What can I say about gallo pinto? First and foremost, it’s how I started many a day in Costa Rica. In the land of pura vida, it’s breakfast––rice mixed with black beans, cilantro, onions, maybe a red pepper, and seasoned with Salsa Lizano, a kind of Worcestershire sauce that’s truly the nectar of the Gods. This simple yet delicious combo is typically served with some scrambled eggs and a hot cup of coffee. I came to love gallo pinto in the same way I loved my ridiculously sugary breakfast cereals with cartoon mascots before I hit double digits.
If you’re looking for something different to make for breakfast that isn’t your typical egg-focused dish, pancakes, or cereal, then you ought to start working gallo pinto into your routine. It even stores and reheats nicely if you want to make a big batch. Just be sure to keep a bottle of Salsa Lizano handy so you can top yourself off with each plate.
For more Costa Rica, check out my book “Talking Tico: (Mis)adventures of a Gringo in and Around Costa Rica.”
Costa Rican Gallo Pinto
- 2 Skillets one large, one small for the eggs
- 1 Saucepan to cook the rice
- 150 grams rice
- 275 ml water
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 2 tsp kosher salt more to taste
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 400 grams black beans
- 15 grams cilantro
- Salsa Lizano to taste
- 4 eggs scrambled
- Add your rice and water to a saucepan over high heat until it starts to boil. Lower to a simmer and remove from heat once the rice has absorbed the water.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat with your olive oil. While it's heating up, chop up your veggies and remove cilantro leaves from the stem.
- Once the skillet is hot, add your onions and season with kosher salt. Sauté for about seven minutes or until translucent.
- Then, add your chopped red bell pepper and black beans, washed of their liquid if using canned beans.
- While those cook, start heating up a small skillet with a drizzle of olive oil to scramble your eggs.
- Add about 3/4 of your cilantro and the rice to your large skillet and mix well to incorporate. Add Salsa Lizano and mix to taste.
- Serve on a plate with a few scoops of gallo pinto next to your scrambled eggs. Top with salt to taste, your leftover cilantro, and extra Salsa Lizano.