Gallo Pinto Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Gallo Pinto

Natives say there are as many recipes for Gallo Pinto as there are Costa Ricans. This rice-and-beans dish, which translates as "spotted rooster," is eaten with gusto by the majority of the population every single day-often for breakfast-and there are those who eat it at every meal. Many Costa Ricans add several generous dashes of Salsa Lizano, probably only available in Costa Rica, although vegetarian Worcestershire sauce is a reasonable facsimile. There is a famous saying, "Wherever there is a Costa Rican, there is peace," but in Costa Rica, billboards proclaim, "Wherever there is a Costa Rican, there is Salsa Lizano."



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2 to 3 Tbs. canola or soybean oil
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1 medium-sized onion, peeled and finely chopped
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2 cloves garlic, minced
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3 cups cooked white rice
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2 cups cooked black beans, drained, rinsed and liquid reserved
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1 tsp. ground cumin
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1 tsp. ground coriander
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½ tsp. ground ginger
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2 to 3 Tbs. Salsa Lizano, or vegetarian Worcestershire sauce


  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat, and add onion. When onion starts to turn color, add garlic, and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until onion is golden.
  2. Stir in rice, beans and seasonings, combining well. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup liquid from canned beans, if desired, to make the rice "dirty." Cook until heated through, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Wine Suggestions

A white wine that would pair with the earthiness of the beans, spices and allium, as well as with the flair of the Salsa Lizano, would be one made from the Spanish variety called Albariño. Try Albariño Martin Codax.

Nutrition Information: 

8 g
Total Fat: 
5 g
Saturated Fat: 
0 g
44 g
0 mg
20 mg
6 g
4 g
Serves 6

Comments on this Recipe

My boyfriend bought me the Vegetarian Times Cookbook and we randomly pick a page each week to try a new recipe.Gallo Pinto was this week's recipe- we were a bit wary to try it but it ended up being delicious! I love the combination of spices, and especially, the Worcester Sauce. It was quick and simple to make with a lot of flavor. It can definitely work as a main meal with some veggies on the side.