Arroz a la jardinera Recipe from Puerto Rico

Arroz a la jardinera

Arroz a la jardinera Recipe from Puerto Rico
Region / culture: Puerto Rico | Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 45 minutes | Servings: 6


Arroz a la jardinera
Arroz a la jardinera

Arroz a la jardinera is a vibrant and nutritious dish that brings the garden to your plate with its colorful blend of vegetables and rice. This dish is not only a feast for the eyes but also a delight for the palate, offering a harmonious blend of flavors that celebrate the simplicity and freshness of its ingredients. Perfect for any occasion, Arroz a la jardinera is a versatile recipe that can be enjoyed as a main course or a side dish, making it a staple in many households.


The origins of Arroz a la jardinera can be traced back to the diverse culinary traditions of Latin America, where rice dishes play a fundamental role in everyday cuisine. This particular recipe is a testament to the creativity of home cooks who would incorporate whatever vegetables were available in their gardens, hence the name "jardinera," which means "gardener" in Spanish. Over time, it has evolved into a beloved classic, cherished for its ability to bring together the flavors of the garden in one delicious dish.


How to prepare

  1. In a saucepan, sauté the onion, pepper, and garlic in olive oil.
  2. Pour in the water and cooking oil, and bring it to a boil.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and let it simmer uncovered until the water evaporates.
  4. Using a ladle, blend the rice by moving it from the bottom to the top and vice versa.
  5. Cover the saucepan and cook the rice over low heat until it is tender. Be careful not to overcook it.


  • Mediterranean Twist: Add olives, capers, and a sprinkle of feta cheese for a Mediterranean-inspired variation.
  • Spicy Version: Incorporate diced jalapeños or a dash of chili powder for those who prefer a bit of heat.
  • Protein-Packed: Include cooked beans, lentils, or your choice of protein to make the dish more filling and nutritious.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure the best results when making Arroz a la jardinera, consider the following tips and tricks:

- Use a wide, heavy-bottomed saucepan to prevent the rice from sticking and to ensure even cooking.

- Sautéing the vegetables before adding the rice helps to release their flavors, enriching the overall taste of the dish.

- Be mindful of the water-to-rice ratio to avoid overcooking. The rice should be tender but not mushy.

- Stirring the rice gently while it cooks helps to distribute the heat evenly and prevents the grains from breaking.

Serving Suggestions

Arroz a la jardinera can be served as a main dish or as a side to complement a variety of proteins. For a complete meal, pair it with grilled chicken, fish, or tofu. It can also be enjoyed with a simple green salad and a slice of crusty bread for a satisfying and nutritious meal.

Cooking Techniques

The key to a successful Arroz a la jardinera lies in the cooking technique. Sautéing the vegetables before adding the rice ensures they are fully flavored. Simmering the rice uncovered until the water evaporates helps to achieve the perfect texture, while the final step of cooking it covered on low heat allows the rice to become tender and fluffy.

Ingredient Substitutions

Rice: Brown rice or quinoa can be used as healthier alternatives to white rice, though cooking times may vary.

- Vegetables: Feel free to substitute or add any vegetables you have on hand. Zucchini, peas, and corn are excellent additions.

- Oil: If olive oil is not available, any vegetable oil or even coconut oil can be used as a substitute.

Make Ahead Tips

Arroz a la jardinera can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Simply reheat it on the stove or in the microwave, adding a little water or broth to moisten the rice if necessary.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Arroz a la jardinera in a large, colorful bowl to highlight the variety of vegetables. Garnish with fresh herbs such as cilantro or parsley for an added touch of color and flavor. A lemon or lime wedge on the side can also enhance the dish's freshness.

Pairing Recommendations

This dish pairs beautifully with a crisp white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or a light Pinot Grigio. For non-alcoholic options, a sparkling water with a squeeze of lime or a refreshing iced tea complements the flavors of the dish perfectly.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place the desired amount in a saucepan over medium heat, adding a splash of water to prevent the rice from drying out. Stir occasionally until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A typical serving of Arroz a la jardinera contains approximately 200-300 calories, making it a relatively low-calorie option that can fit into various dietary plans. The exact calorie count may vary depending on the specific ingredients and portion sizes used.


A serving of Arroz a la jardinera is a good source of carbohydrates, providing the energy needed to fuel your day. The rice in the dish is the primary contributor to its carbohydrate content, making it an excellent option for replenishing energy stores after physical activity or for sustaining energy levels throughout the day.


