Stewed Pigeon Peas & Squash

Stewed beans and peas are my first go-to meal during a busy week. The meal is filling, inexpensive, healthy, and meat-free. All good things for me when I’m on a budget. It’s also a great meal for your vegetarian and/or vegan friends!

I’ve been asked by a few friends to share more plant-based meals and after doing a little research and reorganizing my recipe tags on the blog, I noticed that the majority of Puerto Rican cuisine is very vegetarian-friendly. And a lot of those recipes are easily adaptable to the vegan lifestyle since we don’t traditionally use many dairy products in our cuisine.

If you’ve made my rice and beans before, this recipe comes together in a pinch. It’s the same exact method but you’re just using pigeon peas instead of beans. And let me tell you, gandules guisados are so delicious, y’all. My dad taught me how to make this dish on my visit to Puerto Rico last year and every single time I make it, it reminds me of him. Can’t go wrong with a quick dinner that gives you good food memories.

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Gandules Guisados

Cook time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4-6

Vegetable or olive oil

2 tbsp of Simple Sofrito

1 tbsp of capers

1 can pigeon peas and their liquid

1 tbsp of tomato paste

1 tbsp Homemade Sazón (or 1 packet of Goya Sazón con Achiote)

1 large bay leaf

1/2 cup of calabaza, cut into small chunks (or substitute acorn or butternut squash)*

Water or broth

Cooked rice

Note: calabaza is a West Indian pumpkin and is usually sold in Latin American markets. I’ve had my luck with finding it at my local Asian market. But if you can’t find it, you can easily substitute acorn squash or butternut squash in its place.

In a medium to large saucepan and over medium heat, add enough oil to coat the bottom. Then, add the Simple Sofrito, and sauté for about 3-4 minutes. You’ll want to bloom the flavors here. Next, add the capers and the pigeon peas with their liquid. Cook for another few minutes until everything is blending well together.

Add the tomato paste, sazón, and bay leaf. Stir well and let it hang out for a minute or two. Then add the pumpkin and enough water or broth to cover the mixture. Now, this is where you can eyeball it to your preference. For me, I like runnier pigeon peas because the sauce is delicious with the rice. If you want it thicker, use less water.

Turn the heat down to low and after about 15-20 minutes of simmering, serve the stewed pigeon peas over steamed rice. This would be delicious with sliced avocado and some tostones, but honestly, during a long week, I just eat this solo and call it a day.

¡Buen provecho!