Arroz con Gandules (Puerto Rican Rice)

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Puerto Rican Rice, or Arroz con Gandules, is THE main dish at not only Puerto Rican parties but for dinner almost every night in traditional Puerto Rican houses. You’re probably thinking you’d get sick of rice everyday but honestly you don’t. I know I didn’t! Later in life I was exposed to different cuisines from various cultures. That’s when I became a foodie. However going home to mom’s and grandmom’s house, rice was always on the menu- and I loved it! Like most traditional recipes, each family has their own special recipe. If you’ve never had Puerto Rican rice before, you are most definitely missing out!

This is not my mom’s recipe. She made the best rice ever- and I’m not just saying that because she is my mom! It is so true. Other Puerto Ricans will taste my mom’s rice and say the same thing! My mom showed me how to make her rice. However, once I became plant based, I could no longer eat her rice. She used pork and chicken flavor packet and even minced ham. My mom did, however, learn how to veganize her rice recipe just for me! Although loaded with sodium, I obliged because it tastes so good and the effort alone was enough for me to indulge!

Creating my own Puerto Rican Rice recipe inspired me to create a Sofrito recipe and a sazon recipe! Funny thing, my mom very seldom used Sofrito- mom preferred to use fresh chopped veggies (peppers, onions, etc.). I do remember, however, that my grandmother used sofrito. The Sofrito was an easy recipe for me but the sazon was a bit challenging because traditional sazon has a distinct flavor.

I remember the day my mom gave me a cast aluminum rice pot, also called a caldero, that belonged to my grandmother’s. What an honor! It completely changed my rice cooking game! A caldero will help achieve a crispy crust of rice at the bottom of the pot- called pegao. Don’t toss the pegao! Scape the pot, roll it into golf balls and eat it! So, so good. The more you make this rice, the better it taste each time. So start practicing!

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  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup Sofrito
  • 1/3 tomato sauce
  • 3 tbsp sazon (or 1 envelope)
  • ½ tsp Adobo
  • 1 beefless/chickenless bouillon cube* (or ½ of each)
  • 1 -15oz can guandules (pigeon peas)
  • ¼ cup olives, sliced into thirds
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 cup jasmine rice

Note: This is the Not-Beef Bouillon cube I use. Click HERE.


  1. Rinse rice well in water and set aside.
  2. In a medium caldero or large pot, heat oil and sauté sofrito. Add tomato sauce, sazon and adobo. Simmer for 2 minutes.
  3. Next add the veggie cube, water, olives and gandules. Taste and readjust seasonings, adding additional salt ½ teaspoon at a time. The broth should be seasoned, generously and on the salty side.
  4. Bring to a rapid boil, then add rice and stir. Reduce heat to medium and let most of the liquid absorb into the rice and evaporate.
  5. Starting on the edges, mound the rice to the middle. Cover for 15 minutes.
  6. Uncover and carefully break up the rice, again, being careful not to over stir.
  7. Cover for another 10 minutes or until soft. Enjoy!

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Click below to watch me make it!

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Hankerings says:

    I love authentic, homemade recipes like this. I’ll have to give it a try!

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