Arroz Verde Recipe from Angola | Vegetarian Rice Dish with Onion, Green Pepper, and Cilantro

Arroz Verde

Arroz Verde Recipe from Angola | Vegetarian Rice Dish with Onion, Green Pepper, and Cilantro
Region / culture: Angola | Preparation time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 25 minutes | Servings: 4 | Vegetarian diet


Arroz Verde
Arroz Verde

Arroz Verde, or Green Rice, is a vibrant and flavorful dish that brings a refreshing twist to the traditional white rice. It's a popular side dish in many Latin American cuisines, known for its beautiful green color and the rich blend of herbs and vegetables that give it its unique taste. This recipe is a simple yet delicious way to incorporate more greens into your meals, making it a perfect accompaniment to a variety of dishes.


The origins of Arroz Verde can be traced back to Mexico, where it is a staple in many households and restaurants. The dish has evolved over time, with each region adding its own twist based on local ingredients and culinary traditions. The core of the recipe remains the same: rice cooked with a mixture of green herbs and vegetables to achieve its signature color and flavor.


How to prepare

  1. Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet and sauté the rice for 5 minutes, stirring continuously.
  2. Add the onion, green pepper, garlic cloves, cilantro, salt, and pepper.
  3. Mix well and continue stirring until the onions are transparent.
  4. Add the chicken broth, stir, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.


  • For a vegan version, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
  • Add diced tomatoes or corn for extra flavor and texture.
  • Incorporate other herbs like parsley or mint for a different flavor profile.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure your Arroz Verde turns out perfectly, consider the following tips:

- Use a heavy-bottomed pan to prevent the rice from sticking and burning.

- Sautéing the rice in olive oil before adding the liquids helps to keep the grains separate and fluffy.

- For an even greener color, you can blend the cilantro with a bit of the chicken broth before adding it to the rice.

- Taste and adjust the seasoning before serving, as the flavors will develop and meld together during cooking.

Serving Suggestions

Arroz Verde pairs beautifully with grilled chicken, fish, or steak. It can also be served alongside beans for a vegetarian option. For a complete meal, add a side salad or steamed vegetables.

Cooking Techniques

The key technique in this recipe is sautéing the rice and vegetables before adding the broth. This helps to develop the flavors and ensures the rice cooks evenly.

Ingredient Substitutions

Brown rice can be used instead of white rice for a whole grain option, though cooking times may vary.

- If cilantro is not to your taste, try using spinach or kale for the green color and nutritional benefits.

Make Ahead Tips

Arroz Verde can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently, adding a little water or broth if the rice has dried out.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Arroz Verde in a large bowl, garnished with additional chopped cilantro or lime wedges for a pop of color and flavor.

Pairing Recommendations

This dish pairs well with a light, crisp white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or a citrusy, hoppy pale ale.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop, adding a splash of water or broth to prevent the rice from drying out.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Arroz Verde contains approximately 250 calories. The majority of these calories come from the carbohydrates in the rice, with a smaller contribution from the fats and proteins.


A serving of Arroz Verde is a good source of carbohydrates, providing the energy needed for daily activities. Each serving contains approximately 45 grams of carbohydrates, primarily from the white rice. The vegetables add a minimal amount of carbs but contribute to the dish's overall nutritional profile.


This recipe is relatively low in fats, with most of it coming from the olive oil used for sautéing. Each serving contains about 5 grams of fat, which includes a mix of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These are considered healthier fats that can support heart health.


Arroz Verde is not a high-protein dish, with each serving containing about 4 grams of protein. The protein comes mainly from the rice and the small amount present in the vegetables. For a complete meal, serve Arroz Verde with a protein-rich main dish.

Vitamins and minerals

This dish is a good source of several vitamins and minerals, thanks to the inclusion of green vegetables and herbs. It is particularly rich in Vitamin C, provided by the green pepper, and Vitamin K, from the cilantro. It also contains a variety of minerals, including iron and potassium.


Arroz Verde is naturally free from most common allergens, including dairy, nuts, and gluten. However, those with specific food sensitivities should check the ingredients list carefully, especially the chicken broth, which may contain allergens or additives.


Overall, Arroz Verde is a nutritious side dish that complements a balanced diet. It provides a good mix of carbohydrates for energy, along with healthy fats, a modest amount of protein, and a variety of vitamins and minerals.


Arroz Verde is a versatile and nutritious side dish that adds a splash of color and a burst of flavor to any meal. With its simple ingredients and easy preparation, it's a delightful way to incorporate more vegetables and herbs into your diet. Whether you're serving it alongside meat, fish, or a vegetarian option, Arroz Verde is sure to be a hit.

How did I get this recipe?

I remember the joy I felt when I first stumbled upon this recipe for Arroz Verde. It was a warm summer day, and I was visiting a dear friend in Mexico City. We spent the afternoon wandering through bustling markets, sampling street food, and soaking up the vibrant culture of the city. As we made our way through the maze of stalls, we came across a small, unassuming stand tucked away in a corner. The sign above it simply read "Arroz Verde."

Intrigued, we approached the stand and were greeted by a kind elderly woman with a twinkle in her eye. She explained that she was known throughout the neighborhood for her delicious Arroz Verde, a traditional Mexican dish made with rice and green salsa. Eager to learn her secrets, I asked if she would be willing to share her recipe with me. With a smile, she invited us to watch as she prepared the dish, explaining each step in intricate detail.

I watched in awe as she effortlessly chopped fresh cilantro, jalapeños, and tomatillos, blending them together into a vibrant green salsa. The aroma that filled the air was intoxicating, a tantalizing mix of spice and freshness. She then sautéed the rice in a bit of oil before adding the green salsa, allowing the flavors to meld together in perfect harmony. As the rice cooked, she added a splash of chicken broth and a pinch of salt, transforming the dish into a fragrant masterpiece.

After a few minutes, she pronounced the Arroz Verde ready, scooping it into bowls and garnishing it with a sprinkle of queso fresco and a squeeze of lime. My friend and I eagerly dug in, savoring each bite of the flavorful rice. It was a revelation, unlike anything I had ever tasted before. The combination of tangy tomatillos, spicy jalapeños, and fresh cilantro was simply divine, a symphony of flavors that danced on my taste buds.

As we finished our meal, the elderly woman shared stories of her own grandmother, who had taught her the recipe for Arroz Verde many years ago. She spoke of the rich culinary heritage of Mexico, passed down through generations with love and care. Inspired by her words, I knew that I had to learn this recipe for myself and carry on the tradition in my own kitchen.

When I returned home, I set to work recreating the Arroz Verde recipe, using the notes I had taken during my time in Mexico City. I sourced the freshest ingredients I could find, carefully following each step with precision and care. The aroma that filled my kitchen was reminiscent of that sunny day in the market, transporting me back to the bustling streets and colorful sights of Mexico.

As I took my first bite of the finished dish, I knew that I had succeeded. The flavors were just as I remembered, a perfect balance of spice, tanginess, and freshness. I felt a surge of pride knowing that I had learned this recipe from a true master, a woman who had spent a lifetime perfecting her craft.

Since that day, Arroz Verde has become a staple in my household, a dish that I am always eager to share with friends and family. Each time I make it, I am reminded of that fateful day in Mexico City, and the kind woman who opened my eyes to the beauty of traditional Mexican cuisine. I am grateful for her generosity and wisdom, and the delicious recipe that she passed down to me.

As I sit down to enjoy a steaming bowl of Arroz Verde, I can't help but smile. This dish represents more than just a meal—it is a piece of history, a connection to my past and a way to honor the traditions of those who came before me. And for that, I am eternally grateful.


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