Still, you can easily customize it by adding other ingredients you might want.
How to store the sofrito
This Brazilian sofrito isn’t just easy to make, but it also is easy to store! You can do that in two ways:
- My mom’s style: My mom is all about practicality–if it isn’t easy peasy, she won’t do it. That’s why she scoops her Brazilian sofrito into an ice tray with cover and keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months. When she wants to use it, she puts the sofrito “ice cube” in the hot pan as usual, and it will defrost quickly.
- My style: I store my sofrito in a small mason jar in the fridge for up to 10 days because my freezer is upstairs. Not handy, I know!
How to easily peel garlic
Brazilian recipes often call for lots of garlic, so with time, I found a way to quickly peel the garlic cloves, speed up the cooking process, and avoid that strong garlic smell on my hands.
Break the garlic bulb in cloves and put all of them in a large, hard container with a lid. It can be a big mason jar.
Close the jar and vigorously shake it for about 15 seconds. The peel should come off quickly.
Open it and remove the peeled garlic cloves. Put the rest back into the jar and repeat it. You might have to pull a few peels that are hanging on the edge or so.
It works like a charm, and it is an excellent exercise for your core.
How to make Brazilian sofrito
In only a few steps, you will have a delicious, fresh batch of sofrito.
Peel the garlic cloves and the onion. Quarter the onion and add it to the food processor or blender, together with all other ingredients.
Pulse until desired consistency. Here at home, we prefer a chunky paste instead of a smooth puree.
I usually make a chunky paste with minced garlic and diced onion–but that’s up to you!
Transfer the sofrito to a clean mason jar or ice tray and store it as explained above. Enjoy!
- 2 heads garlic
- 2 medium onions
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 4 tablespoons oil
- Peel the garlic cloves and the onion. Quarter the onion and add it to the food processor or blender, together with all other ingredients.
- Pulse until desired consistency. You could pulse it until it is a chunky paste.
- Transfer the sofrito to a clean mason jar or ice tray.
How to easily peel garlic
Break the garlic bulb in cloves and put all of them in a large, hard container with a lid. Close the jar and vigorously shake it for about 15 seconds.
Open it and remove the peeled garlic cloves. Repeat it if necessary.
How to store your sofrito
Scoop the sofrito into an ice tray with cover and keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months, or store it in a mason jar in the fridge for up to 10 days.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 48 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 14Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 133mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.
I hope you enjoyed this simple sofrito recipe! Be sure to share it with a friend who might like it too!