My mama’s delicious vegetarian Puerto Rican inspired recipe: chickpeas in sofrito served with arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas). Delicious and packed with plant-based protein! This recipe is sponsored by BUSH’S® Beans.
There’s something special and nostalgic about food that’s passed down through generations. This particular recipe is from my Puerto Rican mama and is a fun twist on her traditional rice and beans, a recipe I grew up on.
When I was visiting her a few weeks ago, she mentioned this new recipe for me to try: chickpeas in sofrito! She said it was absolutely delicious and that the texture of the chickpeas added a unique creamy flavor profile. I told her I would make it as soon as I got home and when I did, I just couldn’t get enough! So of course, I had to share the recipe with all of you.
First, let’s talk about what’s involved so you know what you’re working with:
Sofrito: in Spanish, sofrito means sauce, and it’s very traditional when it comes to Puerto Rican foods. My version is a mixture of garlic, onion, green bell pepper, cilantro and tomato sauce. Some do it with fresh tomatoes and culantro, but this is how I normally make it.
Sazon: Sazon is a very 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 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. 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.
I love to make this and serve with avocado slices and tostones. It’s a delicious plant-based meal that’s easy to meal prep for the week, or serve to a crowd. I hope you love this recipe as much as we do!
SEE HOW TO MAKE THE RECIPE:
- Serves: 4-6 servings
- Serving size: 1/6 of recipe
- Calories: 459
- Fat: 6.1g
- Saturated fat: 0.4g
- Carbohydrates: 87.8g
- Sugar: 4.4g
- Fiber: 10.3g
- Protein: 13.9g
- For the sofrito (for the chickpeas):
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ½ cup very finely diced yellow onion
- ½ cup very finely diced green bell pepper
- 1/3 cup finely diced cilantro
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup tomato sauce (from one 15 oz can -- reserve extra sauce for rice)
- 3 teaspoons (2 packets) Sazon (see note in recipe for how to make your own)
- 2 (15 ounce) cans BUSH’S® Garbanzo Beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 ½ cups low sodium vegetarian broth (or water)
- For the rice:
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/3 cup very finely diced yellow onion
- 1/3 cup very 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 seasoning (see note in recipe for how to make your own)
- 1 (15 oz) can green pigeon peas** (see note in recipe for a sub)
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups basmati white rice
- To garnish:
- Extra fresh chopped cilantro
- Avocado slices
- First make your Sofrito: Sofrito in Spanish means sauce -- very traditional in many of the main staple foods in Puerto Rico: Add olive oil to a medium pot and place over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add in onion, green bell pepper, cilantro and garlic. Saute until onions are translucent and green peppers soften, about 2-4 minutes. Bring heat to low and add tomato sauce, sazon and simmer for 2-3 minutes until sauce comes together. Add in the chickpeas beans and broth and simmer uncovered over low heat while you cook the rice, stirring occasionally, so that the spices infuse with the beans. If you notice the liquid getting too low, it probably means you were simmering at too high of a heat, but no worries you can simply add another ½ cup water or broth.
- While the chickpeas 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 2-4 minutes. Bring heat to medium-low and add tomato sauce, sazon and simmer for 2 minutes until sauce comes together. Next add in entire can of pigeon peas (with the liquid -- DO NOT DRAIN) add 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.
- Taste both the rice and adjust seasonings as necessary, including adding more salt.
- How to serve: add rice and beans to a bowl with extra sauce from the beans, garnish with cilantro and a few avocado slices -- serve with tostones if you’re feeling like a true Puerto Rican! Serves 4-6.
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, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Mix together everything in a small bowl. For the chickpeas 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 cup of frozen peas and the rice.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen Photography by: Yoga of Cooking
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