Guandules — or gandules, as they are called in Puerto Rico – are the second most popular legumes in the Dominican Republic, only behind habichuelas, and guandules recipes are part of our most important national festivities. Learn how to cook the tastiest guandules dishes.
Why we ❤️ it
While habichuelas recipes are served more often, guandules are one of our favorite legumes. With a strong and unique flavor profile, guandules pair well with many of our favorite ingredients, and are easy to cook.
Guandules feature in some of our favorite Dominican dishes. Check out these amazing guandules recipes:
Guandules con coco
One of our most popular legume dishes, this creamy, flavorful, rich guandules con coco is a staple of Samaná's kitchen. It is my favorite pigeon pea recipe with a mixture of guandules, coconut, and pumpkin that tastes like a breezy Caribbean day.
Moro de guandules
You can make the popular traditional one, or the Samaná version with coconut, so get your caldero ready. A lovely vegan dish, this arroz con guandules dish can be served with some veggies, or as a side dish with Dominican chicken, Dominican beef, or Dominican pork.
Sancocho de guandules
A flavorful stew based on the popular Sancocho de habichuelas, you'll love a large pot of tasty broth, tender pork, and flavorful guandules. Puro sazon dominicano!
Chambre or chapea
A humble Dominican stew made with our favorite grain (rice), and a combination of meats, beans, and pigeon peas. Made with a tasty sofrito base and a wonderful combination of spices, you'll see why we like it so much.
Pavo relleno de moro de guandules
Pavo used to be a staple of the Dominican holiday celebration, and our blog is bringing it back in a spectacular dish that combines it with an amazing arroz con gandules stuffing. Great for Christmas, New Year, and Leftovers Days.
What are guandules?
Pigeon peas (Cajanus cajan), known in English as pigeon peas and gandules in Puerto Rico, is a type of legume native to the Indian subcontinent and popular in the Spanish Caribbean.
The flavor of pigeon peas has been variously described to me as "nutty" or "ashy". I would describe the flavor more as "smoky." The closest thing to another legume I can think of in terms of flavor is mung beans.
Pigeon peas are apparently also very popular in Southern India.
Guandules / gandules.
Guandules vs gandules
Would you be shocked if I tell you it's... neither?
In one of those "How did that start?" cases, the neighboring countries of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic spell this differently. So what does RAE (Royal Academy of the Spanish Language) say?
Gandul is used to describe "a lazy person," "an ancient Moroccan soldier," or "an individual from certain primitive tribes."
So, it is "guandul"!
Well, not so fast. That word is not listed in the RAE dictionary. A bit of research elucidates it: The proper word for one pea is guandú, not guandul; the plural then is actually guandúes – or guandús!
So, we're all wrong.
But, go ahead, keep calling it whatever you did before; both Dominicans and Puerto Ricans will understand.
How to cook guandules
You can buy guandules dry, canned, or freshly shelled (or unshelled). Each has different cooking techniques to arrive at a similar result.
Some people also boil shelled beans before cooking them, but I prefer just to sauté them with the sazón. Whichever method you prefer is OK.
Check the recipes above for specific instructions.
Guandules enlatados (canned)
While I always prefer freshly shelled or dry-then-boiled guandules – in that order z – sometimes all I can do is grab a can of guandules from the supermarket to jump-start my lunch or dinner.
Many people prefer to drain the liquid from the can, whether because they do not like the flavor, or because they are on a low-sodium diet. You can do so if you want. Check the recipes above for specific instructions.
Boiled or guisado guandules are perfect for freezing. To thaw, leave them in the fridge overnight, or heat in the microwave.
Guandules are rich in protein, and 100 grams of guandules contain 22 grams of protein, 343 Calories, 1.5 grams of fat, zero cholesterol, 17 milligrams of sodium, 1,392 milligrams of potassium, and 63 grams of carbohydrates.
They are perfect for vegan and gluten-free recipes.
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How to Cook Dry, Fresh and Canned Guandules
- 3 cups raw guandules (pigeon peas), or 4 cups canned, or 3 cups dry
- Clean and rinse dry or freshly-shelled guandules. Some people prefer to drain and rinse canned guandules, but this is a matter of personal preference.
Cooking dry guandules
- Soak the guandules in water overnight, or at least a couple of hours.Discard the water in which the guandules soaked. Combine the guandules with ½ gallon [2 liters] of water. Boil over medium heat until the guandules are soft, and you can crush one if pinched (40 - 60 mins). Add water if it becomes necessary to prevent them from drying and burning.To reduce cooking time, you can boil in a pressure cooker. Combine with 4 cups of water and boil in the pressure cooker for 20 minutes, or until they become soft.Separate the guandules from the water in which it boiled. Set both aside.See the recipes above for specific instructions.
Cooking canned guandules
- If you are watching your sodium intake, discard the water in which they came (it already contains sodium, and I have not accounted for it in the nutritional information). If you don't mind the extra sodium, you can use the liquid later when the recipe calls for water to be added after adding coconut milk. See the recipes above for specific instructions.
Cooking fresh guandules
- You can sauté them in a sofrito with garlic, olives, onion, black pepper, cubanelle or bell peppers, capers, tomato paste, herbs, and salt.See the recipes above for specific instructions.
Nutritional information is calculated automatically based on ingredients listed. Please consult your doctor if you need precise nutrition information.
Check our post with video to make our amazing guandules guisados.
Guandu beans – better known as guandules or gandules – are mainly known as pigeon peas in English.
Guandules or gandules are not the same as green beans.
Pigeon peas and peas are different types of legumes with different flavor profiles and textures. Pigeon peas are known as guandules or gandules in the Caribbean and are popular in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.