Dairy Free / Gluten Free / Goodness on the Side! / Main Dishes

Arroz con gandules {rice with pigeon peas}

Arroz con gandulesOne of my most favorite, flavorful dishes is arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas). I’m not really sure where I heard of this dish for the first time, but I think it was probably a video that was shared on Facebook, actually. It’s a classic Puerto Rican dish and I love it. My mouth is watering right now. Mmmm

In Panama (where my mother-in-law is from) they serve a traditional rice and pigeon pea dish, which is quite different from the one I’m sharing today. I’ll have to do another post sometime on arroz con guandu y coco (rice with pigeon peas and coconut milk). It’s tasty as well, but different.

I like to make this dish to take to potlucks, or if we have company coming over and have a lot of mouths to feed. If I make it for a special occasion for our family, I love having leftovers for a couple of days. Note: this makes A LOT – which is great because we have 7 people in my family and love having leftovers. If you don’t need a large amount, just halve the recipe. Enjoy!


Arroz con Gandules

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

  • Sometimes I will use ham instead of bacon and then brown the rice in coconut or olive oil instead of the bacon grease
  • This recipe calls for sofrito, which can usually be found in the Hispanic section of grocery stores (but isn’t usually gluten-free).  I make my own sofrito, but if it’s not available just blend up salsa to use as a replacement.
  • This recipe makes a huge amount.  If you don’t need quite as much, halve the recipe


  • 6 slices bacon, cut up
  • 6 cups rice, rinsed
  • 2 cans gandules (pigeon peas), drained
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 12 green olives, sliced
  • 3 packets Goya Sazon con culantro y achiote (orange packets)
  • 1 cup sofrito (if not available, blend up salsa)
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 8 cups chicken broth (or water)
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • Adobo seasoning (or salt and pepper) to taste


  1. Rinse rice in a fine mesh strainer until water runs clear.
  2. Fry bacon pieces on medium high heat until crisp. Remove bacon and set aside and leave the bacon grease in the pot.
  3. Place rinsed rice in the bacon fat and stir to coat rice, cook to brown for approximately five minutes, making sure to stir every once in a while to make sure that it doesn’t burn.
  4. Add remaining ingredients, including the bacon that has been set aside) all at once and stir briefly to combine. Taste broth for seasoning and add more Adobo seasoning or salt and pepper til you like how the broth tastes. DO NOT KEEP STIRRING after this.
  5. Bring to a rolling boil and then cover pot with with a tight fitting lid. (If the pot you are using doesn’t have a super tight fitting lid, place a piece of aluminum foil over pot and then place lid on top of that. The point is to make sure steam isn’t escaping during the cooking process). Reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes, not lifting lid in the process. Turn off after 20 minutes and allow to sit undisturbed for 20 more minutes to allow any remaining liquid to be absorbed into rice.
  6. When ready to eat, stir to evenly distribute pieces and to fluff rice. Enjoy!

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