Tag Archives: adobo

Adobo Alternatives

12 Apr

I need my food to be seasoned well…  us Puerto Ricans love savory dishes.  Not to be confused with spicy.  We do not typically use chilies or hot spicy peppers in our cooking, but we do season our food well with adobo – a mixture of spices, herbs and salt that give Puerto Rican food is unique flair.

I mentioned you how to make your own adobo mixture here… but if you’re too lazy ( like I have been known to be) or you feel you want to try things before investing in making your own mix, there are a few natural and vegetarian alternatives you  can try from your local health food store.



Both Spike and Herbamare can be found in your local health food… these are made from natural ingredients, sea salt and without adding any chemical preservatives.  I have been using both for a number of years now.   I use them to season stews, rices, mushrooms, veggie burgers, etc.  Give these seasonings a try… you’ll see how your food will bring you even more enjoyment…  Bon Appétit!!!


2 Dec

Here in Puerto Rico is very typical to celebrate Xmas with pork… or as we say in Spanish, Lechón.  People trying to be more health conscious have then tried to take the flavors used in making a lechón but with turkey, calling it Pavo-chón – pavo from the Spanish for turkey and chón… well, you get the drift.

But being vegetarian, I’ve lived without lechón or pavo for about 10 years of my life now.  But I have not been vegetarian all my life, so even though I do not miss eating the actual meat, I do still get allured by the smells of the seasonings and what I remember they taste like.  I am sure I am not the only one that feels that way… there’s no need to be ashamed of it.

So if people found a way to season turkey to make it taste like lechón, why can’t we do the same with TOFU??


I say what the heck!! Let’s give it a try… and the thing worked.  So now you can have your tastes of the past, but with a greater consciousness that you will not be damaging the lives of other living creatures in the process.  Isn’t that the true meaning of Christmas and the Holidays??



1 block of extra-firm tofu, drained
About ¼ cup of adobo – or you can make your own blend, like I show you here
1 cup of Water or vegetable broth
The juice of 1 lemon
Canola oil Spray
  1. After draining the tofu block, cut it into ½” thick slices.  Place them on top of a sheet pan with about 3-4 layers of paper towels.  Cover the tofu slices with 3-4 additional layers of paper towels and place another sheet pan on top.  Weigh the tofu slices down with a few heavy books for about 1 hour.
  2. After the hour has elapsed, I usually take the top layer of paper towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible from it.  Take the sheet pan that used to be on top and now make this your bottom sheet pan, place the squeezed paper towel your bottom layer of paper towel, transfer the tofu slices into this new bottom, squeeze as much water as possible from the former bottom layer of paper towels, place now on top of the tofu, place the former bottom sheet pan on top of the paper towels and weigh again with heavy books for about an extra 30 minutes or so.  I like to really press the tofu dry…
  3. In a medium skillet sprayed with canola oil spray over medium heat, we’ll bring some color to the tofu slices. We do not want to sear them fully, but doing this will help the marinating liquid penetrate even more…    
  4. While we’re heating the tofu slices, we prepare the marinade… mix together in a bowl you can cover well the water, the juice of the lemon and the adobo mixture.   Place the tofu slices that have been heated a bit and gotten some color on the skillet in de bowl with the marinade.  Cover the bowl and let the tofu marinate for about 4-6 hours.  Do not do this overnight because they might get too salty… 
  5. After the marinating time has elapsed, take the skillet again, spray again with canola oil and place over medium high heat.  Pat dry the tofu slices and place on skillet.  Sear until you get a nice brown color on the tofu.


You can serve this over rice… a nice rice with corn (arroz con maiz) or even a rice with pigeon peas (arroz con gandules) would be good local typical combinations.  This time around, I actually had it with a goat cheese couscous with walnuts, which is certainly not the traditional accompaniment.  I also used these inside a Tortilla Casserole I will be sharing with you soon enough…


30 Nov

I’ve come to believe that food tastes as good as the seasonings you put on it…

A lot of people steer away from vegetarian food because they believe it tastes bland or boring.  But it all comes down to the seasonings.  And in Latin cooking, ADOBO is a key part of the seasoning.  Adobo is used mostly on meats, poultry or fish, but vegetarian cooking can also benefit from a sprinkling of this delicious seasoning.

For Puerto Ricans, adobo is a mixture of various dry spices mixed together with salt.  Anything we cook, we first sprinkle some adobo on, wait for a few minutes for the flavorings to penetrate and then cook.  The typical flavorings in an adobo mix are salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and dried oregano.  There are versions that may include also cumin, paprika or even dehydrated lemon pieces.  You need to be cautious to look for a brand that does not include chemicals or additives, like MSG… but most good brands do not include it. 




You can find adobo in any supermarket here in Puerto Rico – it’s a staple in our cooking.  But you can certainly find it also in the Latin section of your supermarket if you live outside of Puerto Rico.  But if you can’t find adobo already packaged, it’s something fairly easy to make and store in your cupboard… here’s how:


1/3 cup Kosher or Sea Salt
2 tbs Garlic Powder
2 tbs Dried Oregano
1 tbs Onion Powder
½  tbs Coarsely Ground Pepper
  1. Mix all this together and sprinkle on your favorite food to season.
  2. Keep it in a dry, cool place to avoid the salt from clumping. 

I use adobo to season my Potatoes a la Angie, to season my Portobello Burgers, and to give flavor to roasted potatoes.  You can also sprinkle it on top of any frozen veggie burgers so you can taste how the flavor greatly improves…

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