Sep
04

Mom’s authentic Puerto Rican Rice and Beans with savory homemade sofrito and sazon! You’ll love this incredibly flavorful, comforting homemade meal that will fill your home with unbelievably delicious smells. The perfect recipe to serve a crowd or just savor leftovers for a few days!

OHHHH hi! I’ve been teasing this beautiful recipe for a while now on Instagram stories and I couldn’t be more excited to finally share one of my favorite comfort foods in the entire world: my mom’s Puerto Rican Rice and Beans.

As many of you know, my mom is full Puerto Rican, as are my grandparents. My childhood dinner’s were often full of hispanic cuisine — often empanadas, rice and beans, tostones, pazole and ALL THE GOOD THINGS IN LIFE. More recently, I’ve connected with recipes that are from my heritage and started cooking from the soul again. Personally, it feels incredibly rewarding when Puerto Rican soul food fills my home with it’s intoxicating, aromatic spices.

And even if you aren’t Puerto Rican, why not try something new?! We could all use a good dose of global inspired creativity and cooking in our lives. These rice and beans are the perfect way to start.

MY OTHER RECIPES

Mom's authentic Puerto Rican Rice and Beans with savory homemade sofrito and sazon! You'll love this incredibly flavorful, comforting homemade meal that will fill your home with unbelievably delicious smells. The perfect recipe to serve a crowd or just savor leftovers for a few days!

By the way, as an ode to my heritage and strong connection with food, Tony and I decided to have a custom hispanic themed menu (with many authentic Puerto Rican flavors) thanks to Fig Catering.

We’ve had nothing but incredible experience with Fig, so if you’re based in the Chicago area and need a caterer — check them out.

Mom's authentic Puerto Rican Rice and Beans with savory homemade sofrito and sazon! You'll love this incredibly flavorful, comforting homemade meal that will fill your home with unbelievably delicious smells. The perfect recipe to serve a crowd or just savor leftovers for a few days!Now let’s talk about this recipe and all the details because I’m SO excited for you to try it all out ASAP. Before you begin, please know that you may need a few ‘special’ ingredients that can be a little difficult, depending on where you live.

DRIED PINK OR PINTO BEANS: You’ll need dried pinto or pink beans (my mom loves pink and I love pinto), the choice is yours. I had a really hard time finding them (even in Chicago), but if your store has a hispanic section, you might be in luck.

SAZON: Sazon is a really popular Puerto Rican spice. The downside of most sazon is that it contains MSG, so I’ve included a homemade DIY sazon in the notes section of the recipe. I still use the packets because they are easy for me to find and the flavors are 100% similar to what I’m used to. It’s really up to your personal preference but there is also one on Amazon without MSG here. ALSO sazon seasoning is literally my favorite thing EVER.

GREEN PIGEON PEAS: Green pigeon peas are INCREDIBLE and very, very good for you. Unfortunately they are difficult to find. I use the Goya brand and have to purchase in the hispanic section (if they have it), head to our local hispanic store, or purchase off Amazon. Don’t worry though — if you want to use frozen peas instead that’s totally an option and I’ve included how to use them in the recipe notes section below.

WHITE BASMATI RICE: This is our favorite kind to use because of how fluffy the rice gets. It shouldn’t be that difficult to find, but please don’t try and sub another rice. Or if you do, just know that cooking times differ. For instance, brown rice can take up to 45 minutes.

Mom's authentic Puerto Rican Rice and Beans with savory homemade sofrito and sazon! You'll love this incredibly flavorful, comforting homemade meal that will fill your home with unbelievably delicious smells. The perfect recipe to serve a crowd or just savor leftovers for a few days!Finally I wanted to share that this is a WONDERFUL recipe for serving a crowd, because you can easily double the recipe. And if you really want to add meat to this dish, I would suggest sauteed kielbasa sausage added to the beans. Perfect for dipping tortilla chips in too!

Everyone’s version of their own rice and beans are different, but this is what my mom and Grandma taught me and what I’m passing along to you. Technically this rice is called Arroz con Gandules, a signature rice dish in Puerto Rico (some add olives and pork, but not us). It’s how we usually make our rice and LOVE it so so much.

SEE HOW TO MAKE PUERTO RICAN RICE AND BEANS:

I hope you LOVE this meal and enjoy with family and friends!

If you make this recipe be sure and tag #ambitiouskitchen on Instagram or leave a comment below and rate it so I can know how you liked it.  Thanks for being here — have a lovely week! xo.

