A white bowl with tofu sofrito and red cabbage.
Photography, Janis Nicolay

Vegan Tofu Sofrito Bowls

Homemade Sofrito sauce is the highlight of Desiree Nielsen's healthy bowl dinner recipe.

“Give me flavour and make it filling!” writes Desiree Nielsen in her cookbook Good for Your Gut: A Plant-Based Digestive Health Guide and Nourishing Recipes for Living Well. With its protein-packed tofu and vegetables simmered in a tangy sofrito sauce, this vegan recipe more than meets those requirements. Even better, this Sofrito Bowl recipe is more than just “flavour and…filling” – it’s also healthy. “These bowls have everything you need to fight inflammation and boost gut health – plenty of veggies, plenty of fibre, and anti-inflammatory nutrients to support healing,” Nielsen writes.

A white bowl with tofu sofrito and red cabbage.

Tofu Sofrito Bowls

Desiree Nielsen's takeout-inspired tofu recipe is vegan and low FODMAP.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican, Vegetarian
Servings 4


  • ¼ medium red cabbage finely shredded with a mandoline
  • tsp salt divided
  • ¼ tsp organic cane sugar
  • juice of 1 lime divided
  • 2 cups peeled and diced kohlrabi
  • 1 block (12 oz/340 g) extra-firm tofu
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive or avocado oil divided
  • 2 sweet red peppers finely diced
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp red chili flakes
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice or millet, or quinoa, for serving


  • In a medium bowl, add the cabbage, ½ teaspoon of the salt, cane sugar, and half the lime juice. Gently massage the cabbage for 1 minute to soften. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, toss the kohlrabi with the remaining lime juice. Set aside.
  • Slice the tofu in half, then in half again horizontally to create four squares. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Place the tofu in the pan and cook until golden on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook until golden on the other side, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the tofu to a plate.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet. Add the red peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, then add the water, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, molasses, oregano, cumin, chili powder, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, chili flakes, and cinnamon. Stir until well combined. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Tear and crumble the cooked tofu into the sauce, stirring to coat, and let simmer for 5 minutes more to heat through and let the flavours blend.
  • To serve, divide the rice and tofu mixture among bowls. Top with the cabbage and kohlrabi.


This will keep well in the fridge for up to five days, so it's perfect for meal prep.


Keyword sofrito, tofu
book cover
Excerpted from Good for Your Gut by Desiree Nielsen. Copyright © 2022 by Desiree Nielsen. Published by Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
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