Arroz con gandules is a traditional dish I’ve enjoyed my entire life thanks to my Dominican mother. It has been the dish I can count on and it’s also become a necessity for my husband because it’s just so good! As a result, it’s been a goal for me to make this rice my own. The result, absolutely delicious rice that pulls from an area of health I am passionate about. This arroz integral con gandules infuses a huge amount of flavor into brown rice to make it just as tasty as it’s white rice counterpart.
What is Arroz Integral con Gandules?
Arroz Integral con Gandules can be directly translated from Spanish to read “Brown Rice with Pigeon Peas”. However, if you were to read that, you most likely wouldn’t grasp the complexity of flavors wrapped in each bite. Growing up with this rice, I’ve watched my mom make it hundreds of times. However, if you ask any hispanic, when you try to mimic someone else’s dish, it never quite comes out the same. Maybe it has to do with the fact that we don’t tend to measure much, but I think it’s mostly because there’s a level of personality added in that makes it unique and yours. However, I’ve tested this rice out multiple times to help you guys experience the flavor too.
What makes arroz integral con gandules so tasty?
It really comes down to flavor. Regardless of the variations of this dish, you can rest assured that they all have some basic commonality. A lot of it lies in the ingredients you use. Typical dishes can include any of the following ingredients:
- Sofrito: A blend of tomato, onion, peppers and cilantro plus other flavor enhancers. Unfortunately, the store purchased variety does contain animal products, so if you are wondering why you don’t see this in the ingredients, here’s your answer!
- Peppers: Can be a mix of a few or just one. Really can depend on what you have.
- Garlic: Part of the important aromatics you start off with. Leave this out and it just won’t be the same.
- Onion: If you have young ones that don’t like bits of diced onion in their food, you can either blend or use dry onion powder to add in the flavor enhancer.
- Cilantro: Optioinal for those that don’t like the taste of cilantro. You can also use a small amount of parsley to boost some flavor here too.
- Olives/Capers: Gives a nice boost of umami flavor, but you can leave it out.
- Spices: Sazon is a must, and I find adding a little adobo seasoning helps elevate it even more.
How to make this dish taste good with brown rice
Most often, you will see this traditional dish made with white rice. Nothing wrong with using white rice, but I tend to really love the nutty taste and chew of brown rice. The problem I’ve had in the past is that the rice would come out gummy or the rice didn’t absorb the flavor well. Here are some tips to improve the outcome of your rice.
- Try using longer grain rices. I personally think that brown Jasmine rice has given me the best results when cooking this rice. You can use other brown long grain rices for this as well.
- The water needs to be just right. Making sure you have the right amount of liquid will make sure that you get the perfect fluffy rice.
- Avoid adding too many liquidy ingredients. I used to add too much tomato sauce, but it made the rice moist and gummy. Using a small amount of tomato paste provides enough tomato taste without ruining the texture.
- Avoid removing the lid. Just don’t do it unless the instructions state to remove the lid or you are starting to smell your rice burn. Removing the lid will ruin the steaming of the rice and it will take much longer for your rice to cook.
- Let your rice sit. As eager as you might be to eat your rice, remove from heat at the end of cooking time and let it sit with the lid on for about 5 minutes to continue steaming. This helps cook the rice all the way through.
- Fluff it up. Make sure to fluff your rice a little bit before serving. This will give the individual rice grains room to breathe.
What makes this rice healthier?
Has more gandules/beans than typical recipes, which means more fiber. Brown rice has more fiber and minerals to it than white rice. Last, but not least, there are extra veggies for extra nutrients in each bite.
Can I use something other than gandules?
Absolutely! Feel free to replace one can of gandules with a can of lentils, black beans, kidney beans, etc. I would just avoid using dry beans/lentils as this will throw the ratios of needed liquids off tremendously.
Where can I find the Latin spices sazon and adobo?
Really easy to find in your local grocery stores. Go to the international section of your store and look for Goya brand spices. Personally, I really love the brand Eat Loisa over Goya and I just purchase their spices online. I love their ingredients and the flavor is just so good. Worse comes to worse, you can always make these blends yourself with your own spice cabinet. You can find a great recipe of sazon here and adobo here.
What should I serve my rice with?
I like to serve my rice with some avocado, extra veggies and a side of plant based protein like seitan, but the skies the limit!
Need some Latin food inspiration?
Arroz Integral Con Gandules
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 43 minutes
- Total Time: 53 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Side Dish
- Cuisine: Dominican
This arroz integral con gandules is a healthier take on the classic rice dish without compromizing the delicious latin flavors. Easy to make and meal prep for the week to compliment other plant based proteins.
- 1 1/2 cups brown jasmine rice
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 small onion
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 green bell pepper
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp sazon
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp adobo seasoning
- 1 can gandules, rinsed and drained
- 1 handful cilantro with stems
- Finely dice peppers, onions and garlic. Take cilantro and roughly chop the leaves and stems and set aside.
- Place a medium sized pot on the stove and bring up to medium heat. Add peppers and onions and saute until softened, about 3 minutes.
- Add garlic and spices and continuously stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add in tomato paste along with gandules and stir for about 1 minute. As you saute, the tomato paste will start to turn a deeper red color.
- Add in vegetable broth, stir and increase heat to bring to a boil.
- Once at a boil, add in rice and stir. Allow to boil for 7-8 minutes without a lid.
- Reduce to a simmer and cover with lid for 5 minutes minutes allowing rice to absorb a good portion of liquid.
- Uncover lid and give the rice a good stir. Lower heat to the lowest setting, cover with lid again and allow to cook covered for 20-25 minutes.
- Once cooking time is over, remove pot from heat and allow to sit covered for an additional 5 minutes to steam. After resting period, remove lid and fluff rice. Adjust salt to preference and then serve.
- This recipe is a base recipe. You can feel free to add things like capers and olives to this for more flavor. Add them in around the time that you add the cilantro.
- I know I keep saying this, but DO NOT REMOVE LID unless specified to do so. Your rice won’t cook evenly if you do.
Keywords: adobo, arroz con gandules, gandules, sazon, tomato paste
Did You Try This Recipe?
Then let me know what you thought! Share your creations by tagging me on Instagram with the hashtag #plantbasedrdeats
One of the ingredients is 2 tsp of sazón. Would that be the small sazón packet? (Food coloring)
Yes, 1 packet of sazon would work. 🙂
Hi! I grew up eating arroz con gandules and only ever made it using oil. Do you have any tips on how to sauté sofrito without using oil?
Use a little coconut milk. I love sautéing the sofrito in just a few splashes of it and it works perfect. 🙂
Thank you! I will give it a go.