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Vegan Arroz con Pollo, Spanish "chicken" and rice
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5 from 12 votes

Vegan Arroz con 'Pollo', Spanish 'Chicken' and Rice

Arroz con Pollo is a popular Spanish/Latin American one-pot dish of chicken and rice flavored with bell peppers, onions, saffron and, sometimes, olives. My vegan version takes a pass on the pollo, but is just as flavorful and even more wholesome. A vegan, nut-free recipe, can be gluten-free and soy-free.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course/Rice
Cuisine: Spanish/Latin American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 302kcal


  • Large pot with lid


  • 1 lb seitan (or other meat substitute, like tofu, tempeh or beans. Use 2 14-oz cans of beans like pinto or white beans)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil (divided)
  • 2 medium onions (finely chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup white wine (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce or liquid aminos)
  • 2 medium bell peppers (diced in a ½-inch cube)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme (1 tablespoon if using fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano (1 tablespoon if using fresh)
  • 4 leaves sage (½ teaspoon dry)
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoon capers (or ¼ cup olives or both. Chop olives if using)
  • 2 cups basmati rice (or any long grain rice)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (or water)
  • A generous pinch of saffron strands
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoon parsley (for garnish, optional)


  • Toss the chicken substitute (seitan, tofu, tempeh) with the garlic powder, thyme, oregano, cornstarch, salt and ground black pepper. If using beans you can add them directly to the rice, no need for this step and the next.
  • In a pot large enough to hold the rice, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add the meat substitute in a single layer and brown on all sides. Remove to a plate.
  • To the same pot, add the remaining oil and heat. Add the onions and garlic along with a pinch of salt and ground black pepper and cook for five minutes over medium-low heat until translucent.
  • Add the wine, if using, and cook the onions further, stirring a couple of times, until the moisture has evaporated.
  • Add the tomato paste to the pot with the tamari or soy sauce and stir well to mix, then add the bell peppers along with the thyme, oregano, sage, paprika and bell peppers. Mix well.
  • Add the rice to the pot and stir-fry it for a couple of minutes. Add the capers and saffron and the vegetable stock, if using, or water. Bring everything to a boil over medium-high heat and stir occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom. Add salt and pepper.
  • Continue to cook the rice until it appears to have absorbed most of the water. Now stir in the reserved "chicken" pieces, cover the pot with a tight lid, turn the heat down to the lowest setting, and cook 20 minutes, undisturbed.
  • Let the rice stand another 10 minutes after cooking, then serve. Add parsley or another herb garnish, if you wish, before serving.


Calories: 302kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 1068mg | Potassium: 223mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1394IU | Vitamin C: 43mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 2mg