Zucchini in Cuban Sofrito with Almond-Cacao Picada

IngredientsVegetables, Rice, Nuts
Day PartDinner, Lunch
Cuisine TypeMexican
Zucchini in Cuban Sofrito with Almond-Cacao Picada

Source: Almond Board of California; photo by Lee Harrelson

Sofrito is the foundation of many classic Latin dishes. The heady blend of garlic, onion, bell peppers and tomatoes sautéed in oil is often enhanced by spices and herbs, such as cumin and oregano. Here, Chef Presilla honors her roots by giving this zucchini preparation a Cuban accent. The picada made with toasted almonds, roasted cacao nibs and garlic both thickens and flavors the mix.


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 med. yellow onion, thinly sliced vertically
8 oz. coarsely chopped cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1/16 tsp. ground allspice
5 cups cubed zucchini (about 1 1/2 lb.)
12 almonds, toasted
1/4 cup roasted cacao nibs
2 peeled whole garlic cloves
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup fat-free lower-sodium chicken stock or broth
Hot cooked rice


  1. Heat a large skillet over med. heat; add oil and swirl to coat. Add chopped garlic; sauté 10 sec., stirring constantly.
  2. Add onion; sauté 4 min., stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes; sauté 3 min. Stir in oregano, salt, cumin, red pepper and allspice. Add zucchini; cook 2 min.
  3. In mortar, combine almonds, cacao nibs, whole garlic cloves and parsley; pound with pestle until a paste forms.
  4. Stir cacao mixture into zucchini mixture; add stock and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook 5 min.
  5. Serve over hot cooked rice.

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