Rice with pigeon peas is the most popular dish in Puerto Rico, particularly at Christmas. There are many variations on this traditional recipe, but most are made with lots of fat and pork. This healthy version uses brown rice and contains no oil or processed products. The fresh sofrito gives it a delicious touch! This rice contains all the traditional flavors without the cholesterol.
3 ½ cups
liquid, combining reserved water from cooking pigeon peas and vegetable broth
brown rice (see tips)
sliced roasted bell pepper, for garnish
diced red bell pepper
garlic cloves, crushed
sweet peppers (“aji dulce”), diced
fresh culantro, chopped (optional, see tips)
ground black pepper
sea salt, or to taste
1. In a medium saucepan, add the pigeon peas, 2 cups of water, and sea salt and cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Drain the pigeon peas and set aside, reserving the liquid for cooking the rice.
2. Mix all the Adobo ingredients in a container and measure out 2 teaspoons for the recipe. Reserve the rest for future recipes.
3. Preheat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sofrito ingredients and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Add turmeric, cumin, oregano, pigeon peas, tomato paste, smoked paprika, Adobo, and olives. Cook for 3 minutes.
5. Add the vegetable broth and liquid from the pigeon peas, then add the rice. Cover the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium-low temperature and cook for 40 minutes.
6. Stir-in cilantro. Decorate with the bell pepper strips.
1. For fluffy rice that doesn’t take as long to cook, use Uncle Ben's whole grain parboiled brown rice. If you use regular brown rice, add an additional cup of water or broth and cook for 45 minutes.
2. Culantro, also known as "recao" has a flavor similar to cilantro. If you don't get it, you can replace it with fresh cilantro.