Healthy

Mom’s Authentic Puerto Rican Rice and Beans

I can’t believe it’s been five (5!) years since I first published 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 dinners were often full of Hispanic cuisine — often empanadas, rice and beans, tostones, pozole and ALL THE GOOD THINGS IN LIFE. Over the past few years, 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 its intoxicating, aromatic spices. As an ode to my heritage and strong connection with food, Tony and I even had a custom Hispanic-themed menu at our wedding (with many authentic Puerto Rican flavors) and it was INCREDIBLE.

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.

Puerto Rican rice and beans in a bowl

What are Puerto Rican rice and beans?

Puerto Rican rice and beans are typically made with long or medium-grained rice, sofrito, sazon, tomato sauce, culantro, and oftentimes pork. For the beans, people often use dark red kidney beans or “habichuelas guisadas,” but my family prefers to use pink or pinto beans in our recipe.

Please note that everyone’s version of their own rice and beans is different, but this is what my mom and grandma taught me and what I’m passing along to you. For example, some add olives and pork to their rice and beans, but we leave those items out. Some also enjoy the rice with pigeon peas by itself (my arroz con gandules recipe is a must!) or as a side and serve the beans separately with white rice, yellow rice and/or meat.

This is how we usually make our rice and beans and we LOVE it so so much. If you have your own version of rice and beans I’d love to hear how you or your family makes it! Leave a comment and let me know.

making sofrito for homemade Puerto Rican rice and beans

Everything you’ll need to make Puerto Rican rice and beans

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, but I have an easy, homemade DIY sazon! I often 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. ALSO sazon seasoning is literally my favorite thing EVER.
  • Sofrito: this is the traditional sauce that you’ll cook the rice and beans in. My version is made with a mixture of garlic, onion, green bell pepper, cilantro and tomato sauce. Some use fresh tomatoes and culantro, but this is just how we normally make it!
  • Green pigeon peas: Green pigeon peas are INCREDIBLE and very, very good for you. Unfortunately, they can be difficult to find. I typically purchase in the Hispanic section of the grocery store (if they have it), head to our local Hispanic grocery store, or purchase off Amazon.
  • 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.

cooking beans for a Puerto Rican rice and beans recipe

Can I use regular peas?

Sure! This recipe is meant to be inclusive and it’s totally understandable that you may not be able to find the exact ingredients. Pigeon peas are traditional, but you can use green peas instead. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Increase the water in the recipe by 1/2 cup so that you have 3 1/2 cups total.
  2. After you bring the water to a boil, add 1 1/2 cups of frozen peas and the rice.
  3. Continue the recipe as written!

vegan Puerto Rican rice and beans in a bowl

How to make my mom’s Puerto Rican rice and beans

As always, see below for the full, detailed instructions, but here are the basics!

  1. Soak the beans. You’ll start by soaking your beans in water or broth with a bay leaf for 6-8 hours. You can do so at room temp.
  2. Cook the beans. After your beans have soaked, keep the liquid and bring the beans to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer them for 1-2 hours until they’re tender. Do not drain the beans.
  3. Make sofrito. In the last 30 minutes or so of cooking, you can make your sofrito but sauteing onion, green pepper, cilantro and garlic. Reduce the heat and simmer with tomato sauce and sazon. You’ll then add the sauce to the beans (with the liquid they cooked in!) and simmer it all together.
  4. Make the arroz con gandules. While the beans and sofrito are simmering together, you’ll make more sofrito. Add in your can of pigeon peas with the liquid, plus water, and bring it to a boil. Then stir in the rice, cover and simmer until the rice is tender.
  5. Taste & serve. Once the beans and rice are done, taste them and adjust the seasoning as needed. Then serve and garnish with cilantro and some avocado slices!

authentic Puerto Rican rice and beans in a bowl

Serving & storing tips

  • To serve: this Puerto Rican rice and beans recipe 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!
  • To store: simply store any leftover rice and beans in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. This recipe is perfect for meal prep!

Puerto Rican rice and beans in a bowl

More family recipes to try

Get all of my globally-inspired recipes here!

If you make this Puerto Rican rice and beans 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.

Mom’s Authentic Puerto Rican Rice and Beans

Puerto Rican rice and beans in a bowl

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!

  • 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
  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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

*Feel free to make your own sazon with this recipe!

**To sub the pigeon peas: 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.

Nutrition

Servings: 6 servings

Serving size: 1 serving (based on 6)

Calories: 344kcal

Fat: 2.9g

Saturated fat: 0.4g

Carbohydrates: 68.2g

Fiber: 5.8g

Sugar: 2.7g

Protein: 13.1g

This post was originally published on September 4th, 2017, and republished on January 10th, 2022.

View Original Source Here






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