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Gandule Rice (Arroz con gandule) Recipe

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Gandule rice or arroz con gandule is a popular Puerto Rican dish in Hawai’i. Fluffy rice flavored with pigeon peas, seasoned pork, and a take on sofrito. A delicious meal that can be served as a main dish or side dish.

two black bowls filled with gandule rice

Every ethnicity has their version of a comfort food rice dish. Here in Hawai’i a popular one is arroz con gandule or what we call gandule rice.

While arroz con gandule is a Puerto Rican dish, it has become a mainstay here in Hawai’i. 

The Puerto Ricans immigrated to Hawai’i in the early 1900s after two hurricanes wiped out their sugar plantation. This left the world with a sugar shortage and a boom in the demand for sugar in Hawai’i.

pork mix for gandule rice

The Puerto Rican people brought with them their culture and delicious cuisine. One of those dishes being arroz con gandule or as we call it gandule rice here in Hawai’i.

White rice cooked in a rich flavored seasoning with vibrant red-orange hues, tender pieces of pork, and juicy olives. One bite and you’ll want to make this over and over again.

Plus, little secret here. You can make this on the stove top, in the oven, in the rice pot, or the Instant Pot. So versatile.

Ingredients for gandule rice

gandule rice ingredients
  • White rice. I like to use medium grain rice for this since that is what we use at home. You can opt to use another type of rice here if you’d like.
  • Achiote oil. Make your own by simply boiling achiote (annatto) seeds in the oil of your choice.
  • Bacon. I like to use hickory smoked here to give the rice a nice smoky touch.
  • Pork tenderloin. This cut of pork is well, so tender. You can use any other cut of pork as well.
  • Garlic. Be sure to dice it up finely.
  • Green bell pepper. Red, yellow, or orange can be used as well.
  • Cilantro. A key to part of the flavor of this dish. I’d recommend not leaving this one out.
  • Green onion. Chives can be used as well.
  • Chicken broth. Beef or vegetable stock can be used here. I would not recommend water. While it will work it lacks the flavor that the other liquids have.
  • Sazon Goya. You can usually find this in the ethnic aisle in most grocery stores.
  • Tomato sauce. If you only have tomato paste add a little more water to water it down.
  • Gandules verdes. Also known as pigeon peas or gandule beans. Find this in the canned goods aisle next to the beans.
  • Olives. I like to get then pitted, but if you really want to you can pit them yourself.

Methods to cook gandule rice

  1. Instant Pot. This is my favorite way. Set it and forget it. This recipe will fit in a 6 or 8 quart pot. Large enough to make a big batch to share with your family and friends.
  2. Rice pot. Another favorite of mine. Also a set it and forget it way to make it. Make sure you have a large enough rice pot to do so. This recipe will need at least a 10 cup rice pot.
  3. Stovetop. This is the more traditional way to do it. Be sure to use a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven to ensure even cooking.
  4. Oven. Similar to stove top. Be sure to use a heavy bottom pan to ensure even baking.
can of gandule beans

What does arroz con gandules mean?

Arroz con gandules is a Spanish phrase meaning rice with pigeon peas.

Can you make arroz con gandule without sofrito?

Sofrito is a popular flavor addition in many Puerto Rican dishes, arroz con gadule included. There are many variations and while it is not absolutely required it is highly recommended to give it that flavor packed punch.

gandule rice in the pot after cooking

What to serve with gandule rice?

One of all time favorite dishes to eat with gandule rice is pastele stew https://keepingitrelle.com/easy-pastele-stew-recipe/ or pasteles, also popular Puerto Rican dishes here in Hawai’i. You can also eat it alone as a main dish.

How to store?

Once rice has cooled, place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. This will keep for 3-4 days.

How to reheat?

This gandule rice recipe can be reheated in the microwave or on the stove top. Placing rice in the refrigerator can cause it to dry out. One trick is using a damp paper towel placed over the rice while microwaving to incorporate back some moisture or adding a little water to the pot on the stove.

