Tomato Seafood Rice is the ultimate Portuguese comfort food. A big pot of rice loaded with a variety of fresh seafood, tomatoes and vegetables! The sweetness of the seafood is complimented with the heat of pimenta moida (Portuguese hot pepper paste).
Portuguese Tomato Seafood Rice Recipe
Tomato Seafood Rice (Arroz de Tomato) is one of my favorite Portuguese dishes that my Mom makes. There are so many variations of this dish throughout Portuguese cuisine. Everyone adds their own special touch!
In my mom’s recipe the star ingredient is the addition of seafood. You will always find tomato rice as side dish at most Portuguese restaurants. It is a staple of Portuguese cuisine and often served with fried fish and grilled meats. It’s definitely a perfect Portuguese comfort food.
This elevated version is the ultimate side dish for almost any main course and I love to serve it with fried fish fillets (my recipe is linked here). Adding in seafood, such as shrimp, scallops, clams and imitation crab meat creates an ultimate tomato seafood rice dish that is not only a perfect side dish, it can be served as an entrée by adding any type of seafood you desire!
What is in Tomato Seafood Rice?
- My trick for an easy rice dish with guaranteed perfect rice is to use parboiled rice. If you (like me) are not a huge fan of cooking rice stove top then parboiled rice is a secret ingredient to keep in your kitchen.
- The rice is seasoned with onion, garlic, salt, paprika and pimenta. Fresh tomatoes (or canned) are cooked into the sauce and tomato paste brightens up the color with added flavor.
- Pimenta Moida is a Portuguese hot pepper paste made by grinding hot peppers into a watery paste. It is a classic ingredient in Portuguese cooking. It can be found in most grocery stores and specialty grocery stores. If you cannot find this you can substitute with your hot sauce of choice.
- There are many variations of tomato seafood rice and the mix of seafood is customizable. I love using a mix of shrimp, scallops, clams and imitation crab.
How to Make Portuguese Tomato Seafood Rice
Full Printable Recipe at Bottom of Page
1 Prepare seafood of choice. Peel and devein shrimp. If using canned clams, strain juice and set aside. Chop imitation crab meat into cubes. If using scallops slice in half or use bay scallops and keep whole.
2 In a large pot, add in olive oil. Sauté onions and garlic until slightly tender. Add in paprika and salt and continue to sauté for another minute.
3 Add in tomatoes and continue to sauté on medium heat until they are softened pressing on them gently.
4 Stir in hot pepper paste and sauté for 1 minute. Feel free to add additional hot pepper paste if you prefer a spicier rice.
5 Stir in tomato paste and sauté for 1 minute.
6 Add in the rice and sauté for another minute until all rice is coated in the tomato mixture.
7 Pour in the water and the reserved clam juice, if using. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat for approximately 8 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
8 Once most of the liquid has been absorbed, mix in the seafood and stir until evenly incorporated. Add in the vegetables. Cover and continue to simmer on low heat until any uncooked seafood and rice is completely cooked, approximately 5 minutes. You may add additional water at this point if needed.
Stir in fresh chopped parsley. Serve and enjoy!
Every Portuguese household and restaurant has their own way of making tomato rice.
- Basic Tomato Rice
- For a basic tomato rice without vegetables or seafood simply follow the recipe as normal but omit the vegetables and seafood
- Vegetable Tomato Rice
- For a simple side dish without the seafood follow the recipe as normal but omit the seafood. Feel free to add an additional 1-2 cups of diced vegetables of choice
- Seafood Tomato Rice Variations
- My favorite seafood mix to use for this rice is shrimp, scallops clams and imitation crab, however you can add any seafood of choice
- My aunt makes an amazing tomato seafood rice with with chunk of white fish, crab legs, mussels, and clams.
- Cut white fish (basa, sole, haddock, etc.) into large cubes. Follow my recipe as normal and add in the fish at the same step of adding in the seafood.
