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Garlic-Pepper Sauce

This mixture, called sofrito, is used in many Latin American recipes as a seasoning base; it can even replace salsa as a dip for chips. Before using it in recipes, thaw completely in the refrigerator or microwave.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes 5 cups
Garlic-Pepper Sauce

Source: Everyday Food, April 2005


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large onions, coarsely chopped (4 cups)
  • 2 green bell peppers, ribs and seeds removed, coarsely chopped (2 1/4 cups)
  • 2 red bell peppers, ribs and seeds removed, coarsely chopped (2 1/4 cups)
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 large tomato, cored and coarsely chopped (2 cups)
  • 3 cups mixed cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper


  1. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until starting to soften, about 5 minutes.

  2. Add bell peppers, garlic, oregano, and cumin; cook, stirring often, until peppers are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Add tomato; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes more.

  3. Transfer to a food processor. Add cilantro, and puree until slightly chunky. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. If not using immediately, transfer sauce, in 1-cup quantities, to airtight containers. Freeze until ready to use, up to 3 months.


Reviews (2)

  • angela_italia 26 Nov, 2014

    My Cuban mother in law says this is the best sofrito she's ever tasted. I make a triple batch each time and freeze it! It really does give the food a wonderful flavor. I don't know what I'd do if I ever lost this recipe!

  • dgiesb 21 Aug, 2011

    I add a chipotle with some adobo sauce to the mix for some smoky heat. The great thing about this dish is that it saves time on weeknights because you can use it with so many dishes.

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