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Arroz con seitan (Latin seitan & rice)

September 14, 2010

Remember the Latin American feast miniseries I did a few weeks ago? If you liked that, you’ll love this. Arroz con pollo (“rice with chicken”) is a popular dish all over Latin America and the Caribbean, and this vegan version is beyond marvelous! I adapted it from Terry Hope Romero’s Viva Vegan to simplify and streamline preparation, and I use brown rice instead of white to add fiber and whole grains. The recipe calls for sofrito, a slow-cooked combo of onions, bell peppers, and garlic, so remember to make that ahead of time if you can (though I’ll give a substitution below). Although I used storebought seitan, I bet this would be even better with homemade!

For the seitan:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/8 tsp dried oregano
12-16 oz. seitan, sliced into strips

For the rice:
1 Tbsp chile oil (or olive oil)
1 cup onion-pepper sofrito
1 cup vegetable broth (or Mexican beer)
2/3 cup tomato sauce
2 tsp ground cumin
1½ tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1¾ cups water
1½ cups long-grain brown rice
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 carrot, peeled and diced
½ tsp salt (or to taste)
¼ cup chopped cilantro
Hot sauce, to serve (optional)

First, prepare the seared seitan strips. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, and oregano. Add the seitan, toss to coat, and let marinate for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a large pan (stockpot, skillet, or grill pan) over medium-high heat and coat generously with cooking spray. Add half the marinated seitan in a single layer and cook 1-2 minutes on each side (use tongs to turn), until the edges are crisp but the seitan is still moist. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Repeat with remaining seitan.

Next (or meanwhile), get the rice started. Heat the chile oil in a large stockpot over medium heat, add the sofrito, and cook and stir for 2-3 minutes. (Substitution: At this point, if you don’t have the prepared sofrito, you can add 5 minced cloves of garlic, ½ lb chopped yellow onion, and ½ lb chopped green pepper, then cook and stir for 12-14 minutes.) Add the tomato sauce, vegetable broth (or beer, or 1 cup water + 2 tsp vegan bouillon), cumin, oregano, and bay leaf.

Bring to a simmer and cook for 4 minutes, then stir in the water, rice, peas, carrots, and salt.

Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Uncover and add the prepared seitan strips, pushing them down into the rice mixture.

Cover again and cook over low heat for about 45 minutes, or until rice is fluffy and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit, still covered, for 10 minutes before uncovering, removing the bay leaf, and adding the cilantro.

Fluff to combine and serve with your favorite hot sauce. (A squirt of fresh lime juice might be nice, too.) Everything about this dish is fantastic, from the meaty seitan strips to the perfectly-seasoned rice. It also got two big omni-thumbs up from Matt, who requested I make it again just a week after the first time. Take it from me—you might want to make a double batch!

Yield: 6 servings.
Per serving: 428 calories, 15.9g fat (2g sat), 51.1g carbs, 6g fiber, 21.9g protein.

The Hail Merry giveaway is still going strong, so don’t forget to enter that before Friday!

If you like this, you might also like…
Cuban ‘ropa vieja’ shredded seitan
Venezuelan black beans & cilantro rice
Latin American onion-pepper sofrito

24 Comments leave one →
  1. September 14, 2010 1:06 pm

    Yeah I remember that series! Loved it. This looks and sounds yummy!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 15, 2010 11:45 am

      Glad you’ve liked my recent Latin food posts! :]

  2. September 14, 2010 1:28 pm

    This sounds very good! There are so many books and cookbooks that I want. Viva Vegan is at the top of the list though. :}

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 15, 2010 11:46 am

      VV definitely deserves to be at the top of that list! There’s so much good stuff in there, it’s almost overwhelming.

  3. Matt permalink
    September 14, 2010 1:51 pm

    Omni-thumbs and big toes say more! 😉

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 15, 2010 11:47 am

      Thanks baby! I’m sure I’ll make it again for us sometime soon. 😀

  4. September 14, 2010 2:04 pm

    Yummm…sofrito. I love dishes like this….very hearty and filling. Perfect for any weather, but I especially love rice dishes in the fall.

    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 15, 2010 11:48 am

      This’ll be a great warming meal for the fall and winter…especially with extra hot sauce. ;]

  5. September 14, 2010 2:09 pm

    _Awesome_ photos – and sounds lovely and spicy. I love the fusion idea of seitan from Asian cuisine and mexican-style rice and meat. I can’t do seitan or rice, but this’ll be one of those that I just enjoy conceptually (I bake for my husband all the time, so I do a lot of olfactory and conceptual appreciating!


    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 15, 2010 11:50 am

      Thank you Ela! I hadn’t thought of it as fusion food, but I see what you mean!

      I’m sorry to hear you can’t have rice or seitan. But who knows—with some playing around, you might invent “quinoa con tempeh” or some other variant!

  6. September 14, 2010 7:50 pm

    Looks like a great mix!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 15, 2010 11:50 am


  7. September 14, 2010 8:51 pm

    Amber – do you have a seitan recipe that you love? I am not crazy about the recipes I have tried making at home

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 15, 2010 11:51 am

      You know, I don’t have one that I can strongly recommend…yet. To be honest, I usually stick to storebought for convenience’s sake, but I really need to make homemade seitan more often; it’s so much more economical. If/when I come across the perfect recipe, I can certainly let you know.

  8. September 14, 2010 9:06 pm

    I swear I can almost smell that sofrito from here! Those pictures are making me drool! Viva Vegan is such an awesome cookbook, I love it!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 15, 2010 11:52 am

      I wouldn’t be surprised if you could! All that onion and garlic, MMM! I love VV too; it’s an inspiration goldmine.

  9. September 14, 2010 9:59 pm

    I know I say this all the time, but this seriously looks amazing. Spicy and “proteiny” with strong flavoursand bursts of green herbs and vegetables throughout. If only I could find seitan here… do you think this would work with tofu/tempeh?

    P.S. I was planning to email you back today but have just discovered that apparently I *haven’t* been enrolled as a PhD student (ANU fricking sucks at admin) so I’ve been scurrying around like a mad thing, and now have only a limited amount of time to prep for my tutorials before the lecture… but I’m alreadu composing it in my head 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 15, 2010 11:55 am

      I think this would be AMAZING with tempeh! In fact, I may just try it that way next time I make it… I ❤ tempeh.

      Again, no hurry on the writing back, really! Or at least, when you do, don't feel obligated to respond with a novel of similar length, heh. If we make every email longer than the last, pretty soon we'll need months to draft each reply! 😛

  10. September 15, 2010 8:34 am

    This recipe looks and sounds really good and being Cuban I’ve always wondered when I would see someone come ujp with a vegetarian version. One could make it just a tad easier by using a prepared seasoning base (sofrito) like this one we found at

    Being a foodie I can say that I never thought I would like their sofrito but it tastes really good (not like the other mass market sofrito in jars out there). We use it to make all sorts of dishes (with and without meat!)

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 15, 2010 11:57 am

      I’m glad to hear from a bona fide Cuban that the recipe looks like a winner! I had no idea that readymade, jarred sofrito even existed. Interesting!

  11. September 22, 2010 6:30 am

    I remember the Latin American feast. This would probably taste great with beans on the side! 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 22, 2010 9:23 am

      You’re so right! How did I not think of that? Rice and beans, the complete-protein power couple 🙂

  12. September 23, 2010 1:40 pm

    This looks amazing. I’ll probably end up making it tonight. 😀

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 23, 2010 1:42 pm

      Awesome!! I hope you love it too 🙂

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