Brown Rice and Pigeon Peas (Arroz Con Gandules)

"This is one of my favorite recipes of any kind. It's tasty, healthy, easy, quick, and I'm happy eating it for days on end. It's based on a Goya recipe that I adapted to use brown rice for better nutritional value. If you want to eat more whole grains but just can't find appetizing ways to prepare them, give this a try. It can also be made with long-grain white rice if you prefer (not jasmine rice or anything like that, just the ordinary kind). The canned pigeon peas and sazon can both be found in the latino/hispanic/international section of most US supermarkets."
photo by Andi Longmeadow Farm photo by Andi Longmeadow Farm
photo by Andi Longmeadow Farm
photo by Debbie R. photo by Debbie R.
Ready In:




  • Heat oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the bacon and onion and cook three minutes. Add the garlic and cook two minutes longer.
  • Stir in all remaining ingredients except rice. Bring to a boil.
  • Stir in rice, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until rice is tender (about 40-45 minutes if you're using brown rice, 25-30 minutes if you use white rice.

Questions & Replies

Got a question? Share it with the community!


  1. This is NOT an authentic recipe for Puerto Rican arroz con gandules or rice with pigeon peas. One should NEVER use sazon flavor packets, as they mostly contain MSG and other chemicals including artificial colors. It is best to use fresh cumin, black pepper, salt, powdered garlic and oregano instead. The base for this recipe is the "sofrito". Sofrito is green peppers (preferably cubanelle peppers, onions, lots of fresh garlic, ajis (Italian sautéing peppers), recao (coriander) or lots of cilantro. All of these are put into a food processor and made into thick sauce and then sautéed in oil infused with annatto coloring at the start of the recipe. At least half a cup is required for 2 cups of rice. Capers, roasted red peppers and stuffed green olives are also added to the pot along with the tomato sauce. This recipe is not typically made with brown rice as the rice doesn't absorb all of the spices and herbs as well as medium grain white rice.
  2. I used the Goya Gandules recipe last night and here are my recommended tweeks:<br/><br/>1) Use Brown Basmati rice from the Indian stores because after a 45 min soak it only requires 20-25mins cooking time same as the original white rice recipe. Plus brown rice haters will not know the difference once turmeric or saffron is added<br/>2) I don't use Sazon b/c of the MSG and even the ones that don't have MSG have DSG. Soooo I suggest use:<br/>-Turmeric for yellow color or saffron if you have it<br/>-Goya Adobo<br/>-Add your own coriander powder(which I forgot oops)<br/>3) Use Goya's tomato sauce Spanish Style which also has some spices in it.<br/>4) I like turkey bacon but you can also use smoked/dried turkey neckbones or similar types of smoked/dried turkey meat. It's sooo yummy with any Caribbean rice and peas recipe Puerto Rican, Jamaican, Trini, Guyanese whatever (I forgot this too lol).<br/><br/>Tonight I will be adding some camarones(Shrimp) with the coriander to the leftover rice. Hope it taste good
  3. This was a truly delicious recipe! I prepared it as written, but we do not eat pork so I took out the bacon. It was used as a side dish to our Sofrito Chicken. Very happy with the way it turned out! Thanks!
  4. Wonderful!!!! I used more bacon and substituted sofrito for the tomato sauce because thats what I had on hand. Can't wait to have the leftovers for lunch!
  5. We loved this! It may be a bit unusual, but I had left over dark meat turkey and used that in place of the bacon. With a salad and bread it was a complete meal.


Been cooking since I was about five years lots of different kinds of food, especially Indian, Japanese, and Vietnamese. I have a lot of favorite cookbooks, including Flatbreads and Flavors, The Folk Art of Japanese Cooking, and the North End Italian Cookbook.
View Full Profile

Find More Recipes