Vegan Arroz con Pollo that will make you shout Viva Vegan!


After pairing up with Isa Chandra Moskowitz for several best-selling cookbooks, Terry Hope Romero decided to fly solo with Viva Vegan! It’s a collection of 200 Authentic and Fabulous Recipes for Latin Food Lovers, including this sample recipe for vegan arroz con pollo (aka Arroz con Seitan). We originally shared this recipe and review when her book launched in 2010, but we’ve given this post an update in honor of Cinco de Mayo, which is coming up!

Vegan Arroz con Pollo Recipe (Arroz con Seitan from Viva Vegan!)

Vegan Arroz con Pollo that will make you shout Viva Vegan!

Getting the best of this cookbook may require a trip to a Latin market (or at the very least, a good once over in the Latin section of your local grocer), but Terry has you covered with a thorough discussion of the “Vegan Latin Pantry” and a detailed shopping list.

Coming to the aid of free-from dieters, Terry provides and references numerous soy-free and/or gluten-free recipes (of course all of the recipes are dairy-free and egg-free). She also combines nutritious plant-based eats with pure indulgences for special cravings. Some of the satisfying recipes include Buttery Cookies with Dulce de Unleche (Alfajores!) and Crispy Fried Green Plantains.

The recipe chapters of Viva Vegan! are as follows:

  • Viva Vegan! By Terry Hope RomeroA Few Essential Latin Recipes
  • Salsas and Condiementos
  • Bocadillos, Snacks, and Appetizers
  • Ensaladas
  • Los Dos Amigos: Rice and Beans
  • The Vegan Asado: Seitan, Tofu, and Tempeh
  • Complete Your Plate: Vegetables, Plantains, and Grains
  • One-Pot Stews: Casseroles and Cazuelas
  • Super Fantastico Latin Soups!
  • For the Love of Corn: Arepas, Papusas, Tortillas, Tacos, and More
  • You, Too, Can Tamale
  • Empanadas
  • Drinks
  • Desserts and Sweets

This sample recipe hails from a few of those chapters as it blends a trio of recipes into one.

Special Diet Notes: Vegan Arroz con Pollo

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.

Vegan Arroz con Pollo
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A veggie tribute to the enduring Hispanic dish (arroz con pollo) that lets the chicken cross the road for yet another day. Steamed White Seitan (recipe in Viva Vegan!) or purchased seitan is lightly browned and cradled in lively yellow rice pilaf. Beer adds depth and richness to this dish but it’s not essential; veggie broth will do the job just as well. Serve with a green or cabbage salad.
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 4 to 6 generous servings
  • 12 ounces seitan, sliced into thick strips about 3 or 4 inches long
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Big pinch dried oregano
Sofrito and Arroz
  • 2 tablespoons Annatto-Infused Oil (see below)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1⁄2 pound yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1⁄2 pound green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2⁄3 cup plain tomato sauce
  • 1 cup light-colored Mexican beer or vegetable broth
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, or more as desired
  • 1 1⁄2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1 1⁄4 cups water or vegetable broth or a combination of the two
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen small green peas (petit pois, small sweet peas are best)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced small
  • 1⁄2 cup sliced pimiento stuffed green olives
  • 1⁄4 cup capers (optional)
  • 1⁄4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Prepare the seared seitan
  1. In a large bowl whisk together olive oil, lime juice, and dried oregano. Add the seitan strips, using tongs to toss and coat them with the marinade. Marinate for ten minutes, tossing occasionally.
  2. Heat a cast-iron skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat and generously coat with cooking spray or brush with peanut oil. Add a layer of marinated seitan strips, taking care not to crowd the pan.
  3. Fry seitan on each side for one to two minutes, flipping once (metal tongs work nicely here). Seitan should be crisp and dark on the edges but still look juicy. Remove from pan and set aside.
While preparing the seitan, prepare the sofrito
  1. In a large Dutch oven or enamel-glazed cast-iron pot with a tight-fitting lid, combine Annatto-Infused Oil, olive oil, and garlic over medium heat. Fry until the garlic is fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add the onion and bell pepper and fry uncovered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft and juicy, about 12 to 14 minutes.
  2. Stir in the tomato sauce, beer (or vegetable broth), dried oregano, cumin, and bay leaf and simmer for 4 minutes. Stir in the salt, rice, water or vegetable broth, peas, and carrots; cover the pot, and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove the lid, reduce the heat to a low simmer, and push seared seitan strips down into the rice mixture. Sprinkle sliced olives and capers, if using, over everything, cover the pot, and cook for 30 to 35 minutes or until rice is tender, fluffy, and all of the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Remove from heat, keeping the pot covered, and set it aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly. Add chopped cilantro and gently fluff the rice. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and serve right away.
Annatto-Infused Oil: Combine 2 tablespoons annatto (achiote) seeds and 1⁄2 cup mild vegetable oil (such as canola or grapeseed or light olive oil) in a small saucepan. Bring the oil to a simmer over medium-low heat, then lower the heat to low. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, until oil turns a very dark orange. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Using a fine-mesh metal strainer, strain the oil into a small, clean glass jar and cap tightly. Discard the seeds.

Annatto oil can be stored at room temperature and lasts almost forever.

This recipe is reprinted with permissions from Viva Vegan! by Terry Hope Romero.

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About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

1 Comment

  1. will be making this soon perfect for my after office meals will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya

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