Do you miss Chipotle’s plant-based chorizo? Try this homemade vegan chorizo recipe that comes full of robust flavor and a slight kick you won’t forget! It combines numerous herbs and spices to create the perfect copycat of the plant-based chorizo that is no longer available at Chipotle.
For more vegan-friendly Chipotle options without stepping foot into the restaurant, check out our other easy copycat recipes, including our Chipotle Sofritas, Chipotle veggie bowl, and Chipotle veggie burrito. We also have many more vegan copycat Chipotle recipes for you to try.
What to expect?
We created the seasoning in this recipe to mimic the seasoning from Chipotle Mexican Grill’s breakthrough plant-based chorizo recipe. The limited-time vegan-friendly chorizo was first introduced in Denver and Indianapolis in August 2021 before rolling out nationwide as a new menu item in January 2022. It was the chain’s first meatless protein menu item since its tofu-based Sofritas in 2014. However, despite its success, by January 2023, Chipotle had announced that it would discontinue the item.
According to a restaurant representative, the vegan chorizo’s fresh ingredients included water, pea protein, ripe tomato paste, olive oil, red wine vinegar, onion powder, Spanish smoked paprika, chili powder, vinegar, paprika, garlic powder, chipotle peppers, cumin seed, black pepper, sea salt, and oregano. No artificial flavors or preservatives were used to create a healthier option.
Our flavor-packed copycat Chipotle plant-based chorizo recipe (which was also certified vegan) includes all the same seasonings but replaces the pea protein with frozen tofu to make it more accessible and simpler for everyone. The result is a chewy, crumbly vegan chorizo that mimics the texture profile chorizo lovers expect. And it is packed with bold, robust, and rich flavors, just like you may have tasted in the restaurant.
Why you will love this recipe:
- You can easily find all the ingredients in your local grocery store.
- It only takes 15 minutes to make: 5 minutes of prep time and 10 minutes of cook time!
- It is packed with spices and rich flavors that will water your mouth for more.
The original recipe calls for pea protein to mimic sausages, but we swapped it out for tofu to make it easier and simpler. We also use many of the same spices and ingredients as the original recipe, all of which can be found in your local grocery store (if not already in your pantry)!
- Tofu – We use firm tofu, but extra firm tofu works as well
- Vegetable broth
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Sweet smoked paprika powder
- Sweet paprika powder
- Oregano (dried)
- Tomato paste
- Chipotle chili flakes
🛒 You can find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- For the best results, use tofu that has been frozen for at least 24 hours and thaw overnight.
- Once the frozen tofu is thawed, use your hand or a milk bag to squeeze the tofu until you get a sponge-like texture. It gives a much better result compared to using a tofu press.
- Use your hands to break up the tofu into smaller crumbles.
Making Chipotle plant-based chorizo
- Heat a frying pan over high heat. Add one tablespoon of olive oil and the tofu crumbles, then fry for 4-5 minutes to give the tofu some color and a slightly crispy consistency.
- Reduce the heat to medium, then add the onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, sweet smoked paprika, sweet paprika, Chipotle flakes, salt, tomato paste, and red wine vinegar. Stir the mixture well, then fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Add ¼-1/2 cup of the vegetable broth and stir until the tofu absorbs most of it.
- To add some “fat” to the chorizo (optional to make it more chorizo-like), add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil. Adjust the seasoning or salt if needed.
- Use frozen tofu – For best results, use tofu that has been frozen for at least 24 hours and thawed overnight. This recipe will not work with raw tofu as the texture will be too moist and spongy, even after pressing.
- Squeeze the tofu thoroughly – The tofu must be completely dry to the touch before breaking it into smaller pieces. That is why we recommend squeezing the tofu with your hands or using a milk bag to dry it thoroughly.
One of the best things about this vegan chorizo is that it is highly versatile. You can customize it with different herbs and spices to give it a different flavor profile and make it as mild or spicy as you wish! Below are a few variations to try:
- TVP chorizo: Swap out the frozen tofu for textured vegetable protein. Both have a texture close to ground meat, but TVP may be quicker to prepare.
