Gallo Pinto (Beans and Rice)

Nanzaro learned to enjoy this beans and rice dish while he was on a school humanitarian trip to Costa Rica in spring this year.


The rice did not turn out as black as those Nanzaro had in Costa Rica. I used a mixture of chicken broth and the liquid from cooking the black beans to cook the rice. Perhaps I should use only the cooking liquid from the beans to gives the rice more colour.


  • 1 pound of dried black beans, soak in water overnight (or use canned ones for simplicity)
  • a small bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red or yellow sweet pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups dry whilte rice (I used basmati rice); do not wash
  • 3 cups of chicken stock or liquid from cooking the beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil for frying the Gallo Pinto


Missing from the ingredients is the black bean.

P/S: the cup I used to measure the rice and cooking liquid is the cup that came with a rice cooker. It is smaller than the regular measuring cup.

Source: Nanzaro found the recipe for me from the internet.


Gallo-Pinto-Beans-and-Rice-03Drain the beans and add fresh water to cover the beans (about 1 inch above the beans). Season with salt and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce heat to a very low simmer until the beans are tender (about 3 hours). Monitor the water so that it does not dry up.

Drain the cooked beans and reserve of the cooking liquid.

Gallo-Pinto-Beans-and-Rice-06Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a pot. Saute half of the chopped onion, sweet pepper and cilantro for 2 minutes.

Add the dry rice and saute for another 2 minutes.

Gallo-Pinto-Beans-and-Rice-07Add the dry rice and saute for another 2 minutes.
Gallo-Pinto-Beans-and-Rice-08Add the cooking liquid; I used 1 can of chicken broth and topped up the remaining liquid with the liquid from cooking the beans.

Bring it to a boil; cover and reduce heat to simmer on very low for 15 to 20 minutes until the rice is done.

Gallo-Pinto-Beans-and-Rice-12Once the rice is done, heat oil in a large pan. Saute the chopped onion and red peppers until fragrant.
Gallo-Pinto-Beans-and-Rice-14Add the beans and saute for a couple of minutes.

Add the rice and stir fry until mix thoroughly.

Garnish with cilantro just before serving.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Andy

    Loved this dish when I lived in Costa Rica for more than 9 years. The key here is Salsa Lizano. That’s what makes it taste authentic. I’m not sure about the basmati rice which has its own fragrance. Just plain long grain rice will do. The way I’ve seen it made is that the veggies go into the cooking with the beans so the flavor is all there. The rice is cooked separately and when you’re ready to serve, you mixed the two, with generous helping of the black beans which at this stage will have a lot of them separated from the bean cover. Think of the asian red bean soup, the inside mixed well with the rice is what imparts the taste, texture and color. Fried egg on top, and a side of plantain. Best breakfast in Costa Rica.

    I don’t think Salsa Lizano is available here but Worcestershire sauce works fine.

    Now try to make Arroz con Pollo 🙂

  2. Steve

    Agree with above. Salsa Lizano is the key. You can get it from Fresh Is Best (2972 West Broadway Vancouver).

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