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Gallo Pinto – Skinnytaste

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Gallo Pinto is a Central American breakfast typically served with fried eggs, sour cream, and plantains. It’s made with leftover rice and black beans, so it’s quick to prepare.

Gallo Pinto
I recently vacationed in Costa Rica and had Gallo Pinto for breakfast so often that I recreated it as soon as I got home! Gallo pinto, which translates to “spotted rooster,” holds a special place in Central Americans’ hearts (and stomachs). This simple combination of rice and beans isn’t just a meal – it’s a cultural cornerstone in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, each country claiming it as their national dish. Traditionally made with leftover black beans and long-grain white rice, it gets its “spotted” appearance from how the beans are cooked and integrated with the rice. Onions, bell peppers, and a hint of cilantro provide freshness, while Lizano sauce, a Worcestershire-like condiment, adds a tangy kick.

Why I Could Eat Gallo Pinto Every Week!In my house, we eat rice and beans at least once a week–if not more! So naturally, I ordered gallo pinto a lot in Costa Rica, and I was lucky to get the chef to tell me how it’s made. The beauty of this dish is that it doesn’t take long because it’s made with leftover rice and beans. I always have leftover rice in my fridge, and to save time, I used canned beans, which worked just fine. Here are some more reasons to love gallo pinto:

High-Fiber: Packed with fiber-rich beans and rice, each serving has over 5 grams of fiber, which supports digestive health and keeps you satisfied for longer.
Great for Many Dietary Restrictions: Gallo pinto is vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, anti-inflammatory, and dairy-free.
Delicious: Sofrito, cumin, and Salsa Lizano perfectly season the rice and beans.
Budget-Friendly: Rice and beans are affordable pantry staples, providing a nutritious and filling base.

Gallo Pinto Ingredients
The two main ingredients in gallo pinto are rice and beans, but more are added to make the meal flavorful. See the exact measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom.

Olive oil for sautéing the vegetables.
Sofrito is the base of gallo pinto. Sofrito contains onion, bell pepper, cilantro, and salt.
Black Beans: If you have leftover black beans, use those. Otherwise, canned beans are an excellent shortcut. Reserve some of the liquid to cook the beans in.
Salsa Lizano: You can order Salsa Lizano from Amazon if your supermarket doesn’t sell it.
Ground Cumin adds a subtle smokiness.
White Rice: Gallo pinto is a fantastic way to use leftover rice, but if you need to cook it from scratch, follow my Instant Pot rice instructions or see how I make it on the stove.

How to Make Gallo Pinto
Here’s how to make this easy gallo pinto recipe, but keep scrolling down to the recipe card for the complete instructions.

Make the sofrito
Add the black beans.
Add the cooked rice.

Make the Sofrito: Cook the onion, bell pepper, cilantro, and salt in a large skillet until the veggies are soft.
Beans: Add the black beans, their liquid, Salsa Lizano, and cumin. Bring it to a boil and simmer for a minute.
Rice: Stir in the rice and cook until heated.
How to Serve Gallo Pinto: Serve the rice and beans with eggs, avocado, corn tortillas, and/or sweet plantains.

The beauty of gallo pinto lies in its adaptability.

Don’t have black beans? Use red beans instead.
Rice Swap: Use brown rice instead of white.
Feeling adventurous? Add chopped chorizo, chopped pork, or leftover chicken.
For a veggie boost, add some extra chopped vegetables, like zucchini or tomatoes.
Salsa Lizano is essential for traditional gallo pinto recipes, but you can substitute Worcestershire sauce if you can’t find it.

Ways to Eat Gallo PintoGallo pinto isn’t just about the taste–it’s also about versatility.

For breakfast, gallo pinto is often served with fried eggs, sour cream, tortillas, and a side of plantains. While on vacation in Costa Rica, I enjoyed it with eggs, avocado, and fresh fruit on the side.
For lunch or dinner, it’s the perfect side dish for grilled steak, stews like pollo guisado, or seafood like cilantro lime shrimp.


Refrigerate gallo pinto in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Freeze leftovers for 3 months. Microwave a few minutes to heat up.

More Latin Breakfast Recipes
If you want to try some more Latin breakfast ideas, try these:

More Bean Recipes You’ll Love

Prep: 5 minutes minsCook: 15 minutes minsTotal: 20 minutes mins

Yield: 5 servings
Serving Size: 1 cup

Start with the sofrito: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, bell pepper, cilantro and salt. Cook until the vegetables are soft.Add the beans with the liquid, Salsa Lizano and cumin and stir, bring to a boil and simmer 1 minute.Add the cooked rice to the skillet and stir to combine and cook 2 to 3 minutes more until heated through.Serve with eggs, avocado, warm corn tortillas and/or sweet plantains, if desired.

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This recipe is made with leftover cooked white rice and black beans, be sure to cook the rice and beans ahead of time.
Serving: 1 cup, Calories: 266 kcal, Carbohydrates: 52 g, Protein: 9.5 g, Fat: 1.5 g, Saturated Fat: 0.5 g, Sodium: 458 mg, Fiber: 5.5 g, Sugar: 2 g

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