Cajanus cajan

Pigeon Peas: Why You Should Try Them

Imagine uncovering a treasure chest in your own kitchen, loaded with pigeon peas, the superfood you’re missing in your kitchen pantry! These gems are a secret powerhouse of nutrition and flavour waiting to be discovered by culinary adventurers worldwide. In this journey through the legacy and versatility of pigeon peas, we invite you to open your palate to a world where tradition meets innovation, and every dish tells a story.



Recipe to try!


   2 cups goya pigeon peas, 

   1 large onion, diced

   2 cloves garlic, minced

   1 carrot, diced

   1 sweet pepper, diced

   1 cup diced pumpkin

   2 tablespoons vegetable oil

   2 tablespoons golden brown sugar

   1 can (400 g) diced tomatoes

   3 cups vegetable broth

   1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

   1 teaspoon paprika

   Salt and pepper to taste


                  When using goya pigeon peas drain and rinse them.

                  In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sugar and allow it to caramelize until it is a dark brown colour.

                  Quickly add the onion, garlic, carrot, sweet pepper, and pumpkin to the pot. Stir for a few minutes until the vegetables start to soften.

                  Add the goya pigeon peas to the pot along with the diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, thyme, paprika, salt, and pepper.

                  Stir well, then bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables and peas are tender and the flavours have melded together.

                  Adjust seasoning as needed, and if you desire a thicker stew, you can mash some of the peas and vegetables with the back of a spoon.

                  Serve hot, garnished with fresh thyme leaves. This stew is delicious on its own or served over rice or with a side of crusty bread.


   2 cups long-grain rice

   1 cup gungo peas ( goya pigeon peas), 

   1 can (400 ml) coconut milk

   1 onion, finely chopped

   2 cloves garlic, minced

   1 scotch bonnet pepper, whole (optional for heat)

   2 green onions, chopped

   1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

   1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

   3 cups water

   Salt to taste



                  When using gungo peas, drain and rinse them.

                  Rinse the rice in cold water until the water runs clear.

                  In a large pot, combine the coconut milk, water, gungo peas, onion, garlic, whole scotch bonnet pepper, green onions, thyme, allspice, and salt.

                  Bring to a boil, then add the rice and stir well.

                  Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer until the rice is cooked and all the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes.

                  Remove the scotch bonnet pepper and discard it. Fluff the rice with a fork before serving.

                  Serve hot, garnished with more chopped green onions if desired.


   1 cup goya pigeon peas, 

   2 cups jasmine or long-grain rice

   1 can coconut milk

   1 large onion, finely chopped

   1 red bell pepper, finely chopped

   2 cloves garlic, minced

   2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

   2 tablespoons vegetable oil

   3 cups water

   1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste or Sazon)

   1/4 teaspoon black pepper



                  When using Goya Pigeon Peas, simply drain and rinse them.

                  In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté until the onions are translucent.

                  Stir in the rice and cook for a few minutes until it is well-coated with the oil and has a slightly toasted aroma.

                  Pour in the coconut milk and water, then add the pigeon peas, cilantro, salt, and black pepper.

                  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

                  Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork before serving.

                  Garnish with additional chopped cilantro if desired and serve hot.

The Historical Significance of Pigeon Peas

Tracing the Roots

Pigeon peas, a true kitchen pantry superfood, known scientifically as Cajanus cajan, are no mere legume. With roots winding back to the heart of Africa, their journey across oceans has imprinted them into the culinary souls of continents. As they travelled, they whispered the secrets of sustenance and flavour to generations, finding their way into the heart of many traditional dishes and becoming an indispensable part of cultural ceremonies.

Cultural Cornerstone

From the sun-soaked fields of India to the vibrant coasts of the Caribbean, pigeon peas have earned their spot in your kitchen pantry as more than just sustenance; they’ve been a symbol of life’s celebrations. In Puerto Rico, no Christmas feast is complete without a steaming plate of Arroz con Gandules. In Africa, the humble pigeon pea has been the centrepiece of meals that brought communities together.

Nutritional Benefits

A Powerhouse of Nutrition

Beneath the humble exterior of the pigeon pea lies a nutritional dynamo. As a superfood, pigeon peas are a vegetarian’s dream, offering a meaty satisfaction without the meat. Rich in fibre, they stand guard over your digestive health, while their abundance of vitamins and minerals are the silent sentinels supporting your body’s well-being.

pigeon pea

The Everyday Superfood

Incorporating pigeon peas from your kitchen pantry into your diet isn’t just a nod to good taste, it’s an embrace of a healthier life. With their low glycaemic index, they’re a steadfast ally in managing blood sugar levels, making them a smart choice for anyone, especially those with diabetes.

Arroz con gandules
Stew Pigeon Pea
Gungo rice jamaica
Trini Pelau

Culinary Versatility

A Canvas for Flavours

The pigeon pea is a chameleon in the kitchen. It can slide into a spicy Jamaican Pigeon Peas and Rice with a fiery swagger or nestle into a Dominican Coconut Rice with the soothing whisper of the tropics. It can stand proud in a Trinidadian Stew Pigeon Peas or celebrate harmony in a Gluten-Free Vegetarian Pelau.

Recipes from Around the World

Let’s take a culinary tour with pigeon peas as our guide. We’ll savour the Puerto Rican Arroz con Gandules, where they dance in a pot with rice and a melody of spices. Then we’ll jet to Trinidad & Tobago for a Stew Pigeon Peas that sings with the warmth of the islands. We can’t skip Jamaica, where Pigeon Peas and Rice become a bold statement of flavour. And finally, in the Dominican Republic, we’ll indulge in a Coconut Rice that cradles pigeon peas in a tropical embrace.

Modern Twists on a Classic Ingredient

Today’s chefs, ever the explorers, have not overlooked pigeon peas, the superfood for your pantry. They are bringing this ancient ingredient into the modern age, pairing it with unexpected companions, and challenging our taste buds to a delightful duel of flavours.

Why Pigeon Peas Deserve a Spot in Your Pantry

The Ultimate Pantry Staple

If your pantry were a kingdom, pigeon peas would be the crown jewels. With their impressive shelf life and nutritional prowess, they stand ready to enliven your meals at a moment’s notice. Whether dried or canned, they are a testament to the saying that the best things in life are often the simplest.

Pigeon Pea dark

Prepping for a Flavourful Future

Sourcing pigeon peas is essential to harness the superfood potential in your pantry. Storing them is a breeze, and preparing them? Even easier. With a few simple steps, you can transform these peas into a feast for the senses.


In the symphony of your kitchen, let pigeon peas be the note that brings harmony to the dish. This article has been a serenade to the senses, a history lesson, and a culinary challenge rolled into one. The clear message: pigeon peas are the superfood you’re missing in your kitchen pantry. 

So, dear reader, take up the challenge. Let pigeon peas…