Tasty Tuesday … Gallo Pinto

Cooking, Photography, Tasty Tuesday ..., Vegan Dishes

Gallo Pinto, literally “Painted Rooster” in English is the national dish of Costa Rica. Variations of it can be found all across Central and South America and the Caribbean Islands. It is unclear how this dish got named, perhaps because it looks so colorful with all its ingredients combined. It is one of my favorite rice and bean dishes!
So, when I discovered black “Morro” heirloom beans on my California trip, I just had to bring a couple of bags home with me. These beans cooked up perfectly in my slow cooker, tender, yet firm to the bite.I got to work in my kitchen, making Gallo Pinto.

Here is the recipe. The exact amounts are somewhat flexible, but you should most definitely get a bottle of Salsa Lizano, a tasty sauce made from spices and herbs. It has a bit of a tang and really adds the perfect flavor to Gallo Pinto. The sauce can be hard to find, but it is available on Amazon. That’s where I get mine.

  • about 3 cups of cooked black beans cooked your favorite way (canned are fine, just rinse them well)
  • about 3 cups of cooked rice, cold and grains separated (I use a white long grain or basmati)
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • a few cloves of chopped garlic
  • a chopped fresh chile pepper or two (I buy lots during the summer and freeze them finely chopped for winter)
  •  2 red bell peppers, chopped (yellow or orange or any combination looks nice too)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Salsa Lizano
  • a teaspoon or two of liquid smoke (I like Wright’s, no preservatives and additives)
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • olive oil


In a large pan, heat some olive oil and sauté the onions until they start to soften and get a bit of color.
Add the garlic, cumin, chile pepper and bell peppers and sauté over medium high heat until fragrant and the vegetables are beginning to soften.
Add the rinsed, drained beans and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring gently every so often.
Add the rice, mix and cook a few more minutes.
Next, add the liquid smoke, a generous 1/3 to 1/2 cup of Salsa Lizano, a bit salt to taste and some freshly ground pepper.
If the mixture seems too dry, you can add a bit (less is better) of water, or if you cooked your own beans, a bit of the bean broth.
Continue to cook until everything is nice and hot, and the flavors have mingled.
Turn off the flame, and mix in the chopped cilantro, saving a bit for the top.

We enjoy Gallo Pinto with chopped avocado or guacamole, a tomato salad, some homemade salsa fresca and chips, and lots of my pickled jalapeños. I also put the bottle of Salsa Lizano on the table, so people can add more to their dinner if they like.

Gallo Pinto makes great leftovers too, eaten plain, wrapped in a tortilla, put into a crunchy taco shell with some finely chopped cabbage, … you get the idea. Enjoy!



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My passions in life are vegetarian cooking, gardening, photography, writing, good books, traveling and nature. Thanks for stopping by, Sabine

18 thoughts on “Tasty Tuesday … Gallo Pinto”

      • Oh I wanted to ask if while on your trip to California, did you go to the vegetarian restaurant “the Spot”? I believe that’s the name in Hermosa Beach, supposedly the best veggie burgers.


      • I was in Sonoma County which is about 60 miles north of San Francisco. It’s also known as the “other” wine country. They have fabulous restaurants, farm markets, breweries (including the famous Pliny the Elder), beaches and not nearly the traffic. I am working on some more posts about this place. If I can avoid SoCal at this point, I do. Have you visited this area?
        The veggie burger sounds intriguing. I’ll check it out online.


      • No I haven’t my brother moved out there this year but I haven’t visited since he’s been here often. I saw the restaurant in the Travel Channel and it was a labor intensive recipe that the customers were drooling over. I got hungry watching. But then again it was near dinner time.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. OMG! So excited to see this post and get the recipe. We spent 16 years in Costa Rica and this was a favorite dish – including alongside bacon and eggs for breakfast. Salsa Lizano is a must. I would love if you added a Pinterest button to your blog as I’d love to Pin some of your recipes. Have you considered this? And the picture of the rooster is stunning! Thanks for a wonderful memory and recipe, buying the ingredients today!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amazing!! Where in Costa Rica did you live? I have a very good friend who is from there. I’ve made it for her a number of times and she always likes it. The rooster I saw at the County Fair in California, was part of a display in the garden exhibits!
      I will add a Pinterest button, I thought you need an account there in order to add that.
      Happy Cooking!


  2. First we were in a barrio about a miles walk from Quepos for several years. Then in Manual Antonio for a few and then in Londres for the last few years. It was a happy and glorious time of discovery. We’ll never forget it. I also discovered Ceviche there which changed my life. If you like it, I’ve posted my Ceviche recipe on my blog.
    I don’t believe you have to be on Pinterest to add the button to your blog and I’d love to suggest that you add the re-blog button as well. When I love a fellow blogger’s post, I love to re-blog it – in essence, sharing it with my followers encouraging them to take a look at your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope to visit Costa Rica some day. It sounds interesting and I would love to see the birds I’ve heard about.
      I don’t eat ceviche since I am a vegetarian, but a friend from Peru used to talk about it all the time.
      I will take some time this afternoon when I get home and check into the buttons. I will also check out Pinterest to see what’s involved in setting up an account.


  3. Love beans and rice in all of its variations. In fact we are having something similar tonight. I will look for Salsa Lizano…sounds intriguing!

    Liked by 1 person

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