Vegan, Gluten Free Arroz Con Gandules w/ Brown Rice
Traditional Puerto Rican food, also called “comida criolla,” is my ultimate comfort food. Nothing says “home” to me like a fresh pot of arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas). But “healthy” is not the first word that comes to mind when you look at the arroz con gandules recipe from my abuela’s cookbook. Over the past year I have transitioned to a vegan, gluten free diet to help manage my anxiety and keep my energy levels high. This lifestyle shift has brought many positive things to my life, but I do miss my comfort foods. In an effort to make my favorite comfort foods fit with my new lifestyle, I have been “veganizing” traditional comida criolla recipes.
I recently reinterpreted a Puerto Rican staple dish, arroz con gandules. I incorporated fresh herbs and spices instead of packaged spices, which can be high in sodium. I also used brown rice instead of white rice to amp up the nutritional content. The result is not only delicious (it really tastes the same!) but also a completely nutritious option to an old favorite. Tip: You don’t need to tell anyone that you used brown rice because the tomato sauce, turmeric and annatto hide the color of the rice!
–Tara Sherry-Torres is a Pittsburgh-based creative entrepreneur. Visit her Latino culture media site, Cafe Con Leche, to learn how she highlights authentic Latino culture using art + food.
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