Gallo Pinto


Gallo pinto or gallopinto is a traditional dish of Costa Rica and Nicaragua made with rice and beans. The dish may contain more rice than beans, or more beans than rice. The history of gallo pinto is not well known, and there are disputes between Costa Ricans and Nicaraguans about where the dish originated.  One theory suggests that gallo pinto was brought into Latin America by Afro-Latino immigrants.  Most Latin Americans agree that the dish is part of both countries now and that they share more similarities than differences.  Variations of gallo pinto are popular in many countries close to the Caribbean.

Gallo pinto means “spotted rooster” in Spanish. The name is said to originate in the multi-colored or speckled appearance that results from cooking the rice together with black or red beans. Beans are quickly cooked until the juice is almost consumed. (Wikipedia)

Gallo Pinto has become a stape in our household, and we are so gratedul to our friend (& Spanish teacher) Myra for teaching us how to make it ourselves!


  • 1 Onion
  • Cilantro
  • Salt
  • Cumin
  • Chiltoma (red and/or green peppers)
  • Chicken Consume
  • Cooked Red beans (We learned how to use a pressure cooker and were dazzled with how quick it cooked!)
  • Cooked white rice (We learned how to cook it Rice-A-Roni style, cooking the rice in butter in a skillet first, and then steaming it in water)

Steps from Wiki-How (Slightly modified to make it like Myra’s)

  1. Heat cooking oil in a pan or pot on a medium setting

  2. Add finely chopped onion; stir to soften (not to brown).  Then add in other veggies, chiltoma, cilantro, etc.

  3. Add cooked beans; stir, allowing most, but not all, of the liquid to be absorbed or evaporated (Nica red beans are a little smaller and more red in color)

  4. Add salt or other spices as desired (Nica’s typically add Chicken Consume)

  5. Add cooked rice (at a 3:2 or 2:1 rice-to-beans ratio) to the mixture; stir to mix ingredients well
  6. Allow the flavors to be well-blended (the longer, the better)
  7. Add cilantro garnish if desired on top when done – I’ve never seen this done, but I do think it is a pretty finishing step.
  8. Finished.
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