Savor the Pura Vida with Traditional Costa Rican Gallo Pinto


Gallo Pinto is the quintessential Costa Rican dish, a staple at breakfast tables across the country. This simple yet flavorful combination of rice and beans reflects the essence of Costa Rican ‘Pura Vida’ lifestyle. Follow this guide to bring a taste of Costa Rica’s pura vida to your kitchen.


The success of Gallo Pinto lies in its fresh and wholesome ingredients.

  • 2 cups cooked rice (preferably leftover from the previous day)
  • 2 cups cooked black beans with some of their broth
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2-3 tablespoons Lizano sauce or Worcestershire sauce
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil for sautéing


Creating authentic Gallo Pinto is all about layering flavors from simple ingredients.

Sauté the Vegetables:

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic, sautéing until the onion is translucent.

Combine Rice and Beans:

  1. Stir in the cooked rice and beans, along with the bean broth, to the skillet.
  2. Season with cumin, coriander, ginger, and Lizano sauce. Mix well.

Final Touches:

  1. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is heated through and the liquid is absorbed.
  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Garnish with fresh cilantro before serving.

FAQs: Common Questions About Making Gallo Pinto

Gallo Pinto is a beloved dish with many variations. Here are some FAQs to guide you.

Can I use canned beans?

Yes, canned beans are a convenient alternative, but try to use ones without added flavors.

What if I can’t find Lizano sauce?

Worcestershire sauce is a good substitute, though it will slightly alter the taste.

Can I add protein?

Traditionally served with eggs, but you can also add cheese, sour cream, or even leftover shredded meat.

Is Gallo Pinto vegan?

Yes, if you omit any animal products and use a vegan Lizano sauce alternative.

How long does Gallo Pinto last?

It can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and reheats well.


Gallo Pinto is more than just a dish; it’s a celebration of Costa Rican culture and a testament to the beauty of simplicity in cooking. This guide will help you create a dish that’s hearty, nutritious, and full of flavor.

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