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.
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. It 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.
📖 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.
🔪 How-to Make Gallo Pinto
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💭 Top Tips
Want additional protein? This is delicious topped off with a fried egg or vegan egg.
Want some spice? Saute some favorite chiles (peppers) alongside the garlic and onions.
Want a touch of sweet? Serve with some sweet sauteed plantains.
Other great additions: sour cream, guacamole, warm corn tortillas.
If you would like to try another delicious rice and beans dish, head a little further north for this delicious Morisqueta recipe from Broke Bank Vegan!
Gallo Pinto Recipe
- 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
- 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.