- Fresh green herbs: Use fresh herbs instead of their dried counterpart. You can also add other fresh green herbs, but you will need to adjust the others to keep the same total quantity per the recipe card.
- Different herbs and spices: In addition to oregano, add basil or try combining rosemary, thyme, and sage for a different flavor profile. Or, throw in some cinnamon, coriander, or cloves for a warm and spicy flavor.
- Extra heat: Add chili pepper or a pinch of cayenne pepper for an extra kick of heat. Or, add some liquid smoke to make your chorizo taste fresh from the grill!
There are countless ways to serve up this copycat plant-based chorizo. Here are several of our crowd-pleasing, vegan-friendly favorites to serve up for any occasion:
- Chorizo breakfast – Serve alongside pan-fried potatoes and veggies for a delicious and filling breakfast. You can even add it to our vegan breakfast hash.
- Mexican dinner – If you have tortillas at home, make it a Mexican night with chorizo fajitas, tacos, or quesadillas and serve with a side of Mexican rice, black beans, or pinto beans. Add it to this copycat Chipotle veggie burrito for the complete experience.
- Chipotle lifestyle bowl – Serve over grains like white rice, beans, copycat Chipotle fajita veggies, guacamole, shredded romaine lettuce, vegan cheese, and corn salsa or fresh tomato salsa to make a vegan bowl. See our copycat Chipotle veggie burrito bowl for more ideas!
- Sandwich – Serve your chorizo over toast or a hamburger bun for a tasty lunch or dinner sandwich.
- Queso dip – Add your chorizo to some vegan queso dip and serve it with tortilla chips for a delicious Tex-Mex-style appetizer.
- Mac and cheese – Take your vegan mac and cheese to the next level and stir in some tofu chorizo for an extra kick of flavor.
- Pizza – Add it as a topping for a “meaty” vegan chorizo pizza.
- Pasta – Mix the chorizo with our flavor-packed, 10-min vegan marinara sauce and serve it over pasta!
- Cast iron skillet or frying pan – We recommend a non-stick, 10.5-inch/26 cm pan.
- Food processor – We prefer to use our hands to break apart the tofu, but a food processor is also an option if you have one!
Whether you have leftovers or want to make your Chipotle plant-based chorizo in advance, the good news is that it is very easy to store!
In the fridge: Store it in an airtight container for up to one week. If serving the chorizo with sauce or wanting to build a vegetarian bowl, we recommend storing chorizo separately.
In the freezer: This tofu chorizo is super freezer-friendly after being cooked. Store it in an airtight container for up to two months. However, we do not recommend freezing as an uncooked mixture, as the chorizo will be too moist when thawed.
Thawing: To thaw your chorizo, warm it in the oven, microwave, or a frying pan.
We have yet to try baking the tofu chorizo for this recipe. However, we recommend pan-fried tofu as it would not turn out as brown or crispy as it would if baked in the oven.
Yes! Our vegan tofu chorizo closely mimics the former Chipotle plant-based chorizo, which is gluten-free.
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Chipotle Plant-Based Chorizo (Copycat)
- For the best result, use frozen tofu. Thaw it overnight, then squeeze it hard. Use your hand or a milk bag. You will have a sponge-like texture at the end.
- Use your hands to break the tofu into smaller crumble-like pieces.
- Take a frying pan and heat it on high heat. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and the tofu crumbles. Fry them for 4-5 minutes to give them some color.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Add onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, sweet smoked paprika, sweet paprika, chipotle flakes, salt, tomato paste, and red wine vinegar. Stir well and continue to fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Add a bit of vegetable broth (¼-½ cup) and stir until the tofu absorbs most of the broth.
- To make it real chorizo-like, add 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil to add some fat to the chorizo. Check for seasoning, if you need to adjust the saltiness.