Gallo Pinto

Gallo Pinto

On our 2003 trip to Costa Rica (a few photos are HERE), we were served this delicious rice and bean dish at least once a day, every day, sometimes twice, and never got tired of it. It’s considered the Costa Rican national dish, and every household has their own recipe. The name means “spotted rooster,” probably because of the finished dish’s spotted appearance. The use of coriander gives it a unique flavor different from other rice and bean dishes we’ve had. It’s quick and easy, and versatile. We have it for dinner with a side of green beans or other veg and a salad. You can have it for lunch with whole grain bread and fruit, or for breakfast with eggs. Fantastico!


1 cup dry rice, uncooked (or 4 cups cooked)
1 19-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium onion
1 large red bell pepper
1 large green bell pepper
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon ground coriander
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

Cook the rice per package directions. Ideally you want the rice to be done when everything else is cooked, so if using brown rice, start it first. If using white rice, as I’ve done, you can start it when you begin to saute.

Chopped stuff

Dice onion and peppers small, chop garlic fine. This takes the most time.

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium flame and saute onions and peppers for about 5 minutes, or until soft but not browning. Add garlic and saute another minute or two, stirring well.

Stir in coriander, then add soy sauce, beans and salt. Lower heat and simmer a few minutes until heated through and mixed well. Add cooked rice and stir until mixed well. Add salt if needed.

You can serve it as is, or follow the Costa Rican example and sprinkle with hot sauce. I use the milder green Tabasco sauce on this one. Makes about 4 servings.

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