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Costa Rican-Style Gallo Pinto (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

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Gallo Pinto is a rice and beans dish with its origins in Central America. This take is inspired by my time living in Costa Rica and how I most frequently experienced this dish. It is so tasty and filling that I love to introduce it to others who may not have experienced it yet! You can also find this recipe in my book, The Vegetarian Family Cookbook.

a white plate with a mound of black beans and white rice

Once upon a time, I spent some time living in Costa Rica and this dish left its delicious imprint on me. It is so simple, yet so flavorfully complex at the same time. Bonus: it is healthy and budget-friendly, too!

What is Gallo Pinto?

Gallo Pinto means “spotted rooster” in Spanish due to the speckled appearance this dish takes on. Gallo Pinto is a traditional Central American dish with Afro-Caribbean roots. Despite slight variations by region, all versions of this dish contain rice and beans as the base.

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a white plate topped with costa rican gallo pinto beans and rice dish on a wooden aqua background

A Note on Salsa Lizano

Salsa Lizano is a condiment found on nearly every table in Costa Rica. It is now easily and affordably accessible thanks to the internet, but if you would rather not go that route, vegetarian Worcestershire sauce is very similar and does the trick. Traditional Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies, so make sure you purchase one labeled vegan or vegetarian. Alternatively, you can take a detour off the traditional route and enjoy this dish with any salsa or hot sauce of your choosing.

a a spoon grabbing a spoonful of gallo pinto topped with fresh cilantro leaves

How-to Make

What you'll need
Salsa Lizano
(1/4 cup)
Buy
Steps
1
In 2 tablespoons of oil, sauté onion, garlic and cilantro.
2
Add 1 can of black beans (liquid included) and 1/4 cup Salsa Lizano to the sautéed ingredients.
3
Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
4
Add 2 cups of cooked white rice and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
5
Cook for 3 minutes longer, stirring frequently.
6
Garnish with fresh cilantro, serve, and enjoy!
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a close up shot of the central american dish gallo pinto topped with cilantro on a white plate

If you try this recipe please let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, share this post, use Pinterest’s “tried it” feature, or take a photo, & tag me on Instagram and I’ll share it! Thank you so much! <3

gallo pinto recipe on white plate topped with cilantro

Gallo Pinto Recipe

Gallo Pinto is a rice and beans dish with its origins in Central America. This take is inspired by my time living in Costa Rica and how I most frequently experienced this dish. It is so tasty and filling that I love to introduce it to others who may not have experienced it yet! You can also find this recipe in my book, The Vegetarian Family Cookbook.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Entrées, Side Dish
Cuisine: Central American, Costa Rican, Latin American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Rice Cooking Time (if applicable): 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: Kristen Wood

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oil such as avocado oil or sunflower oil
  • 1 onion (white or yellow) diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans liquid included
  • 1/4 cup Salsa Lizano see notes in post for suitable replacements
  • 2 cups cooked white rice basmati or jasmine work well
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  • In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the oil, onion, and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Add the beans and Salsa Lizano to the skillet. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the cooked rice, chopped cilantro, and salt. Mix well and cook for 3 minutes longer, stirring frequently.
  • Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro before serving.

Notes

This recipe and many others can be found in my cookbook, The Vegetarian Family Cookbook, available wherever books are sold!

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 173kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 407mg | Potassium: 83mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 91IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg

Equipment

Salsa Lizano
White Rice
Black Beans, Canned
Have you tried this recipe?Please Rate + Comment Below!
About Author

Hi! I'm Kristen -- a mama, photographer, recipe developer and author of The Vegetarian Family Cookbook. I enjoy sharing both wildly creative and ridiculously practical vegetarian recipes that are approachable for all. Everything you see here is infused with a bit of nature, magic and good health. XO.

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