Puerto Rican Rice Pasteles – Vegan

Puerto Rican Rice Pasteles

These Puerto Rican Rice Pasteles are a delicious vegan version of the traditional Puerto Rican pasteles. These are perfect for the holidays or any celebration.

What are Pasteles?

Pasteles can be hard to described. They are often compared to Mexican tamales but they’re really different. However, there are some similarities. Like the way of wrapping them and the hard work. Pasteles are a traditional dish in Puerto Rico. Generally, they are served during the holidays.

Some Facts About Pasteles:

  • The most common pasteles are the masa pasteles.
  • They are made with plantains, green bananas, yautia (taro root) and sometimes kabocha pumpkin.
  • Also, you can make yuca (cassava) pasteles.
  • Some people like them with ketchup on top, but at the same time some people hate it.  

puerto rican rice pasteles

My abuela used to make these pasteles regularly. As she got older it was hard for her to make masa pasteles, so she used to make rice pasteles instead.  I love rice, so without a doubt these pasteles are my favorite kind. I grew up watching my abuelita and tias making pasteles. Therefore I was intimidated by the process

I’m not going to lie, pasteles are hard to make. That’s why most people prefer to buy them by the dozen.

Rice pasteles are easier to make than masa or yuca pasteles. You can find the ingredients easily at any supermarket. 

This version of Puerto Rican Rice Pasteles is vegan. Regular pasteles are filled with chicken, pork or any other meat. I used a vegan meat replacement. The trick is to season your meat replacement the same way you would season your meat. After making these pasteles, I feel encouraged to make masa pasteles. 

Where rice pasteles originated? 

To beging with, rice pasteles originated in the town of Corozal, Puerto Rico. Although my family is from the town of Comerio, we are very close to Corozal.

Traditionally they’re smaller than regular pasteles. My version turned out the size of a regular pastel however I’m happy with the results.

In conclusion, If you give this recipe a try, let me know what you think! Leave a comment below. Also, don’t forget to take a picture and share it on my Facebook page or tag it #thehungrydragonfly on Instagram! I love seeing your creations!

Find my sofrito recipe tutorial on my Youtube channel https://youtu.be/F1StpYreNzo

Other Puerto Rican recipes you will love:


Vegan Quesitos – Puerto Rican Cream Cheese Pastries

Vegan Pepperoni Pizza Empanadas (Empanadillas de Pizza Vegan)

Coquito de Almendra –  Receta de Puerto Rico / Puerto Rican Coquito

Puerto Rican Rice Pasteles - Vegan

Puerto Rican Rice Vegan Pasteles are a delicious version of the traditional Puerto Rican pasteles.
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 1 hour
Course dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Puerto Rican
Servings 12


  • Food Processor
  • Large Pot
  • Medium bowl


Rice Masa

  • 2 cups medium or long grain rice
  • 2 cups veggie broth or water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp achiote oil - annatto seed oil

Achiote Oil - Annatto Seeds Oil

  • 6 tbsp annatto seeds *see notes*
  • 2 cups sunflower oil

Pasteles Filling

  • 2 tbsp annatto seeds oil
  • 1/2 cup sofrito *see notes*
  • 1 pack vegan meat replacement I used a plant-based chicken brand
  • 1 tsp oregano, dried
  • 1 tsp cumin, dried
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, diced
  • 1 packet sazon I used "Chuleria en Pote"
  • adobo seasoning, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp onion powder add more to taste
  • 1 tsp garlic powder add more to taste
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 2 Green plantains or yuca (cassava), shredded


  • Banana leaves, 12 -14 cut into 6x8 inches *see notes*
  • pasteles paper or parchment paper cut into 12 x 16 inches
  • butcher's twine cut 12-15 pieces 2 yards per piece


Achiote Oil - Annatto Seeds Oil

  • Over low-medium heat add oil and seeds. Do not overheat or it will turn green and bitter.
  • Stir for a few minutes until you see the oil changing to a red color. Turn off stove and let it cool completely before draining over a fine mesh strainer.

Rice Masa

  • In a medium bowl add rice, water and salt.
  • Let it sit for 2-3 hours or overnight.
  • Drain rice, add annatto oil and set aside.

Pasteles Filling

  • In a large saucepan over medium heat add oil and sofrito. Cook until fragrant for about 2 minutes.
  • Add the vegan meat replacement. Cook for a few minutes.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients one at a time.
  • Cook for about 15 minutes. Add more broth, if necessary.
  • Take 1 cup of the pasteles filling liquid and add it to the rice. Let the rice sit until it absorbs most of the liquid.
  • Using a fine shredder blade on your food processor or manual grater, grate the green plantains or cassava. Stir mixture into rice and let it sit until ready.
  • Get your banana leaves ready by washing them and drying with a paper towel.
  • Turn on your stove over low heat. Taking one leaf at a time, quickly heat both sides of the leaf over burner, or microwave leaves for 1 minute until pliable. Continue until all leaves are done. Wipe down leaves using a damp cloth.

Assembly *see video for reference*

  • Have your rice, filling, banana leaves, paper and twine ready. I recommend you to set everything on a big table and find a comfortable chair.
  • Scoop 1/2 cup of rice masa onto the banana leaf and spread out into a rectangle.
  • Place 1-2 tbsp of filling down the center of the rice masa.
  • Using the banana leaf fold the rice masa over the filling.
  • Bring the leaves ends together. Fold over twice to create a tight seal. Tuck the ends under. If the banana leaf breaks, don't worry we will fold it with paper.
  • Do the same wrap with the paper.
  • Tie pasteles like a present using the twine. You can boil them right away or freeze them for later.
  • Boil a large pot of water with salt to a boil, drop in pasteles. Boil for 45 minutes if they are fresh or 1 hour for frozen pasteles.
  • When pasteles are ready carefully using a pair of tongs remove them from water by the string. Put them on a plate with a paper towel, cut the twine, carefully unwrap it and enjoy!
Keywords Pasteles de arroz, pasteles de puerto rico, pasteles puertorriqueños, puerto rican pasteles, vegan puerto rican pasteles


puerto rican rice pasteles

3 thoughts on “Puerto Rican Rice Pasteles – Vegan

  1. Mariela, these look so intriguing! Love the rice base for them and if they are anything like tamales, I’m in!

    1. Thank you so much! They taste really different from tamales. If you like spicy food, you can add some to the recipe as well!

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