Can you freeze this dish?

One of the great things about gandule rice is the ability to make a big batch and freeze the extras. Place in a zip top bag or airtight container and place in the freezer. This will keep for 3-4 months.

two black bowls filled with gandule rice

Other great rice dishes to try

How to make gandule rice?

  1. Rinse rice in cool running water until water runs clear. Drain and set aside.
  2. Set a large pan over medium high heat. Add achiote oil, bacon, and pork. Cook until browned, about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Next add garlic, bell pepper, and onion. Cook until fragrant and the onions become translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Then add cilantro and green onion. Stir to combine and heat through. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. Pour drained rice into the rice cooker. Add chicken broth, Sazon Goya packets, tomato sauce, gandule beans, and olives.
  6. Strain oil from pork mixture and discard. Add pork to the rice pot. Stir until well combined. 
  7. Set the rice cooker to cook. Once the rice cooker has finished, open and fluff the rice by stirring with a fork.

*If using an Instant Pot, close lid, set to sealing and cook on the rice setting. This will cook for 12 minutes. Allow 10 minutes natural pressure release. Turn valve to venting. Once the pin has dropped, open and fluff the rice by stirring with a fork.

*This can also be cooked on the stove top or in the oven.

two black bowls filled with gandule rice

Gandule Rice

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 7 minutes

Gandule rice or arroz con gandule is a popular Puerto Rican dish in Hawai’i. Fluffy rice flavored with pigeon peas, seasoned pork, and a take on sofrito. A delicious meal that can be served as a main dish or side dish.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups uncooked white rice
  • 1 tablespoon achiote oil
  • ½ pound bacon
  • ½ pound pork tenderloin, sliced into thin, short, narrow strips
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ½ green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 5 stalks green onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 packets Sazon Goya
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (15 ounces) gandules verdes, drained
  • 1 can (6 ounces) pitted black olives, drained

Instructions

  1. Rinse rice in cool running water until water runs clear. Drain and set aside.
  2. Set a large pan over medium high heat. Add achiote oil, bacon, and pork. Cook until browned, about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Next add garlic, bell pepper, and onion. Cook until fragrant and the onions become translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Then add cilantro and green onion. Stir to combine and heat through. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. Pour drained rice into the rice cooker. Add chicken broth, Sazon Goya packets, tomato sauce, gandule beans, and olives.
  6. Strain oil from pork mixture and discard. Add pork to the rice pot. Stir until well combined. 
  7. Set the rice cooker to cook. Once the rice cooker has finished, open and fluff the rice by stirring with a fork.

Notes

  • *If using an Instant Pot, close lid, set to sealing and cook on the rice setting. This will cook for 12 minutes. Allow 10 minutes natural pressure release. Turn valve to venting. Once the pin has dropped, open and fluff the rice by stirring with a fork.
  • *This can also be cooked on the stove top or in the oven.
  • Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 323Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 614mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 15g

    Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

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    gandule rice

    By on August 18th, 2021

    About Relle

    Aloha, my name is Relle and welcome to my little home on the internet where I like to share all my favorite Hawaiian recipes (and local ones too).

    I am a wife, mom of two, and nurse practitioner here in the beautiful state of Hawai’i. I was born and raised in Hawai’i and I am of native Hawaiian descent. In my spare time I love to cook and bake and I have compiled many of my favorite recipes here for you to enjoy.

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    20 thoughts on “Gandule Rice (Arroz con gandule) Recipe”

    1. Wow, sorry you had “one of those days”. Thanking for taking the time to share your recipes. Looking forward to trying this one.

      Reply
    2. Love this…thank you for sharing. How do you make this in the oven? What oven temp & for how long? Bake covered or uncovered?

      Reply
      • Taste wise I don’t have a particular preference. I enjoy the rice pot or Instant Pot for time saving. I don’t have to stand around and watch it like I would on the stove.

        Reply

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