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Brown Rice with Pigeon Peas

Rice with Pigeon Peas is a traditional Puerto Rican dish. It's a staple during the holiday season, but it's enjoyed year-round. Traditionally made with white rice, this recipe uses brown rice, which requires more water and time to cook. This version is lower in sodium, featuring sofrito, tomato paste, cumin, bay leaves, and culantro to infuse the dish with flavor without excess sodium. Please be aware that if you consume a larger portion of this recipe, you will be consuming more nutrients, including calories, sodium, and potassium. Consult with your dietitian if you could increase your serving size.
1hr 20mins
2/3 cup

Appropriate for


Brown Rice with Pigeon Peas


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons sofrito (If you don't have sofrito, you can add 1/2 chopped onion, 1/2 chopped bell pepper, and 1-2 minced garlic cloves. Sauté with the oil at the beginning of the preparation.)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground annatto (achiote)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • cups brown rice (If using white rice, you'll need less water.)
  • 15 ounces canned green pigeon peas (You can use fresh pigeon peas instead of canned. Cook them in water for 45 minutes and add an additional 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the recipe.)
  • cups water
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 fresh culantro leaves
  • 1 large red bell pepper


1hr 20mins
  1. In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, add the oil, sofrito, tomato paste, cumin, annatto, and salt. Stir to combine the ingredients.
  2. Add the rice and stir to coat all the rice grains with the spices.
  3. Add the canned pigeon peas with their liquid and water.
  4. Once the water is boiling, cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 60 minutes without uncovering.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  6. Cut the red bell pepper in half, remove the stem and seeds, and place the two halves on a baking sheet with the skin facing up. Roast for 30 minutes until the skin becomes black.
  7. Remove the pepper from the oven and let it cool. Once cool, peel off the skin and slice it thinly.
  8. After 60 minutes, uncover the pot and fluff the rice with a fork. Remove and discard the bay leaves and culantro leaves.
  9. Place the pepper slices on top of the rice.
  10. Serve as a side dish with your favorite protein and vegetables.
  11. Store any leftover cooked rice in the fridge for 4-6 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Meal types

Nutritional information

  • 190 calories
  • 33 g carbohydrates
  • 3.8 g fiber
  • 0 g added sugars
  • 5 g protein
  • 5 g total fat
  • 0.8 g saturated fat
  • 186 mg sodium
  • 271 mg potassium
  • 21 mg calcium
  • 143mg phosphorus