Rice with Green Pigeon Peas (Gandules Verdes)

A simple recipe that is great with tacos, burritos, or whatever.

Kinda funny, I only knew this as “Spanish Rice” while I was growing up. But, MMMM, it’s good!!! The original recipe as I understood it came from my mother’s friend who was a lady born in Hawaii and was at least part Spanish. The recipe has been Americanized by my mother who started using Spam in the recipe years and years ago.  I usually use Ham.  Either way, it’s really yummy!! Of course, mine has never tasted as good as MOMS. 🙂

Note 2015: Recently I learned that this is actually a Caribbean dish that is made for holidays and celebrations. I found an official recipe here: official recipe

Saute: 1 Tablespoon Achiote* seeds

in 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil

until oil is red in color. (Achiote seeds burn easily, stir & don’t put on a high heat!) Remove Achiote seeds.

Add to oil:

  • ¾ Cup chopped onion*
  • ¾ Cup chopped green pepper*
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 12 oz. can Spam (left over pork chop or ham will work)

Cook for 2 or 3 minutes.

Add and bring to a boil:

  • 1 15 oz. can Green Pigeon Peas
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 ½ Cups water
  • 1 teaspoon oregano* leaves

When boiling stir in 2 cups rice, cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 to 30 minutes.  Do not remove lid or stir during this time, rice will become mushy.

Salt to taste.

* More or less depending on the flavor you want.