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Caribbean-Style Rice with Pigeon Peas

4 to 6 Servings

45 minutes 20 minutes active

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Rice with pigeon peas is a Caribbean classic, and each island has its own way of preparing the dish. For ours, we use canned pigeon peas, which have a mild flavor and creamy texture. Green pigeon peas resemble sweet peas and are our first choice because of their bright color, but brown pigeon peas work perfectly well. If neither is available, black-eyed peas or even pinto beans are good stand-ins. Some versions of rice with pigeon peas are made with coconut milk; we use unsweetened coconut water, as it imparts a tropical flavor without too much richness. Worcestershire sauce adds savoriness and umami, an idea we borrowed from pelau, or Trinidadian rice with chicken and pigeon peas. If you want lots of heat, leave the seeds in the habanero(s). The rice is delicious with fried plantains and avocado.

4 to 6



Don’t forget to rinse and drain the rice. This washes away excess starch that otherwise may turn the dish sticky and gummy.

45 minutes

20 minutes active


  • 8

    ounces bacon, chopped

  • 4

    medium garlic cloves, minced


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Jennifer S.
August 21, 2022
Caribbean style rice with pigeon peas
I always follow the recipe as written the first time then tweak it the next time. I really liked this reminded me of a dish I had in Jamaica. So good it’s all I ate for dinner. Had never heard of pigeon peas (local store carried Goya). Flavors melded even more overnight and are good cold also. Next time might add a little more allspice and the full 2 habaneros. Had used 1 & 1/2. Was a bit shy but not quite as hot after cooked. The bacon add some good texture.