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Mom's authentic Puerto Rican Rice and Beans with savory homemade sofrito and sazon! You'll love this incredibly flavorful, comforting homemade meal.

4.3 from 12 reviews
Mom's Authentic Puerto Rican Rice and Beans
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Mom's authentic Puerto Rican Rice and Beans with savory homemade sofrito and sazon. You'll love this incredibly flavorful, comforting homemade meal that will fill your home with unbelievably delicious smells. The perfect recipe to serve a crowd or just savor leftovers for a few days!
Ingredients
  • For the beans:
  • 1 pound dry pinto or pink beans, sorted and damaged beans removed (about 2 cups dried beans), soaked overnight for 6-8 hours, no longer
  • 6-8 cups water or vegetarian broth
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • For the sofrito (for the beans):
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ cup finely diced yellow onion
  • ½ cup finely diced green bell pepper
  • ¼ cup finely diced cilantro
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup no salt added tomato sauce (from one 15 oz can -- reserve extra sauce for rice)
  • 3 teaspoons (2 packets) Sazon Culantro ey Achiote* (see note in recipe for how to make your own)
  • For the rice:
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1/3 cup finely diced green bell pepper
  • ¼ cup finely diced cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup no salt added tomato sauce
  • 3 teaspoons (2 packets) Sazon Culantro ey Achiote* (see note in recipe for how to make your own)
  • ⅛ teaspoon adobo (or just a pinch)
  • 1 (15 oz) can Goya Green Pigeon peas** (see note in recipe for a sub)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups basmati white rice
Instructions
  1. STEP 1: Soak the beans and bay leaf for 6-8 hours in 6-8 cups of water or broth; you want about 1 inch of liquid on top of the beans. I recommend soaking your beans for no more than 8 hours. You can soak at room temperature.
  2. STEP 2: After you soak the beans, bring beans to boil for 1-2 minutes, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently for 1-2 hours or until beans are tender and soft. The last half hour that your beans are cooking you can begin to make your sofrito (see below), or once the beans are done cooking you can turn the heat off and allow the beans to sit while you cook your sofrito. It’s just up to your advancement level of cooking and preference. REMOVE THE BAY LEAF BUT DO NOT DRAIN THE BEANS. The liquid is essential to the recipe!
  3. STEP 3: How to make Sofrito (for 1 pound beans): Sofrito in spanish means sauce -- very traditional in many of the main staple foods in Puerto Rico: Add oil to a medium skillet and place over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add in onion, green pepper, cilantro and garlic. Saute until onions are translucent and green peppers soften, about 3-5 minutes. Bring heat to low and add tomato sauce, sazon and simmer for 2-3 minutes until sauce comes together. Add your sofrito to the beans (remember you were not supposed to drain the beans) and simmer uncovered over medium low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, so that the spices infuse with the beans. After that, turn the bean off and cover so that they keep the heat while you finish making everything else. They should stay hot enough for an hour or so.
  4. STEP 4: While the beans are simmering with sofrito, start making the rice: Add oil to a medium pot and place over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add in onion, green pepper, cilantro and garlic. Saute until onions are translucent and green peppers soften, about 3-5 minutes. Bring heat to medium-low and add tomato sauce, sazon and adobo and simmer for 2 minutes until sauce comes together. Next add in entire can of pigeon peas (with the liquid -- DO NOT DRAIN) and 3 cups water, and bring to a boil. Once it boils, stir in 2 cups of rice, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is tender.
  5. STEP 5: Once beans and rice are done, taste both and adjust seasonings as necessary, including adding more salt.
  6. How to serve: add rice and beans to a bowl with extra sauce from the beans, garnish with cilantro and a few avocado slices. You can also add hot sauce if you like a little heat. Serves 6.
Notes
*IF YOU WANT TO MAKE HOMEMADE SAZON:
If you want you can make homemade sazon! This is an excellent, flavorful option to have at home. For this entire recipe you will need the following: 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander, 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin, 1/2 tablespoon ground annatto seeds (or sub turmeric), 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Mix together everything in a small bowl. For the beans you'll need 1 tablespoon and for the rice you'll need 1 tablespoon of this DIY sazon spice mixture.


**NOTE IF YOU DO NOT HAVE PIGEON PEAS FOR THE RICE:
If you do not have pigeon peas, which are traditional, you can use green peas instead. Simply increase the water in the recipe by ½ cup (so you’d have 3 ½ cups total). After you bring water to a boil you can add 1 ½ cups of frozen peas and the rice.