The fats in Arroz a la jardinera come mainly from the olive oil and cooking oil used in the recipe. Olive oil is known for its heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which can help to improve cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. The overall fat content of the dish is moderate, making it a suitable option for those monitoring their fat intake.


While Arroz a la jardinera is primarily a vegetable-based dish, it does provide a modest amount of protein from the vegetables and rice. For those looking to increase the protein content, consider adding beans, lentils, or a lean protein source such as chicken or shrimp to the recipe.

Vitamins and minerals

This dish is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals, thanks to the variety of vegetables used. Carrots and red peppers are rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin C, respectively, both of which are essential for maintaining healthy skin and immune function. Pumpkin and string beans contribute additional vitamins and minerals, including potassium, which is important for heart health.


Arroz a la jardinera is naturally free from most common allergens, including dairy, nuts, and gluten (assuming gluten-free cooking oil is used). However, those with specific food sensitivities should always check the ingredients list carefully and make substitutions as necessary.


Overall, Arroz a la jardinera is a nutritious and balanced dish that offers a variety of vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients. Its high vegetable content makes it an excellent choice for those looking to increase their intake of fiber and essential nutrients, while its moderate calorie content makes it suitable for weight management.


Arroz a la jardinera is a delightful and nutritious dish that celebrates the bounty of the garden. With its colorful array of vegetables and rich flavors, it's a versatile recipe that can be adapted to suit any taste or dietary preference. Whether served as a main course or a side dish, it's sure to be a hit with family and friends.

How did I get this recipe?

The first time I saw this recipe, I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. It was a sunny afternoon in the spring, and I was visiting my dear friend Maria in her cozy kitchen. As soon as I walked in, a tantalizing aroma wafted through the air, beckoning me towards the stove where Maria was stirring a pot of bubbling rice and vegetables.

"Ah, Carmen, you have arrived just in time! I am making Arroz a la jardinera, a dish that my grandmother taught me many years ago," Maria said with a smile.

I watched in awe as Maria added a medley of colorful vegetables to the rice, creating a vibrant and enticing dish that seemed to dance before my eyes. Each vegetable was carefully chopped and added with precision, creating a symphony of flavors that mingled together in perfect harmony.

As I sat down at the table to enjoy the meal, Maria shared with me the story of how she learned to make Arroz a la jardinera. It was a tale that spoke of tradition, family, and the love of food that transcended time and space.

Maria's grandmother, Abuela Sofia, was a formidable cook who had a knack for creating dishes that were both delicious and nourishing. She had learned the art of cooking from her own mother, who had passed down the recipes through generations of women in their family.

One day, when Maria was a young girl, Abuela Sofia took her by the hand and led her into the kitchen. She showed her how to wash and chop vegetables, how to season the rice just so, and how to stir the pot with a gentle hand.

"Arroz a la jardinera is a dish that represents the bounty of the earth," Abuela Sofia explained. "It is a celebration of nature's gifts, a tribute to the beauty and simplicity of fresh vegetables."

As Maria grew older, she continued to hone her skills in the kitchen, experimenting with new ingredients and techniques. She traveled to different regions of the country, learning from local cooks and absorbing the rich culinary traditions of each place she visited.

It was during one of these trips that Maria stumbled upon a small village nestled in the mountains, where she met an elderly woman who shared with her the secret to making Arroz a la jardinera. The woman, Dona Rosa, had been making the dish for her family for generations, and she was more than happy to pass on her knowledge to Maria.

Under Dona Rosa's expert guidance, Maria learned the subtle nuances of the dish – the perfect balance of flavors, the precise timing of each ingredient, and the art of letting the rice absorb the essence of the vegetables.

And so, as I sat at Maria's table, savoring each spoonful of the delicious Arroz a la jardinera, I felt a deep sense of gratitude for the women who had passed down this recipe through the ages. It was a dish that spoke of love, tradition, and the joy of sharing a meal with those we hold dear.

As I finished my meal, Maria leaned over and whispered in my ear, "I believe it's time for you to learn the secret of Arroz a la jardinera, my dear Carmen. Will you join me in the kitchen tomorrow?"

And with a smile on my face and a twinkle in my eye, I nodded eagerly, eager to immerse myself in the culinary world that had captivated my heart and soul for so many years.


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