costa rican gallo pinto recipe

Gallo Pinto (Costa Rican Beans and Rice)

Traditionally served with breakfast alongside fried or scrambled eggs, Gallo Pinto is a hearty and delicious traditional Costa Rican dish. It’s a cinch to prepare, too!
Course Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine Costa Rican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 to 10 servings
Calories 165kcal
Author Amanda Biddle


  • 2 tablespoons light-tasting oil (vegetable, mild olive, canola)
  • 1 red bell pepper , chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion , chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 cups cooked black beans , in 3/4 cup reserved cooking liquid*
  • 1/4 cup Salsa Lizano **
  • 3 cups cooked rice , preferably, day-old and refrigerated
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Sauté chopped bell pepper and onions until peppers are soft and onions are translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
  • Add black beans, reserved cooking liquid, and Salsa Lizano, stirring to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes, until slightly thickened and little bit of the liquid is evaporated. Gently stir in cooked rice and cook until heated through and most of the liquid is absorbed, but not dry, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in chopped cilantro. Season to taste with additional Salsa Lizano (we added about a tablespoon extra).


*Low-sodium canned beans in their liquid can be substituted here if time is of the essence. But, if you do have the time to soak and cook beans from dried, the flavor and texture will be a big reward!
**Salsa Lizano is essential to this dish. It's available in some Latin markets, much to my pleasant surprise, in the International aisle at my local grocery store, and can be ordered online.
If you're absolutely unable to locate Salsa Lizano, you can make this recipe with Worcestershire Sauce, but the flavor will not be traditional. If using Worcestershire Sauce, add ground cumin to the rice to bring some of the smokiness of the Lizano to the dish (start with 1/2 teaspoon and increase, to taste, from there).


Calories: 165kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 3g | Sodium: 251mg | Potassium: 273mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 505IU | Vitamin C: 22.7mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1.5mg