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Vegan Arroz con Gandules

Arroz con gandules is a classic rice with pigeon peas recipe from Puerto Rico and is traditionally served during the holidays, family gatherings, and special events. 

Vegan Arroz con Gandules in Pot

What is arroz con gandules?

Arroz con gandules is a delicious and classic rice-based dish made in Latin American and Caribbean countries, and it’s no coincidence that it could also be called Puerto Rican rice – arroz con gandules is known as a Puerto Rican staple. Traditionally made with meat, this is an equally delicious vegan version.

This vegan arroz con gandules is made by cooking rice with pigeon peas (gandules in Spanish) and Puerto Rican sofrito, sazon, adobo, tomato paste, bay leaves, and other spices. Lemon juice, green olives, and cilantro are optional.

Arroz con gandules is often served as a side dish or a meal and can be served with tostones (fried plantains) or other veggie sides.

Fresh Culantro for Sofrito
Fresh Culantro for Sofrito

FAQs

Are canned pigeon peas or gandules cooked?

Yes, they typically are. However, I have encountered cans of beans that feel parboiled and not fully cooked – I always like to test their readiness as I cook. 

Can I Swap Tomato Paste for Tomato Sauce?

Yes, you can swap the tomato paste for tomato sauce.

Remember that the tomato sauce will increase the liquid in your recipe. You can account for the difference by reducing the amount of vegetable stock in your recipe. 

What type of rice should I use for this Puerto Rican Rice (Vegan arroz con gandules) recipe?

I made this recipe with organic jasmine rice, but you can use any rice available or medium grain rice. A longer grain will create a looser consistency. 

The shorter the grain, the starchier the rice – think sushi rolls.

Could you rinse the rice well with a fine mesh strainer?

A fine mesh strainer will make the rinsing and cleaning process much more manageable and quicker. 

puerto rican sofrito in a bowl
puerto rican sofrito for vegan arroz con gandules

Top Tips

How to prevent mushy rice

Here are a few tips I’ve learned after a few failed attempts.

  • I find that a 1:1 ratio – for every cup of rice, add one cup of liquid – works. 
  • Keep the heat medium to high (depending on your stovetop), and make sure it doesn’t burn the bottom of your pan. 
  • Allow the liquid to evaporate before reducing and covering the pan. This will help ensure that the rice is not oversaturated.
Uncooked gandules in a bowl
gandules in a bowl

Instructions

Step 1: Prep: Rinse the rice using a fine mesh strainer and set it to the side. 

Step 2: Set to medium-high heat, add the coconut oil and sofrito, and cook for roughly 2-3 minutes to caramelize lightly.

Add all the spices and tomato paste and stir for 4 minutes.

Step 3: Add the canned gandules with the liquid and cook for 8-10 minutes. Continue to stir and make sure the gandules are al dente.

Step 4: Mix in the rice and stir until the rice is well mixed and coated. Then add the broth and lemon juice, and continue cooking at medium-high heat until the water evaporates. 

Then reduce to low heat and place the lid on for 25 minutes.

Step 5: After cooking for 25 minutes, keep the lid on, remove from the heat, and let sit for 15-20 minutes.

Cilantro is optional.

Buen Provecho!

Vegan Arroz con Gandules in Pot
Vegan Arroz con Gandules Pot
Vegan Arroz con Gandules in Pot

Vegan Arroz con Gandules

Olga Muñoz
Puerto Rican Rice Recipe
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Puerto Rican
Servings 8 people
Calories 98 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Cast Iron Dutch Oven
  • 1 Spatula
  • 1 Fine Mesh Strainer

Ingredients
  

  • 1 can Pigeon Peas
  • 3 cups Rice
  • 3 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 3 tsp Sazon
  • 1/2 tsp Adobo
  • 8 tbsp Recaito
  • 3 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 5 Leaves Bay Leaves
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 3 cups Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth
  • 10 whole Green Olives Optional
  • 1/2 bunch Cilantro Optional

Instructions
 

  • Step One
    Prep: Rinse the rice well using a fine mesh strainer and set it to the side. Note: The water will only run partially transparent. Rinse at least three times. I like to use a medium-sized bowl, making rinsing and cleaning the rice much more effortless.
    Rinsing Basmati Rice
  • Step Two
    Place the cast iron Dutch oven on the stovetop and set it to medium-high heat. Add the coconut oil and sofrito to the pot, and cook for roughly 2-3 minutes.
    Tip: Allow the sofrito to caramelize slightly.
    Then add all the spices and tomato paste and stir for 4 minutes.
  • Step Three
    Add the canned gandules with the liquid and green olives (optional), cook for 8-10 minutes, and stir well. Allow the gandules to absorb the sofrito and tomato paste mix.
    Continue to stir and ensure the gandules are slightly al dente – the gandules will continue to cook.
  • Step Four
    Mix in the rice, and stir until the rice is well mixed and coated in all the beautiful flavors you've developed in the pot. Then add the broth and lemon juice (optional) and continue cooking at medium-high heat until the water evaporates. The lemon juice adds a hint of brightness to the rice.
    Then reduce to very low heat, and place the lid for 25 minutes.
    Tip: Low heat on different stovetop burners is different. Use one with the lowest heat setting to prevent the rice from burning.
  • Step Five
    After cooking for 25 minutes, keep the lid on, altogethert remove from heat, and let sit for 15-20 minutes.
    Rinse and chop the cilantro, add to the cooked rice, and mix in. Optional, but so good.
    Buen Provecho!

Notes

A hint of lemon juice will brighten up the recipe. However, this is entirely optional. 

Nutrition

Calories: 98kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 2gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 314mgPotassium: 112mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 292IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 23mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Arroz con gandules, Holiday Recipes, Puerto Rican Sofrito, Rice and pigeon peas, Rice Recipe
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I had been looking for a good vegan recipe & was surprised to see lemon in this recipe but it turned out yummy & easy to make.

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