This Costa Rican gallo pinto recipe is traditionally served at breakfast alongside eggs, coffee and tortillas. We combine black beans and white rice with red bell pepper, cilantro, onion and Salsa Lizano. Perfectly pura vida!
About This Recipe
Gallo Pinto is literally translated as “spotted rooster” and it’s a combination of traditional black beans and white rice. Sometimes we use red beans, but it’s generally made with black. Just consider this Costa Rican rice and beans.
A traditional Costa Rican breakfast starts off with a plate of fresh fruit. Next- freshly made gallo pinto served alongside eggs (fried or scrambled), white cheese (queso fresco), sour cream (natilla), fried sweet plantains, (maybe a little avocado,) freshly made corn tortillas and of course coffee. Oh and extra Salsa Lizano!
Related post: What Is Salsa Lizano From Costa Rica
Lovingly called “pinto” for short, you can also find this dish on lunch and dinner menus alongside freshly braised meat. Sometimes we substitute gallo pinto for rice and beans in a Costa Rican casado.
Basically, if you visit Costa Rica and don’t see gallo pinto- you might want to check if you went to the right country.
The exact origin of Gallo Pinto is a great debate- because Nicaraguans also claim gallo pinto as their national dish. And being neighbors who don’t exactly get along and both claim gallo pinto as their national dish?
Not a good idea to question to ask “where did gallo pinto originate?” unless you want to start a huge debate. In case you were wondering- I’m team gallo pinto = Costa Rica.
Gallo Pinto Recipe – Costa Rica
Yield- 4 servings
Gallo Pinto Ingredients
- 2 cups cooked white rice
2 cups cooked black or red beans
1/4 cup bean broth or water
1/4 cup yellow onion finely chopped
1/4 cup red pepper finely chopped
1/8 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
1 tbsp Salsa Lizano
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp vegetable oil
How To Make Gallo Pinto
(These instructions assume you have already done the first two steps- cook the rice and beans ahead of time.)
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, pepper, cilantro and salt. Lightly cook until the onion is translucent. You have just made sofrito!
Add the beans with broth and toss with the spices and oil. Add the Salsa Lizano.
Add the cooked rice to the skillet and toss until well combined with the beans and spices. Heat thoroughly and serve- preferably with fried eggs, warm corn tortillas and a hot cup of Costa Rican coffee!
Once I tried to add garlic to our gallo pinto and my Costa Rican husband was scandalized- scandalized. Don’t do that. It gives you bad breath in the morning, apparently.
You can substitute canned black beans for the fresh. Just cut the amount of salt in half unless using low sodium beans.
We often substitute red beans or red kidney beans for the black- you can do freshly cooked or canned.
Some people say you can just substitute Worcestershire sauce for the Salsa Lizano. I think it’s totally different, but if you can’t get Lizano in time, go on and give it a try.
Note that if you travel to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica you can expect to find the Costa Rican dish called “Rice and Beans.” It’s not the same as pinto because it’s made with coconut milk instead of Salsa Lizano. It’s delish!
We serve this with fresh white cheese slices (Costa Rican cheese isn’t available in most of the US, but you can use a Mexican queso fresco and it will be very similar.
We eat this with fresh corn tortillas, natilla (sour cream), freshly fried sweet rice plantains and a fried egg.
I love to eat gallo pinto with our favorite shredded beef in red sauce.
Other popular traditional Costa Rican recipes:
- Costa Rican Shrimp and Rice Recipe
- Costa Rican Arroz con Pollo Recipe
- Costa Rican Vegetable Beef Stew Recipe – Olla Carne
Can I make gallo pinto ahead of time? – Yes. You can then heat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
How long does this keep? – You can keep gallo pinto for up to a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Is gallo pinto healthy? – I think it’s pretty healthy. Some studies have said that rice eand beans together are the perfect food. It’s not high fat, high sodium or
- 2 cups cooked white rice
- 2 cups cooked black or red beans
- 1/4 cup bean broth or water
- 1/4 cup yellow onion finely chopped
- 1/4 cup red pepper finely chopped
- 1/8 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
- 1 tbsp Salsa Lizano
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- (These instructions assume you have already done the first two steps- cook the rice and beans ahead of time.)
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, pepper, cilantro and salt. Lightly cook until the onion is translucent. You have just made sofrito!
- Add the beans with broth and toss with the spices and oil. Add the Salsa Lizano.
- Add the cooked rice to the skillet and toss until well combined with the beans and spices. Heat thoroughly and serve- preferably with fried eggs, warm corn tortillas and a hot cup of Costa Rican coffee!
Once I tried to add garlic to our gallo pinto and my Costa Rican husband was scandalized- scandalized. Don't do that. It gives you bad breath in the morning, apparently.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 281Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 704mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 7gSugar: 3gProtein: 13g
Please double-check with your favorite nutrition calculator.
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