Quinoa is gaining recognition as a substitute for rice, pasta, and other starches. Most of my experience with quinoa is by itself or as the base for a cold salad. This recipe substitutes it for rice in the traditional Puerto Rican arroz con gandules which I first enjoyed at an office Christmas party in El Paso. One of my co-workers from Puerto Rico brought the dish to the pot luck table. Indeed, arroz con gandules is apparently a traditional Christmas dish.

The hard part of this recipe is finding the gandules aka pigeon peas. They were readily available in El Paso, but not so in Santa Fe. After some detective work, I found a single can on the shelf at the local branch of Talin Market World Food Fare. Quinoa made a great substitute for the rice.


Quinoa con Gandules


  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) dry pigeon peas, drained
  • 3 mild snacking peppers, seeds and ribs removed, diced
  • 1 packet Goya Sazón cilantro y achiote
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1  red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • ½ cup ham diced
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • salt and pepper


  1. Combine the quinoa and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stir, cover, and reduce the heat to simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes or until all the moisture is gone. Remove the lid if necessary to finish the cooking. Fluff with a fork, stir in the pigeon peas, diced peppers, and  the Sazón, and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over a medium flame. Stir in the onion, garlic, and ham, cooking until the onion is translucent. Add to the quinoa mixture, along with the tomato sauce, and heat over medium flame until everything is warm. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve.



Filed under Food, Photography, Recipes

2 responses to “QUINOA CON GANDULES

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