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Sofrito (Catalan tomato and onion sauce)


This indispensable base sauce is similar to the French mirepoix. The aromatic quality of the sauce provides a base layer of flavor that gives Spanish and Latin American dishes a slow and long-cooked flavor. It is deeply intense and delicious. Take your time and let the sauce cook down and the flavors meld. Sofrito is a perfect base for soups, stews, and any dish that could benefit from complex, aromatic flavors. Extra sofrito can be frozen for up to 3 months.

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 3 cupsServings


  • 10 ripe plum tomatoes
  • 1½ cups Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 small Spanish onions, finely chopped or pulsed in the food processor (about 4 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons sweet pimentón* (Spanish smoked paprika)
  • 3 bay leaves


1. Slice tomatoes in half. Place a grater over mixing bowl. Rub cut surface of tomatoes over grater until all flesh is grated (yes, this  is a messy step!). Discard the tomato skins.

2. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onions, sugar, and salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions  are soft and golden brown, about 45 minutes. You want the onions to caramelize; if they get too dark, add ½ teaspoon water to keep from burning.

3. Stir in tomato paste, pimentón, and bay leaves; cook for another 20 minutes over medium heat. The sofrito is done when the tomatoes have broken down and deepened in color, and the oil has separated from sauce. Discard bay leaves.

*Pimenton ahumado is smoked  Spanish paprika. Made from the  highest quality peppers and  smoked over oak, the flavor and  aroma of pimenton ahumado is  earthy, smoky-sweet and mouthwateringly  delicious.  Pimenton ahumado is not  your mother’s paprika. The stuff from Hungary will add color to a dish, but really has no flavor and  tastes like dust. The good smoky  paprika rocks and turns every  dish into a flavor-packed, mouth exploding experience.  A key ingredient in many  Spanish dishes such as paella,  chorizo, and sofrito, the versatility  of the product is amazing.  For all of you kosher eaters – the  paprika adds a smoky flavor that  tastes and smells of burning  wood (this is a good thing) and  if added to a dish can kind of be  mistaken for bacon. (Ok, it has  been a long time since I have  eaten bacon, but if you close your  eyes, it seems like it might be in  there!)

Recipe published in JOY of KOSHER with Jamie Geller magazine Fall 2015. Subscribe Now.

Fall 2015 Magazine

Fall 2015 Magazine

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