Black beans with sofrito is a classic Latin American dish is that makes a quick and satisfying weeknight dinner. This one is naturally vegan.
What’s a sofrito? It’s basically a sauté of the key ingredients of onions, garlic, bell peppers, and sometimes tomatoes, in olive oil. It can be the foundation of many a dish, as well as the dish itself, with various seasonings added to it, depending on the cuisine.
There are numerous global variations on the theme of sofrito, but one thing they all have in common is turning a simple dish into something simply delicious. As mentioned, it’s especially prized in Latin and South America, where many a recipe begins with the direction, “make a sofrito,” because it’s so familiar.
Complete the meal: A colorful tossed salad is all you need to complete the meal, but if you’d like a bit more, add a simple vegetable dish. Quarter a couple of summer squashes (one good-sized zucchini plus one yellow summer squash) lengthwise and slice, then sauté in a little oil. Or serve with wilted garlicky greens.
Here’s more than you ever wanted to know about the history and variations of sofrito. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 medium green bell pepper, cut into approximately 1/2-inch dice
- 1/2 medium red or orange bell pepper, cut to match green pepper
- 3 to 3 1/2 cups cooked black beans (1 1/4 cups raw or two 15-ounce cans, drained and rinsed)
- 2 medium firm, ripe tomatoes, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime, or more, to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, optional
- Hot cooked rice
- Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent.
- Add the garlic and the bell peppers and continue to sauté until they've softened and the onion is golden.
- Add the remaining ingredients except the last two, along with 1/3 cup water. Bring to a simmer.
- Mash a small amount of the black beans with the back of a wooden spoon, just enough so that a thick sauce forms. Simmer gently over low heat, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the optional cilantro or parsley and serve over or alongside rice.
If you like black beans, you might also enjoy …
Here are lots more easy vegan main dishes.