Mama’s Chickpeas in Sofrito | Ambitious Kitchen

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There’s something special and nostalgic about food that’s passed down through generations. This particular recipe is from my Puerto Rican mama and is a fun twist on her traditional rice and beans, a recipe I grew up on.

When I was visiting her years ago, she mentioned this new recipe for me to try: chickpeas in sofrito! She said it was absolutely delicious and that the texture of the chickpeas added a unique creamy flavor profile. I told her I would make it as soon as I got home and when I did, I just couldn’t get enough! So of course, I had to share the recipe with all of you.

Five years later my family comes back to this recipe time and time again when we’re craving a nourishing, hearty weeknight dinner.

chickpeas in sofrito in a bowl

Everything you’ll need to make chickpeas in sofrito

  • Chickpeas: the chickpeas add the perfect boost of protein and get super flavorful in the seasonings.
  • Sofrito: in Spanish, sofrito means sauce, and it’s very traditional when it comes to Puerto Rican foods. My version is a mixture of garlic, onion, green bell pepper, cilantro and tomato sauce. Some do it with fresh tomatoes and culantro, but this is how I normally make it.
  • Sazon: sazon is a very popular Puerto Rican spice. Feel free to use store-bought sazon packets or try my homemade sazon seasoning!
  • Green pigeon peas: green pigeon peas are INCREDIBLE and very, very good for you. See below (and in the notes section) for a swap if you can’t find them at the store!
  • Rice: I like to use white basmati rice because it gets super fluffy. Please note that if you use a different type of rice (like brown rice) the cooking time will likely change.

chickpeas in sofrito in two bowls next to a can of chickpeas and two forks

Swap the pigeon peas

If you do not have pigeon peas, which are traditional, you can use green peas instead. Simply increase the water in the recipe by ½ cup (so you’d have 3 ½ cups total). After you bring water to a boil you can add 1 cup of frozen peas and the rice.

How to make chickpeas in sofrito

  1. Make the sofrito. Start by making your sofrito by cooking down the onion, green pepper, cilantro and garlic. Once they soften lower the heat and simmer with tomato sauce.
  2. Add the chickpeas. In the same pot add in the chickpeas and broth and simmer on low so the chickpeas infuse with the sauce.
  3. Make the arroz con gandules. While the chickpeas are cooking, make another batch of sofrito in a new pot and add in your can of pigeon peas (liquid included!) Add water, bring it to a boil, and then stir in your rice. Let the rice simmer on low until tender.
  4. Season & serve. Taste both the chickpeas and the rice and adjust the seasonings as needed. Then serve with extra sauce from the beans, cilantro, and avocado slices!

chickpeas in sofrito in two bowls next to three small dishes of spices

Serving & storing tips

  • To serve: feel free to double the recipe to feed a larger family or friends! It’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. I love to serve this recipe with avocado slices and tostones.
  • To store: simply store any leftover rice and beans in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. This recipe is perfect for meal prep!

chickpeas in sofrito in a bowl topped with avocado

More of my family recipes you’ll love

Get even more nourishing dinner recipes here!

I hope you love this chickpeas in sofrito recipe! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

Mama’s Chickpea in Sofrito with Arroz con Gandules

chickpeas in sofrito in a bowl with avocado slices

Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 30 minutes

Total Time 45 minutes

My mama’s delicious vegetarian Puerto Rican-inspired chickpeas in sofrito served with arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas). This comforting, delicious chickpeas in sofrito recipe is easy to make and packed with over 13g of plant-based protein! The perfect vegan dinner that’s great for meal prep.

Ingredients

  • For the sofrito (for the chickpeas):
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ cup very finely diced yellow onion
  • ½ cup very finely diced green bell pepper
  • cup finely diced cilantro
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (from one 15 oz can — reserve extra sauce for rice)
  • 3 teaspoons (2 packets) Sazon (see note in recipe for how to make your own)
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 ½ cups low sodium vegetarian broth (or water)
  • For the rice:
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • cup very finely diced yellow onion
  • cup very finely diced green bell pepper
  • ¼ cup finely diced cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup no salt added tomato sauce
  • 3 teaspoons (2 packets) sazon seasoning (see note in recipe for how to make your own)
  • 1 (15 oz) can green pigeon peas*
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups basmati white rice
  • To garnish:
  • Extra fresh chopped cilantro
  • Avocado slices
  • Tostones

Instructions

  • First make your Sofrito: Sofrito in Spanish means sauce — very traditional in many of the main staple foods in Puerto Rico: Add olive oil to a medium pot and place over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add in onion, green bell pepper, cilantro and garlic. Saute until onions are translucent and green peppers soften, about 2-4 minutes. Bring heat to low and add tomato sauce, sazon and simmer for 2-3 minutes until sauce comes together. 

  • Add in the chickpeas and broth and simmer uncovered over low heat while you cook the rice, stirring occasionally, so that the spices infuse with the beans. If you notice the liquid getting too low, it probably means you were simmering at too high of a heat, but no worries you can simply add another ½ cup water or broth.

  • While the chickpeas are simmering with sofrito, start making the rice: Add oil to a medium pot and place over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add in onion, green pepper, cilantro and garlic. Saute until onions are translucent and green peppers soften, about 2-4 minutes. Bring heat to medium-low and add tomato sauce, sazon and simmer for 2 minutes until sauce comes together. 

  • Next add in entire can of pigeon peas (with the liquid — DO NOT DRAIN) add 3 cups water, and bring to a boil. Once it boils, stir in 2 cups of rice, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is tender.

  • Taste both the rice and the chickpeas and adjust seasonings as necessary, including adding more salt.

  • How to serve: add rice and beans to a bowl with extra sauce from the beans, garnish with cilantro and a few avocado slices — serve with tostones if you’re feeling like a true Puerto Rican! Serves 4-6.

Recipe Notes

Try my homemade sazon recipe and use 1 tablespoon for the chickpeas and 1 tablespoon for the rice.
*For the pigeon peas: if you do not have pigeon peas, which are traditional, you can use green peas instead. Simply increase the water in the recipe by ½ cup (so you’d have 3 ½ cups total). After you bring the water to a boil you can add 1 cup of frozen peas and the rice.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 459calCarbohydrates: 87.8gProtein: 13.9gFat: 6.1gSaturated Fat: 0.4gFiber: 10.3gSugar: 4.4g

Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen Photography by: Yoga of Cooking

This post was originally published on November 29th, 2018, and republished on September 24th, 2023.

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