Vegan Puerto Rican Rice also known as Arroz con Gandules is a flavorful side dish that pairs well with many main dishes!
Puerto Rican rice or Arrroz con Gandules is a part of Puerto Rico’s national dish. Today we’ll be sharing how to make a vegan Puerto Rican rice.
Traditionally, arroz con gandules is made with pork which makes it not vegan; however, we use similar flavors and concepts to turn this dish vegan while still holding onto most of the flavor and traditions of this iconic dish.
This dish is often served for holidays, including Christmas which makes it even more special.
We don’t claim this to be an authentic recipe; however, we do hope that you love it!
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VEGAN PUERTO RICAN RICE INGREDIENTS:
Below are notes about the ingredients before we get into the full recipe located lower in this post on how to make this vegan arroz con gandules:
- vegetable oil – the aromatics and seasonings get fried in oil to add an additional layer of flavor
- sofrito – a base of aromatic ingredients that is used in many Latin American and Spanish dishes, but also Italian, Portuguese and Mediterranean cultures. Sofrito is one of the most important elements of this dish. While you can buy sofrito, we highly recommend that you make our homemade Puerto Rican sofrito.
- green pigeon peas – the word gandules refers to green pigeon peas which are legumes similar to beans that have a nutty aroma. You can use canned to make the process go much faster or you can prepare your own from dried beans for a more authentic version
- pitted green olives – olives help give another layer of flavor not only while cooking but also in the final dish. Even if you don’t like olives, we highly recommend that you add during the cooking process for flavor and remove before eating if you prefer not too
- roasted red peppers – this ingredient is optional, but we love adding it and the pop of color it gives. We prefer to make our own roasted red peppers; however, you can buy store bought
- seasonings– the specific seasonings are needed to recreate the traditional dish. We recommend added them all as listed.
- vegan ham seasoning – this is another optional ingredient. We do recommend it though as it gives some of the traditional taste while still being vegan. Since arroz con gandules is traditionally made with pork, this helps give some of that flavor back.
- medium grain rice – what is traditionally used. Medium rice cooks up moist and tender compared to light and fluffy like long grain rice.
SUBSTITUTIONS AND VARIATIONS:
- vegetable oil – while you’ll miss out on some of the flavors, if you are oil free, you can sub this with vegetable stock or water
- sofrito – you can use store bought varieties, though we recommend the homemade version listed above.
- green pigeon peas – while not traditional, you could use other types of beans instead.
- pitted green olives – more easily available manzanilla olives can be used
- medium grain rice – long grain rice can be used
- water – vegetable stock can be swapped for water
Frequently Asked Questions:
This recipe is already written as top 8 free. We do recommend that you check your seasoning ingredients for any allergens as some varieties differ.
Yes! You can store arroz con gandules in an air tight container for up to a week in the fridge.
Also, once cooled, you could put in a freezer safe container and freeze up to 3 months.
Most large grocery stores will carry them in cans. Any market that has a Latin American, Hispanic or Mexican section of their store should carry them.
What vegan recipe ideas could I make to serve with this rice?
We love serving this vegan Puerto Rican rice with tacos! If you love tacos as much as us, you’ll love these ideas! Here’s 6 vegan taco recipes:
- Easy Cheesy Crispy Vegan Black Bean Tacos
- Vegan Cauliflower Tinga Tacos
- Grilled Vegan Jackfruit Tacos
- Tofu Taco Crumbles
- Vegan Cheesy Gordita Crunch (Taco Bell Copycat)
- Vegan Lentil Tacos with Spinach and Feta
Pin this vegan Puerto Rican rice for later!
Let’s see your creations!
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Vegan Puerto Rican Rice
- ¼ cup vegetable oil (or canola)
- 1 cup sofrito
- 1 15oz can green pigeon peas
- ⅓ cup pitted green olives
- ¼ cup roasted red peppers, optional
- ⅓ cup tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoon adobo seasoning
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1-2 teaspoon vegan ham seasoning, optional
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon sazon (or 1 packet)
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- 2 ¾ cup medium grain rice (can also use long grain)
- 3 cups water
- In a large pot, add oil and turn the heat to medium.
- Add sofrito and stir together. Cook until fragrant about 1 minute.
- Next add pigeon peas, olives, roasted red peppers and tomato sauce. Stir to combine and cook for 1 more minute.
- Add in seasonings: adobo, garlic powder, salt, sazon, onion powder, black pepper, and Mexican oregano. Stir together well making sure there are no clumps of seasoning.
- Add in rice. Stir and coat all the rice with the mixture.
- Add water and stir together. Cook for 3 minutes. (Water should should be boiling after the 3 mins.) Push rice under the water, cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 20 minutes.
- Remove lid and stir together, bringing the rice on the bottom to the top. (Water should be gone or mostly gone and Rice should be almost done.)
- Mound rice, cover again with a lid and cook for another 10 – 15 mins.
- Remove from heat and use a fork to fluff the rice. Serve!
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Yum! I love arroz con gandules. I use almost all the ingredients you have mentioned. I also add 1 or 2 bay leaves, comino (ground cumin) and a little bit of cooking wine. I don’t use any pork with my rice and yes to the green olives! I know there are some people who don’t like them but please still cook with green olives and just remove them before eating. They add that extra “umph” to the rice. =)
omg the olive flavor is so good right!?
This recipe was fantastic! I was never a good rice maker. Once I became Vegan I learned. I didn’t have the vegan ham seasoning but did have everything else. Definitely will be making this again and again. Love. Love, love
So happy to hear that you enjoyed it