This is a very simple yet very flavorful recipe that is full of fresh veggies. This is the perfect satisfying meal as a lunch or an easy dinner option. It is very nutritious and it can be modified to our needs.
This is rice that always reminds me of spring and summer because of all the vegetables it has. This garden rice is made in a Puerto Rican style. Of course, it has all the good stuff that is characteristic of a Puerto Rican dish. It has sofrito which already contains a lot of vegetables like onions, peppers, and garlic. It also has sazón and adobo. We call it “arroz a la jardinera”. It is made in the Caribbean and other Latin American countries. The difference is in the seasonings and some of the vegetables.
What is vegetable rice made of?
Vegetable rice is a very flexible recipe and the vegetables can vary. Most of the time it is made with a mix of sauteed veggies like onion, peppers, garlic, carrots, peas, corn, and of course rice. It can be made with chicken or vegetable stock. My grandma used to make it and add green beans. So you can get creative and add different vegetables.
What are the best vegetables for garden rice?
The best vegetables for garden rice are the ones that usually hold up well. Like corn, carrots, and peas. Other good alternatives are beans, celery, and mushrooms. A vegetable that I love to add when I have it at home is cabbage. It gets nice and soft and it absorbs all the flavor of the stock. It is truly delicious.
Do I need a special pot?
You don’t need a special pot to cook garden rice. For this recipe, I used a caldero which is a cast aluminum pot that is traditionally used in Latin cooking. But any pot will do. The important part is that it is big enough to hold at least 4 cups of cooked rice. It also must have a lid to cover but if it doesn’t you can cover the pot with foil. You can also use a rice cooker. Just cook your rice how you normally do.
Oil- I used vegetable but you can also use achiote oil to give the dish a nice color and a soft smokey flavor.
Veggies- As for vegetables, I added carrots, peas, and corn. But you can add many other veggies you like as long as they are vegetables that don’t get mushy quickly.
Sofrito- The sofrito is one of the base flavors in this veggie rice. It is full of vegetables that just add the perfect flavor to this dish.
Tomato sauce- In this recipe I used tomato but tomato paste can also be used. Use half of what the recipe calls for the tomato sauce.
Seasonings- This recipe has adobo for flavor and sazón which also gives it a delicious flavor and a nice golden yellow color.
Chicken bouillon- I used chicken bouillon but you can use chicken or vegetable stock.
Water- I use water to dilute the chicken bouillon but you don’t need any water if you are using stock.
Rice- I used medium-grain rice for this recipe.
How to Make Garden Rice
1. Chop the carrots into about 1-inch cubes. Chop all the veggies that you are going to add to this rice.
2. In a large pot add the oil and sauté all the veggies for 1 minute over high heat. The reason for this is to release all the aromas better.
3. Add the bouillon, sofrito, tomato sauce and the adobo. Cook for 1 minute.
4. Add the water or stock.
5. Wait for the water to boil and add the rice. Stir and cook for 10 minutes.
6. Move the rice around in the pot, cover it, and finish cooking for 20 minutes.
The best veggies to use are fresh or frozen veggies. This is because these tend to hold heat better than canned veggies. The vegetables that come in a can tend to get mushy faster. This is true, especially for carrots. Canned corn holds pretty well.
For an added layer of flavor and freshness, I love to squeeze a small lemon wedge over the rice. It can also be a lime. Trust me on this one that hint of lemon makes the rice better.
Change up the veggies to get different versions of this garden rice. Add red chili flakes if you like some spice in your rice.
What goes well with vegetable rice?
Any type of meat will go incredibly well with this vegetable rice. Whether it is pork chops, fried chicken, or roasted chicken. I like to make chicharron de pollo because the taste of the chicken feels light and is very crispy. For even more vegetables you can make lemon baked chicken and potatoes. A minty lemonade is very refreshing and is the perfect drink for this garden rice.
How to store?
Store this rice in an airtight container or a freezer bag. Keep in your fridge for no more than 3 days and 3 months in the freezer. You can leave rice longer in the freezer but sometimes it will have a different texture once you defrost.
How to reheat?
You can reheat rice on a stovetop over medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Add one tablespoon of water to re-introduce moisture and create vapor. Or you can just put your rice on a plate and heat it in the microwave. Give it 30 seconds each time.
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1/2 cup carrots cubed
- 1/2 cup peas
- 1/2 cup corn
- 2 tablespoons sofrito
- 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoon sazon
- 1 tablespoon adobo
- 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups medium grain rice
- Peel and cut the carrot into 1-inch cubes. If you using canned vegetables skip this step.
- In a large pot over high heat add the oil, carrots, peas, corn, and sauté for 1 minute. Mix the vegetables a couple of times. Add the sofrito, tomato sauce, sazon, adobo, chicken bouillon and cook for 1 minute. Stir constantly.
- Add the water and once it starts boiling add the rice. Stir, cover, and cook for 10 minutes or until all the water has evaporated.
- Fluff the rice. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy.
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