Puerto Rican Field Peas Tossed in an Aromatic Vinaigrette

This bright, simple bean salad is the perfect side dish and a Puerto Rican mainstay

A bowl of bean salad

Photo: Lauren Vied Allen

Among Puerto Rico’s indigenous plants, gandules, or pigeon peas, are a native field pea with an unmistakably earthy flavor. Arroz con gandules (rice with field peas) is a staple of holiday meals on the island, but this preparation is fresh and bright, highlighting the unique flavor of gandules. Inspired by my friend Berto’s recipe, this refreshing side dish pairs well with carne guisada or can be enjoyed on its own with steamed white rice. —Von Diaz, Islas: A Celebration of Tropical Cooking

Read our Q&A with Von Diaz here, and join her on a culinary trip across Puerto Rico here


  • Gandules en Escabeche: Field Peas in Escabeche (Yield: 4–6 servings)

    • 1 cup olive oil

    • ½ cup white vinegar

    • 2 dried bay leaves

    • 1 small white onion, finely chopped

    • 1 medium red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

    • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

    • 1½ lb. canned or frozen gandules, drained and rinsed if canned, cooked according to package instructions if frozen (see tip)

    • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro leaves

    • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more as needed


  1. In a large nonreactive mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, bay leaves, onion, bell pepper, and black pepper and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

  2. Add the gandules, cilantro, and salt and toss to combine. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Refrigerate until ready to serve. The peas can be eaten cold or at room temperature and keep well in the refrigerator for several days.

  3. Tip: Canned gandules can be found in the international section of many standard groceries; both canned and frozen can be sourced from Latin American and Caribbean specialty markets.

A bright cookbook with Carribean dishes

Excerpted with permission from Islas: A Celebration of Tropical Cooking—125 Recipes from the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Ocean Islands by Von Diaz, © 2024. Photographs © Lauren Vied Allen. Published by Chronicle Books.


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