Vegan “Arroz con Pollo”

January 13, 2012 § 1 Comment

vegetarian, yellow rice, arroz

I think this might have been the first time I’ve ever made a version of arroz con pollo which is surprising given that it is one of my all time favorites. Even before going vegan I was never a huge meat eater. Chicken was about it for me when it came to meat. So whenever we would go to a cuban restaurant, I always opted for arroz con pollo. My mom would often make it at home too.

rice, peas, onion, green pepper, red pepper

In simple terms it is basically rice with chicken – but it was so much more than that. Tender moist chicken, creamy yellow rice, and sweet peas cooked together to create a comforting bowl of yumminess. Since becoming vegan I never thought about eating this again. I figured surely without the chicken and chicken stock it would be no good. No way could it have as much flavor.

But I was wrong! I poured myself a glass of sangria (amazing by the way) and sought out to try and make a vegetarian version. It proved to be just as satisfying as a meat version, maybe even more!

This is an easy one pot meal. Always good for a busy night’s cleanup 🙂 And, if you prep your veggies over the weekend, this actually cooks in about 35 minutes total, making it an easy weeknight dinner.

yellow rice, vegan rice recipe, vegetarian

I opted to keep this traditional and stuck with onions, red and green peppers, and sweet green peas. I don’t know what it is about the smell of onions and peppers cooking but it has got to be one of the best combos out there. You can definitely get creative with what you have on hand, adding other veggies to the mix – mushrooms and asparagus would make delicious additions.

Also, I used Vigo yellow rice which already has the saffron and some spices mixed in meaning you don’t have to worry with buying saffron separately which can be expensive and hard to find.

I’m calling it Vegan Arroz con Pollo because let’s face it, Arroz con Vegetales just doesn’t have the same ring to it 🙂 Pour yourself some red wine or sangria and get to cooking! Enjoy!

vegan vegetarian arroz con pollo

Update: Sadly, I must report this is not a fully vegan dish upon discovering that Vigo rice uses chicken. You can continue with the recipe as is for a meat free dinner. If you want to ensure it is full vegan, use 2 cups long grain white rice instead of the Vigo rice and add 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads to the vegetable stock while heating up.

Vegan “Arroz con Pollo”

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma’s “Essentials of Latin Cooking”
Makes about 6 bowls


  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 green peppers, diced
  • 4 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups Vigo yellow rice (note update above)
  • 1 cup frozen sweet green peas
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (optional)
  • lime or lemon wedge (optional)


  1. Mix minced garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes together and set aside. Note: if you like spicy, you can add up to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper. If you like salt, go ahead and add it in. If not, wait until the end and add salt to taste.
  2. Heat stock in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until boiling then reduce to simmer. (If you’d rather not wash another pan, you can definitely just add the cold stock to the rice later).
  3. Heat oil in a large heavy deep saute pan that allows for lots of stirring (I use my all-clad 6 quart). Add chopped onions, red and green peppers for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.
  4. Add in rice and stir until rice absorbs all the liquid from the veggie mixture – several minutes. Add in the vinegar garlic mix.
  5. Add in heated stock, mix, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a low simmer and cover. Let sit for about 25-30 minutes until rice absorbs all liquid. You’ll need to stir several times as the rice will begin to stick to the bottom. If it does, just aggressively scrape the bottom with a steel spoon to remove.
  6. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the frozen peas and cover. I like my rice on the wet side. If you prefer your rice dry, keep the lid off here and stir until rice reaches consistency you’re looking for.
  7. Serve with a lime or lemon wedge and diced jalapeno if desired.

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