Puerto Rican Vegetable Side Dishes

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Puerto Rican vegetable side dishes are like colorful buddies for your main meal. They make your plate look pretty and taste delicious. Think of a big painting full of bright colors like yellow plantains, green yuca, and red peppers. They all mix to make your meal yummy and interesting.

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These veggie sides aren't just there to fill up space on your plate. They're a big part of Puerto Rican food culture. They show off the different influences that have shaped the island's cooking over the years. If you like trying new things, tasting Puerto Rican veggie sides is like going on a flavor adventure. 

an image of Maduros on a wooden table

So, grab a seat, and your fork, and get ready to explore the delicious food of Puerto Rico, where every bite is a taste of the island's culture and Caribbean spirit.

What are common side dishes in Puerto Rico?

Plantains are a big part of many dishes, like tostones (twice-fried green plantains) or maduros (ripe plantains fried until sweet and yummy). Yuca, a root veggie, is boiled or fried and served as a comforting side dish. 

People also enjoy sweet potatoes, called amarillos, either baked or mashed. Another side dish people like is viandas, which are different root veggies like taro, yautia, and ñame, boiled or fried. Salads with local veggies like avocados, tomatoes, and lettuce are also popular sides. 

What are Puerto Rican vegetables?

Some of the most popular vegetables in Puerto Rican cooking include:


Both green (unripe) and ripe plantains are widely used in Puerto Rican cuisine. Green plantains are often fried twice to make tostones, while ripe plantains are fried until sweet and caramelized to make maduros.

Yuca (Cassava)

This starchy root vegetable is boiled, fried, or mashed and served as a side dish or used in soups and stews.

Sweet Potatoes (Amarillos)

Sweet potatoes are baked, mashed, or fried and are enjoyed as a side dish or used in various recipes.


Viandas refers to a variety of root vegetables like taro, yautia (taro root), and ñame (yam). These vegetables are boiled or fried and served as side dishes or incorporated into main dishes.

Calabaza (West Indian Pumpkin)

Calabaza is a type of pumpkin used in Puerto Rican cuisine to make soups, stews, and side dishes. It has a sweet and creamy flavor.


Peppers, both sweet and spicy varieties, are used in Puerto Rican cooking to add flavor and heat to dishes. Common peppers include bell peppers and ají dulce.


Tomatoes are used fresh or cooked in sauces, stews, and salads to add flavor and acidity to dishes.

What is the most famous Puerto Rican dish?

One of the most famous and beloved dishes in Puerto Rican cuisine is arroz con gandules. This traditional dish consists of rice cooked with pigeon peas, seasoned with sofrito (a flavorful base made from peppers, onions, garlic, and herbs), along with various spices such as cumin, oregano, and bay leaves. It's a staple dish in Puerto Rican households, especially during holidays and special occasions, and it's deeply ingrained in the cultural identity of the island. 

Puerto Rican vegetable side dishes

Here are a variety of Puerto Rican vegetable side dishes that you should try!

Arroz con Gandules

Get ready to enjoy a delicious meal with this Arroz con Gandules Instant Pot recipe! It's a tasty Puerto Rican dish made with rice, pigeon peas, and yummy spices. Let the flavors blend together, and prepare for a flavorful taste at your dinner table!

Guineos en Escabeche

Guineos en escabeche, also known as Puerto Rican green bananas, is a beloved marinated side dish in Puerto Rico. It's a favorite during special occasions and holidays, but its refreshing taste is perfect for summer too.

Ensalada de Papa

Give a try to the lively Ensalada de Papa, a beloved Puerto Rican favorite filled with potatoes, red apples, eggs, onion, and a tangy mayo-vinegar dressing. This refreshing side dish is ideal for summer barbecues or hearty meals.


Treat yourself to the comforting delight of Maduros, fried sweet plantain slices with a creamy, soft center and crispy edges. Perfect as a side dish or a tasty snack, these caramelized bites add a hint of tropical sweetness to any meal.

Puerto Rican Stuffed Peppers

Get ready to savor the most mouthwatering Puerto Rican stuffed peppers ever! These peppers are bursting with savory goodness, filled with a flavorful meat mixture, and topped with gooey Monterey Jack cheese and tasty salsa criolla. You can whip them up easily in the oven, on the stove, or even on the grill. 

Stewed Pigeon Peas

Gandules Guisados or stewed pigeon peas is a bubbling pot filled with plump pigeon peas simmering in a rich, aromatic sauce infused with garlic, onions, peppers, and a medley of spices. Each spoonful is a symphony of flavors – the earthy sweetness of the peas, the warmth of the spices, and the tang of the savory sauce. 

Puerto Rican Beans and Potatoes

Puerto Rican beans and potatoes offers a flavorful and hearty dish featuring red beans, potatoes, and a variety of spices. This delicious recipe is a saucy and aromatic meal. It is sure to be a big hit with your family and want them asking for seconds.

Puerto Rican Green Salad with Red Onion

If you're craving a fresh and vibrant salad with a tropical twist, look no further than the Puerto Rican green salad with red onion! This delightful recipe combines crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, tangy red wine vinegar, and the flavorful kick of red onion for a taste sensation that will transport your taste buds to a sunny paradise.


Mofongo is like the king of Puerto Rican side dishes. It's super comforting and made by mashing together fried green plantains with salt, garlic, and olive oil. You can fill it with yummy stuff like shrimp, chicken, or beef, and every bite is a mix of different tastes and textures that make it really tasty.

Spicy Cabbage Puerto Rican Salad

This spicy cabbage salad is a colorful medley of crunchy cabbage, vibrant bell peppers, and lively jalapeños, all mingling together in a tangy dressing that's not afraid to bring the heat. With each bite, you'll experience a symphony of textures and tastes – the crisp crunch of the cabbage, the sweet pop of the peppers, and the fiery kick of the jalapeños, all perfectly harmonized with the refreshing zest of cilantro.


Pastelón is like a delicious puzzle – it has layers of sweet plantains, meat (usually beef), and cheese, all held together by a yummy egg and milk mixture, kind of like what you use for quiche. It's a mix of sweet and savory flavors that you just can't stop eating!

Zucchini en Escabeche

Zucchini en escabeche is vibrant slices of zucchini, soaking up the bold flavors of a tangy marinade, infused with aromatic herbs and spices. Each bite is a burst of freshness and flavor, with the crisp texture of the zucchini perfectly complemented by the zesty marinade.

Yuca with Garlic Sauce

Introducing yuca with garlic sauce, a delicious recipe that promises to take your taste buds on a flavorful journey! Yuca, also known as cassava, is rich in fiber and essential nutrients, making it a wholesome addition to any meal. And with the irresistible garlic sauce adding a burst of flavor, this side dish is sure to become a favorite among family and friends.

Puerto Rican Potato Salad

This Puerto Rican potato salad is a flavor explosion, packed with spices, aromatics, and even a touch of sweetness. This delicious side dish has made its way from Puerto Rico to the mainland for good reason. Get ready to taste the magic of this irresistible dish that will have you coming back for seconds!

Arroz con Habichuelas

Arroz con Habichuelas is a tasty mix of rice and beans cooked with sofrito and yummy spices. This classic dish really captures the essence of Puerto Rican cooking, giving you a warm and delicious meal that honors the island's cultural roots.

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