Few weeks ago, we had friends over for a Sunday BBQ. My husband was going to handle the BBQ but I was making lots of sides dishes and dips. Since we are such a diverse group of friends, I wanted to make some side dishes that go well with BBQ but also are foods that my friends like. I know that one of the couples loves arroz con glandules, but also lately they are eating more plant based food. So I set to experimenting into making a vegan Rice with Pigeon Peas or how it’s called in Spanish, arroz con glandules.Jump to Recipe
What Is Arroz Con Glandules?
Arroz con Glandules or Rice with Pigeon Peas is a typical Puerto Rican dish. This dish is cooked in other Caribbean & Latin/Central American countries. Living in Miami I have had the chance to try not only the Puerto Rican version but also a Dominican version and a Panamanian one. So even though this is a Puerto Rican dish, many other countries and regions have adapted the original recipe to their cuisine and traditions.
The typical arroz con glandules is made with pork/ham, rice, sofrito, pigeon peas and condiments. As I mentioned earlier this is an adapted version to create a meatless side option for our guests.
You can buy sofrito or cook it at home and I prefer the homemade one. See below some more information on sofrito before you move on to the recipe.
Sofrito means to lightly fry something. The term is usually used in the Caribbean and Latin American countries who use an aromatic sauce usually made with peppers, garlic, cilantro etc as a base to their recipes. Other terms to describe this sauce are sofregit, refogado etc and versions of sofrito are found in the Mediterranean as well as Caribbean, Latin America regions. A very cool article on sofrito is this one by The Spruce Eats, in case you want to read more on this cooking sauce.
Here in Miami, I’ve seen more versions of sofrito that I can count. But if you ask my non-professional opinion, the Cuban sofrito has tomatoes and the Puerto Rican one doesn’t. That’s as much as I can generalize:). If you cook sofrito at home, please let me know how you do it and which ancestry do you attribute your recipe to. I’m always curious to learn something new!
Rice with Pigeon Peas Recipe Notes
I’ll include in the recipe card below ingredients and steps to prepare both sofrito and rice with pigeon peas. Here’s a picture I took while I was preparing to get started. It shows most if not all the ingredients I used. It helps to have a big picture image. Also, vegetable sizes vary from place to place so sometimes saying 1 onion or 1 bell pepper might constitute a totally different volume than what you have at home. So hoping this picture helps you adjust quantities.
Please note that traditional Arroz con Glandules has ham, chicken stock and other meats potentially. The version below is a vegan recipe.
I like using frozen pigeon peas (glandules) but you can use canned too. Just make sure to rinse properly.
Seasonings / Condiments for Rice with Pigeon Peas
Traditional Puerto Rican arroz con glandules (rice with pigeon peas) has additional seasonings to the ones I have included in my recipe. If you are interested to adding more seasoning, check out the Latin section of spices in your local supermarket. There are several brands that include certain flavorings and seasonings that can be added to this dish as well.
I’ve tried a version with green olives as well, but I really love the manzanilla olives stuffed with red peppers in my picadillo recipe. I feel like this recipe has enough ingredients when used as a side dish. However, if I was cooking the version with ham, stock etc then I would consider adding the olives and more seasoning as well.
The most difficult seasoning to find is the achiote paste. My store has this version, but when I travel to see family I’ve seen other brands in their grocery stores.
Here are some step by step pictures I took while cooking. They’re not as clear as the final pictures because of steam kitchen lighting. However, I hope they’ll help make cooking instructions easier to understand.
Rice with Pigeon Peas – Arroz con Glandules (V)
- 1 green bell pepper
- 0.5 red bell pepper
- 1 sweet red pepper
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 0.5 cup fresh chopped culantro (recao)
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 large yellow onion
Ingredients for Rice with Pigeon Peas
- 5 tbsps olive oil
- 3 cups rice
- 6 ozs tomato sauce, diced tomatoes or homemade tomato pulp by blending soft tomatoes.
- 15 ozs frozen glandules
- 1.5 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt (add to taste)
- 1 tsp oregano
- 0.5 tsp black pepper
- 3 bay leaves
- 5 cups hot water
- 1 packet Achiote seasoning (gives yellow color and flavor) optional
- 0.5 red bell pepper
- 2 tbsps fresh chopped cilantro
- Clean all the peppers. Peel the onion and the garlic.
- Chop the peppers in large pieces, add to blender. Chop the onion and add to blender. Throw in chopped cilantro, oregano, chopped culantro, garlic. Add few tbsps of water and then pulse or blend until everything is finely minced.
- Use about 4 tbsps in Rice with Pigeon Peas recipe and store the rest in the refrigerator for other dishes.
Rice with Pigeon Peas
- Use a big pot for this side dish. Turn heat to medium. Start by warming up the oil and adding 4 tbsps full of sofrito. Cook the sofrito for about 3-4 minutes, stir occasionally so it doesn't stick to the bottom.
- Add tomato sauce and continue cooking for few more minutes.
- Then add pigeon peas, stir everything well and let cook few more minutes. At this point add cumin, salt, pepper and bay leaves.
- Proceed by adding rice and 5 cups of hot water, stir it once so everything mixes well. Let it cook for about 13-15 minutes. In the meantime chop the cilantro and the remaining red bell pepper. When you can barely see any water anymore on the surface, add chopped bell pepper and cilantro. At this point, I just mix it once with a wooden spoon but you don't want to stir too much.
- Then lower heat to low, cover it up so it stays warm. It just takes few minutes at this point to be ready.
- When ready to serve, transfer rice to a family size bowl, fluff with a fork and it's ready to eat:). Bon Appetit!!
- Sofrito recipe will yield more sofrito than what you need for this rice side dish. Refrigerate the rest in an air tight container.
- If not making this vegan recipe but instead going for the traditional dish with ham and stock, you might want to use a little less olive oil than what I’m using here.
- If you can’t find culantro (recao) add more cilantro. Also, I’m pretty sure that my sweet red pepper is not exactly what they use in Puerto Rico but it is the closest I could come to the description.
If you would like to save this recipe for later, please Pin below image in Pinterest. Thank you!