This recipe for Puerto Rican-style rice and beans (arroz con gandules) is full of authentic flavors, and easy to make. Made stovetop, it's ready within 30 minutes!
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Matrimonio (“the marriage”)
This dish is a staple in many Latin cultures around the world, often referred to as matrimonio (which means, the marriage) for how well they pair together.
Not only are these Puerto Rican rice and beans super affordable, with the right ingredients, they are a truly satisfying and flavor packed meal.
Another commonly used name for this version of rice and beans is Arroz con Gandules (rice with ganduels.)
To make this dish you will need:
- achiote oil or olive oil
- sofrito (see note for substitute)
- gandules (with the liquid)
- tomato puree
- pimento stuffed olives, halved (optional)
- sazon seasoning (see note for substitute)
- adobo seasoning (see note for substitute)
- vegetable broth or water
- white rice (short grain)
What are Gandules?
Gandules (also known as Pigeon Peas) are round beans with a rich creamy flavor. They are a shade of bright green when fresh but come in a beige/brown/green color when canned.
You can find gandules used in many rice dishes and soups across the Caribbean. Buy them online or ask about them at your local grocery store.
Keep reading for a tip on how to use dry gandules in this recipe.
How to make Arroz con Gandules
Dry beans?: if using dry gandules, cover with water and a sprinkle of salt the night before and soak. Add the liquid to the pot with the gandules.
Turn the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once the liquid begins to boil, add rice, stirring and returning to a boil before covering and lowering heat to low.
Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked. Enjoy!
Sofrito is a magical mixture used in Puerto Rican cuisine as a base to many dishes. It’s primary purpose is to add flavor but it also helps develop .
Sofrito is usually made with a mix of onion, peppers, culantro or cilantro, recao and a few other ingredients. It comes together in under 5 minutes and can sit in your fridge for a few weeks and be used as a starter or substitute for onions and garlic in so many dishes.
If you don’t have the time or equipment to make sofrito... no worries, your Puerto Rican rice and beans will still be super flavorful.
It's a wonderful addition but not necessary in making this dish as long as you've got the necessary ingredients.
Substitute the sofrito with 1 minced yellow onion, 1 minced bell pepper, ½ cup minced cilantro, and 4 cloves minced garlic.
Traditional Puerto Rican Spices
My recipes use a blend of Caribbean spices like cumin, paprika, ground anatto, oregano, garlic, onion, and coriander.
Leftovers?: Freeze in an airtight container or freezer bag and microwave in 1 minute intervals until warm and fluffy when ready to serve.
Tools You'll Need
Here are the tools I used to make this recipe go smoothly:
- food processor - this is necessary to blend up the sofrito into a consistent sauce; you can also use an immersion blender or traditional blender if you don't have a food processor or skip the sofrito
- dutch oven or good quality soup pot - I encourage you to use what you have in your home as far as this goes. Here's my favorite pot to use for this recipe these days.
- a good quality wooden spoon - for mixing things around without scratching your pot.
If you like this recipe, another classic Puerto Rican rice dish you will love is Habichuelas Guisadas. This dish has many of the same flavors as Arroz con Gandules, but uses red or pink beans instead of gandules.