If you’ve been to Costa Rica, you must have tasted Gallo Pinto. This traditional breakfast is simple to make. All you need are rice, beans, cilantro, onion, and green pepper.

I’ve learned this recipe from a Costa Rican friend. Here are the ingredients and methods of making delicious Gallo Pinto.

Ingredients Of Gallo Pinto

This recipe makes four servings.

Main Ingredients

8 tablespoons Salsa Lizano

2 cups cooked black beans

1/2 cup broth of cooked black beans

4 cups cooked long grain rice

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup chopped white onion

1 chopped sweet pepper

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1 teaspoon butter or oil

Optional ingredient

Chicken consomme cube

The main ingredient is Salsa Lizano, a condiment that gives a slightly sweet and tangy flavor to your Gallo Pinto. I suggest that you don’t substitute it with other sauces because it won’t give that Costa Rican authentic taste.

You also need cooked beans and long grain rice. I recommend that you make your own beans in a slow cooker because you’ll need some of the tasty broth in the recipe but if you don’t have the time, use canned beans. Never use sticky rice to substitute for long grain rice because it won’t work well.

Chicken consomme cube is an optional ingredient for extra flavor. If you’re vegan, then it’s totally fine to skip this ingredient. It all boils down to personal preference.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • On high heat, fry the garlic for about 2 minutes in a deep frying pan or pot.
  • Reduce the heat and add butter, pepper, cilantro, and onion. Saute for a few minutes.
  • Once done, add the beans, broth, and Salsa Lizano. Depending on your taste, you can add more Salsa Lizano. Bring to a boil.
  • After a minute or so, lower the heat and add the rice.
  • Simmer for half an hour. Mix occasionally until all the extra liquid is absorbed.
  • Add the fresh cilantro. Serve and enjoy!

Gallo pinto serves well with eggs, toast or tortilla, plantains, and cheese during breakfast. You can experiment and pair it with anything you want. Don’t forget your hot cup of aromatic Costa Rican coffee.

Final Thought

You’ll notice that some areas don’t use many vegetables in their pinto while some areas do. Again, this boils down to personal taste. Most restaurants use a few vegetables but if you have a lot of vegetables, then use them. No matter how you modify the recipe, you should always have these three ingredients: onion, sweet pepper, and cilantro.

Gallo pinto is a nice vegetarian dish so you can have this whenever you visit Costa Rica or simply at the comfort of your home. For variety, you can pair Gallo pinto with plantains or avocado. Delicious!

If you enjoyed this recipe, check out the Costa Rican version of Beef Stew – called Olla de Carne!  It does wonders to you when you are feeling sick and is preferred over chicken soup.