Spain on a Fork > All Recipes > Main Dishes > Spanish Civil War Rice | A Classic Recipe from Spanish History
All Recipes, Main Dishes / April 23, 2021

Spanish Civil War Rice | A Classic Recipe from Spanish History

Spain is a country that has a ton of history to it. All the way from the Roman empire & beyond, to the present day. Today, I will show you how to make a dish that dates back to the Spanish civil war, which was from 1936 to 1939. We are talking Arroz a lo Pobre.

Spanish Civil War Rice
This Spanish Civil War Rice has the most incredible flavors to it, it´s super easy to make and it comes together in just 40 minutes. A historic dish where less is more and where simplicity meets extraordinary.

Spanish Civil War Rice
What makes this rice dish special, is that it´s made with the most humble ingredients. You know, after a civil war, a country suffers heavily, so people eat whatever they have on hand. This is, how this dish was born.

Spanish Civil War Rice
TIPS & TRICKS to Make this Recipe: Once you add the rice into the pan, give it one final mix and don´t mix it again. As it disrupts the way it cooks. I used a homemade vegetable broth, but you can use the store-bought stuff.

Spanish Civil War Rice

Key Ingredients & Cookware I used in this Recipe:

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Watch the Video Below on How to Make this Spanish Civil War Rice Recipe

5 from 1 vote

Spanish Civil War Rice | Arroz a lo Pobre Recipe

Course Main Course
Cuisine Spanish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 2
Author Albert Bevia @ Spain on a Fork


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 65 ml
  • 1 potato
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked Spanish paprika 2.30 grams
  • 1 cup uncooked round rice 200 grams
  • 1 1/4 cups jarred or canned cooked chickpeas 210 grams
  • 3 cups vegetable broth 710 ml
  • handful freshly chopped parsley
  • sea salt & black pepper


  1. Add 3 cups (710 ml) vegetable broth into a sauce pan and heat with a medium-high heat

  2. Heat a large fry pan with a medium-high heat and add in a generous 1/4 cup (65 ml) extra virgin olive oil

  3. Meanwhile, cut 1 potato (washed & patted dry) into 1/4 inch (.635 cm) thick rounds

  4. After heating the oil for 2 minutes, add in the slices of potato, making sure they´re all in a single layer, cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side

  5. While the potatoes are cooking, roughly dice 1/2 onion, roughly mince 4 cloves garlic, thinly slice 1/2 green & 1/2 red bell pepper and finely grate 2 tomatoes

  6. After cooking the slices of potato for 8 minutes (4 minutes per side), remove from the pan and set aside

  7. Using the same pan with the same heat, add in the diced onions and strips of green & red bell pepper, mix with the olive oil, after 3 minutes and the veggies are lightly sauteed, add in the minced garlic, mix and cook for 30 seconds, then add in 1 tsp (2.30 grams) sweet smoked paprika, quickly mix together, then add in the grated tomato and simmer for 2 minutes, or until the tomato has thickend up, then add in 1 cup (200 grams) uncooked round rice, 1 1/4 cups (210 grams) cooked chickpeas and season with sea salt & black pepper, mix together until well combined, then add in the hot vegetable broth, give it one final mix and add the fried potatoes back into the pan, in a single layer

  8. After simmer for 9 to 10 minutes and most of the broth has been absorbed, but there is still a little bit left, lower the heat to a low-medium, simmer for 3 to 4 minutes or until all the broth has been absorbed, then remove the pan from the heat and cover with a dishcloth, after 3 minutes uncover the pan, add to serving dishes and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley, enjoy!

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  1. Fred van Leeuwen

    Hello Albert,
    Since a couple of months i discovered your you tube posts and have already made some of your recipes. They are really tasty. Untill tonight….
    I thought this recipe would be less flavoury because of the rice, nevertheless i decided to make it. Well, after an hour and ahalf spending in the kitchen, I am not that fast, dinner was ready.
    I must say, it looked very nice. The parseley enlightened the pan with all the food, a feast for the eye. But the most omportant , the taste of it.
    It totally knocked us both of our feet within the first bite. So much flavour, so sweet. Really really delicious. Certainly a recipe to treasure.
    Here we now have Spain on a fork for dinner.
    I thank you for all your outstanding recipes. I am sure i will make many more of them.


    02 . Aug . 2022
    • Spain on a Fork

      So happy to hear that Fred! Thanks for the comment 🙂 Much love

      03 . Aug . 2022
  2. Anita

    Hi I’ve just found your channel and oh wow your recipes are amazing. I’m slowly looking at all the videos. One question you seem to only use round rice ? Is it possible to use basmati as that’s what I normally have home . ????

    02 . Aug . 2021
    • Spain on a Fork

      You can use basmati rice, though the rice to liquid ratio will be different, I believe it is 1 cup basmati to 2 cups liquid 🙂 much love

      02 . Aug . 2021
  3. pushparani weerasinghe

    I have a query … won’t the red & green peppers be cooked too much when the rice is finally done. IIsn’t it better to add them later, so that they retain their nive colour… Please reply I want to try this out. We eat rice daily and this dish is awesome ..

    09 . Jun . 2021
    • Spain on a Fork

      This is how it has always been made here in Spain and have never had a problem with the texture of the vegetables, but if you prefer, you can add them later 🙂 much love

      09 . Jun . 2021
  4. Grace

    Wow, I made your recipe and it was so tasty!
    Thanks Albert for sharing.

    31 . May . 2021
    • Spain on a Fork

      So happy to hear that! much love 🙂

      31 . May . 2021
  5. Stacy

    Hi, I’d love to make this, but I’m not sure about one thing — when you say “uncooked round rice” I am not sure what kind of rice that would be. Could you let me know what you recommend? Basmati or jasmine okay? Thanks!

    18 . May . 2021
    • Spain on a Fork

      round rice is very similar to medium grain rice or arborio rice, however, you can use basmati or jasmine if you like, but the liquid measurements will be different, just check the package instructions 🙂 much love

      18 . May . 2021
  6. Sandi Curry

    I can’t stand Chickpeas. What could I sub in place for them. Thank you

    25 . Apr . 2021
    • Spain on a Fork

      You can use any other type of bean you like 🙂 much love

      26 . Apr . 2021
  7. Ramya

    will be making this soon can i skip red and green bell pepper as am not a big fan of bell pepper perfect for my after office meals will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya

    23 . Apr . 2021
    • Spain on a Fork

      You can skip the bell peppers and replace with other veggies, such as zucchini and eggplant 🙂 much love

      23 . Apr . 2021

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