- Steam crab legs, mussels and clams in a separate pot while the rice is cooking. Follow my recipe as normal and add in the steamed seafood when you add in the vegetables so they do not overcook.
Can this be Made in Advance?
YES! Tomato seafood rice is even better the next day as the flavors have developed even more overnight. Follow the recipe as normal but do not stir in the fresh parsley at the last step. Allow the rice to cool and store in the fridge in the same cooking pot overnight. Remove the pot from the fridge 30 minutes before reheating. Reheat on the stove on medium-low for 10-15 minutes and add stir in a 1/2 cup of water (the rice will thicken overnight in the fridge). Stir the rice every few minutes to ensure it is evenly heated through. Stir in the fresh parsley and serve!
Looking for More Easy Seafood Dishes?
Try some of my favorites!
- Portuguese Mussels – served in a spicy tomato sauce this recipe comes together in minutes and will also be devoured in minutes!
- Coquilles St. Jacques – creamy shrimp and scallop shells! One of the most savory and delicious recipes. Baked in shells or ramekin with mashed potatoes and cheese.
- Fish Tacos – with an easy lime crema, mango salsa and cabbage slaw! Change up your weekly Taco Tuesday dinner with this recipe.
Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, may earn me a small commission.
Tomato Seafood Rice Portuguese
- olive oil, for cooking
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp salt, or to taste
- 2 tomatoes medium sized, cubed and seeded (or 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved), or 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp pimenta moida, Portuguese hot pepper paste
- 1 can tomato paste, 5.5 oz
- 2 cups parboiled rice
- 4 cups water, plus juice from 1 can of canned clams (optional)
- 2 cups mixed seafood of choice, shrimp, scallops, canned clams (142 gram can, liquid reserved), imitation crab
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- Prepare seafood of choice. Peel and devein shrimp. If using canned clams, strain juice and set aside. Chop imitation crab meat into cubes. If using scallops slice in half or use bay scallops and keep whole.
- In a large pot, add in olive oil. Sauté onions and garlic until slightly tender. Add in paprika and salt and continue to sauté.
- Add in tomatoes and continue to sauté on medium heat until they are softened pressing on them gently.
- Stir in hot pepper paste and sauté for 1 minute. Feel free to add additional hot pepper paste if you prefer a spicier rice.
- Stir in tomato paste and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add in the rice and sauté for another minute until all rice is coated in the tomato mixture.
- Pour in the water and the reserved clam juice, if using. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat for approximately 8 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once most of the liquid has been absorbed, mix in the seafood and stir until evenly incorporated. Add in the vegetables. Cover and continue to simmer on low heat until any uncooked seafood and rice is completely cooked, approximately 5 minutes. You may add additional water at this point if needed.
- Stir in fresh chopped parsley. Serve and enjoy!
• While the rice is cooking, stir the rice a couple of times. Even though the rice is cooking on low, you still run the risk of the rice sticking to the pot. The occasional stir will help keep this from happening.
• The end result is very much a personal preference. Some people like it a little dryer and fluffy while some like it a little wetter. Once the rice is cooked, you can add a couple of tablespoons of water if you prefer more moisture.
• If you like seeing more pieces of tomato in your rice, feel free to add in more. You can also substitute with canned whole or diced tomatoes.
Monday 16th of January 2023
All your recipes look so delicious. I look forward to making this one and many others you show. Thanks for posting them!
Lagatta à Montréal
Sunday 13th of November 2022
Yes, I'm familiar with this dish. I'll limit the tomato as one of my friends has an acid reaction to it, and use some piri piri sauce for a bit of heat. I did pre-cook a pot of rice last night (basmati). I live in our Petite Italie, and as you know, our Little Portugal is directly south along Boulevard St-Laurent: "The Main".
I'm a bit older than you, so this will be a main dish (no entrée before) for a good, simple meal for me and any friends who drop in. I love fish and seafood; you could pour in a bit of white wine (nothing fancy) in lieu of the last bit of water.
Lagatta à Montréal