El Gallo Pinto (From Costa Rica- Beans and Rice)

Total Time
Prep 10 mins
Cook 10 mins

I was lucky enough to spend part of the summer in Costa Rica. This is the traditional dish that every Tico eats for breakfast, lunch, and probably dinner. I never got used to it for breakfast, but this is what I've come up with to imitate my travels there.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Fry onion and bell pepper in the vegetable oil, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and sauté a bit more.
  3. Pour in the beans and the stock, bring to a simmer.
  4. Avoid the mixture drying up.
  5. Add in the rice and stir thoroughly, gently.
  6. Don't mash the beans!
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Right before serving, stir in the coriander, and top with heavy cream if desired.


Most Helpful

This has to be my favorite way of making rice with beans, but I, too, can't imagine Gallo Pinto without Salsa Lizano. Last time I looked, it wasn't being imported to the States. But Half Moon Bay Trading Company makes an even better Lizano style salsa (they start with fresh veggies, not dried, and use a higher quality vinegar). Check out Pirates Blend Caribbean Condiment at http://www.halfmoonbaytrading.com. I've heard there are as many recipes for Gallo Pinto as there are Costa Ricans. To try a spicier version, substitute 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, and 1/2 tsp ground ginger for the fresh coriander in Alijen's recipe.

taokeema October 27, 2007

I made this for my boyfriend who spent 4 months in Costa Rica as a surprise. He loved it, and so did I! I nixed the heavy cream and substituted the Lizano salsa for a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce. (I heard that they're similar). Totally pleased and I can't wait to make it again!!

GFCB May 27, 2009

This is a great recipe! As a Costa Rican (aka tico), I love indulging in a healthy and tasty plate of pinto for breakfast. One vital thing you missed,however, for the wonderful flavor unique to a Tico's pinto, was Salsa Lizano. It's a completely veggie-based sauce (worchestershire is very similar) we use down in ticolandia. Just add a dash and stir it in while cooking the dish up on the stove. Try serving your pinto with fried or scrambled eggs ("Pinto con huevo") and a couple of tomato slices on the side. I also always top it off with a dollop of sour cream for "Pinto con natilla" to add some extra moisture. MMmmmmmm.....delicioso! Buen provecho.

isthisit October 08, 2004

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