Naihomy’s Arroz con Pollo Healthy Food Flip

arroz con pollo healthy

Arroz con pollo is on our top-5 list of favorite dishes here at Famila Kitchen. It’s comida Latina at its most comforting—and newly healthy, thanks to this updating of the traditional dish. We asked one of our favorite Dominican cocineras and Familia Kitchen Healthy & Delicioso editor Naihomy to do her food-flip thing—and whip up this version of arroz con pollo. It’s hearty and saludable.

Adios white rice—hola brown rice and quinoa. Naihomy upped the amount of vegetales and worked hard to keep the dish savory and low-salt. She also uses a whole chicken, adding more low-fat white meat to the final mix and making this flip a hit in our Healthy & Delicioso section of recipe makeovers.

Naihomy’s Food Flip: Healthy Arroz con Pollo

Recipe by Naihomy Jerez
4.0 from 6 votes
Cuisine: Puerto Rican


Prep time


Cooking time




  • Prep Your Chicken
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into small pieces

  • 1 ½ tsp pink Himalayan salt

  • 1 tsp black pepper

  • ½ tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp oregano

  • 1/4 tsp cayenne powder

  • 1/4 tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

  • For Your Rice
  • 2 cups long-grain brown rice (soak in water for 2 to 3 hours ahead, if possible)

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, tri-colored or regular

  • 2 cup frozen peas and carrots

  • 2 Tbsp cilantro (extra for garnish)

  • 2 Tbsp red onion

  • 2 Tbsp red pepper

  • 2 Tbsp green pepper

  • 2 Tbsp cubanelle pepper

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 3 cups water


  • First, El Pollo—the Chicken
  • Wash the chicken. Cut into 8 to 10 small pieces.
  • Make your marinade: Add the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, cayenne, cumin, and raw apple cider vinegar to the chicken and mix well.
  • Let the chicken pieces marinate for 1 hour, minimum and even better overnight in your refrigerator.
  • When the chicken is marinated, place a large caserola or large pan on medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Let it warm for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the chicken pieces as fast as possible, being careful not to get burned with the oil. Immediately cover the pot with a lid for a few seconds as the chicken settles in.
  • Remove the lid and spread the chicken evenly as it cooks over high heat.
  • After about 8 minutes, stir the chicken to make sure it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Turn so that all sides brown.
  • After about 15 minutes of the chicken cooking at high heat, lower the fire, remove chicken from the pot, and set to aside.
  • Onto the Rice—and Quinua
  • Rinse both the rice and quinoa and set aside.
  • Add olive oil to the same pan where you cooked the chicken, now set to low heat. Leave all of the brown bits in, as they will add to the flavor.
  • Add onion, all peppers, and garlic. Stir and let it cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add salt, black pepper, oregano, and tomato paste and stir until well combined. Cook for a minute or two.
  • Add 3 cups of water, raise the heat to high, and let the water come to a boil.
  • Add your rinsed rice and quinoa to the boiling water.
  • Add cilantro and stir.
  • Rinse frozen carrots and peas and add to pot—mix all ingredients well, and let it come to a boil.
  • Continue to let the mixture boil until the water begins to evaporate. Once enough of the water has evaporated, you will see holes from the boiling water start to open in the rice and a very thin layer of water on top of the rice.
  • Add the chicken with its jus back into the pot. Let the chicken sit on top of the rice and water. Lower heat all the way to low. Cover the pot tightly and leave it covered for about 35 minutes.
  • After about 35 minutes, stir the chicken into the rice below it. Make sure to mix everything in the entire pot. This is a good time to check if the rice has enough salt. If not, sprinkle a little bit more, keeping an eye on keep saludable.
  • And to keep your arroz con pollo as flavorful as possible without adding salt, feel free to add an extra dash or two of your spices, like garlic powder and oregano.
  • Tightly cover the pot again for another 15 minutes on low heat.
  • Give the whole pot one final big stir. Garnish with a final sprinkling of chopped cilantro. Buen provecho!


  • When rinsing your rice and quinoa, use a strainer. It makes it easier than washing the tiny grains in a large bowl.

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