This recipe from Costa Rica was probably my favorite recipe to come out of the country! Gallo Pinto is a rice and beans dish from Costa Rica. It’s made with white rice, black beans, some peppers, and then the special ingredient, Lizano.
Hello Reader! I try my hardest to research recipes as best as I can before posting to ensure I am representing each culture correctly. If this recipe is from your country and I have made a mistake or you have suggestions for how to make it more authentic, I would love to hear! Please leave a comment below letting me know what should be different, and I will rework the recipe. It is always my intention to pay homage and respect to each cultural dish that I cook. Thanks for reading!
Gallo Pinto is a rice and beans dish normally eaten in Costa Rica for breakfast, but it can be enjoyed any time!
To make this dish, you mix white rice with black beans, and some of the liquid remaining from cooking the black beans. You then flavor it with Lizano salsa (if you have it, and Worcestershire sauce, if you don’t).
This hearty dish boasts a mild flavor (aka no spiciness, aka the perfect amount of spiciness for me) and will fill you right up. Plus, it’s so easy to make that it will become a new staple in your house!
Why Make this Recipe
- “Travel” to Costa Rica: Gallo Pinto is the national dish of Costa Rica, and can be found all around the country! If you’ve ever wanted to visit Costa Rica but don’t have the chance to do so, you can make Gallo Pinto from your kitchen at home! This will “transport” you to Costa Rica in no time.
- Uses up Leftovers: Gallo Pinto in Costa Rica is typically made with leftover beans and rice from dinner the night before! If you’ve had a delicious taco night or made rice bowls recently and aren’t sure what to do with your leftover rice and beans, this recipe is the right move for you!
- A Unique Breakfast: I’m not sure about you, but where I grew up, breakfast was typically cereal, toast, or maybe pancakes on a special day! Rice and beans were typically reserved for dinner in my childhood, so it was a unique dish to have rice and beans topped with eggs in this breakfast recipe! It’s a dish I wouldn’t normally have tried, but I am so glad it’s in my breakfast repertoire now!
What Ingredients are In This Recipe?
- Salsa Lizano: Lizano is a Costa Rican condiment invented in the 1920s and is made with vegetables, spices, pepper, mustard, turmeric, sugar, and cornstarch. It is a very common ingredient in many Costa Rican dishes! You can order Lizano online if you can’t find it in the grocery store.
- Black Beans: I used a can of black beans for this recipe. It is important to make sure that you reserve the juice in the can of black beans as it provides quite a bit of flavor (and color) to the dish! If you want to use leftover black beans, you can do that as well! Alternatively, you can use dried black beans that you soak and boil. In this case, reserve a bit of the black bean juice as well.
- Bell Peppers: I chose red and yellow peppers for my Gallo Pinto as these are my favorite colors of peppers! You can choose to use whatever color bell peppers you’d like.
How to Make this Recipe
Step 1: Cook the rice
Use the package instructions to cook the rice. You can also cook your rice in the pressure cooker if you’d like!
Step 2: Cook the Vegetables
Drain the beans, but reserve the liquid from the can in a small bowl.
Add the oil to a large pan and heat it over medium high heat.
Add the onion, red pepper, and yellow pepper, and heat until they begin to soften (about 5 minutes).
Add the beans into the pan and stir until heated.
Step 3: Add Rice and Seasonings
Add the rice and stir with beans.
Add the salt, cumin, pepper to taste, and Lizano (or Worcestershire Sauce).
Pour in half of the reserved bean liquid from the canned beans. Stir until everything is heated through. Enjoy!
- If you don’t want to purchase Lizano, you can use Worcestershire as an easily accessible replacement!
- Make this recipe when you have leftover beans and rice from dinner the night before. It is absolutely delicious when topped with a fried egg, and creates a fantastic sauce to coat the beans and rice.
- If you want to make your recipe a little spicier, feel free to add any other types of chili peppers into the pan along with the bell peppers. A good choice to add some heat could be serrano peppers or jalapeño peppers.
How to Eat Gallo Pinto? How Often do Ticos Eat It?
In Costa Rica, Gallo Pinto is most commonly made from the rice and beans from dinner the night before. Costa Ricans often throw the ingredients in a pan in the morning, and serve it alongside eggs for a complete breakfast.
Though Ticos most commonly eat this dish for breakfast, they also eat it during other times of day as well. Gallo Pinto can also be enjoyed for lunch or dinner! Feel free to serve it with meat or vegetables for a balanced meal. I might recommend this Rum-Soaked Pork Tenderloin from Belize as a good choice!
Why is Gallo Pinto Called Gallo Pinto?
Directly translated, Gallo Pinto means “Spotted Rooster” in English. Nobody truly knows how the dish got its name. However, some speculate that that dish received its name because of its appearance.
The rice with the beans gives a “speckled” appearance that some would liken to the feathers of a spotted rooster!
Is This Rice and Beans Recipe Vegetarian?
If you’re a vegetarian and want to enjoy this famous dish from Costa Rica, you are in luck! This dish is 100% vegetarian (and vegan) friendly!
The main ingredients in this dish are rice, beans, peppers, and seasonings, which means that this can be enjoyed by almost anybody with dietary restrictions (gluten free, dairy free, meat free, etc).
Did you like this Rice and Beans Recipe? Maybe you want to try more Rice and Bean dishes from around the world. Check out these options!
- Red Beans and Coconut Rice from Belize
- Red Beans and Plantains from Burundi
- Pigeon Peas and Rice from the Bahamas
- Mango with Sticky Rice from Brunei
- 1 cup uncooked rice, cooked according to package
- 1 15 oz can black beans, drained, not rinsed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- ½ red pepper, chopped
- ½ yellow pepper, chopped
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- Black pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp Lizano, can substitute Worcestershire Sauce
- ½ cup Reserved black bean juice
- Cook the rice according to package instructions (or you can cook it in a pressure cooker if you have one).
- Drain the beans, but reserve the liquid from the can in a small bowl.
- Add the oil to a large pan and heat it over medium high heat.
- Add the onion, red pepper, and yellow pepper and heat until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add the beans into the pan and stir until heated.
- Add the rice, and stir with the beans.
- Add the salt, cumin, pepper to taste, and Lizano (or Worcestershire sauce). Pour in half of the reserved bean liquid from the canned beans. Stir until everything is heated through.
- Enjoy! Leave a comment on this page letting me know what you thought of the recipe.