Recipe: Gallo Pinto

A Costa Rican Staple

Gallo Pinto is a Costa Rican breakfast staple. Like many Latino cultures, it is, well – rice and beans. This combination of protein and whole grain is a very satisfying way to start the morning and a great way to utilize leftovers. I recommend serving it Tico style – with a egg on top!
It can also be wrapped up in a corn tortilla, or covered in your favorite salsa. This recipe comes from the Feb. 2007 issue of the McDougall Newsletter.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes (need cooked rice) Cooking time: 15 minutes Servings: 4

  • ¼ cup vegetable broth or water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans black beans, drained (liquid reserved) and rinsed
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper


Place the water in a large non-stick frying pan and add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently until onion softens and begins to stick to the bottom of the pan. Add a bit more water or broth and repeat until onion begins to stick again. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Add a bit of the reserved liquid from the beans to make the rice look “dirty”, if desired. Cook until heated through. Serve hot with salsa on top.
Hint: To be more authentic, you can cook dry black beans in water to cover until tender (about 3-4 hours). You will need about 3 cups of cooked black beans. Save some of the cooking liquid to mix with the beans and rice.

1 thought on “Recipe: Gallo Pinto

  1. I,m very sorry but. . . EEEwwwww. Who ever wrote this recipe has not lived with native Costa Ricans. I live here on the Nicoya Peninsula and learned how to make Gallo Pinto from my Tico husband’s mother and grand mother. First we don’t have coriander here. You chop onion, red pepper, garlic if you like and celantro sometimes bits ofr left over meat. Saute it in a pan with a couple table spoons of oil. (I’ve tryed it with very little oil but the rice doesn’t get toasted right.) Then add a couple cups of well cooked red or black beans. You cook off any excess liquid then add about 3 cups rice. Last is the key ingreedient, salsa lizano, just one or 2 tablespoons or to taste. You keep it cooking for a bit until it the some of the rice is a bit crunchy. Traditionally it is served it with a an egg or fried white cheese. If it is done right it is great anytime of day I have a pan of it on my stove right now. If you don’t cook it enough it is like a weird rice piloff and . . . well . . . nasty. And for those of you out there who think this recipe isn’t all that healthy keep in mind that the people of the Nicoya Peninsula have the longest lifespan of anyone on the plant. http://vistadelmarproperties.com/youth.html

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