Gallo Pinto: How To Make Costa Ricans´ Favorite Breakfast Dish

¨Gallo Pinto¨ translates directly to “painted rooster” referring to the mottled pattern that dark beans and white rice create, reminiscent of chicken feathers.

If you’re looking to experience a truly authentic dish, it doesn’t get any more “tico” than a plate of gallo pinto. As the unofficial national dish, it embodies much of what the Ticos hold close in their culture: no fuss simplicity, healthy ingredients, a good dose of Lizano sauce and of course….lots of love. At first glance, the simple rice and bean dish doesn’t call much attention to itself but beware! Looks can be deceiving and many tourists continue craving pinto long after the greens of the jungle and the ocean breeze has faded.

Here at Finca Bellavista, we make fresh rice and beans daily. Gallo pinto is often served as part of our breakfast spread, mixed with our finca fresh herbs and topped with local eggs, along with a side of mixed tropical fruit and a cup of strong coffee. If you’re missing Costa Rica, this recipe is the perfect way to transport yourself back to the land of “pura vida.”

(Want to make sure you never miss an amazing home-cooked meal from ¨the Chicas¨ while at Finca Bellavista? Our Packages include 3 meals a day and disounted rates!)

INGREDIENTS (makes 6 servings)

– oil for cooking

– 1 medium onion, finely chopped

– 2 garlic cloves, minced

– 3.5 cups cooked white rice

– 2 cups cooked red or black beans, drained

– 1 small bell pepper

– 1 teaspoon ground cumin

– fresh cilantro and sliced green onions

– Salsa Lizano (to give it an authentic taste!)

– salt and pepper to taste


Heat oil in large skillet on médium heat. Add onion and cook until beginning to turn color, then add garlic and sautee until golden. Add in cumin, and salsa Lizano (Worcestire sauce can be used in a pinch), along with rice and beans. Stir to combine and if beans are homeade, add some of the broth to keep mixture moist. Add in red pepper, cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the mixture is well combined and heated through, garnish with a hearty handful of green onion, and serve!


Author: Chelsey Perron