3 Puerto Rican Vegan/Vegetarian Recipes for the Holidays

arroz con gandules

Image via Fanfo/Shutterstock.com

By Cynthia De Saint

November 29, 2022

As more people see the benefits of a vegan or vegetarian diet, family gatherings around the holiday table can get a bit… complex. So, what to do if tía won’t eat the lechón, or primo prefers gandules to jamón? Here’s the delish solution!

During the holiday season, many hosts worry about what to serve their vegan or vegetarian guests. But fret no more! Incorporate these three recipes into your menu, and you’ll have something for everyone!

Arroz con Gandules (Vegetarian) 


  • 1 lb. raw medium or long grain rice
  • 1 15 oz. can gandules (pigeon peas)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. sofrito
  • 2 envelopes sazón seasoning with achiote
  • 2 tbsp. Manzanilla olives
  • 1 1/2 tsp. capers
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 envelope onion soup
  • 16 oz. water


  1. Place the vegetable oil, sofrito, sazón with achiote, gandules, olives, capers, onion soup, and tomato sauce in a big pot.
  2. Thoroughly wash rice and add to the other ingredients.
  3. Pour water over the ingredients and stir well. (Water should be about 1 inch above the ingredients).
  4. Boil on medium high until all the water is absorbed.
  5. Reduce heat to low and cover the pot with aluminum foil and lid.
  6. Cook for 35-40 minutes, depending on your stove.

Serve with pasteles or tostones.

(Credit: yummly.com)

Puerto Rican Style Stewed Oyster Mushrooms (Vegan, Gluten-Free)


  • 2 3/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 tablespoons recao or sofrito
  • 6-ounces oyster mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon adobo plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup manzanilla olives
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup brown rice rinsed


To Make the Brown Rice:

  1. Heat a medium-sized pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the vegetable broth and rice and bring to a boil.
  3. Once the water is boiling, cover the pot and reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 40 minutes or until the rice is tender and all of the broth is absorbed.
  4. Remove from the heat and set aside.

To Make the Stewed Oyster Mushrooms:

  1. Sprinkle adobo over mushrooms and set aside.
  2. Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add 1/4 cup of vegetable broth and the recao.
  4. Cook the recao for one minute then add the 1/2 cup of vegetable broth, the 1/2 teaspoon of adobo, oyster mushrooms, tomato sauce, manzanilla olives, salt, and black pepper.
  5. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve with the brown rice.

(Credit: onegreenplanet.com)

Tembleque de Coco (Vegetarian)


  • ½ cups cornstarch
  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • ⅔ cups cinnamon cane sugar
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Cinnamon as a garnish


  1. In a saucepan add cornstarch about ½ cup of the coconut milk. Once the cornstarch dissolves, add the balance of the coconut milk and the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until it thickens.
  3. Once thick, start pouring into the molds. Have it cool to room temperature and then put into the refrigerator so that it firms up more.
  4. It should be firm in a couple of hours and then removed from the mold using a knife around the edges. 

Garnish with cinnamon (or nutmeg) and enjoy!

(Credit: yummly.com)




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