If you love authentic dishes, you need to give this arroz con gandules a try! A savory classic Puerto Rican dish, with perfectly cooked rice, sofrito, and sazon. Add some pernil on the side, and you have a complete and tasty dinner.
What is Arroz con Gandules?
Arroz con gandules is Puerto Rican rice and pigeon peas. It’s been around for a very long time and is now a classic dish in most Latin American circles. It’s often served with sofrito, which is a mixture of vegetables like onions, garlic, and other fresh vegetables. Usually blended and looks similar to salsa. Sofrito is a very popular condiment used in dishes like this one.
What Does Arroz con Gandules Mean in English?
This directly translates into “rice with gandules.” You might be wondering what “gandules” are as those aren’t often mentioned in the US. Gandules is another term for pigeon peas, which is a popular pea used in Latin American, Asian, and Indian recipes. Summed up, arroz con gandules is simply “rice with peas.”
How to Make
- Saute – Heat some oil over medium heat and cook the sofrito and sazon for a couple of minutes. Add the rice and cook for an additional minute.
- Simmer – Add the remaining ingredients and cook until it comes to a boil.
- Lower and cover – Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat and cover the pan with aluminum foil and the pot lid. Cook for 22 minutes. Then stir the rice and cook for an additional 5 minutes covered. Serve and enjoy!
Top Tips and Recipe Variations
- Add more veggies – If you prefer, you can add more vegetables to the rice mixture. I usually stick with the traditional options. However, it tastes great with something like mixed vegetables such as carrots, corn, etc.
- Add chunks of ham
- Use medium grain rice – I highly recommend using medium grain rice for this.
- What to serve with arroz con gandules – As mentioned above, the most popular options are pernil and roasted chicken. However, this recipe functions well as a side and pairs well with multiple recipes. Some of my favorites are Air Fryer Steak or Juicy Oven Baked Chicken Thighs.
- Use beer in place of wine – If you don’t have wine on hand, you can always use beer in its place. It works just as well and adds a wonderful flavor to the recipe.
Storage and Reheating
- Fridge – Store in a sealed container for up to 5 days.
- Freezer – Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- Reheating – Reheat using the microwave. Use a damp paper towel over the top of the dish when reheating to not dry out the arroz con gandules.
Can I Omit the Wine?
Absolutely! Simply omit the dry white wine.
How Much Salt?
Normally I add 1 tsp of salt for each cup of rice. However, because the sazon and sofrito had salt I only added 1 tsp of salt for 2 cups of rice. Although you may certainly season to taste.
Why is the Rice Sticky?
If you use too much liquid it can result in sticky rice. Use equal parts medium grain rice and water and you will have perfect fluffy rice every single time.
Where Can I Buy Sofrito?
You can either purchase it frozen in the Hispanic section of your supermarket or the room temperature sofrito that comes in a jar. You can of course also make it at home. If you don’t want to use sofrito, just use fresh minced garlic and diced onions. But I highly recommend using sofrito and sazon for this recipe.
Arroz con Gandules (Rice & Pigeon Peas)
- 1 15 ounce can pigeon peas 15 ounces
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 cups medium grain rice
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp dry white wine optional
- 1/4 cup sofrito store-bought or homemade
- 1 sazon envelope
- 1/4 cup olives
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- In a large pot, heat some olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the sofrito and sazon, cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in the rice and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the white wine, tomato sauce, bay leaf, pigeon peas, water, olives, and salt.
- Cook uncovered until it comes to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, cover the pot with aluminum foil and cover tightly with the lid. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 22 minutes.
- Once the 22 minutes are up, uncover the rice and mix it well. Cover the rice and cook for an additional 5 minutes.