Gallo Pinto Recipe: A Delicious Vegetarian Dish from Costa Rica & Nicaragua

Gallo Pinto

Gallo Pinto Recipe: A Delicious Vegetarian Dish from Costa Rica & Nicaragua
Region / culture: Costa Rica, Nicaragua | Preparation time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 15 minutes | Servings: 4 | Vegetarian diet


Gallo Pinto
Gallo Pinto

Gallo Pinto is a traditional dish from Costa Rica and Nicaragua, made with rice and beans. It is a popular breakfast dish but can also be enjoyed at any time of the day. The combination of flavors and textures in Gallo Pinto makes it a delicious and satisfying meal.


Gallo Pinto has been a staple in Costa Rican and Nicaraguan cuisine for centuries. It is believed to have originated from African slaves who brought the tradition of combining rice and beans to Central America. Over time, the dish has evolved and become a beloved national dish in both countries.


How to prepare

  1. In a pan, sauté the onion and bell pepper for about 2 minutes. Then, add the red beans and the sauce. Let it cook for approximately 10 minutes over medium heat.
  2. Once cooked, add the cooked rice and mix well.


  • You can add cooked bacon or chorizo to the dish for extra flavor and protein. You can also use black beans instead of red beans for a different twist on the traditional recipe.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Make sure to cook the rice and beans separately before combining them in the pan.

- Use salsa Lizano sauce for an authentic flavor, but you can also use Worcestershire sauce as a substitute.

- Feel free to add other vegetables or spices to customize the dish to your liking.

Serving Suggestions

Gallo Pinto can be served with fried eggs, avocado slices, and a side of plantains for a complete meal. It is also delicious with a dollop of sour cream or hot sauce on top.

Cooking Techniques

The key to making a delicious Gallo Pinto is to sauté the vegetables until they are soft and fragrant before adding the beans and rice. This helps to develop the flavors in the dish.

Ingredient Substitutions

If you don't have salsa Lizano sauce, you can use Worcestershire sauce or a combination of soy sauce and vinegar as a substitute. You can also use any type of bell pepper or onion in the recipe.

Make Ahead Tips

Gallo Pinto can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Simply reheat it in a pan or microwave before serving.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Gallo Pinto in a bowl or on a plate, garnished with fresh cilantro or parsley for a pop of color. You can also drizzle some extra sauce on top for added flavor.

Pairing Recommendations

Gallo Pinto pairs well with a variety of dishes, such as grilled meats, seafood, or roasted vegetables. It is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed with many different foods.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftover Gallo Pinto in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat it in a pan or microwave until heated through before serving.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of Gallo Pinto typically contains around 300-400 calories, depending on the portion size and ingredients used.


Gallo Pinto is a high-carbohydrate dish due to the rice and beans. It provides a good source of energy and is a filling meal.


The oil used in cooking Gallo Pinto adds some healthy fats to the dish. It is important to use a good quality oil for cooking.


Beans are a great source of plant-based protein in Gallo Pinto. They provide essential amino acids and are a nutritious addition to the dish.

Vitamins and minerals

Gallo Pinto is rich in vitamins and minerals, especially from the vegetables like bell peppers and onions. These ingredients add flavor and nutrition to the dish.


Gallo Pinto is a gluten-free and dairy-free dish, making it suitable for those with food allergies or intolerances.


Overall, Gallo Pinto is a nutritious and balanced meal that provides a good mix of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.


Gallo Pinto is a delicious and nutritious dish that is easy to make and full of flavor. Whether you enjoy it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, this traditional recipe is sure to become a favorite in your household.

How did I get this recipe?

I remember the thrill of stumbling upon this recipe for the first time. It was a warm summer day, and I was exploring a bustling market in the heart of Costa Rica. The vibrant colors of the fruits and vegetables caught my eye, and the enticing aroma of spices and herbs filled the air.

As I wandered through the narrow aisles, I came across a small stand run by an elderly woman with weathered hands and a warm smile. She was flipping tortillas on a griddle, and the savory scent of beans and rice wafted from a large pot simmering on the stove.

Intrigued, I approached the woman and struck up a conversation. She told me that she was making Gallo Pinto, a traditional dish that was a staple in Costa Rican cuisine. She explained that it was a simple yet flavorful combination of rice and beans, seasoned with onions, bell peppers, and cilantro.

I watched as she deftly mixed the ingredients together, the colors blending harmoniously in the pot. The aroma was intoxicating, and my mouth watered in anticipation. I asked her if she would be willing to share her recipe with me, and she nodded with a twinkle in her eye.

As she dictated the ingredients and instructions to me, I scribbled furiously in my notebook, eager to capture every detail. She emphasized the importance of using freshly cooked rice and beans, as well as the precise ratio of spices to achieve the perfect balance of flavors.

After thanking the kind woman profusely, I returned to my kitchen with a newfound sense of excitement. I was determined to recreate the magic of Gallo Pinto in my own home, using the precious recipe I had acquired from the market.

I gathered all the ingredients and set to work, following the instructions carefully and savoring each step of the process. The familiar sounds and scents of cooking filled my kitchen, transporting me back to that sunny day in Costa Rica.

As the Gallo Pinto simmered on the stove, the flavors mingling and melding together, I felt a sense of accomplishment and pride. When I finally tasted the finished dish, my taste buds were greeted with a symphony of flavors - the earthy richness of the beans, the aromatic sweetness of the rice, and the bright freshness of the herbs and spices.

I knew in that moment that Gallo Pinto would become a beloved recipe in my repertoire, a dish that I would cherish and pass down to future generations. It represented not only a delicious culinary tradition, but also a connection to the vibrant culture and people of Costa Rica.

Over the years, I have made Gallo Pinto countless times, each batch a testament to the memories and experiences that inspired me to learn the recipe. Whether I am sharing it with family and friends or simply enjoying it on a quiet evening at home, the dish never fails to bring a smile to my face and a warmth to my heart.

And so, as I sit here penning these words, I am grateful for the serendipitous encounter that led me to discover the joys of Gallo Pinto. It is a reminder of the beauty and richness that can be found in the culinary traditions of different cultures, and a testament to the power of food to bring people together in shared celebration and appreciation.


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